Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 48 - 2009


Katseli addresses IMO assembly

---London (ANA-MPA/L. Tsirigotakis) -- The problems of ship piracy, climate change, and the declining attraction of young people to the maritime profession were at the core of discussions of the 169-nation International Maritime Organisation (IMO) general assembly's 26th session, which opened in London on Monday, with economy, competitiveness and shipping minister Louka Katseli representing member-country Greece.
Addressing the opening session of the 2-week general assembly, Katseli outlined the Greek government's policy on shipping matters and its cooperation with IMO, explaining that the incorporation of shipping into the larger ministry of economy and competitiveness (development) reflected the government's enhanced interest in shipping and acknowledges its significant contribution to the Greek economy.
On confronting ship piracy off the coasts of Somalia, Katseli noted that the initiatives for ship safety were being reinforced internationally, stressing that Greece was a participant in the EU's naval force's (EUNAVFOR Somalia) operation "Atalanta". She added, in fact, that Greek naval personnel are among awardees for their contribution to the effort.
Katseli expressed her conviction that the governments of the IMO member countries, during the two weeks of deliberations, will give their political support to the organisation's secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos for additional measures, aiming at better and more efficient coordination in the taking of measures that will boost the security of ships.
On the sidelines of the first session, Katseli had bilateral meetings with Greece's IMO chief Mitropoulos and deputy ministers of transportation of China and Singapore, during which matters pertaining to bilateral and multilateral cooperation were discussed, according to Katseli.
She noted that China and Singapore are very important countries in the field of shipping, with different characteristics.
With the Chinese deputy minister, discussion focused on the long-standing bilateral agreement between the two countries, she said, adding that she also put forward the matter of recognition by China of the certifications of Greek seamen, while they also discussed cooperation in merchant shipping and investments, pointing out the two countries' strategic position in the wider region and internationally.
Katseli stressed that Greece and China have much to benefit from this cooperation between the two countries. She added that the climate during the discussion was "positive", and in that context mention was also made to the COSCO investment in Greece and the related matters that will be put to a general dialogue. "We said that, with good will, everything will be solved from within this dialogue and not only will this cooperation move forward, but we also have the ability to expand our cooperation into other sectors of mutual interest," she said.
On maritime training in Greece, she said it was a top priority of her ministry, while a collaboration has also commenced with education minister Anna Diamantopoulou on a volunteer program that will enable highschool freshmen and sophomores (9th and 10th grades) to travel for a week on a merchant ship so as to acquire a personal experience at sea and the life of present-day seamen, which has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, with substantial upgrading of the working and living conditions.
Katseli anticipated that the program will commence within the next year.

Katseli may tap into shipping capital with bond issue
---Nigel Lowry - Friday 27 November 2009
Analysts had estimated that before the crisis Greek owners collectively had liquidity of up to $70bn and, although in many cases recent investment losses might have eroded that, the consensus was that the industry overall remains cash-rich.
Just last month, financial consultant Ted Petropoulos of Petrofin floated such an idea at a shipping conference in Athens.
Mr Petropoulos said Greek owners had the capacity to offer support to the Greek financial system, and given the change in the world economy could be attracted to safer investments such as state bonds if the coupon was right.
He has suggested, for example, a targeted $500m issue to test the water.
Speaking from London, Ms Katseli said she had invited shipping interests there to work more closely with the Greek economy.
For her part, Ms Katseli assured senior London Greeks the government was committed to the industry, the competitiveness of the Greek registry, as well as improving representation of Greek shipping positions in the European Union and internationally.

Veniamis denies owners discuss backing of geovernment funds
---Union of Greek Shipowners president Theodore Veniamis has denied implications by Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister, Louka Katseli, that shipowners have given their support to the government's suggestions that either a fund be established or a bond floated with a view to helping the government relaunch the stumbling Greek economy.
Veniamis reacted quickly to remarks made by the minister when addressing a working luncheon hosted in London by the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, November 24. The minister gave the impression the creation of a fund or the launching of a bond had been discussed with the UGS.
Veniamis said "the refinancing of the Greek economy had not been discussed" nor had the "UGS' participation in the issuing of a bond".
The minister used the occasion of the Greek Shipping Summit, November 3, to call on the shipping community to support the country's onshore economy and infrastructure through making investments. In a discussion with journalists she said the shipping community could do more to help the strapped economy and indicated she would try and woo shipping money.
Meantime, speculation is growing that Chinese interests are considering investing in Greek private debt. Talk about China picking up a chunk of Greek debt has boosted investor confidence generally.
Indeed, Greece and China look set to broaden economic ties despite Cosco Pacific's harrowing start to its 35-year concession to manage container terminals in the port. Strike action has dogged Piraeus for more than a year, including the first 40 days of the Cosco deal.
Cosco president and ceo Wei Jaifu is expected to soon visit Athens after being forced to cancel earlier planned trips. One of the most senior officials in China, Wei is expected to meet with Prime minister George Papandreou and discuss investment options. Reports say the government is keen to strengthen ties with China and any investment is likely to be large enough to improve investor sentiment.
In addition to involvement in Greek ports, the Chinese are also said to be keen to promote tourism to Greece at a time when European visitor numbers are declining.
-- Filed: 2009-11-25

Piraeus frustration bubbles over
---Nikos Anastasopoulos made little attempt to hide the frustration he had experienced during his time as CEO of Piraeus Port Authority during a lunch with Greek journalists last week. Among the most damaging issues were his admission that the plan to construct a new exhibition centre in Akti Miaouli for Posidonia is badly structured and unlikely to be set into motion before 2012.
As a result, Anastasopoulos said, he was the only representative of the Greek state to have the full picture of what the concession entailed when Greece and China added their signatures.

Salvage justice
---A huge $41m salvage award has been sent back to an arbitrator for reassessment in a key ruling by a top London admiralty judge.
The award in favour of Five Oceans Salvage of Greece was made following a highly successful operation that saved the grounded 52,000-dwt bulk carrier Ocean Crown (built 2005), a valuable cargo of copper concentrates and averted pollution in a sensitive fish farming waters off Chile.
The 2007 salvage operation saved the ship valued at $66m and a cargo worth another $100m. Five Oceans was initially awarded $34.5m for its work with the sum later raised to $40.75m, which may well be a record salvage award.
Transhipment underway of the Ocean Crown's copper concentrate cargo to the 41,000-dwt VOC Progress (built 1989).
The judge turned back to a landmark case arising from the grounding of the 3,200-gt migrant ship Amerique (built 1864) which grounded off Le Havre in 1874.
Athens based Five Oceans headed by former Tsavliris managing director, Xenophon Constantinides, was only set up in 2006 but a year later did a very professional job on the Ocean Crown which grounded on uncharted rocks in isolated but pollution sensitive waters off Puerto Chacabuco in Chile.
Over a nine week period the 35 strong Fire Oceans crew transhipped the cargo to two other bulkers which were able to deliver the concentrate to India, undertook extensive underwater hull repairs to allow the vessel to be pulled free by three tugs and taken to a dry dock for repair while at the same time preventing pollution in waters where there is extensive salmon farming.
But Justice Gross has reasserted the principles established at the time of the Amerique salvage that while the value of the salved fund, in this case $166m, is a significant element in determining an award there is a moderating principle that the high value of a fund should not lead to an award that is altogether out of line with the services rendered.
The ship and cargo owners favoured Justice Gross reducing the award of $40.75m to the $34.5m originally proposed but the judge instead decided to send the question of quantum back to Reeder for reconsideration.
Click on the document in the related media column to the right to read the judgment in this key salvage case in full. >
By Jim Mulrenan in London
Published: 12:54 GMT, 27 Nov 2009 | last updated: 13:07 GMT, 27 Nov 2009

ThyssenKrupp Executive Says Bids For Hellenic Shipyards Due Dec 4
---FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA.XE) expects possible bids for its Greek shipbuilding operations Hellenic Shipyards by Dec. 4, executive board member Olaf Berlien said Friday.
The company previously announced its plan to sell the unit, marking a further step away from shipbuilding by ThyssenKrupp.
Berlien declined to provide further details about the sales process of Hellenic Shipyards.
Earlier this year, the company sold stakes and entire production sites of its civil shipbuilding operations in Germany, as well as striking an agreement to jointly operate the design and the manufacturing of naval surface ships with Abu Dhabi MAR Group.
ThyssenKrupp had previously announced its intention to scale down its civil shipbuilding operations in light of considerable global overcapacity and a massive decline in new orders as a result of the economic crisis.
The company has said the economic downturn has resulted in overcapacity of more than 1 million manufacturing hours, threatening the existence of the entire ThyssenKrupp shipbuilding business.
Company Web site:

Motor Oil and Mytilineos team up in gas market
Shares in Motor Oil fell 2.80 percent on the Athens bourse to 10.40 euros versus a 6.21 percent slide yesterday on the broader market.
Mytilineos shares tumbled 8.23 percent to 5.02 euros.

Piraeus Venture Capital Fund invests in Advent Technologies
---The investment company Piraeus Capital Management participated in the share capital of Advent Technologies via a share capital increases and minority holding, through Piraeus-TANEO Capital Fund (PTCF) a Mutual Fund, created by Piraeus Bank with the support of the New Economy Development Fund (TANEO).
Piraeus Capital Management Piraeus Capital Management S.A. ("PCM") was incorporated in December 2008, belongs to Piraeus Bank Group of companies and operates in Venture Capital Management. This action is Piraeus Bank's first step in a series of initiatives with a view to dynamically enter the venture capital management sector.
As noted by the Managing Director of Piraeus Capital Management, Mr. Aggelos Skoutaris, "Our two first investments are a very good beginning for the Fund. Advent and ESS constitute strategic movements for Piraeus Capital Management, since they allow it to participate in two international and quickly developing companies with a strong Greek element.
Advent is a company operating in a really innovative technology sector with global impact and obvious environmental benefits, while ESS operates in a highly recognized sector such as shipping with applications extending to the international trade, in general. With stable and careful steps we implemented our first investments and we are planning our next investment opportunities with great enthusiasm and prudence".
ADVENT TECHNOLOGIES S.A. is engaged in research, development and commercialization of new materials and systems for renewable energy sources. The major effort of the Company focuses on a high temperature PEM fuel cell system based on its proprietary technology. The Company, founded by researchers from the Foundation for Research & Technology-Hellas (FORTH-ICEHT) and the University of Patras in February 2005, is a spin-off operation from these two academic institutions and is funded by institutional investors (Piraeus Capital Management, Dolphin Capital) industrial partners (Systems Sunlight S.A., Velti S.A, ILPRA S.A.) and private investors. Advent Technologies is headquartered in Athens, Greece and occupies research, development and manufacturing space in the Patras Science Park (PSP) and in its US location in Boston Massachusetts.