Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 02 - 2011


Greek Merchant Fleet Remains Largest in World

---Posted on 08 January 2011 by Anastasia Brousou ShareThis

Piraeus records boost in vehicle traffic
---12th January 2011 17:14 GMT
Piraeus recored a 385 rise in vehicle traffic through its terminal in 2010
The port of Piraeus has reported a 38% increase in usage of its car terminal for 2010, according to a recent industry report.
The port authority states that it handled a total of 380,353 vehicles last year, compared with traffic of 276,442 units in 2009.
Average monthly throughput rebounded to 31,895 last year, from 23,037 recorded in 2009, the PPA said.
An ongoing project to double the capacity of the terminal, making it among the largest in the Mediterranean, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this quarter.
In the report, PPA chief executive George Anomeritis also stated that the surge in traffic reflected current upgrades and developments at the port.

Izmir-Thessaloniki cruise route
--- (ANA-MPA) -- Turkish tourists will be able to combine an Aegean sea cruise with a tour of Ottoman monuments in the northern port city of Thessaloniki this coming summer, as the Greek-owned "Ocean Majesty" will depart Izmir and visit Thessaloniki six times in 2011, it was announced on Wednesday. (ANA-MPA)
Amongst others, Thessaloniki hosts the residence (today a museum within the Turkish consulate) where Kemal Ataturk was born in 1881, the 15th century Imaret Aladja mosque, as well as the Bey Hamam baths -- alternately known as the "Baths of Paradise" -- built in 1444 by Sultan Murat II, the most important monument of its kind in Greece.
The cruiseship's first visit will take place on May 23 and another five will follow until Oct. 19.(ANA-MPA)

Shipping call for a steady government hand on the tiller
---Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (HCS) president, George Gratsos, has reminded the government that "during hard times, a steady [operational] framework, the harmonious operation of services, the retention of know-how, and a dynamic approach by shipping companies are the number one priority".
Gratsos made the comment when expressing the concerns of the shipping community about the government's continuous changes of administrative decisions. He was speaking in the presence of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries minister, Yiannis Diamantidis, during the chamber's traditional cutting of the New Year vassilopita, on January 12.
Gratsos had words of congratulations for the government on its decision to ease cabotage saying Greece can become a big player in the cruising sector of tourism, which can bring more than Euro 1bn into the national coffers annually and add, directly and indirectly, about 15,000 employment positions.
Regarding the domestic roropax sector, Gratsos said: "We need fresh ideas. It is unthinkable for ships to sail for many months with more crew than passengers, running up losses that must be covered by higher ticket prices". He also mentioned the fact "the port of Lavrion can be used for sailings to the Cycladic islands but this can not happen until it is connected to the train network". He also said "better infrastructure is needed in the islands".
Gratsos also asked the state to endeavour to lift the number of students entering the merchant marine academies from about 1,000 to 2,000 a year.
The following day members of the board of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) met with Prime minister George Papandreou and repeated the same messages. Also present was shipping minister, Diamantidis.
Led by UGS president, Theodoros Veniamis, the owners asked Papandreou to finalise the government's plans regarding the administration of the Hellenic Harbour Corps stressing they preferred it to be part of the Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries ministry, not the Citizens' Protection ministry, which seems to be the government's choice as it gives the corps a more military rather than an administrative role.
The shipowners also underlined the need to upgrade maritime education, with Papandreou indicating the expansion of private maritime education and the possible establishment of a maritime university is under consideration. Indeed, maritime education was an issue raised by Israeli officials who spent three days in Greece this past week. Led by Foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, during discussions on how to boost ties between Greece and Israel the latter expressed a wish for their shipping administrators to train in Greece.
Shipowners also want shipping exchange brought into Greece for investment in real estate to be regarded the same as foreign investment.
During the meeting, Diamantidis repeated that "shipping is the main financial branch of development of the country". After the meeting he said the "UGS pointed this out and the PM listened with an open-mind".
-- Filed: 2011-01-14

PM to meet Greek Shipowners Union management on Thursday
---The management of the Union of Greek Shipowners will be meeting Prime Minister George Papandreou at the Maximos Mansion at 12:30 on Thursday, according to Marine Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis.
Diamantidis said in a statement "that many things in cruises, that will be a growth lever for our country, have already been scheduled, stressing that in the specific sector the government is determined to support it" and, referring to shipping, added that "it is making all of us proud in a crucial period for the country."

Tsakos Energy Navigation Announces Quarterly Dividend payable February 1, 2011
$0.15 per share dividend payable February 1, 2011
Including the above distribution, TEN will have distributed $8.625 per share in dividends to its shareholders since the Company was listed on the NYSE in March of 2002. The listing price was $7.50 per share taking into account the 2-1 share split of November 14, 2007.
Source: ?

Lomar snaps up three Hellespont chem tankers
Brothers George and Constantine Logothetis, who head up Lomar, were unavailable for comment but sources say the company paid $43m en bloc for the trio.
Hellespont seems to be booking a loss on the sales, given that the ships were bought in February 2008 for a reported $90m en bloc from Greek owner Unibros. They were originally said to have been ordered at KY Heavy Industries for $15m each.
The ships, which are owned by KG (limited partnership) investors, were bought when Hellespont was in the Hellespont Hammonia GmbH & Co KG joint venture with Peter Dohle and HCI Capital.
In July, holding company Hellespont AG bought out the two partners and renamed the company Hellespont Ship Management.
Following the latest ship sales, Hellespont still has six 17,000-dwt chemical tankers built between 2009 and 2010 and is expecting another two sisterships to be delivered this year from Sekwang Heavy Industries of South Korea.
The company also controls six aframax tankers, six panamax products tankers and six chemical tankers and platform-supply vessels (PSVs) under 6,000 dwt.
For Lomar, the purchase boosts its owned fleet to 37 ships since the Logothetis family re-entered shipping in 2008 after a four-year absence.
Most of the vessels were bought when Lomar coughed up $325m for UK-based Allocean and its 26-strong fleet. The company, a subsidiary of Libra Group, also third-party manages another three ships.
By Yiota Gousas Athens
Published: 23:01 GMT, 13 Jan 11 | updated: 20:22 GMT, 12 Jan 11

Diana Shipping Inc. Announces Time Charter Contract for m/v Melite
This employment is anticipated to generate approximately US$11.4 million of gross revenue for the minimum scheduled period of the charter.
The m/v Melite is a 76,436 dwt Panamax dry bulk carrier built in 2004.

--- * Wednesday 12 January 2011, 16:17 * by Nigel Lowry
A FINANCIAL dispute between shipowner John Frangos and the Haji-Ioannou shipping clan that has dragged on for 17 years has ended in a hefty private settlement.
The shipowner, who is generally low profile compared with his high-flying sister, Navios boss Angeliki Frangou, definitively lost the legal battle nearly two years ago when the Greek Supreme Court upheld an appeal court decision that Mr Frangos must repay $49m received from late tanker magnate Loucas Haji-Ioannou over a period during the early 1990s.
The dispute centred on whether the sums were intended as gifts or as loans.
With interest since 1994, the award when the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in 2009 was valued at about $130m but there is so far little indication of the final figure that has been accepted by the Haji-Ioannous.
Mr Papadimitriou did not comment on the scale of the deal.
Mr Frangos also declined to provide details of the deal, which he underlined was agreed on private terms.
Mr Haji-Ioannou died at the end of 2008 shortly after learning of his victory at the appeal court stage. He is survived by his wife, Nedi, and their three children, Clelia, easyGroup entrepreneur Stelios and tanker owner Polys.

What do you do? If you are DryShips boss George Economou, you double down, embark on a $3.17Bn capital spending splurge, and reveal your entry into an entirely new sector just moments after the stock market closes for Christmas.
The tanker move also spurred Wall Street analysts to voice multiple concerns, all of which were rebutted by DryShips COO Pankaj Khanna in an exclusive interview with Fairplay.
By far the most damning broadside came from Morgan Stanley analyst Ole Slorer.
DryShips adamantly maintains that it purchased the tankers directly from the yard, not Cardiff. Nevertheless, Fairplay has independently confirmed using IHS Fairplay newbuildings data that Cardiff had the exact same mix of Aframax and Suezmax tankers on order at Samsung with similar delivery dates.
A sceptic would recall that in 2010, numerous Greek private owners pursued IPO plans involving tanker newbuildings, but were waylaid by weak freight rates. So why is DryShips so confident that its tanker arm will definitely go public this year?
Behind the deal timing
The analyst is far from alone in bearish views on 1H11 tanker freight and asset trends. So why did DryShips decide to buy 12 newbuildings in late December 2010? According to DryShips COO Pankaj Khanna, DryShips was swayed by an agreement giving it custom-spec ships from a first-class yard and staggered deliveries starting this year (five in 2011, four 2012, three 2013).
Staggered deliveries
# 12 tanker newbuildings purchased from Samsung for $770M; six Aframaxes (four to be delivered in 2011, two 2012) and six Suezmaxes (one in 2011, two 2012, three 2013).
# $120M deposit paid, with 70% payment upon delivery. DryShips expects to secure at least 50% bank financing
# The tanker unit will be set up as a stand-alone entity; the intention is for it to be publicly listed by the end of this year via a spin-off or IPO
Source: Fairplay - Trade 13 Jan 2011

Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. Announces Pricing of $350 Million 8 1/8% Senior Notes Due 2019
---PIRAEUS, Greece, Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. ("Navios Holdings") (NYSE: NM) announced today that it and Navios Maritime Finance II (US) Inc., its wholly-owned finance subsidiary ("NMF" and, together with Navios Holdings, "Navios") priced $350 million of 8 1/8% Senior Notes due 2019 (the "Notes"). The Notes were offered and sold in the United States only to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and in offshore transactions to non-United States persons in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.
The Notes to be issued by Navios are expected to be guaranteed by all of the subsidiaries that provide a guarantee of Navios Holdings' existing 8 5/8% first priority ship mortgage notes due 2017.
Navios Holdings intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes to purchase and/or redeem any and all of Navios Holdings' outstanding 9 1/2% Senior Notes due 2014 (the "2014 Notes") and pay related transaction fees and expenses and for general corporate purposes. The sale of the Notes is expected to be consummated on January 28, 2011, subject to customary closing conditions.
The Notes and related guarantees have not been registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to or for the benefit of U.S. persons unless so registered except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable securities laws in other jurisdictions.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the Notes or any other securities, and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale of any Notes or other securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful. Any offer of the Notes was made only by means of a private offering memorandum. This press release is being issued pursuant to and in accordance with Rule 135c under the Securities Act.

Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. Announces Proposed Offering of $250 Million Senior Notes due 2019
Excel plans to use the net proceeds from the note offering to repay approximately $240 million of indebtedness outstanding under its secured revolving credit facility and the remaining portion for general corporate purposes.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such an offering, solicitation or sale would be unlawful. The offering will be made only to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act") and non-U.S. persons in accordance with Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act. The securities to be offered have not been registered under the Securities Act, or any state securities laws, and unless so registered, may not be offered or sold except pursuant to an effective registration statement or an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. This press release is being issued pursuant to and in accordance with Rule 135c under the Securities Act.

Star Bulk Carriers Corp.- Two Capesize Newbuildings: Debt Finance Agreed, Star Epsilon: One Year Time Charter
---ATHENS, GREECE, January 13, 2011- Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (the "Company" or "Star Bulk") (NASDAQ: SBLK), today announced the following:
Two Capesize Newbuildings: Debt Finance Agreed
The Company has signed commitment letters with a major European bank for senior debt financing of both capesize vessels, currently under construction, for up to 60% of the vessels' price at favorable financing cost and terms. The loans cover the entire remaining payments to the shipyard for both vessels, therefore the Company is not required to contribute any additional equity until their completion.
Star Epsilon: One Year Time Charter
The Company has entered into a time charter contract with Norden for the Star Epsilon for one year, plus an option for one additional year, at a gross daily rate of $16,100. The Star Epsilon is a Supramax vessel of 52,402 dwt built in 2001. The new contract will contribute a minimum of $5.8 million to a maximum of $11.6 million in gross revenue.
Akis Tsirigakis, President and CEO of Star Bulk, commented: "We are pleased to enjoy the continued support of senior debt lenders for our growth plans and to have demonstrated the ability to source competitive financing. We also continue with our strategy of stable contracted employment with quality counterparties. Currently, our fleet is contracted for 69% of 2011 operating days, amongst the highest contract coverage in the industry, which amply covers our dividends and finance commitments allowing positive cash flows. We continue to focus on enhancing shareholder value supported by our strong balance sheet and liquidity."