Protagonists of 2017

Evangelos Pistiolis: “Central Shipping Group is focused on innovative and sophisticated projects in shipping”

Exploiting the market opportunities and following a careful policy of expansion, Central Shipping Group has succeeded, in a very short period, to renew its fleet and build ECO N/B vessels. The master mind behind these achievements is Evangelos Pistiolis, a visionary and strong minded shipowner who aims at further growth and much more critical mass.
Mr. Pistiolis, founder of Central Shipping Group and Nasdaq listed company Top Ships, has invested a near $500m, during the last four years in order to build the group’s strong fleet of MR1 and MR2 tankers with orders at Hyundai Vinavashin Shipyard in Vietnam and Hyundai Mipo in South Korea. The group has seven tankers in the water, with further tankers still under construction. The eighth MR2 is due from Hyundai Vinavashin the next months and 2 more will follow within 2018. Also the company has 2 more ships from the Hyundai Shipyard in Korea (HMD).
In the interview that follows Mr. Evangelos Pistiolis descr ibes exclusively in ELNAVI the new vessels as being of “very, very high spec” and refers to the future plans of his Group which include diversification to other shipping sectors if the deal suits to the company’s strategy.
Can you comment on the market conditions prevailing the shipping market today? Can you explain why do you continue to expand in the MR product tankers sector?
Market conditions obviously vary between the different shipping sectors. Today we have a weak tanker market in the product tanker sector as well as in the crude sector. In the dry bulk market we are experiencing a semi recovered market going towards full recovery over the last 12 months that has unfortunately stopped recently and the market has stagnated or even became a bit softer, but obviously it is still much better than it was over the past years. Also the container sector as well as the entire gas sector have still much room of improvement from when the crisis started. We, as a company have a long experience in the product tanker sector as well as the crude sector having owned well more than 50 ships in the last 10-12 years. We believe we will continue to focus on these 2 sectors mainly the product sector today but looking to get into the crude sector in the near future. Having as a company strategy the focus on very young, very modern and ultra-high spec ships, we focus on serving the upper end of the tanker industry demands.
Do you plan to expand your company’s fleet and diversify your fleet in other sectors of shipping?
As mentioned above we are for sure looking to expand to the crude sector in the near future. We have looked several times into the dry bulk sector over the last 2 years but never came across a deal that suited our criteria. So yes, we are open into diversify our fleet but the deal has to suite our company’s strategy so not affect or get out of balance the current quality focused fleet.
- How do you plan to continue growing your company’s fleet? Will you raise money from NASDAQ stock market or secure bank finance which is very difficult in this challenging financial environment?
As a company we have relatively conservative leverage policy i.e. we have very low loans compared with the age and the value of our fleet. This strategy will continue also in the future. The capital markets in the US have not been particularly promising over the last 5 years. Raising money from NASDAQ, as far as our public company is concerned, is definitely an option for us. The private company will continue its fleet expansion using family means. Financing has never been an issue for our companies neither the public nor the private, we share excellent relationships with all the banks that our group works with.
- Describe the chartering policy of your company’s fleet.
Our company’s chartering policy has mainly in the past been a so called balanced chartering policy. By say balanced we mean a split between a long term employment and spot market. Currently all our 11 newbuilding ship fleet are at a long term time charters with triple A charterers only. We have an average duration going forward of about 4 years and our secure cash flow in excess $ 150 m. As the fleet grows further it is our intention to add the element of spot chartering strategy to our company’s fleet and maybe eventually get to a point as we were in the past of about 50% long term time charter  cover and 50% spot exposure.
- How do you manage to maintain efficient operations and fulfill your charterers’ demands? What is the approach of your company  regarding the new regulatory developments (BWTC, MRV, sulphur 2020 cap)?
As anybody would appreciate, charterer’s demands vary highly  between the different charters. As I mentioned above, our company is totally focused and committed to work with the highest demanding charterers in the industry such as oil majors and high quality oil traders. Such charterers demand the highest level of regulatory compliance both in ships and the office as well as the highest level of operations and safety, with very regular vetting of the ships as well as vetting of the shore management.
By having such a young fleet we obviously comply automatically with most if not all current and future shipping regulations.
Taking to account that our ships are of the highest standard in terms of specification that can be possibly found in the industry, we believe that we comply with most if not all safety – energy efficiency – emissions  etc. regulations that are out there today like for example BWTS , MRV, SULPHUL 2020.
- Describe the milestones of your company during the last 20 years.
These are the main milestones that helped shape our company’s profile as it is today.
1996 – Enter container market sector
1999 – Buy first product tanker
2003 – Buy first Suezmax crude tanker
2004 – 23rd of July 2004 IPO Top Tankers, October of ‘04 follow on an offering for $150m
2006 – Peak of fleet with about 35 ships
2008 – Sold more than 50% fleet on great timing just before Lehman Brothers
2012 – Start all new Eco fleet orders at HHI Group
2013 – Sold of all old fleet in light of only Eco N/B Fleet
“Greek Shipping Personality of the Year” award
is granted to Evangelos Marinakis at the 2017 Lloyd’s List Greek shipping awards
Marking an outstanding business Mr. Evangelos Marinakis, the Chairman of Capital Maritime & Trading Corp., was voted as Lloyd’s List’s “Greek Shipping Personality of the Year” for 2017. The award caps a very active year for Mr Marinakis and the Capital Group as it expanded significantly across the tanker, container and dry bulk sectors growing the fleet under management by 17 vessels to a total of 71 vessels  including 45 tankers, 19 container carriers and 7 bulk carriers. Beyond the shipping sector, in 2017, Mr Marinakis continued to make an impact both in Greece and internationally across a range of other  business and philanthropic activities. These included his acquisition of storied English football club Nottingham Forest; the acquisition of Greek media group DOL; the dedication of a new monument in Piraeus to the victims of the Pontus Greek genocide; the sponsorship of a special conference in partnership with  Harvard University focusing on football’s social responsibility; the renewal of a ground-breaking partnership of Olympiacos with UNICEF to vaccinate children against preventable diseases.
The 14th year of the Greek Shipping Awards and gala presentation dinner was held at the Athenaeum Intercontinental in Athens and was attended by around 1,200 guests, including many of the leading figures in the maritime industry. Presenting Mr Marinakis with his award, Mr Nigel Lowry from Lloyd’s List commented: “Evangelos Marinakis was the outstanding candidate for this year’s award. His dynamic deal making across Capital Group’s three sectors of tankers, containers, and dry bulk reflects the positive outlook and trends that we are increasingly seeing in our industry. Mr Marinakis has consistently been ahead of those trends, as his $1 billion in investments in 2017 illustrates.  Although he clearly merits this award on the strength of his shipping activities alone, it is also remarkable that he finds time to pursue a number of very important philanthropic causes, as well as other business interests in sports and media, both in Greece and internationally. He is indeed a very deserving winner.”
Evangelos Marinakis commented: “First of all, I would like to thank Lloyd’s  List for organizing this evening’s awards event. They are the traditional voice of our industry and we are all grateful. I’m proud of the coincidence to be born Greek and be involved in Shipping. In the shipping world, you learn from the very beginning how to deal and compete with high waves, with enormous companies and very talented, bright and experienced people. Therefore in order to really succeed at a high level, you must work very hard, Perform, have Faith and be consistent and proactive towards the requirements of our industry, which increase almost daily. During this magnificent, but also difficult voyage you learn how to fight and be a winner. In order to manage all this, you need to have the right colleagues on your side, the best skillful crews and a Family who will stand behind you and support you. I thank them all very much for their faith and loyalty towards myself.
Our success in shipping allowed us to make important contributions and be WINNERS in other areas: sports, including football of course in Greece and in England, in the Media sector, and in our beloved Municipality of Piraeus. Our achievements in shipping give us the power to try our very best to contribute to our society. The independence from any Greek government  (especially SYRIZA-ANEL) gives us the freedom to express our opinions, our views and expectations for a better future for Greece.”
Stealth Maritime focuses on organic growth with modern tonnage acquisitions

Accomplishing one of the most ambitious shipbuilding programs of the last years in Greek shipping, Stealth Maritime
does not envisage ordering ships in the short term but to continue growing with modern tonnage acquisitions.
In the interview that follows Lambros Babilis, CEO of Stealth Maritime, describes the company’s achievements and
plans and refers to the new challenges of shipping.
- Can you comment on the market conditions prevailing the shipping market today?
- Let’s start from the dry  market as this segment concerns the majority of our friends locally. The market has improved significantly since last year both in terms of freight rates and value appreciation. To give you some examples a 10 year old cape last year at the bottom was  sold for $12-13 mill and today is worth abt double! Freight rates for these ships have gone up 4 times from the low of abt $5-6k to abt $20 k today! We believe 2018 will be even better for the bulkers but we hope that the big  wave of ordering especially for kamsarmaxes and VLOC’s will not continue in the New Y ear! For tankers the market unfortunately has been worse than last year both in terms of ship values and day r ates! VLCC rates have dropped below $15k per day and aframaxes below $10k per day! Values have also decreased significantly over the last 24 months creating interesting buying opportunities for the cash rich owners. How ever do note that market will not recover in 2018 and thus owners buying
now should consider the cash burn until market recovers after at least 12 months from now!
Last but not least on the gas side w e have seen improvements both in the LNG and LPG side but not as spectacular as the dry one! Subject to the volatility of the oil price experts believe that 2018 will be a better year for LNG and LPG!
- Describe the chartering policy of your company’s fleet.
- Our commercial strategy has remained the same for the last 2 decades! We want to have at any given time the majority of our fleet on period contracts. That gives earnings visibility and stability to our principals and financiers! Out of a total of 91 ships only 5 vessels trade in the spot market! The average duration of our charters (some of which have profit split elements) is 18 months and w e have a mix of time charters, bareboats and consecutive voyages with an array of well-known names such as Vitol, Glencore, Trafigura, Koch, Shell,  Petrobras, Ineos, Bergshav, Thenamaris and others! W e don’t foresee changing our strategy anytime soon as it has prov en to work both in the good and the bad times!
- Describe your company’s position in relation to the challenging financial and operational shipping environment governing the market today.
- Unfortunately the financial and operational environment has become very tough for the smaller players, banks are exiting shipping, they prefer to focus on larger corporates with strong balance sheets and holding structures! Smaller owners with less than 20 ships find it difficult raising finance for new acquisitions or even refinancing existing bank facilities… as time goes by more banks focus on the top 20 shipping companies increasing competition and thus lowering margins whereas less banks are available for the middle sized owners! On top of that we have the new regulations coming online all at abt the same time increasing the pressure again especially on the smaller owners. Except BWTS we have emissions, 2020 dilemma with scrubbers or LNG as fuel questions and finally the levy that we  might be called to pay for the CO2 pollution! It’ s impossible for the
owners to follow such a changing landscape at a time where most are losing money! To top it off there are conflicting views between  the IMO and the USA and EU complicating matters even further!
- How do you manage to maintain efficient operations and fulfill your charterers’ demands?
- There is no secret recipe for the above, I guess you keep your  charterers happy and achieve operational efficiency through open dialogue with them, investment in quality ships, continuous maintenance and upgrades, personal visits onboard the ships, good bonuses and perks to the rejoining crews since if they are happy most probably the ship will perform better! Moreover don’t forget that even if you experience a technical problem its always appreciated when t he chrts are informed first and they don ’t end up finding it out from 3rd parties!
- Do you plan to expand your company’ s fleet with N/B, second hand acquisitions and diversify your fleet in other sectors of shipping?
- We have taken delivery of 27 nb’s in the last 3 years, most are gas ships from japan but also bulkers and tankers so w e don’t envisage ordering ships in the short term. W e might be acquire modern, non-Chinese, built ships in 2018 but obviously that depends on the direction of the 4 markets that w e currently are active in, dry, LPG, products and crude oil! In addition I believe that a company can’t be really good and efficient in too many segments, the management has to decide up to 2/3 segments that they believe in and focus on those. Overstretching has never really benefited any shipping company!
- How do you ensure the highest standards of safety of life at sea and respect for the environment? What is the approach of your company regarding the crew welfare and the new regulatory developments (BWTC, MRV, sulphur 2020 cap)?
- When operating gas ships or tankers there is no question that standard have to be very high especially if owners want to be able to fix with the oil majors, the national oil and gas companies and the big traders! Accidents, loss of life and pollution are totally unacceptable and these have to be imprinted in our crews minds! Obviously for bulkers the regulations and vetting requirements are a bit more relaxed but as time goes by things are getting stricter as well! As discussed previously the crew have to be happy to be able to work and perform above expectations! Feeding them well, offering them satellite communications, email and shorter contracts makes them happy and more efficient! Our company has been a leader in implementing  new regulations before becoming obligatory! For example already one third of our fleet is fitted with water ballast treatment systems (most of which are ERMA FIRST a Greek product) and we are one of the first Greek companies to have fitted a scrubber despite the fact that it’s a really significant investment and will not be required till at least 2020! We are members of various boards and committees such as ABS, LR, BV, Intercargo, Intertanko, BSA and others and thus we try to be frontrunners of any new regulations especially those concerning the safety of our crews and the protection of the environment!
Anastassios Papagiannopoulos: “Greek shipping industry is the greater supporter of BIMCO”
Exclusive interview of the President of BIMCO to ELNAVI

During the last decade Greeks have been more active than before in the international policy fora. Due to the fleet size of Greek shipping our shipowning community is among the most active members of th e top industry associations which are IMO, Intertanko, Intercargo, ICS and of course BIMCO.
As its known the chairmanship of BIMCO was recently assumed by a prominent personality of Greek shipping, Mr. Anastassios Papagiannopoulos. It must be reminded that Mr. Nikolas Tsakos has been re-elected as President of Intertanko. Mr. John Platsidakis holds the chairmanship of Intercargo and Panagiotis Laskaridis is ECSA’s President from 1/1/2018.
This development is very important as Greek shipping has a great opportunity and responsibility to guide the industry through a critical period. The new president of BIMCO, Mr . Anastassios Papagiannopoulos spoke to ELNAVI for his objectives and priorities and expressed his views on the challenging issues of shipping.  Mr. Papagiannopoulos has been a co-principal of Common Progress since its establishment in 1984 and has more than 37 years of  experience in shipping. Common Progress is a family controlled shipping company and has three principals, Michalis Pateras, Evangelos Pateras and Anastassios Papagiannopoulos.  The company has a modern fleet of six supramax and two ultramax, all built after 2010. Mr. Papagiannopoulos has been elected since 1996 on the Board of Directors of the Union including Committee Chairman of the Seaman’s Social Security and Labour Issues. He is currently President of Bimco and an elected member of the Executive Committee where he had served since 1998 as an elected member of the Documentary Committee. Since 2004 he has also been an elected member in t he Greek Committee of Det Norske Veritas (D.N.V.). Mr, Papagiannopoulos has been elected (2006) in the Executive Committee of International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Mr. Papagiannopoulos holds a BA in Law from the National University of Athens, an MSc in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, an MA in European Integration from University of Reading and a PhD in Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London.
- Mr. President can you describe the mission of BIMCO and its main activities?
- I’m very honoured for assuming the presidency of BIMCO in a very challenging period of shipping. BIMCO is the world’s largest international shipping association, with 2,100 members in over 120 countries. Our global membership includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents. Our vision is to be the chosen partner trusted to provide leadership to the global industry. Our mission is to provide expert knowledge and practical advice to safeguard and add value to our members’ businesses. BIMCO is involved in the following core service areas:
• We provide world leading standard contracts and clauses for the shipping industry and our contract editor IDEA. We also run the BIMCO Shipping KPI System which can be used to benchmark ships ’ operational performance, exclusively for shipowners.
• BIMCO takes an active role on behalf of shipowners during discussions and decisions with global and regional regulators. W e work towards a level playing field for shipping – including fair trade and open access to markets.
• We deal with 10,000 member queries every year on many issues  and see over three million page views on our website each year. Our staff shares their expert knowledge with members, giving practical advice to safeguard and add value to their businesses.
• And last but not least our training activities include face-to-face courses, eLearning, webinars and tailor-made courses for companies.
BIMCO has offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Copenhagen and its members represent 56% of world tonnage and 48% of world’s fleet. Although the hard core of BIMCO’s members are shipowners the organization represents all the industry’s interests and views from all the related shipping sectors P&I Clubs, Insurance Syndicates, charterers, legal firms and other parties. More specifically for each new contract or policy that is entered in a sub-committee of BIMCO (Documentary, etc), all the interested parties participate in the negotiation that take place. After the successful conclusion of the negotiations the proposal is entered to the executive committee of BIMCO for the final approval taking into account all the industry’s views.
As far the Greek shipping industry is concerned it has a growing role and is the greater support of BIMCO covering almost 35% of BIMCO budget.
- What are your priorities and objectives?
- I have set three clear themes for my tw o year presidential terms. The first is to promote digitalisation across the industry. BIMCO will be working on a range of projects using convergent technologies to pursue this objective, including applying new advances in software capability to develop a brand new contract editing tool. BIMCO is focused on driving efficiency, creating better information and increasing simplification, but all of our work to increase digitalisation across the industry comes with a risk, and in everything – our  work on cyber safety and security will remain a top priority, ensuring that our members’ ships are safe, that their seafarers are aware of the dangers and our members’ important information is secure”. Promoting digitalisation will be key to achieving the president ’s second theme, which is to reduce the administrative burden for the ship’s master. An administrative burden that BIMCO will be working to lift further through the removal of unnecessary regulations which no longer serve a purpose for the safe operation of ships. Last but not least, the third theme is to encourage the successful implementation and effective enforcement of new stronger environmental regulations – clarifying the obligations and working to ensure regulations are practical and realistic to implement. BIMCO will help shipowners navigate the Ballast Water Management Convention, by highlighting the key dates and advising on equipment selection and the operational realities. BIMCO will also continue to work with other associations and the IMO to help establish a feasible and practical implementation plan to meet the 2020 global cap on sulphur emissions.
It must be also noted BIMCO’s experienced and capable staff work on the development of a new digital platform called SmartCon that will replace the current one, the IDEA, the one stop digital shop for all the standard maritime contracts and clauses. BIMCO also develops a set of guidelines with best management practices to encounter the piracy problem.
- What is the meaning f or the Greek shipping industry the assumption of BIMCO’s presidency and other associations?
- My Greek colleagues have progressively endorsed the idea of being more active at the European and International shipping fora. As it’s known today the leadership of the top industry associations is undertaken by Nikolas Tsakos of Intertanko, John Platsidakis of Intercargo and Panos Laskaridis of ECSA, indicating a growing desire from within the Greek shipping community at more sustainable and cost efficient solutions for our industry. We intend to cooperate and work for the interest on all regulatory issues that are discussed in IMO sub-commissions in order to establish a common voice in all shipping fora. I must also pay tribute to my predecessors the former Greek presidents of BIMCO Philip Embiricos and the late George Livanos who
achieved to upgrade the image and the role of the association.
- Can you comment on the market conditions in the dry cargo sector?
- It is the first time after 2012 that the basic fundamentals of the  shipping market are improved. We must admit that we live in a unstable global environment and we have to take into account that the dry cargo market is greatly influenced by the growth of the Chinese economy. As a result of this we cannot predict how the market will perform in the future, however the world GDP is increasing and we expect that further balance in the market will be restored.
-How do you face the issue of the lack of competent & efficient crew in the Greek shipping?
-The members of the Union of Greek Shipowners and Theodoros Veniamis, who is an outstanding and successful president, achieved  to restore an effective communication between the Greek state and the shipping community. The lack of sufficient number of Greek officers and crew is a major issue. We have to understand that shipping will stay in Greece if the Greek seafarers continue to go onboard the ships. Unfortunately there is a chaotic vacuum in the country’s maritime training and I don’t see a plan to increase the development of new Greek seafarers.  Greek seamen are the link between Greece and shipping. If this link breaks the shipping will gradually move out of Greece. To solve this problem our Union has proposed the recruitment of young unemployed people as deck & engine ratings onb0ard the Greek owned ships. We have to enforce this relationship before it’s too late.
M/MARITIME reaches a fleet of nine vessels
Since its establishment in October 2016, M/MARITIME has been growing steadily and expanding its fleet. M/MARITIME has developed a fleet of nine dry-bulk vessels, taking into consideration full delivery of all vessels under construction, within about a year’s time. Today, M/MARITIME has three ultramax and two handysize vessels under full management as well as four handysize vessels under construction in reputable shipyards in Japan. More specifically, in 2017, M/MARITIME took delivery  of five dry cargo vessels, three ultramaxes, “ARETI.GR”, 2017-built, «ARMONIA. GR», 2016-built, and «ALL STAR ATLAS, 2014-built, as well as two handysizes, «CALYPSO.GR», 2017-built, and «AVRA.GR», 2016-built, “ARMONIA.GR» and «CALYPSO.GR» have been built at the Imabari shipyard, «ARETI.GR» at Oshima shipyard and «AVRA.GR» at Japan’s Hakodate shipyard, while «ALL STAR ATLAS» at Yangzhou Dayang shipyard of the Sinopacific Group in China.
M/MARITIME continuously monitors developments in the dry bulk market and aims to expand its existing and under construction fleet with new orders taking advantage of real opportunities that arise in the market. In July 2017, the Company signed an agreement with Saiki Heavy Industries in Japan to build two 37,000-dwt dry bulk newbuildings scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2019. In June of the same year, M/MARITIME announced the order of two additional handyize newbuildings at Hakodate shipyard of Namura Group in Japan with scheduled delivery in the third quarter of 2018 and 2019,
respectively. M/MARITIME operates as an independent ship management company and is the exclusive operator of the cargo transportation of ALUMINUM of GREECE, which is one of the largest bauxite, alumina and aluminum trading and production plants in Southeastern Europe. ALUMINUM of GREECE represents the Metallurgy Division of MYTILINEOS listed in the Athens Stock Exchange.
Dorian LPG adopts the new regulatory requirements and focuses on strong commercial partnerships”

Combining a long maritime tradition and quality shipmanagement practices in Dorian LPG has achieved to weather
the storm of the current market and establishing strong partnerships.
Constantine Markakis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dorian LPG Management and Dimitris Orfanos, Chief
Operating Officer, Dorian LPG Management Corp. describe the company’s values and principles in shipmanagement
and explains how the company protects itself against the market volatility and new regulatory requirements.
Dorian LPG operates a fleet of 22 modern VLGCs, including 19 new fuel-efficient 84,000 cbm ECO-design VLGCs and
three 82,000 cbm VLGCs. The twenty-two VLGCs have an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 1.8 million
cbm and an average age of 3.2 years.
- Can you comment on the market  conditions prevailing the shipping market today?
- We think that there are reasons  to maintain some optimism going into 2018. Limited access to funding has translated into less newbuilding orders which has helped most shipping segments, to varying degrees. Of course overcapacity persists in
many trades and companies have to remain alert on their costs. We do hope that restraint in ordering, either intentional or imposed by the lack of funding, will eventually make a difference and many markets will improve meaningfully in 2018.
- Describe the chartering policy of your company’s fleet.
- Our company aims for balance and utilizing all opportunities. We have many ships in the spot market but we charter them through our Helios pool taking advantage of increased “chartering power” and optimization potential. We also have a good number of vessels under time charters with first class charterers which provide us a good downside  protection barrier. We have made commercial agreements with important LPG players in key markets, like those in China, that again protect us against volatility. Overall, we believe we have very strong chartering policy with a variety of “weapons” in our arsenal.
- Describe your company’s position in relation to the challenging financial and operational shipping environment governing the market today.
- We believe that we are in pretty good shape to weather the storm of the current market. The very low average age of our fleet and low fuel consumption engines of the vast majority of our ships provide u s with certain advantages on the expenses side which in today’s markets are especially important. The young age of our fleet means that we have many options available to us to tackle regulatory requirements like the new 2020 sulfur cap in the sense that even if new investment is needed in upgrading or modifying our ships this investment will have practically a full trading life over which to be amortized.
- How do you manage to maintain efficient operations and fulfill your charterers’ demands?
- We focus on our people! The ships are very new and modern so this part is covered but we want to make sure that the charterers get the service they expect, or better sometimes, through flawless performance by our teams onboard and ashore. Inefficiency, delays or mishaps in general are usually the result of humans so it is there that we try to focus – making better teams, giving them better information, understanding of expectations and internal communication.
- Do you plan to expand your company’s fleet with N/B, second hand acquisitions and diversify your fleet in other sectors of shipping?
- The company, Dorian LPG, is focused on LPG tankers, the large st size to be specific. Opportunities within this market are constantly sought and reviewed for their compatibility with our overall strategy.
- How do you ensure the highest standards of safety of life at sea and respect for the environment?
What is the approach of your company regarding the crew welfare and the new regulatory developments (BWTC, MRV, sulphur 2020 cap)?
- By focusing on modern ships,  happy seafarers and constantly refining our shore management practices. All of our almost 20 newbuildings have ballast treatment systems. Two ships have scrubbers (one hybrid, one open loop). We have already amassed considerable operating experience with both of these advanced types of equipment. Our voyage management software captures the data required by MRV as well. We have partnered with ABS to study the feasibility of using LPG as a marine fuel. We believe that LPG can be a option as a mainstream marine fuel for the worlds fleet with the dual benefit of increasing LPG demand and trade but also save on capital investment worldwide as the infrastructure for LPG is much more widely available and much less expensive than that for LNG for example. Really a win-win scenario. I think from the previous i t is clear that we try to be proactive regarding regulatory developments,  innovative and at the forefront of the industry. Crew welfare is a core value for this company. We strongly believe thatan efficient ship largely depends on a happy crew and a happy crew  can only be had if the individual seafarer needs are well taken care of. Excellent food, good internet access, generous welfare facilities and equipment onboard are all standard practices for us. The most important however is listening to the seafarers, knowing them personally, taking in their feedback and acting on it and being there for them when they need us.
Angelicoussis Group invests on Newcastlemaxes and VLCCs
Angelicoussis Group is increasing its orderbook following an ambitious expansion plan by placing new orders for four Newcastlemax bulk carriers and seven VLCCs in Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) in China and in DSME in South Korea respectively. The deal with SWS includes building of two firm vessels plus two options. Anangel Maritime Services Inc., the dry bulk carriers’ management company of the Angelicoussis Group, will take delivery of the vessels within 2019 and in early 2020, sources say. The vessels will meet the International Maritime Organization’s Tier III emissions standards. Last year the Greek owner took delivery of four capsizes from SWS, the Anangel Excellence, the Anangel Venture, the Anangel Hero and the Anangel Horizon. They were picked up as resales from Star Bulk Carriers. On the tanker front, Angelicoussis’ Maran Tankers Management Inc. contracted during the first half of this year with South Korea’s DSME to build seven VLCC newbuildings, 318,000dwt each, for delivery in 2018 and 2019. Angelicoussis Group comprises a total fleet of 123 vessels on the water, of which 46 tankers, 51 bulk carriers and 26 LNG carriers. In addition, it should be noted that the management companies of the Angelicoussis Group are preparing to expand to a new office building complex of 30,000m2 in Kallithea, which will also contain a training centre, a museum, a library an auditorium and the offices of the Antonis & Ioannis Foundation. Finally it is worth noting that Maran Tankers Management Inc. was recently awarded as “The Tanker Company of the Year” from Lloyd’s List.
Euroseas and Poseidon to merge containership fleet for listing in New York
Responding to the new challenges of the today’s shipping market Euroseas and Poseidon, two of the most important containership companies in Greek shipping are teaming up to form a company that will be immediately listed on New York’s Nasdaq Stock Exchange. The hope is to attract investors’ interest in the containership spot market at a critical time in the shipping cycle. “We think the markets are improving” said Mr. Aristidis Pittas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Euroseas. “This will enable a better use of the capital markets”. Consolidating the fleets of the two Greek owners is expected to create a large enough containership operation for a listing in US markets.
According to sources of the international shipping press Mr. George Youroukos, Chief Executive Officer of Poseidon and Technomar Shipping will participate on the board of the combined operation. The Greek companies will retain separate technical management of vessels, although commercial management will be combined into a single company.
A tie-up of Euroseas and Poseidon will initially create a containership fleet of 31 vessels of 120.300-teu capacity ranging from
feederships to postpanamax units up to 9.000 teu. Mr. Pittas expects the newly listed company to start trading on the Nasdaq as soon as it is formed. From a Euroseas perspective, the separation of its dry bulk and  containership fleets was “something that had to happen”. Mr. Pittas & Mr. Youroukos have cooperated in a successful crewing joint venture in Manila in recent years and are ready to take that cooperation to the next level.
“We believe that markets are relatively low and there is a huge upside that we should capture” said Mr. Pittas. “Classic shipping is all about timing. We’ve had quite a few bad years, so it’s positive that we’re seeing some improvement finally”. Poseidon retains its private equity partners Kelso and Maas Capital Investments. Meanwhile, Euroseas has been buying back containerships previously held in a joint venture with private equity players Eton Part Capital Management and Rhone Capital. (Source: Tradewinds)
Danaos continues to generate positive cash flows despite the challenging market
Interview with Mr. Iraklis Prokopakis, Senior Vice President & COO of Danaos Corporation

Despite the slight improvement in the charter rates in various segments of the containership market, analysts do not expect further development mainly because of new vessel deliveries scheduled for 2018. In the interview that follows Mr. Iraklis Prokopakis, Senior Vice President & COO of Danaos Corporation describes the fundamentals and explains how Danaos has managed to continue operating efficienciently achieving excellent results despite this challenging environment.
Can you comment on the market conditions prevailing the containership market today?
The charter market for the sub 4,000 TEU vessels is relatively stable, with charter rates slightly higher than the lows of 2016, while the size segment between 4,000 to 5,000 TEU is facing more pressure. For larger vessel sizes, the fourth quarter is typically the low season of the year. We will have more clarity on the state of the segment as we approach the peak season in the spring of 2018. We do not expect a material improvement in the market environment next year, given the large number of vessel deliveries scheduled for 2018. Danaos continues to have low near term exposure to the weak spot market as a result of the aforementioned strong charter coverage.
Describe the chartering policy of your company’s fleet.
Danaos enters into long term charters when investing in new-buildings or in large second hand container vessels under sale and  lease back transactions.
Regarding the smaller and older tonnage of Danaos, our policy is to exploit the volatility of the spot market.
Describe your company’s position in relation to the challenging financial and operational shipping environment governing the market today.
No doubt the Hanjin bankruptcy was a substantial negative hit on our  revenues. However, we continue to generate positive cash flows from our operations and healthy profits whilst our adjusted NET income for the 9-months ended September 30, 2017 amounted to USD 83.7 million corresponding to USD 0.76 per share being the best among our peers.
How do you manage to maintain efficient operations and fulfill your  charterers’ demands?
We rely upon the high standard of our crew and the high quality of our managers’ staff. Our manager, Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd has invested and continues to invest in the training of its personnel and technological excellence.
Danaos has developed its own online Big Data acquisition system for monitoring the performance and the alarm system of each of our vessels online. We are in a position to share online information with our Charterers so they can always feel secure that they are getting what they are paying for. As to the training, we have installed an in-house integrated bridge simulator and an integrated firefighting training simulator, both of which are state of the art in advanced crew training.
Do you plan to expand your company’s fleet with N/B, second hand acquisitions and diversify your fleet in other sectors of shipping?
There is no doubt that the liner industry doesn’t need more tonnage. We are ready however to be part of and accommodate our Charterers newbuilding program at accretive terms. We do not intend however to build on speculation but are again ready to
accommodate our Charterers needs for sale and charter back transactions.
What is the approach of your company regarding the new regulatory developments (BWTC, MRV, Sulphur 2020 cap)?
We have already completed our feasibility study for the selection of the BWTC for each type of our fleet vessels, the installation of which will not start before the end of 2019. All our fleet vessels are MRV compliant as of the last two years.
As to the low Sulphur fuel oil in 2020 the majority of our fleet rely upon the supply of distillate fuels. We have also studied the introduction of scrubbers on a small number of our large container vessels but this is an investment to be decided jointly with our Charterers since all these vessels are in long term charter beyond 2020.
Sealink Navigation expands its fleet with Japanese built vessels

Exploiting the historical low assets due to the weak dry bulk market of the last years Sealink Navigation managed to execute with great success an ambitious newbuilding program all built in Japanese shipyards under the highest standards of quality and cutting edge technology. Mr. Nicholas Kosmatos, Founder and President of Sealink Navigation exclusively explains to ELNA VI the fleet capabilities and the future plans of Sealink Navigation.
Describe the main features of M/V “Yoga which was delivered late in 2017 and what are the company’ s fleet capabilities.
M/V YOGA is a 64,000 IMABARI, modern Japanese high standard eco vessel, built in 2017. This is the successor of the Imabari
61,000 which is one of the most successful Supr amax/Ultramax ever built. The DWT of M/V YOGA is ideal for most ports around the world, it is equipped with cutting edge technology, SMAG electrohydraulic grabs facilitating loading and unloading cargo even in the most difficult ports. It has reinforced tank top for additional cargo and the Aft bulk head of cargo hull is equipped with insulation A60 which ensures a more controlled temperature for sensitive cargo. The vessel has been designed to carry most, if not all, cargoes hence it offers increased flexibility to our clients. It has a low consumption Man B&W Main Engine and a Water Ballast Treatment System installed complying with forthcoming regulations, already existing in the US.
The Vessel is currently employed in the spot market. Our fleet is now comprised of a 28,600 IMABARI Bulk carrier/Log carrier built in 2003, two 34,400 NAMURA Bulk carriers / Log carriers built in 2015, a 64,000 IMABARI Bulk carrier built in 2017 and another 64,000 IMABARI to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018. We are also expanding our fleet and in the near future we will be able to announce some more additions.
How do you maintain efficient operation and compliance to the new regulatory developments (BWTC, MRV, sulphur 2020 cap)?
In regard to the new regulatory developments, following the recommendations that resulted from the Ballast Water Treatment
Convention, we have equipped all our fleet with the latest technology systems on BWT and therefore we are ready to comply with the forthcoming developments. In cooperation with our technical consultants and Class NK we have developed a Manual and Procedures directive in order to comply with the new forthcoming regulation effective 1/1/18 for Europe on Monitoring reporting verification (MRV – EMRV) and we are currently in the stage of Verification. In regard to Sulphur: we have not installed the SCRUBBER system due to the huge costs involved but we are simply following developments on bunkering and we estimate that by 2020 there will be sufficient amount of bunkers with 0,5 Sulphur available. In any case our technical team is always up to date with new regulations and we aim to always be compliant with all new regulations. We continuously follow all developments mainly through various Class and flag seminars, and through our cooperation with different consultants.
Your company managed to execute an ambitious newbuilding program in a very challenging period of the shipping market. Do you plan to expand your company’s fleet further in the future with N/B, second hand acquisitions?
Our Company indeed managed this ambitious programme in what was a historically brutal dry bulk market. However, this decision was made to primarily take advantage of also historical low asset prices. Whether this was a successful decision only time will tell, however, what is also important for us was that we managed to build a fleet of the highest quality Japanese built tonnage which in a way defines us as a company. Quality assets, quality management and quality service is what we are aspiring to achieve. In the near future we will be announcing some more acquisitions but at this moment in time we are not able to divulge anything further. What is certain is that we aim to grow Sealink into a top tier owner/ operator.

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