Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 03 - 2011


Age old problem of manning thought to be behind Anangel move

---The flag under which a shipping company chooses to operate its ships is the right of the shipowner, Yiannis Diamantidis, Greece's Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries minister said January 20, commenting on the decision of the John Angelicoussis-led group to run-up the Maltese flag on its just delivered 180,000dwt bulk carrier Anangel Seafarer.
The decision has raised eyebrows as the Angelicoussis group is not only Greece's largest, but is also a prime supporter of the Greek flag. Indeed, the surprise decision is being seen as a sign of discontent with government shipping policy. All told, the group's bulker arm, Anangel Maritime Services and energy arms Maran Tankers and Maran Gas Maritime run over 80 vessels of near 16m dwt. All but a handful fly the Greek flag, and it has been estimated the Syngrou Avenue-based company accounts for some 20% of the Greek registry.
Prior to delivery from Daewoo-Mangalia HI in Romania, the capesize bulker was perceived to be under the Greek flag. Minister Diamantidis, said: "If Mr Angelicoussis, after all the ships he has put under the Greek flag, decides to put one under a foreign flag, I do not believe this is the start of a major fleet change." At the sametime, the minister appealed to shipowners to support the home registry, "just as the state supports shipping".
However, analysts believe Angelicoussis is following a small group of leading owners who have switched flag to enable them to employ experienced senior officers who have reached the time of retirement. Vassilis Constantakopoulos, of Costamare Shipping is among the strong backers of the Greek flag who has flagged-out ships so that the company can employ masters, chief officers and chief engineers who "are too young to retire" but under Greek flag law are forced to, even though there is a great shortage of officers.
Some years back the Angelicoussis group threatened to hoist a foreign flag, Malta again, on its newbuildings but the threat was not carried through as a few months later the New Democracy government eased the law on the Greek manning of oceangoing ships.
Meanwhile, the number of ships flying the Greek flag continues to fall. In the first 11 months of 2010 as shipowners favoured larger vessels, data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority reveal ship numbers fell just under 1% to 2,100 ship in the year to November 30, though the fleet's total gross tonnage increased 3.7% in the 2010 period, to just under 43m gt.
Greece could see cruise visits jump 50% in 2011 following the government's easing a cabotage law requiring non-EU ships in Greek waters to have Greek crew. Minister Diamantidis said: "We are in the front of the battle line for the survival and growth of Greece." The Economy ministry estimates the cabotage move will bring in an additional $1.3bn in tourism revenue annually.
The minister revealed Carnival Cruise Lines is still keen to base ships in Greece as is Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises. Indeed, the minister said Costa has "told us it is aiming to bring 50% more passengers to Greece in 2011".
-- Filed: 2011-01-21

Shipping contraction seen
Source: Fairplay Daily News 20 Jan 2011

Hellenic P&I club opens for ships up to 25,000 gt
* Wednesday 19 January 2011, 15:20 * by Nigel Lowry
---Mutual covered around 90 vessels for war risks in first year of business
A NEW Greek P&I club has finally said it is open for business after a year offering war risk cover.
Mr Velliades cited the case of a recently ransomed tanker as an example of the support it had offered owners during its year providing exclusively war risks cover.
The vessel, which was snatched in July last year, was freed after the payment of a $3.6m ransom, it has been confirmed.
In the first year, the club can accept vessels up to 25,000 gt and offer owners coverage of up to $500m. The first $2m is separately reinsured through Korean Re.
According to Hempira, shipowners in Galaxidi were the very first to establish a mutual in Greece, back in 1840, and it has taken 170 years to reintroduce a club along modern lines.

Greece predicts cruise boom
---Greece could see cruise visits jump 50% this year after easing crewing restrictions.
Earlier this month, the government lifted a cabotage law requiring non-EU ships in Greek waters to have Greek crew.
The economy ministry estimates the cabotage move will bring in an extra $1.3bn in tourism revenue.
By Gary Dixon in London. Published: 09:39 GMT, 21 Jan 11 | updated: 09:39 GMT, 21 Jan 11