ECONOMY

In Brief

Crew shortage is ‘alarming’ for EU safety, Greek shippers say A growing shortage of skilled sailors has «alarming consequences» for the environmental safety of European seas, a group representing Greek shipowners said. Unless there are «concerted efforts by the EU and governments,» Europe will lack the knowledge and experience necessary for safety critical maritime activities, the Union of Greek Shipowners said in a report yesterday. Greek investors own more merchant ships than people from any other country and the industry is the nation’s «primary economic sector» employing more than 220,000 people, it said. Shipping lines Teekay Corp, the biggest oil-tanker company, BW Gas ASA, owner of the largest fleet of gas tankers and Wilhelmsen ASA, shipper of a third of the world’s cars, have all reported that first-quarter profit was hurt by rising crew costs. Ship-rental rates are also at records. Capesize commodity carriers, capable of hauling about 180,000 tons of coal, are earning more than $1.4 million a week, according to price data from the London-based Baltic Exchange. (Bloomberg) Central bank fines commercial lenders The Bank of Greece fined 19 commercial banks a total of 1.73 million euros for violating regulations regarding transparency in transactions and preventing money laundering. The fines take the form of six-monthly interest-free deposits with the central bank, totaling 69.2 million euros. National Bank, the country’s biggest, was fined 175,000 euros, Eurobank 160,000 euros, Hellenic Postbank 140,000 euros and ATEbank 115,000 euros. The central bank made special mention of bank advertising, stipulating that all material elements in the ads be proportionate in size to the overall dimensions of the ad, be easily visible and, regarding televised ads in particular, that the speed of text should make it readable by viewers. EFG in Manila EFG International, the Swiss private bank founded by the late Greek shipping tycoon John Latsis, said it won regulatory approval to open an office in Manila. The representative office of EFG Bank will start trading later this year, the Zurich-based company said today in an e- mailed statement. The office will be overseen by Albert Chiu, deputy chief executive officer of Asian operations. (Bloomberg) Turk consumer confidence Turkey’s consumer confidence index fell 6.99 percent month-on-month in April to 76.24 points, the Turkish Statistics Institute said yesterday. In March the index had fallen 6.44 percent month-on-month to 81.96 points. The index assesses consumers’ spending behavior and expectations, and the 100-point mark divides pessimism from optimism. (Reuters)