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'Roasting' CMA Commodore Scorpio Tanker's Bugbee

'Roasting' CMA Commodore Scorpio Tanker's Bugbee
Robert Bugbee, president of Scorpio Tankers received the Connecticut Maritime Association’s “Commodore” award at the organisation’s annual Gala Dinner- culminating an exhausting three-day conference.

The dinner ceremony, known for its extensive “roasting” of top shipping executives, was kicked off by Richard Du Moulin, a former award recipient, who presented an entertaining set of slides poking fun at Bugbee, and his penchant for ordering “Eco-ships.”

Bugbee, usually the smartest guy in the room, provided a speech that showcased his caustic wit, while at the same time revealed a strong dose of humility. Bugbee paid tribute to his mentors at Gotaas Larsen Shipping Corporation, OMI Corporation and to Emanuale Lauro, the Chairman at STNG. Also acknowledged were personnel from the DSME yard, where Scorpio Tankers has placed orders for MR product tankers.

On the witty side, he poked fun at various previous CMA Commodores, most notably Peter Evensen of Teekay Corporation (last year’s honoree), which bought a fleet of suezmax tankers from OMI Corporation in 2007. Evensen made the actual presentation to Bugbee, but only after providing his own set of humorous remarks.

Peter Georgiopoulos, another Commodore, was seated next to Bugbee at the front table; only last week, Scorpio Tankers announced a sale of seven recently ordered VLCCs at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to Georgiopoulos’s General Maritime Corporation. Oivind Lorentzen III, another award recipient also seated at the front of the cavernous room, was largely spared in the roasting.

Concern regarding the huge influx of new investors into shipping was a major focus of Bugbee’s  remarks, not surprising given the substantial capital raises of Scorpio Tankers and affiliated companies.  He likened shipping to an attractive tropical island where visitors might come for the day, very fickle tourist investors, versus those who might linger for a longer time and actually emigrate to the island, providing a true source of long term capital.

He offered the concern that shipping companies need to be captained by shipping people, with deep experience, rather than by private equity partners. But Bugbee was quick to thank investors who had supported his efforts at OMI and more recently at Scorpio, which, if the humourous part of the evening is to be believed, will be expanding into submarines, canoes, and other assorted watercraft.