Martinos nephews blaze own trail with shipmanagement firm


Greek brothers start Astra Shipmanagement with four Thenamaris ships


Two younger members of Greece’s Martinos family have established their own shipmanagement company, setting out on an autonomous course while maintaining close links with their famous shipowning uncles.

Brothers Stefanos and Aris Koropoulis are behind Astra Shipmanagement Inc, which is taking over four vessels from Thenamaris.

Astra — a Marshall-Islands incorporated company that registered an office in the Athens suburb of Glyfada with Greek authorities this summer — came to the industry attention in the past week when brokers reported it had purchased three Thenamaris bulkers and a containership.

The four vessels said to have been sold are the Guangzhou Wenchong-built, 1,740-teu handysize boxship Galani (built 2006); Nantong Cosco-built, 48,000-dwt handymax bulker Globetrotter (built 2001); IHI-built, 56,700-dwt supramax bulker Eleoussa (built 2008); and Tsuneishi-built, 83,000-dwt panamax bulker Thalassini (built 2005).

But Stefanos Koropoulis says ownership of the ships has not changed. “Astra is a new shipmanagement company that will start operations with four ships, currently managed by Thenamaris,” he told TradeWinds.

“They will be gradually transferred to us by the end of the fourth quarter of this year.”

The Koropoulis brothers are the sons of Eleni Martinou, the sister of the three Martinos brothers, Thanassis, Dinos and Andreas, who head Eastern Mediterranean Maritime (EastMed), Thenamaris and Minerva Maritime, respectively.

Thenamaris, the first Martinos company, has a long history of incentivising managers to take initiatives and chart an independent course. The outfit has been a springboard for several well-known Greek shipowners such as George Economou.

Aris was a dry chartering broker at EastMed and then joined the dry cargo division at Thenamaris, which was overlooking the four ships that Astra will now take under management.

Stefanos, who was a manager in the sale-and-purchase (S&P) department of EastMed, says Astra will co-operate with the family firms. “We’re following an autonomous course but we’ll continue sharing close ties with the three companies,” he said.

The family’s companies also provided help in training Astra’s recruits.

“We have employed highly skilled and experienced people, who have spent the past couple of months training in the premises of Thenamaris and Eastern Mediterranean, in order to incorporate their standards,” said Aris in a statement to TradeWinds.

“Astra’s strength will be its people.”

Astra is understood to be spot-market orientated and flexible about what kind of vessels it will operate, meaning it does not rule out expanding into tankers.

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