ECONOMY

Greeks lead in Q1 ship acquisitions

Greek shipowners bought 38 new ships, costing $636.3 million, in the first quarter of the year, according to data from the ship brokerage firm Allied. They have therefore maintained their status as the biggest market in the world for ships, despite the economic crisis. Of the ships acquired, 27 are dry-bulkers, nine are tankers and the other two are container ships. Chinese companies have bought 31 ships, all but one of which were dry-bulk carriers, and a distant third comes Norwegian firms with nine vessels acquired, seven of them tankers. Greeks spent $436.3 million to buy the tankers, $188.4 million for the dry-bulkers and $11.5 million for the container ships. Internationally the amount spent on ship acquisitions has dropped from $8.6 billion in the first quarter of last year to just $3.17 billion in the January-March 2009 period. About half of the amount spent in Q1 globally was in January, which shows the decline recorded in the other two months.