Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Another cruise industry passenger record
Cruise lines carried a record 5.85 million North American vacationers in 1999--an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year, says Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Vicki Freed, chairman of CLIA., says "we're expecting the numbers to continue increasing this year, as we expand our already aggressive marketing efforts to reach even more prospective first-time cruisers." Freed, who is senior vice president of sales and marketing for Carnival Cruise Lines.

James G. Godsman, president of CLIA, is forecasting a 9 percent growth in passenger carryings for 2000. The anticipated growth can be attributed, in part, to dramatic changes in consumer perceptions of cruising, says Godsman.

CLIA is forecasting a bright future for the North American cruise industry. While there are presently 158 ships serving the North American market -- a 50 percent increase from 10 years ago -- that number is expected to reach 206 by 2004, a 38 percent increase from 1999. Thirteen new ships are expected to debut in 2000 alone.The number of beds is expected to top 226,000, representing an increase of 53 percent from 1999.

A wide range of vessel sizes will continue to be the norm, with a variety of ships capable of carrying 161 to 3,000-plus passengers in the works.

Korean yards still piling up orders
Orders for export ships from South Korean yards have continued to rise this year. According to the Korea Shipbuilding Industry Association (KSIA) Tuesday, Korean yards received new shipbuilding orders for 21 vessels with a total capacity of 1.26 million gross tons in February. Adding in new orders booked in January, Korea's cumulative total for newbuilding orders this year stands at 2.32 million gross tons, or 37 vessels, as of the end of February, an increase of 184.6% in tonnage and 231.9%r in vessel numbers compared to the first two months of last year. The association also said that the total backlog of orders at Korean yards has now reached t 400 vessels or 24.84 million gross tons, which will see local shipbuilding firms working steadily through the next
two-and-a-half years.

Submarine cable joint venture
Oceaneering International, Inc. has entered into a joint venture with Smit International to provide services to the telecommunications market for the installation, repair, and maintenance of short-haul fiber-optic submarine cable systems. The joint venture company is named Smit-Oceaneering Cable Systems, L.L.C. (SOCS) and will be headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Initial fixed asset investment in this venture will be about $20 million. This will include a dedicated telecommunication cable installation vessel, the Ocean Hercules, outfitted with a cable repair and burial remotely operated vehicle, a cable plow, and a burial assessment plow system. The 82-meter dynamically positioned vessel will have a sheltered cable deck with cable storage and handling equipment for the deployment of 2000 tons of submarine telecommunication cable. It is intended that this vessel spread will be first used to perform route clearance and shore landing work for the South America Crossing (SAC) system, scheduled to commence in late April of this year.


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