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The curse of the Commodore’s hat

Got shares in Euronav? Sell them today! The current darling of tanker stocks might just have revealed very solid results with ceo Paddy Rogers insisting last week that the VLCC and suezmax outlook is “robust”, but the former barrister could well be at the helm of a firm that has peaked. Why? The weird coincidence – the poisoned chalice – that comes with the donning of a silly hat.

You see, Rogers finds himself in America this week, ready to become this year’s Commodore at CMA, the biggest maritime gathering in North America.

The Commodore gets to wear a plumed black hat – something the organisers picked up at a dime store on a whim many years ago. The coronation each year does not, however, tend to lead to a stock market bounce for the recipient. Quite the opposite in fact.

Just ask last year’s recipient, Capt Panagiotis Tsakos.


Or Scorpio’s Robert Bugbee – the 2014 Commodore.


Peter Evensen, president and ceo of Teekay Corporation, and silly hat wearer in 2013, can also testify to the strange powers of the Napoleonic headwear. As can the boss of Seacor, the winner in 2012.


Even Angeliki Frangou suffered the stock curse when nominated for Commodore back in 2011.


A look through the roster of winners and perhaps the biggest fall from grace happened with the 2009 winner. It was just after he had grinned for the cameras with the black Emperor’s style hat that the full extent of Wei Jiafu’s train wreck that was the Cosco of old was fully exposed. The Emperor’s New Clothes were laid bare for all to see and Capt Wei shuffled off to the US for good.

So in short, Mr Rogers – congratulations – wear the hat with pride … and trepidation.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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