Greek shipowners and top industry executives recorded a dynamic attendance on Friday evening during the Lloyd’s List-Greek Shipping Awards 2023 in Athens, sending a prominent message that Greece’s ocean-going shipping will continue its pre-eminent presence on the world’s seas in the future.
The 20th Greek Shipping Awards ceremony took place on Friday evening at a central Athens hotel.
Two of the award categories were of particular significance, as they are bestowed every 10 and 20 years, respectively: the “Deal of the Decade (2014-2023)” and the “The 20 Years Achievement Award (2004-2023)”.
The Deal of the Decade (2014-2023) award was bestowed to Capital Product Partners L.P. (CPLP) and its founder, Evangelos Marinakis, for what the event’s presenters, Andriana Paraskevopoulou and Nigel Lowry, called the most impressive agreement in Greek shipping over the past 10 years, “by spinning off its crude and product tanker business, Evangelos Marinakis created one of the world’s largest public tanker companies with 68 crude and product tankers, while at the same time unlocking significant shareholder value by negotiating a significant premium for its fleet.”
In further justifying the award, the presenters added: “This $1.65-billion mega-merger transaction not only positioned the new entity as a market leader, but also ensured CPLP’s continued growth with stable cash flows in the LNG and container segments, indicative of astute market insight and robust financial strategy. Remarkably, the new entity, Diamond S Shipping Inc., became a market leader with a large-scale portfolio, positioning it well for future industry consolidation and another mega-merger with International Seaways, which today boast of a market cap of $2.3 billion and with total returns for CPLP investors in excess of 110%.”
In accepting the award, Marinakis said that “…what always makes me happy and excited is the journey, and this journey started back in 2007 in Nasdaq. In 2011 we had the first merger and then the deal that we are all talking about right now took place in 2019, and then we had another merger in 2021. All these mergers were very successful and created enormous value for our shareholders. So it is not only the journey, it is also sharing success, sharing wealth with our shareholders and of course with all the people in our offices and onboard our vessels that contributed the most to make all these successful deals.”
Τhe 20 Years Achievement Award
– “Τhe 20 Years Achievement Award” sponsored by LPC, was presented to the Greek LNG shipping companies. This recognition honors Greek shipping, which, in the span of 20 years, has evolved from nearly non-existent presence in this specific sector to achieving a global leadership position in LNG transportation. The awards were granted to companies representing 90% of the Greek-owned fleet in LNG transportation, specifically, to TEN, TMS Cardiff Gas, Alpha Gas, Dynagas, GasLog, Maran Gas, and Capital Gas.
The annual awards, per category
-Dry Cargo Company of the Year: Sponsored by Marichem Marigases, awarded to Diana Shipping for its steady growth in the dry bulk cargo sector and expansion into the wind parks sector. Simeon Palios, the founder of the company, accepted the award, emphasizing that he established the company in 1969. He noted that the award belongs to Diana Shipping and not to himself. Palios expressed his belief that Greeks will respond to the green transition and emerge as winners.
-Tanker Company of the Year: Sponsored by Bureau Veritas, the award was presented to Tsakos Energy Navigation. TEN celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and was also honored for its longevity, the $800 million in dividends distributed throughout these years, and the launch of its first dual-fuel tanker. Nikos Tsakos accepted the award and shared it with Capt. Christina Tsouganatou, who was by his side. “We need diversity,” said Nikolas Tsakos, who described the previous year as bittersweet, as it marked a record-breaking year for his company but also a year in which he lost his mother.
-Passenger Line of the Year: Sponsored by SWS, the award was bestowed upon Celestyal Cruises, which rightfully earned it by successfully navigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and introducing a new vessel to Greece. The reconstruction cost a total of 26 million euros, with 16 million euros spent in Greece. Through its cruises, Celestyal Cruises supports local businesses and contributes 136 million euros to the Greek economy. Chris Theophilidis, the CEO of the company, accepted the award.
-Shipbroker of the Year: Sponsored by the Tsakos Group, the award was presented to Cass Technava Maritime for its active and significant contribution to Greek newbuilding orders. The company brokered 66 newbuilding vessel orders out of a total of 260 from Greek shipowners. Additionally, it was involved in 30 transactions of second hand vessels. Phaidon Tomazos, upon receiving the award, emphasized the need for unity within the Greek shipping family, stating that together they prevail.
-Shipping Financier of the Year: Sponsored by Tototheo Maritime, the award was presented to Alpha Bank, which holds a portfolio of 3.5 billion dollars in shipping, with one billion dollars representing new financing in 2023. The award was accepted by Konstantinos Sotiriou, the head of the bank’s shipping department. “Our job is simple. We help our clients finance their projects and support their cash flows in challenging times and difficult projects. We have been doing this for 25 years. Thank you for your support and trust,” Sotiriou said, upon receiving the award.
-Technical Achievement Award: Sponsored by DNV, the award was presented to Erma First for the new Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) system it created. The award was accepted by Eleni Polychronopoulou. “We look to the future with greater confidence than ever. We support decarbonization with solutions such as alternative maritime fuels, energy-saving devices, and innovative CCS solutions, for which we received this significant award,” Polychronopoulou said.
-The Safety Award: Sponsored by Seajets, the award goes to Black Rope, which manufactures ropes and focuses on the safety of ships during mooring with a special high-tech application that provides real-time information. “We promise to continue doing our best to ensure maximum safety on board,” said Aristidis Deligiannis, the founder of the company, upon receiving the award.
-Ship of the Year: Sponsored by ABS, the award was presented to the tanker “Antonis I. Angelicoussis” of Maran Tankers, the first dual-fuel VLCC in the Greek-owned fleet, emitting 45% fewer pollutants. Maria Angelicoussis received the award, emphasizing, among other things, that it is one of the first dual-fuel VLCCs and represents the three generations of her family in shipping. “It bears the Greek flag, like the majority of our 154 vessels. We are and will remain a company with Greek management because it is in the DNA of our company and represents our faith in Greece”.
-Piraeus International Centre Award: Sponsored by ClassNK, the award was granted to the ship management company V.Ships, which increased its managed fleet by 15% in 2023 and invested in a new 3,500 sq.m. building. Kostas Kontes received the award, emphasizing that V.Ships had a remarkable 10-year growth, starting with the first contract with Costamare. “This award is dedicated to our team that works hard with passion and dedication to ensure our clients are served properly”.
-International Personality of the Year: Sponsored by Capital Ship Management Corp., the award was presented to Emanuele Grimaldi, CEO of the Grimaldi Group, who is honored for the second time. He received the award for his successful chairmanship at ICS and the growth of his company, which has 26 ships under construction. Additionally, the Grimaldi Group acquired two Greek ports this year, the ports of Igoumenitsa and Heraklion. Upon receiving the award, Emanuele Grimaldi thanked the Union of Greek Shipowners for their support at ICS. Speaking about the two ports, he pledged to do his best to maintain low costs and promote their development in the coming years with environmentally friendly practices.
-Seafarer of the Year: Sponsored by Safe Bulkers, Inc., the award was bestowed upon Capt. Kyriakos Mouzakis. He began his career in coastal navigation, transitioning to the Ionian Sea, where he serves as the captain of the “Adamantios Korais” for Zante Ferries. “I have always been proud of my profession. Especially tonight, I am even more proud, and it is a great honor to be among so many distinguished names and executives in Greek shipping, colleagues who, along with Greek crews, continue to navigate this vast fleet,” said Capt. Mouzakis.
-Award for Achievement in Education or Training: Sponsored by the Ministry of Shipping of Cyprus, the award was presented to Helmepa Academy for its educational platform focusing on training mariners in environmental protection. Georgios Karageorgiou, a member of the board of directors, received the award and emphasized that Helmepa optimizes safety conditions on ships through the continuous provision of new services.
-Lloyd’s List Intelligence Big Data Award: Sponsored by the Panama Maritime Authority, the award was presented to Procureship, an electronic marketplace platform for the maritime industry.
-The Sustainability Award: Sponsored by Lloyd’s Register, the award was presented to Star Bulk Carriers, recognized as a leader in dry bulk cargo transportation, implementing ESG principles and consistently renewing and maintaining its fleet. The award was accepted by Charis Plakantonaki, who emphasized the company’s commitment to being among those who contribute to making the world a better place.
-Next Generation Shipping Award: Sponsored by IRI / The Marshall Islands Registry, the award was presented to Petros Panagiotidis of Castor Maritime. “This award celebrates the achievements of my generation but also serves as a reminder of the incredible legacy we have”, said Panagiotidis.
-Lloyd’s List / Propeller Club Lifetime Achievement Award: Sponsored by Franman, the award was presented to Nicholas G. Moundreas of NGM Energy, who noted that it is an honor and joy to receive this award and thanked the committee.
-Greek Shipping Personality of the Year: Sponsored by Eurobank, the award was presented to George Prokopiou for the Group’s significant shipping activities (62 ship orders, leasing an FSRU in Germany) and the investment in the Skaramangas shipyards.