One more first for Angelicoussis Group.
Anangel Maritime Services Inc. the Group"s bulker arm, is the first Greek company to enter the VLOC market. ?We have now converted three VLCCs into VLOCs and the fourth will be delivered early next year,? says Leonidas Zissimatos, the Technical Director of Anangel Maritime Services Inc., Athens. ?The VLCC?VLOC conversion is a rather difficult and demanding exercise which has to be taken very, very seriously. Our group has always taken entering new markets seriously, and we have done exactly the same this time.?
The company in general has spared no effort or cost to make absolutely sure that the newly converted vessels will be robust, well equipped and well organised.
A VLOC with the above characteristics will achieve optimum performance at sea, good turnaround times in port and guaranteed longevity. These are all important factors for the economics of the exercise.
?Anangel"s commitment to excellence and to good cooperation between class, our Technical Department (especially our Newbuilding and New Project Sections) and our site teams has been the key success factor for these conversions in China,? says Zissimatos.
The three first VLOCs have been chartered by steel mills and trade mainly from Brazil to China. The fourth is chartered by a large mining company.
Anangel has a fleet of 24 big bulk carriers and has 19 more on order.
?The fleet mostly consists of Capesize vessels, although there are still a few Panamaxes. Our profile, or company vision, is to be a high-quality operator of high-quality tonnage. Like everyone else in the current shipping environment, we may be concerned about "cost" but we never cut our maintenance budgets. We spend considerable amounts on training our personnel at our own, DNV?certified centre.
We also visit our ships on a regular basis, focusing on their operations, technical and electrical systems, hulls, engines, compliance with the International Safety Management (ISM) code and radio communications, to mention some items which are also focus areas in our training activities. In addition, we are the only Greek shipping company to have its own bridge and engine simulator. Training is a challenging task as it needs to be supplied in the right dose. Too much and there is overload causing "indigestion", too little and it is not found challenging enough. To me and us, this is a continuous process which needs repeating and refreshing,? says Zissimatos.
In addition to its existing fleet, Anangel has six Capesize vessels on order from DSME Korea and another six on order from STX Korea. It also has six mini-capesize ships (114.5 K DWT) on order from Shanghai Shipyards. The mini-capesize is a new design with no established market. Such ships can take two "stems" of a Handymax and are shallow drafters. This makes them flexible and well suited for both the grain and coal trade.
Anangel mainly lifts iron ore cargoes going from Brazil to China on long-term contracts. The other main trade route is from Australia to China. For coal, the typical trade routes are Australia to China, South Africa to Indonesia, and Colombia to Europe and China, etc.
?Everybody is an environmentalist,? claims Zissimatos when we ask about the environmental factors coming to shipping.
?Of course, we are as concerned about global warming as everybody else. Clearly the planet has become warmer over the past 20 years. It is crucial to find solutions to achieve environmental improvements in the long-term perspective. It is equally important to avoid rushing into adopting measures prematurely, before conducting an in-depth study of the effects of their implementation which will confirm and quantify their "net positive effect" on the environment.
?I personally feel that the shipping industry should be active in promoting effective environmental improvements, and possibly be more active in ensuring that regulations are not adopted prematurely.?