Adriatic's boss Zissimatos hits comeback trail again

Official documents confirm return of Greek shipowner at helm of new company

Panagis Zissimatos, a household name in the 1990s as head of collapsed Adriatic Tankers, is making a comeback.

Papers released by the Greek shipping ministry list Zissimatos as the representative of newly registered entity Swiss Carriers.

TradeWinds first reported on Swiss Carriers last month, when several databases listed the debutant company as manager of a ­medium-range products tanker previously controlled by Maersk.

Maersk Tankers confirmed in June that it had sold the Chinese-­built, 35,000-dwt Maersk Rapier (built 2000), although it did not identify the buyer. In August, the ship was renamed Dolicha Bay ­after an inlet on the Greek island of Cephalonia. Vessel tracking data shows it at anchor in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa.

Zissimatos has been linked to small tanker operations in Nigeria in recent years, but his presence had remained shrouded in mystery.

Zissimatos or other managers at Swiss Carriers did not return TradeWinds’ requests for comment or additional information. They had also not responded in August, when TradeWinds first wrote about Swiss Carriers.

At that time, the company’s ­address in the Athens suburb of ­Voula had suggested a possible link with interests of the Iliopoulos family. Swiss Carriers’ registration papers, however, do not confirm that connection.

Zissimatos’ latest market moves mark a new chapter in a 40-year career that has seen his star rise and fall.

He started out with two ships in 1978, when he took over his father’s interests. By 1993, his Adriatic Tankers had built up a fleet of 84 ships, more than half of them small chemical or products tankers.

Two years later, however, the company collapsed after a wave of arrests on behalf of US bondholders and disputes with crews over unpaid salaries that prevented ships from trading.

In 1996, the Greek shipowner said he was trying to rebuild his life as a consultant to owners of the types of ships he knew about.

In June 2005, the New York Court of Appeals turned down his request to overturn lower-court verdicts against him.