Orders for new ships by Greek companies are bouncing back after a considerable decline in 2005. The Handris family recently has invested about $260 million in ordering two aframax tankers of 115,000 deadweight tons (dwt) from the Korean shipyard of Samsung Heavy Industries. Each tanker is expected to cost some $65 million, while if the option for two more ships is exercised, the sum will reach the amount mentioned above. The ships are to be delivered by the end of 2008. Shipbrokers consider the price quite high, quoting data by Clarkson, according to which a newly built tanker to carry crude oil costs about $58.5 million. The Handris family today owns four modern aframax category oil-carrying tankers, constructed by Daewoo; it also expects another two such ships within the year, ordered in 2003 at $41 million each. Last February, the Handris family sold for scrapping the last of its aged tankers, named Zeinat (constructed in 1976), with a capacity of 81,000 dwt. In April 2005, it acquired the tanker Ist, 82,000 dwt, built in 1986, for $16.75 million. That vessel was renamed Zeinat 2 and operates in the Egyptian market under the Egyptian flag. Modern aframaxes can bring shipping companies huge earnings, and this is illustrated by the recent five-year chartering deal for a ship belonging to the Greek company Samos Steamship: Ambrosia is a 105,000-dwt vessel to be delivered this summer by the Japanese Sumitomo shipyard. Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine has chartered it for $27,300 per day, which translates into $49 million for the entire five years. The ship was ordered in 2003, costing just $36 million. Separately, the president of the Hellenic Association of Merchant Marine Captains (PEPEN), Evangelos Kouzilos, called yesterday for a national shipping policy that will allow Greece’s strength in the global shipping market to be capitalized on for the country’s economy. He said shipping is virtually the only activity for which Greece is well known and respected around the world. «Besides shipowners, captains have played a significant role in making Greek shipping an international force,» which serves 25 percent of the world’s sea trade with the Greek-owned fleet’s 3,800 ships, Kouzilos said. «Therefore captains should stop being viewed as scapegoats when accidents happen at sea,» he stressed.