Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 50 - 2010


PwC survey on shipping crew : The number of available Greek officers is decreasing

---Greek shipping companies tend to trust Greek officers more but the number of available Greek candidates is decreasing. This is a key finding of the shipping crew performance management systems survey, conducted by PwC in Greece and in Cyprus, from January to April 2010.
The survey analyses data collected from twelve leading shipping companies based in Greece, Cyprus, Denmark and Sweden. The methodology used was semi-structured interviews with general managers, fleet personnel and human resources managers. The survey covers 39,500 seafarers and 1,320 ships.
Performance management systems provide valuable information for corporate management. Their purpose is to align the performance of every employee with the corporate strategy and objectives. Decisions for HR issues such as rewards, training and development, career planning and promotions, are taken based on results of the performance management systems.
Performance management systems are a challenge for the shipping industry, considering the unique attributes and working conditions of the crews.
All the companies who participated in the survey have a performance management system for their crews, but ten out of twelve apply different systems for seafarers and shore-based personnel. Usually there is no connection between the two, although in some cases both systems are based on the same corporate values.
The survey key findings are interesting both from shipping and HR perspectives.
Shipping companies leverage performance management systems to select crews as well as to evaluate re-hiring
Ten out of the twelve companies which participated in the survey use the data from their performance management systems to design crew manning in order to achieve team collaboration and avoid conflicts during trips. In addition, decisions for re-hiring seafarers are taken based on their performance appraisals.
Companies based abroad use performance appraisals to decide
It is striking that a limited number of the survey participants, most of them based abroad, stated that they take decisions on salaries, rewards, benefits and incentives based on performance appraisals.
Training and development
More than half of the survey participants said that they link their performance management systems with employee training and development. Also performance appraisal is a key component for the officers' career planning and development.
Appraisal key criteria: Composure, knowledge of the procedures and crisis management
Based on the survey key findings, PwC identifies some of the challenges that the shipping companies are facing today.
Lack of Greek officers and seafarers
Many of the survey participants claim that the number of officers and seafarers available at the Greek market has considerably decreased the last few years. A possible reason is that this profession is no longer attractive to young generations. In the long run, this situation is becoming a risk factor for the Greek companies, considering that they tend to trust Greek officers more. On the contrary, there seems to be no lack of staffing for the rest of crew positions. Most shipping companies have premises in East Asia and Eastern Europe to find cheaper labour. Another key finding is that many incentives and benefits are given to the officers in order to retain them within the company. This is due to a general lack of officers in the shipping sector.
The need to communicate and collaborate in a multi-cultural environment
Working with multi-national crews, the officers have to develop their leadership skills to communicate and manage people of different cultures, work mentality and beliefs. Consequently, an effective human resources management is a key criterion for officers' performance appraisals. Taking into account that the shipping profession is becoming less and less attractive to the young generations of Greeks, it seems that diversity management will continue to present a challenge for the shipping companies.
Relating rewards to performance appraisal
Most industry sectors consider the relationship between rewards and performance appraisal obvious. But the Greek shipping companies find it difficult to implement performance appraisals that will be objective and without conflicts between appraisers and appraisees. On the other hand, a performance appraisal without positive of negative consequences makes the system weak and eventually obsolete. Rewards and recognition are important incentives for high performing seafarers and officers in order to retain them within the company.
Shipping companies must set objectives for their crews
These objectives must be measurable and realistic. They must be linked to the corporate strategy in order to lead the crews into actions and behaviours that are beneficial, not only to the company but to themselves as well. Attention must be put into setting individual and team objectives, as well as in managing crew relations to avoid conflicts.
Communication of performance appraisal results
Discussion and feedback between appraiser and appraisee is necessary for their professional development. Many Greek shipping companies hesitate to apply this practice - either because the officers do not have the necessary capabilities or because of their company culture. But the development and high performance of both officers and seafarers depends on the consistent and continuous application of a people development system.
This method has a positive effect in the development and improvement of staff performance. 360o feedback consists of self-appraisal as well as appraisal from supervisors, equal level and lower level colleagues. Unfortunately, a limited number of shipping companies apply this practice - usually for officers' appraisals. The benefit of using this method would be important for the shipping companies, in order to achieve best crew selection and create a conflict-free working environment during trips.
The survey 'Shipping Crew Performance Management Systems' has been conducted by PwC in Greece and Cyprus, from January 15 to April 30, 2010. The survey analyses qualitative data collected from twelve leading shipping companies based in Greece, Cyprus, Denmark and Sweden. The methodology used was semi-structured interviews with general managers, fleet personnel and human resources managers. The survey covers 39,500 seafarers and 1,320 ships (container, tanker, reefer, carrier, cruise ships, yachts).
Source: PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers)

Gratsos: Politics rather than understanding dictate devisions
---Political interests and not an understanding of the technical issues, or indeed efficiencies involved, is the main criterion dictating the decision making process on proposed measures concerning shipping affairs at the international level, says George Gratsos, president of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (HCS).
Addressing the 4th annual conference of the Hellenic Institute of Naval Technology (ELINT), Gratsos disputed the results of research by major international institutions regarding shipping and called for better cooperation among Greece's technical scientists in an effort to "reverse the strange climate that exists in the planning and administering of emissions from ships internationally". He said: "In Greece we have the best know-how regarding shipbuilding, engineering and shipping business in the world. It's a pity we can't make our voice heard louder".
Gratsos wondered about the Imo GHC Study 2009 on the ability to lower emissions from ships. This study concludes ship emissions can be reduced by 25% to 75%, percentages which Gratsos says are "unrealistic".
Another issue of disagreement is the establishment of an energy efficiency design index (EEDI). Gratsos notes there has been an agreement on an Imo framework but there are differences as to what this index will cover. Gratsos said the Imo index is rewarding slow steaming ships and not better built ships, which Greece was proposing.
The HCS president also referred to the persistence of states like the UK, France, Germany and Norway to persuade the international organisations to use the Emissions Trading System (ETS) as "carbon tax" on ships. He said the Carbon Levy proposed by many countries including Greece, is two to five times more effective.
-- Filed: 2010-12-13

Competition on the up in newbuilding P&I market
---The protection-and-indemnity (P&I) market for newbuildings has turned markedly more competitive over the past 12 to 18 months, with the trend set to continue through next year.
A series of typical rates that owners can expect to pay proved a real eye opener at the Arthur J Gallagher presentation in Athens, with many owners quickly jotting down figures from an overhead to benchmark their own premiums.
The $1.15-per-gt rate for VLCCs is particularly tight as a crude tanker has to pay more than $0.75 per gt in reinsurance, leaving only $0.40 per gt to cover retained claims.
On the dry-cargo side, the rate for a new 180,000-dwt bulker has typically fallen from $81,000 to $76,500 with close to half the $0.85-per-gt rate going on reinsurance.
A key reason for newbuilding rates being significantly lower is that there can be real competition between clubs for new vessels, in contrast to ships in service where the International Group cartel bans price cutting at the renewal.
But Godfrey cautioned shipowners that the newbuilding P&I market was volatile.
By Jim Mulrenan Athens
Published: 23:01 GMT, 16 Dec 10 | updated: 20:10 GMT, 15 Dec 10

Three-ship buy marks Pateras' comeback
-- - * Thursday 16 December 2010, 16:22 * by Nigel Lowry
Nicolas Pateras owned Pacific & Atlantic emerges as buyer of two handysize bulkers and a boxship
ATHENS-based Pacific & Atlantic Group has emerged as the buyer of two handysize bulkers and a container carrier, confirming the return of shipowner Nicolas Pateras as an active owner.
The group sold its fleet, which numbered about 50 vessels at its peak, during the dry bulk boom, with the last disposals reported more than four years ago.
Since then, the company has been coy as to whether it has any vessels or not and the comeback has been equally quiet.
No executives at Pacific & Atlantic were available to comment on the news.
The two bulkers acquired by the group are the three-year-old handysizes, the 21,274 dwt Salvadora and sistership Severina, from the fleet of London-based Intresco.
Nearly a year ago, Pacific & Atlantic launched a new chartering venture, P&A Trading, in a move intended to retain and develop relationships with leading charterers, particularly in the handysize sector.
It is believed the owner has long had the intent to ease himself back into shipowning when vessel prices became lower.
Since disposing of its fleet Pacific & Atlantic has also been linked to a newly created sale and purchase and chartering brokerage, Bulkers & Tankers (Shipbrokers).

Arch Cru: Spearpoint launches legal action against Greek shipping firm
---by Nicholas Paler on Dec 14, 2010 at 13:31
Spearpoint, manager of the Channel Islands-listed cell companies that make up the funds, said it had launched the action because its loan deal with Nautical Ventures could collapse.
It said in a statement: 'On 7 December 2010, Spearpoint on behalf of the cells...commenced enforcement action against Nautical Ventures for recovery of the outstanding debt. The enforcement of maritime security in several jurisdictions will take some time and the ultimate outcome of this process cannot be assessed at this time.'
However, Nautical Ventures failed to make repayments as the shipping market plunged in value, forcing its outstanding debts to the funds to rise to $215 million.
After taking over management of the funds, Spearpoint restructured the arrangement with Nautical Ventures into a $80 million loan. But it warned that deal could also collapse. Spearpoint now hopes to recover $43.3 million, the latest valuation of Nautical Ventures' fleet.
'The build up of payables to other creditors, coupled with our scepticism of an imminent market recovery, leaves us with the unfortunate conclusion that the restructure is in danger of failing and that some other course of action is now needed,' it said.
A source added the cells would not face a further writedown because of the enforcement action, although it may generate additional costs. 'There will be legal costs of enforcement action, but the hope is that there will be some upside from that,' the source said.

DryShips Prices
---On Wednesday, DryShips Inc. announced, in line with its expected time frame, that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ocean Rig UDW Inc. has priced its private placement share offering at $17.50/share for total gross proceeds of $500 million, implying an offering size of approximately 28.6 million shares. At the conclusion of the offering, Dry Ships will own approximately 78% of Ocean Rig. The transaction is expected to close December 20th.
The net proceeds of the offering will be used to finance the construction of the newbuilding drillships in Samsung, exercise options to build additional UDW drillships and for general corporate purposes.
The joint lead managers for this transaction are DnB NOR Markets, Fearnley Fonds and Pareto Securities.
Source: Freshly Minted bu

Industry giants join global taskforce
---(Dec 17 2010)
The five original members of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) have been recently joined by two major drybulk traders, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, insurer RSA, Greek tanker owner Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) and Wartsila.
The new members join founders ABN Amro, BP Shipping, Gearbulk, Lloyd's Register and Maersk Line, which are working with the Forum for the Future and the WWF.
Members, drawn from throughout the sector, will explore how best to react to these 'megatrends' and prepare a case for action as a resource for the entire industry. This will set the agenda for creating a vision of a sustainable shipping industry and a plan to create a step change in its social, environmental and economic sustainability, SSI said.

Supported by Japan classification society Class NK as lead sponsor, the glittering awards show was opened by Minister of Maritime Affairs, Islands & Fisheries, Yiannis Diamantidis. In his speech, Mr Diamantidis said Greek shipping was a global power and a strength for Greece. The government pledged to help the industry grow stronger still, the minister said.
For photographs of the event and photos of the winners, please go to >
Greek Award Winners 2010
Dry Cargo Company of the Year Safe Bulkers
Tanker Company of the Year GasLog
Passenger Line of the Year Louis Cruises
Shipbroker of the Year Cass Technava Maritime
Shipping Financier of the Year XRTC Business Consultants
Technical Achievement Award Professor Dracos Vassalos
Piraeus International Centre Awards Wista Hellas
Ship of the Year Naftocement XVIII
International Personality of the Year Capt Wei Jaifu
Seafarer of the Year Capt Dimitrios Nezos of Anangel Pride
Achievement in Education or Training Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Greek Branch
Special Award: Man of the Sea Dimitris Mitsatsos
Greek Shipping Newsmaker of the Year Evangelos Marinakis
Greek Shipping Personality of the Year Epaminondas GE Embiricos

Learning respect from the children
The sea plays a pervasive role in the Greek consciousness and will be the springboard for a revival of a nation that needs to find its feet again. Inspiration will come from the two 10-year-olds who have taken on the roles of chairman and vice-chairman of Helmepa Junior. The gathering also heard from Stathis Kostakopoulos, a junior member in 1997, who has gone on to become graduate environmentalist.
Source: Fairplay - Lookout 16 Dec 2010

Greek carrier agrees fleet-wide VSAT installation
---(Dec 17 2010), Digital Ship newsletter
CapRock Communications has secured a fleet-wide contract with Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management for 15 C-band SeaAccess VSAT solutions, in cooperation with its Greek partner Setel Hellas.
The companies report that this is the sixth VSAT contract they have agreed in the Greek market over the last year.
CapRock notes that it has placed specific emphasis on growth in the Greek market over the last twelve months, which it sees as holding "significant opportunities" for VSAT penetration as an operator of one of the largest shipping fleets in the world.
CapRock is currently completing the first installation under the contract onboard the bulk carrier MV Desert Melody, at a shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey. The next two vessels in the installation schedule are expected to have the VSAT system installed by end of 2010.
Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management, with offices in Piraeus, Greece, is an operator of Handymax, Supermax and Panamax size bulk carriers.
Source: Digital Ship newsletter

Louis named passenger line of the year in Greece