Imperium has been steadily expanding in the past three years, while 34-year-old Frangoulis boasts two more assets under his belt, Greece's Franman agency of marine and industrial equipment and connections with the Niarchos shipping empire.

Caution and luck, Frangoulis says, best describe his business activity so far.

Imperium was established during the 1998 bulker crisis with the purchase of three late-1970s-built handysize bulkers from faltering Prodromos Lines, which closed its operations by 1999.