Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 19 - 2011


--- Thursday 12 May 2011, 15:31 by Nigel Lowry
In a letter to this newspaper published today, Mr Gratsos writes that slimmer bow designs with better hydrodynamic performance, which better balance consumption and capacity, can result in significantly more profitable vessels despite carrying less cargo.
Mr Gratsos said loopholes in the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) under discussion at the International Maritime Organization needed tightening up if the index was to help achieve such designs.

Ferrymen slam "Dead Letter" pay agreement
---The collective agreement covering seafarers working on ferries signed by the Panhellenic Seafarers Federation (PNO) and the Association of Greek Passenger Ship Companies (SEEN) has been branded "a dead letter" by the Union of Marine Enterprises (EEN) which accuses seafarers of hijacking government policy.
In an announcement, May 9 the EEN expressed surprise the minister of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries, Yiannis Diamantidis, signed the agreement and sent it to be published in the Government Gazette. The agreement is retroactive, with a 1.5% hike for 2010 and 1% for 2011.
EEN said: "The political games between the ministry and PNO and the non-representative SEEN are not only dangerous but suspicious. It is impossible for the 10% minority [represented by SEEN] to impose its own agreement to the 90% [EEN] majority." SEEN essentially represents the cruise sector and companies which trade in the international ferry markets while EEN represents six sectors ranging from ferries, roros, roropaxes, cruising and tourist boats involving more than 4,260 vessels.
"At a time when the Greek people are facing a 30% decrease in their salaries and pensions, seafarers employed by the ferry companies are receiving a retroactive 3% increase in their salaries.
In its announcement, EEN reiterated the Greek Prime minister George Papandreou's commitment to support the inhabitants of small islands, during the Small Islands conference in Meganisi, May 7, and accused Diamantidis saying: "The minister has an autonomous economic policy and an autonomous shipping policy."
On May 10, EEN turned up the heat even further with a strongly worded statement signed by its president Apostolos Ventouris, in which it charged the PNO has replaced both the Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries ministry and the Citizens' Protection ministry and imposes its own policy circumventing the law, and using opaque processes to determine manning levels on European Union flag vessels sailing outside of Greece, imposing "so many" Greeks on one ship, "fewer" Greeks on another and "more" Greeks on another.
The EEN said the state by "its guilty silence" approves those actions against EU-flag vessels. It claims the "dumping game imposed through the PNO on some companies trading in the Adriatic lines will destroy Greek shipping companies" and "will lead to the EU condemning the Greek state while foreign shipowners will not charter ships owned by Greek shipowners."
The EEN warned the Maritime Affairs minister "to read our announcement, because he may be accused of being an accomplice in the games against Greek shipowners".
Source: Issue 19 / 13 May 2011 of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.

Newbuilding bug infects Technomar
---A Greek player is said to be mulling up to four ships of 6,600 teu in Korea.
Another Greek owner is in talks to order its first boxship newbuildings.
Technomar Shipping is widely reported to be in negotiations with South Korean yards for a series of wide-beam, post-panamax ships of 6,600 teu.
The Greek company has been an extremely active player in the secondhand market but this appears to be its first move into newbuildings.
Sources say it has gone to shipbuilders including Hyundai Heavy Industries and Sungdong Shipbuilding with enquiries for two ships plus two options for delivery in 2013.
They add that the deal is not done yet but there is a possibility it could be wrapped up within the month.
Shipbuilding players say market price levels for this size of vessel at Korean yards is $75m to $76m, depending on the specifications, but Technomar is said to be seeking to pay less.
The vessel, renamed Agios Dimitrios, was one of a series of four booked at Hanjin Heavy Industries by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
Recent orders for this size by Zodiac Maritime Agencies and Aeolos Management have been placed at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Hyundai for around $70m each.
Brokers say there are relatively few quality boxships available in the secondhand market and suggest this is tempting owners like Technomar to move toward newbuildings.
So far this year, Technomar is understood to have picked up just two vessels, the 2,750-teu OOCL Melbourne and sistership OOCL Xiamen (both built 2003).
But last year it invested heavily in at least 15 containerships, starting with a reported $125m paid for a quintet of 2,500-teu vessels.
Two of these it resold to Euromar, the joint venture established by compatriot Euroseas and private-equity outfits Eton Park and Rhone Capital.
Two more ships were picked up in June and October, with it paying close to $28m for the 4,708-teu Swan (built 1995).
These were followed by a quartet of 1,316-teu, 1990-built ships costing a total of $24m.
By Ian Lewis, Gillian Whittaker and Irene Ang Genoa, Athens and Singapore
Published: 22:01 GMT, 12 May 11 | updated: 20:40 GMT, 11 May 11

NewLead scuttles bond plan
---NASDAQ-listed NewLead Holdings has backed out of its plan to raise $120M in the Norwegian bond market.
NewLead has four newbuildings scheduled for delivery through next year: a 35,000dwt Handysize and a 92,000dwt post-Panamax in 2Q11, an 80,000dwt Kamsarmax in 4Q11 and a 35,000dwt Handysize in 3Q12.
According to its latest financial report, NewLead had $67.5M in unrestricted cash as of 31 December (versus $106.3M the year before), total current liabilities of $106.7M and total liabilities of $686.1M.
Source: Firplay Daily News 09 May 2011

Angelicoussis switches more VLCCs to LNGCs
---(May 13 2011)
Greece's Angelicoussis Shipping Group is to convert another two VLCC newbuilding contracts to LNGCs.
This latest deal brings the number of new LNGCs on order to three. They will be managed and operated by subsidiary Maran Gas.
Daewoo hulls numbers 5341 and 5323 were ordered as VLCCs for about $155 mill each, a price close to the peak for 320,000 dwt VLCCs, market sources said.
The contract conversions were negotiated to include an additional cash payment.

The Bahamas Maritime Authority looking to establish full office in Greece
The BMA is also looking to expand its reach further into Europe by establishing a "long overdue" full office in Greece later this year in an effort to capture more business. Forty per cent of ship owners on the Bahamian registry are from Greece, Norway and the UK.
"They (the Greeks) are the largest ship owning group by far. It's a major maritime nation, and the Bahamas has such close ties to Greece already. We've got a Greek diaspora in the Bahamas; we can build on that," said Mr Fair. [ Ian Fair, chairman ]

A lighthouse of knowledge in Piraeus
---By Margarita Pournara
Few private institutions in Greece are successful at gathering a variety of cultural activities under one roof. One of them is the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, which has not only brought the city of Piraeus much-needed cultural experiences, but has also organized activities all over Greece.
The foundation was founded by presidential decree in 2007, though it is basically an extension of the Laskaridis Library, which has been in operation since 1993. , Friday May 13, 2011 (20:08)