Shippers buying vessels to avoid possible levy

Greek shipowners are increasingly seeking to expand their fleets to capitalize on lower vessel prices and avoid the possible imposition of a deposit levy similar to one used in Cyprus, a local shipbroker said on Monday.

About five Greek owners told Lion Shipbrokers Ltd that the prospect of a savings tax was one motivation for them to give more consideration to buying ships, Diana Solberg, an analyst in the Piraeus-based company’s research department, said.

A five-year-old tanker holding 2 million barrels of oil costs $55 million, down from $160 million in September 2008, according to data from Simpson, Spence & Young Ltd, the world’s second-largest shipbroker.

Data by Piraeus-based Golden destiny shipbroker also show that Greeks are buying the most iron-ore carriers since before the global recession, seizing on plunging prices in anticipation of a market recovery. [Bloomberg]