Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 37 - 2010


Greek owners vent fury over new shipping ministry

--- * Wednesday 15 September 2010 * by Nigel Lowry
Moreover, the new ministry was ranked sixth most important in an expanded cabinet, a promotion of several places.
That will stay with the ministry for the Protection of the Citizen, since the reshuffle presided over by Christos Papoutsis, himself a former marine minister.
An interim solution fashioned a few months ago had briefly reunited responsibility for oceangoing shipping with the coast guard, but in the latest line-up the two have again been split.
Owners voiced exasperation with the third upheaval of the administrative framework for shipping in the last 11 months, again done without consultation with the industry.
The disillusioned response from the owners follows statements by the government that it intended a brand-new ministry that would bear no relation to the old ministry, beloved by the industry.

Greek conflict restored too
In October 2009, Greece merged shipping with the national economy and competitiveness ministry. Greek shipping groups said the restored structure remains "nebulous" and call for the ministry to be changed as it stood before the merger.
Source: Fairplay Daily News 17 Sep 2010

Government withdraws Hellenic Registry's renewal bid
---Confusion continues over the ongoing validity of certificates issued by the Hellenic Register of Shipping following the government's decision not to seek renewal of the Greek classification society's European Union recognition. The government's decison comes in the wake of the expiry of HRS' EU recognition at the end of August.
Survival of the 90-year-old HRS came under a cloud after the EU said it was unable to renew its recognition of the Piraeus-based society. The renewal issue was due to be debated at the most recent meeting of the EU's Committee on Safe Seas and Prevention of Pollution From Ships, but the government stepped-in and this debate never took place.
August 31, the Citizens' Protection ministry, through the Harbour Corps, confirmed that after its latest assessment by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) the EC announced that "according to the regulations of Law 391/2009/EU it is unable to extend the recognition of the HRS".
The Harbour Corps said that "in order to secure the best possible level of security of vessels under the Greek flag and in order to give a transitional period to the shipping companies" so they will be able to use the certificates, "their effect runs to February 28, 2011". By this date "certificates of class and state certificates issued or authenticated up to August 30, 2010" will be invalid.
The EU has described the government's tough stand towards the HRS as "very professional". However, the HRS maintains that under EU law certificates issued by it before the end of August 2010 "are valid until their expiry date" and has issued a statement to this affect. It accepts it has no right to issue new certificates.
HRS officials, president Nikos Papas, md Dimitris Gousis and leading shareholder and board member, George Vernicos, have been searching for a lifeline as owners of leisure boats and fishing boats especially will be hit.
In addition to impacting the society's 150 employees, de-recognition of HRS means much of the country's domestic ferry fleet will have to be re-classed. In all, some 5,500 vessels, comprising small ferries, and around 3,600 recreational boats and fishing boats may have to look for another class.
However, within the EU there is a feeling the government's handling of the situation has been very professional and that Hellenic has made considerable progress and if this continues HRS could be given its recognition back.
What happens in the meantime to vessels with Hellenic certificates is yet to be clarified.
-- Filed: 2010-09-15

Greece Closes Shipyard Sale Deal, Orders With ThyssenKrupp
--- ATHENS -(Dow Jones)- The Greek Ministry of Defense said on Thursday that the state has reached a deal with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to sell the Skaramanga shipyards to Abu Dhabi Mar.
German ThyssenKrupp's 75.1% stake in Hellenic Shipyards will be transferred to shipbuilder Abu Dhabi Mar, the Greece's Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Greece will upgrade its order of two new submarines from ThyssenKrupp (TKA.XE) at a cost of about EUR175 million ($228.9 million).
"After very tough and difficult negotiations, that on several occasions came close to the edge of breaking down, we have initialed the contractual plan by all the parties," Defense Minister Evaggelos Venizelos said.
The statement said the Greek government will "not be ordering any new submarines," but will proceed with upgrading the previous orders for the refurbishment two old type 209 submarines and "switching it to the construction of two modern submarines type 214."
The new contractual plan will be submitted as a bill to parliament for approval aiming at having the law passed by Sept. 30.
Other details of the final agreement were not released.
-By Nick Skrekas, Dow Jones Newswires; +30 210 2830685;
September 16, 2010 14:25 ET (18:25 GMT)

---17 Sep 2010
ThyssenKrupp, Abu Dhabi MAR and the Greek government have reached agreement ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), Abu Dhabi MAR and the Greek government have reached agreement on the wording for the contracts regarding the implementation of the framework agreement.
Readers may recall that, in June this year, Abu Dhabi MAR, the international shipbuilding group based in Abu Dhabi, and TKMS signed a contract for the sale of Blohm + Voss to Abu Dhabi MAR. The contract included the acquisition of Blohm + Voss Shipyards in Hamburg and the civil shipbuilding facilities of the former HDW Gaarden including employees in Kiel. Abu Dhabi MAR will also acquire an 80% stake in each of Blohm + Voss Repair and Blohm + Voss Industries, both of Hamburg.

Navios closes VLCC acquisitions
---(Sep 14 2010)
Navios Maritime Acquisition Corp has finalised the previously announced acquisition of seven VLCCs from a private seller for an aggregate purchase price of $587 mill.
The seven VLCCs have an average age of 8.6 years and a remaining charter-out term of 8.8 years with an average charter rate of $40,440 net per day. Five of the seven charters also have a profit sharing clause.
Angeliki Frangou, chairman and CEO of Navios Acquisition, sais, "In a short period of time, we have established a strong foothold in the wet sector through the acquisition of a diversified fleet of 20 tanker vessels. We expect the VLCC fleet to be significantly accretive to our shareholders as the fleet generates secured EBITDA and has the potential for additional upside through a profit sharing mechanism."
She continued, "Our efforts in Asia are being spearheaded by Fred Cheng, who has over 36 years experience in the shipping industry, focused primarily on the Asia/Pacific shipping markets. We expect that we will be able to cultivate new commercial relationships through these efforts as well as enhance our existing relationships."

---More newbuildings orders could follow for Greek bulker owner FreeSeas after it made its debut splash with new tonnage in China.
TradeWinds has learned that the mystery yard behind the two-ship handysize order from the owner is Taiwan Stock Exchange newcomer Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding.
Chief executive Ion Varouxakis remained tight-lipped on the identities of the yard and bank involved when questioned by TradeWinds on Tuesday. However, a well-placed industry insider fingered Yangzijiang as the builder.
Varouxakis said FreeSeas had considered newbuildings, resales and second-hand vessels before signing up for the ships at the Chinese yard. He contended, however, that at this moment in time newbuilding deals are more attractive than anything else on the market, even though the Greek must wait until the second and third quarters for its new tonnage.
No charters have been arranged for the ship, although Varouxakis insisted it is far too early to tie them up with charters.
By Eoin O'Cinneide in London
Published: 15:23 GMT, 14 Sep 10 | updated: 15:17 GMT, 16 Sep 10

Cosco, OLP to team up for bid?
---Chinese giant may take part in joint offer for Thriasio; Premier Wen, CEO Wei to visit Greece end of October
By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini
The president and chief executive officer of the China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco), Captain Wei Jiafu, is expected to accompany Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on a visit to Greece at the end of October, bringing with him plans for Chinese investment in local projects.
The Chinese, as stated by Wei in previous public comments, are interested in investing in Piraeus. They are also examining the prospect of teaming up with the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) as regards investing in the Thriasio cargo management terminal, west of Athens. The Thriasio cargo terminal could act as a base to move Chinese goods into Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea area.
Upon arrival in Greece, Wei is likely to meet with the chairman and CEO of OLP, Giorgos Anomeritis, in order to discuss the final details for submitting a joint bid in the international tender for the Thriasio cargo terminal to be held on November 20.
OLP has set up a logistics subsidiary in order to take part in the tender with Cosco.
The two sides have held several meetings concerning the possibility of a joint bid and are looking at whether more partners will be needed for the project, sources added.
The Thriasio cargo terminal is worth 150 million euros without taking into account the value of the land. A complete cargo management terminal will be constructed, intended to transport goods from Greece to neighboring countries. OLP views it as being of importance for the national economy and for its own growth prospects.
Despite the financial crisis, the Chinese giant has planned investments for Piraeus reaching 500 million euros within the next five years.
The agenda includes the upgrade of Pier 2, which Cosco has been operating since last June, and the construction of a third pier at Piraeus.

Piraeus Port Authority unveils tender for construction of 5-star hotel
---The Piraeus Port Authority on Wednesday announced that it will hold an open tender on Dec. 15 to lease out the Piraeus exhibition centre building for its transformation into a modern five-star hotel.
In an announcement, the Port Authority said the ambitious project aims to fill a void in terms of high-end hotel rooms for the major port city, which currently lacks a large five-star hotel.
The current building includes 30,000 sq.m. of space. The current tender envisions that it will keep its Pagoda-style architectural form. Moreover, the port authority said it will build a new passenger terminal for cruise ships on the ground floor.
The underwriter of the project will have to set up a societe anonyme company and to deposit a letter of guarantee worth 800,000 euros, regardless of the bid price.

Greek Freight Trucks Cause Chaos In Further Strike Action
---14 September 2010
Fuel Crisis Threatens Recovery
So far the domestic sector is under the spotlight but toward the end of the last period of unrest there were reports of conflict with overseas hauliers delivering and collecting international cargo and the likely outcome will be that there will be further resentment toward foreign transport operators shipping in or out of the country.