Genmar, the shipping company owned by Petros Georgiopoulos, has made a profit of $16.6 million from selling nine double-hulled aframax tankers built in the early 1990s. Tanker Pacific paid $247.5 million for the tankers to be delivered by June. The proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce the company’s liabilities, for other corporate purposes (which may include a new share buyback program) as well as for the future strengthening of the company’s fleet. Genmar also sold 17 single-hulled ships for $444.5 million during the last months of 2005. Its fleet now consists of double-hulled ships only and their average age, including the four suezmax tankers under construction and those just sold, has dropped to nine years. As a result of the sales, Genmar said it is closing its technical office in Piraeus but will retain the one in Lisbon as well as the commercial office in London. As of June, Genmar will own 21 tankers, including those under construction, the first of which is to be delivered next month. Louis Cruises Separately, Louis Cruise Lines announced the purchase of the Birka Princess cruiser from Finland’s Birka Cruises for $35 million. The Finnish, 1986-built vessel underwent a $26-million refurbishment in the USA in 1999. It will start three- and four-day cruises from Piraeus for Louis Hellenic Cruises in April. Its delivery is expected next month. The Birka Princess has 584 cabins and can host 1,537 passengers with facilities such as conference rooms, shops and an indoor pool with a spa. «This new purchase is another step toward meeting the goal of making Piraeus a hub for the cruise industry in the Mediterranean,» company sources said.