Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 28 - 2010


Floated proposals on shipping legislation not entirely sunk

---The Union of Greek Shipowners has branded the government's draft proposal for overhauling legislation covering seafarers' employment and insurance as "unclear and ambiguous" and fails to explicitly regulate subjects which, "in our opinion are serious".
In a letter to the Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping (YPOIAN) minister, Louka Katseli, signed by its president Theodore Veniamis, the UGS declares its opposition to plans to merge the seamen's unemployment office (GENE) and the institute of maritime education, into one entity, the Organisation of Employment of Greek Seafarers.
Owners say they are also bewildered by a proposal to merge contributions made by seafarers and their employers to the existing ELOEN (Seafarer's Family Bonuses) into the new, Organisation of Employment of Greek Seafarers. The UGS points out distribution of these funds is made after agreement between both shipowners and seafarers according to each family's needs (children, etc.). The UGS says "it is incomprehensible that this reserve fund be used to cover other so-called special needs, unemployed seafarers or other groups of seafarers".
Apostolos Ventouris, president of the Union of Maritime Enterprises, (EEN) has also aired concerns expressed by companies involved in ferry and tourist ship operation regarding the easing of cabotage in the passenger shipping sector. In an opinion posted on the website: Ventouris says the EEN has always favoured the lifting of measures which stifle the passenger shipping sector, and involve ships operating under a European Union flag, or are of Greek control, but under a foreign flag.
The union also expresses doubt about the merging of the various seafarer bodies, but is more concerned about the creation of three categories of cruise ships. Ventouris says the way the law on lifting cabotage is developing "there will be three entirely different tiers of cruise ships", based on crew complements.
Further, a proposal regarding "reciprocity" will face legal issues, says Ventouris. Under this proposal ships flying a non EU flag can operate freely in Greek waters, as long as EU ships can sail under the same conditions in the country of the flag concerned. Analysts say this is an impossible regulation.
Regarding the employment of Greek seafarers, it is proposed EU flag ships will employ a number of Greeks according to an agreement between the ship operator and the Panhellenic Seamens Federation (PNO) as is now beginning to be the case. For crew on non-EU flag cruise ships, the law proposes the actual number of Greeks on board be part of a contract signed by the shipoperator and the Greek state and not under the conditions regulating Greek flag ships and crewing.
This, says Ventouris, will end up with cruise ships with 100% Greek crew, EU-flagged ships with numbers agreed by the operator and the PNO, and finally, foreign flag ships which basically employ whomever they wish.
The YPOIAN ministry says it will host a discussion on planned changes to legislation covering the whole maritime industry including cabotage rules in the passenger shipping sector. No date was announced for the meeting, but what appears to be emerging is that cabotage is not going to be lifted, but rather eased, in a effort to boost cruising, tourism and the economy generally.
The Association of Tourism Enterprises (SETE) says the proposals are a move in the right direction, but also point out they lack clarity and perpetuate problems already created by existing regulations.
The country's hotel owners say the lifting of cabotage will be of benefit, but that much more needs to be done for tourism to recover.
The Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) is ready to wait and see how the guidelines floated by YPOIAN develop. Indeed, Markos Foros, president of SEEN, points out there is no Greek cruise industry at present so the reaction of the PNO, which is totally opposed to easing cabotage, is pointless.
-- Filed: 2010-07-14

Greece cruise liberalisation marks new era
* Wednesday 14 July 2010 * by Nigel Lowry
--- Government says lifting cabotage restrictions will open new chapter for cruise sector
Suggesting that the move will allow Greece to develop into a competitive centre for cruise for the entire Mediterranean region, the ministry said the benefits would ripple beyond the immediate cruise sector throughout the economy.
Cabotage restrictions had shrunk cruise in Greece and resulted in activities developing in rival countries, chiefly Italy.
In 2008, Greece only saw about 6.5% of global cruise passenger traffic and a mere 3% of the direct income from its cruise sector, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, 40% of passengers disembarked in Italy, which also scooped 30% of direct revenues from the trade, it was said.
The Bill presented to parliament effectively equates cruiseships under flags such as Liberia, Bahamas or Panama with EU flagged cruiseships visiting Greek ports.
Various requirements included in early drafts of the Bill for foreign cruiseships to enjoy unfettered access have been mostly whittled away.
Remaining criteria include a requirement that the itinerary should be at least 48 hours and the vessel should stay a minimum of 12 hours in its home or embarkation port. Vessels are considered cruiseships if they provide accommodation for more than 49 passengers.
Operators are to engage in agreements with the state for up to three years and the proceeds of a passenger tax will be put towards funds for unemployed and ailing seafarers in Greece.
Foreign flagged cruiseships until now have not been allowed to operate round cruises in Greece from Piraeus or other Greek ports, but a number of lines offer significant Greek capital and island itineraries through operating so-called open jaw cruises, which are not confined only to EU flagged vessels.
The legislation is expected to comfortably become law, theoretically in time for the current summer season although few changes are expected to be made in the itineraries of major lines until next year at the earliest.

Greece Shipping Report Q3 2010 (Business Monitor International)
---Greece's much-publicised fiscal and debt problems, which have prompted European Union intervention to save it from default, are definitely a dark cloud for the country's ports and shipping sector. Yet paradoxical as it may seem, there are also some indications of a silver lining. According to a report in the Times of London on May 29, the Greek shipping sector was optimistic about its immediate future. The article noted that Greek shipping interests had nearly 65mn tonnes of tanker and product carrier hulls on order in Asian yards 'to meet an unflagging demand in China and India for fuel, coal and iron ore'. The latest annual report by the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) noted that 'a dynamic increase in demand for raw materials has sustained the dry bulk freight market'. Additionally, the announcement in late May that the government was about to launch a tender for the Thriassio container hub concession reinforced the core view that the dire state of the Greek public finances makes public-private partnerships (PPPs) the only viable option for the Greek government to move ahead with planned infrastructure projects. The government's programme to reduce the deficit and implement structural changes specifically mentioned wider use of PPPs.
Chinese shipping company COSCO Pacific has expressed interest in the tender, as the company is seeking wider access in Greek transport infrastructure in order to improve intermodal links with its container terminal in Piraeus.
The immediate outlook is difficult. We are predicting that Greek GDP will contract by 2% again in 2010, after a 2% fall in 2009. Unemployment in double digits and public sector wage cuts will hurt domestic demand. In 2011 the economy will be flat. We are predicting average annual GDP growth over the next five years of only 0.6%. The government of Prime Minister George Papandreou will struggle to deliver the necessary spending cuts, and the rest of this year is likely to be politically turbulent with significant labour unrest.
2010 will be a standstill year at Greece's main ports. At the Port of Thessaloniki, where volume fell by 14.8% in 2008 and by another 2.3% in 2009, this year there will be marginal growth - volume will grow 0.2% to 15.718mn tonnes. At the Port of Piraeus, where there was a massive fall of 47.9% in 2008 and a 10.7% recovery in 2009, this year's growth will also be only 0.2%, taking volume handled to 11.621mn tonnes. Box traffic at the country's two key ports will be a little more dynamic, but still constrained by the Greek economic crisis.
The value of Greek trade collapsed by 15.7% in real terms last year, and will remain stuck at that low level in 2010. It will only begin to grow again in 2011. Across the five-year forecast period we believe average annual growth will be a very modest 2.6%, which nevertheless will be ahead of GDP's slow 0.6% annual expansion. We expect exports to be slightly more dynamic than imports in the five-year time horizon.
In slightly contrarian fashion, we believe that the main risks to our Greek shipping forecast lie on the upside. This is because we believe that the worst of the negative impact of the domestic economic crisis on the shipping sector has already been 'priced in'. By definition, the industry has always been outward looking and linked to global trade. We believe the combination of moderate improvement in the global economy with lower asset prices and a forced opening to the private sector in the ports and shipping business will create a potential for new investment and opportunities.

HHI wins new Dynacom order
---HYUNDAI HI is understood to have won new orders from Greece's Dynacom for two Suezmax tankers and the same number of Kamsarmax bulkers.
The 158,000dwt Suezmaxes are due for delivery during 1H 2012, while the 81,000dwt bulkers are both booked for delivery in 3Q 2012.
Dynacom ordered two VLCCs at HHI during 2008 for delivery in 2011 however the contract status of these vessels is not clear at this stage. Dynacom recently placed a contract with Chinese shipyard New Century for four VLCCs for delivery in 2012 and 2013.
Source: Fairplay Daily News 16 Jul 2010

Metrostar pays over the odds
---A Greek player is making its box debut with five expensive ships.
Hot on the heels of the sale of its entire tanker and bulker fleet, the Theodore Angelopoulos-controlled company is said to have shelled out some $180m to buy five 10-year-old 3,500-teu ships from German owner Claus-Peter Offen.
The vessels are said to be costing double what they may have obtained at the start of the year.
Managing director Jan Hendrik Offen confirms the sale of the five Santa C-class vessels Santa Carlotta (built 2000), Santa Celina, Santa Carolina, Santa Catalina and Santa Cristina (all built 2001).
Metrostar executives were unavailable for comment on the reports. But it is understood that the Greek company will not take delivery of the vessels until next year when they complete their present charter commitments.
Its box debut is, however, costing Angelopoulos something over the odds.
Sources say Metrostar is paying between $36m and $36.5m per vessel.
London broker Clarksons sets the indicative price of a 10-year-old 3,500-teu boxship at $31m, although recent deals have showed an upward trend.
Offen refuses to comment on the specifics of the deal or the name of the buyer but notes that the price achievable is about twice as much as the vessels might have cost in January. He adds that the price makes up about 90% of the respective newbuilding price for nine to 10-year-old ships.
Last month, Technomar was said to have paid $125m for five 2,500-teu boxships from Offen but while that company has had a long connection with the container market, a number of fledgling players have appeared in Greece. Several are said to be banking on profitable resales as the market recovers.
Among the early newcomers to the sector was George Procopiou dry-bulk company Seatraders, which in June 2009 purchased the 4,700-teu Swan (ex-MOL Mosel, built 1995) for just $9.65m.
After the ships have been delivered, Metrostar will be left with two 38,000-dwt drillship newbuildings at Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery in 2011.
The sell-off prompted speculation that the astute Greek asset player might be changing his focus.
By Gillian Whittaker and Ian Lewis Athens and Genoa
Published: 21:59 GMT, 15 Jul 10 | updated: 20:45 GMT, 14 Jul 10

Omega hit by falling TCEs
(July 16 2010)
--- Omega Navigation Enterprises results for 4Q09, full year 2009 and 1Q10,were marred by falling charter rates.
Taking 4Q09, total revenues were $14.8 mill million and net income was $2.2 mill, or $0.14 per basic share.
These figures exclude losses on interest rate derivative instruments and incentive compensation grants expense. Including these items the net income was $0.9 mill or $0.06 per basic share.
Adjusted EBITDA for 4Q09 was $8.3 mill.
Omega owned and operated an average of eight product carriers during the period, the same number as in 4Q08.
Excluding profit share, the Panamaxes averaged a TCE of $21,586 per vessel per day and the MR's averaged $12,297 per vessel per day during 4Q09, compared with $24,949 per vessel per day and $20,798 per day per vessel respectively during 4Q08.
For the 12 months ended 31st December, 2009, Omega Navigation reported total revenues of $64.5 mill and net income of $13.7 mill, or $0.88 per basic share.
Again these figures excluded a loss on interest rate derivative instruments, a gain on warrants revaluation, non cash incentive compensation grants and a loss related to the termination of a purchase agreement. Including these items, net income was $5.7 mill or $0.37 per share.
Adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months was $39.1 mill, excluding loss from termination of a purchase agreement. Operating income included revenue of $3.2 mill attributable to profit sharing.
Omega fully owned and operated an average of eight product carriers during 2009, the same as in 2008.
Excluding profit sharing, during 2009 the company's Panamaxes earned an average TCE of $22,267 per vessel per day, versus $25,027 per vessel per day during 2008, while the company's Handymaxes earned an average TCE of $15,981 per vessel per day last year versus $20,772 per vessel per day during 2008.
As for 1Q10, Omega reported total revenues of $15.5 mill and net income of $2.1 mill, or $0.13 per basic share. Adjusted EBITDA for 1Q10 was $8.3 mill.
Excluding profit share, the Panamaxes averaged $21,075 per vessel per day and the MR's $15,969 per vessel per day in 1Q10, compared with $24,486 per vessel per day and $20,746 per vessel per day in 1Q09 respectively.
Eight of the vessels are fully owned by Omega and four are owned through equal partnership joint ventures with a wholly owned subsidiary of Glencore International.

Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation Announces Delivery of Two LR1 Product Tankers
--- The Colin Jacob and the Ariadne Jacob immediately begin three-year time charters
About Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation
Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation (NYSE:NNA) ("Navios Acquisition") is an owner and operator of tanker vessels focusing in the transportation of refined petroleum products (clean and dirty) and bulk liquid chemicals.
For more information about Navios Acquisition, please visit our website:

Starting plans for 8th Digital Ship Athens / AMMITEC general meeting
--- I am starting on our plans for the 8th Digital Ship Athens / AMMITEC general meeting, to be held on December 1-2 at Athinais Cultural Center, Votanikos, Athens.
Do you have any interesting projects going on at your company which you might be interested in presenting at the conference?
Do you have any ideas about topics we should include?
If so please let me know by replying to this e-mail.
Here are some ideas I had already:
- shipping companies' experiences with VSAT
- How to upgrade Fleet77 to FleetBroadband
- New developments with collaboration tools, maintenance, purchasing and document management
- Keeping up to date on vessels using your cellphones
- Does the Deepwater Horizon disaster impact tanker operations to the US, particularly in regards to limited liability?
I hope to see you all in Athens on Dec 1-2,
Kind regards
Karl Jeffery, conference producer
Digital Ship Athens
Tel +44 207 510 4935, <>
Source: <>