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Malta Dry Docks gets first FPSO
Malta Dry Docks has won an order from Brovig RDS to convert the 133,500 dwt , 1971-built tanker Northia into an FPSO to be based in the ISIS field off Tunisia. It's Malta Dry Docks first major oil and gas industry project in nearly 20 years.

Malta says it will be working with Kværner and Expro who have designed the topsides oil and gas production plant for the FPSO.

Malta worked with Poseidon Maritime of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Petromaritime of Monaco to put tgogther its winning bid and will now work with them to execute and deliver the project.

Lauritzen acquires Cool Carriers
Denmark's J. Lauritzen A/S has acquired the Cool Carriers AB unit of Norway's Leif Höegh & Co, including Arctic Reefers Ltd., for $35.4 million. The take-over, which does not involve any purchase of vessels, will take effect on January 1,2001.

The acquisition will be financed through a capital injection of DKK 215 million from parent company J. Lauritzen Holding A/S.

Mergingf the commercial operations of the two companies will create the world's leading operator of specialized reefer vessels : Lauritzen Cool AB.

Both Leif Hoegh and J. Lauritzen own significant fleets of specialized reefer vessels, and Lauritzen Cool will employ vessels from both.

The reefer market has been lousy and crying out for a significant consolidation and restructuring.

Lauritzen says that with the establishment of Lauritzen Cool, "the first step towards the long sought-for consolidation of the global reefer market has now been taken and J. Lauritzen has not only strengthened the global employment opportunities of its reefer vessels but also reduced the commercial risks."

Lauritzen anticipates the merger will result in "considerable synergies conservatively estimated at $15 million on an annual basis." The synergies foreseen include "not only better utilisation of tonnage thanks to more optimized trading patterns, but also more efficient administrative procedures. The synergies will help improve the earnings potential of Lauritzen Cool but also for the shipowners with reefer tonnage employed in the Leonina and Artic Reefers pools."

Lauritzen Cool will have its headquarters in Stockholm, but willoperate globally through a number of overseas offices.

Torben Janholt, president and CEO of J. Lauritzen A/S will chair the board of Lauritzen Cool AB, andBirgit Aagaard-Svendsen,executive vice president and CFO of J. Lauritzen A/S will take on the position as vice-chairman.

Mats Jansson, president of Cool Carriers AB will become president of Lauritzen Cool AB, and Henrik Madsen (present senior vice president of Lauritzen Reefers A/S) and Lars Rutberg (present senior vice president of Cool Carriers AB) both will be appointedexecutive vice presidents of the new company. Birger Lindberg Skov, president of Lauritzen Reefers A/S will head Lauritzen Cool's overall global logistics activities.

Technical management of the Lauritzen-owned reefer vessels will continue to be handled from Copenhagen.

P&I Club warns on revised IMDG Code
The London P&I Club says the latest revision of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code has a large number of errors, some of them potentially dangerous.

The latest revision comes into force on January 1, 2001, and the transition period for using either version ends on January 1, 2002. Two sets of corrections to the new code have been issued to date, which include rectification of errors in segregation requirements.

In the latest issue of its London Club News, the Club points out that,

"Other identified errors in the code, not yet corrected, include referencesto discontinued flammable liquid subdivisions, and contradictions inlabelling instructions. One medical view is that some of the treatments indicated are outdated, and may even be dangerous."

The Club adds, "The new code will have to be used with care until comprehensive amendments are available to address errors, and a competent authority has confirmed that the code's revisions are satisfactory.

"In the meantime, the new code should be used by cross-referencing with the previous version. Where discrepancies arise, or where there is doubt, advice should be sought from a qualified party."

ENSCO to take stake in new jack-up
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ENSCO International Inc. has entered into a joint venture with Keppel FELS Limited through which ENSCO will acquire, for $30 million in cash and management and procurement services, a 25% ownership interest in a new harsh environment jackup rig that is currently under construction.

The rig, an enhanced KFELS MOD V design (an upgraded version of the ENSCO 101 completed earlier this year) has been under construction at Keppel FELS' shipyard in Singapore since March 2000. The new rig, to be named the ENSCO 102, will be capable of working in water depths of up to 350 feet in the North Sea, and water depths in excess of 400 feet in milder environments such as the Gulf of Mexico or Southeast Asia.

The total agreed cost of the rig will be approximately $130 million, with delivery anticipated in early 2002. ENSCO will have an option to purchase the remaining 75% interest in the new rig until two years after delivery. The option price will be based on the agreed cost until rig delivery, and thereafter will be subject to modest escalation in each of the two years remaining in the option period. Following delivery, ENSCO will manage the rig for the benefit of the joint venture, until the earlier of the second anniversary of the delivery of the rig or the exercise of ENSCO's purchase option.

Carl Thorne, ENSCO's chairman and CEO,said the joint venture with Keppel FELS "is in keeping with our commitment to carefully and intelligently increase our presence in the premium jackup market."

"As this rig is already under construction," he said, "we will not be adding to overall supply, while still enhancing our market leadership position. The arrangement also allows us to expand our relationship with one of our most significant preferred vendors, Keppel FELS. Our initial 25% ownership in the rig will limit present exposure, while the purchase option will continue to offer the flexibility to add to the top end of our jackup fleet at a very attractive cost.''

Pasha Hawaiian exercises option with Halter
Friede Goldman Halter Inc., has announced that Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines has exercised an option with Halter Marine Inc. for the construction of a second 579-foot car carrier. The vessel is designed to transport more than 4,300 vehicles between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. Construction of the $69 million vessel will take place at Halter's Pascagoula, Mississippi shipyard. The first vessel is currently under construction at the same facility, with delivery scheduled for the Spring of 2002. The first vessel was financed under the U.S. Maritime Administration's Title XI program and financing of the second vessel will also be subject to MARAD's approval.

"The exercise of this option is a very important win for Halter Marine in establishing series ship construction,'' said Richard T. McCreary, president of Halter Marine. "A vessel order of this magnitude will significantly add to our order book and we are very pleased that Pasha and Van Ommeren have selected us. This is an example of the shipbuilding projects that are the focus of Halter Marine's experience and marketing efforts. With our recent consolidation of shipbuilding yards and a strengthening marketplace, it is our strategy to pursue these types of projects in the coming years.''

GD gets funding for DDG 99 and 101
The Naval Sea Systems Command, Arlington, Va., announced Friday that General Dynamicswill receive a $661 million modification to its 1998-2001 DDG 51 Class multiyear contract, providing the funding required to complete construction of the next two ships in the DDG 51 AEGIS Class of naval destroyers.

GD's Bath Iron Work will begin construction of the ships -- DDG 99 and DDG 101 -- in 2001, with delivery anticipated in 2006. Advance procurement funds had previously been provided, and the construction funding announced Friday had been anticipated.

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