Monday, March 13, 2000

P&I club warns on "questionable" chartering practices
The London P&I Club has warned tanker owners to be on the look-out for questionable chartering practices in the oil trades.

Two London Club members have recently had severe difficulties in relation to oil cargo descriptions in bills of lading. These have led to difficulties in
putting liens on cargo in order to enforce freight and demurrage claims.

In the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the Club urges all tanker members to be on the look-out for proposed fixtures which include some or all of the following features:

  • charterers without a well-established track record
  • loading and/or discharge of cargo from ship to ship, and possibly outside territorial waters
  • terms in charter parties which purport to entitle charterers to have
    replacement bills of lading issued
  • cargoes destined for China and possibly also requests to blend cargoes loaded in ports far removed from each other.

The London Club adds that members in both wet and dry trades should always be wary of unproven charterers. It also points out that some members still agree to accept charter indemnities in exchange for delivery of cargo without production of bills of lading from charterers who are most unlikely to have the resources to honor them.

"Questionable charterers are more likely to be associated with marginal oil
trading," concludes the Club, "so the risks of a multi-million-dollar liability for delivery without a bill of lading are so much greater. P&I cover excludes such liability."


Lumber giant poised to order ships
The Westwood Shipping Lines subsidiary of lumber and paper giant Weyerhaeuser will reportedly soon sign a contract with Poland's Stocznia Gdynia shipyward for seven 600-foot, 44,000-ton vessels.The first ship will be delivered in the first quarter of 2002.

The ships will be designed to carry forest products, such as lumber and paper products. but will also be capable of carrying containers.

The ships will be replacements for Westwood's present vessels and the total contract value for the seven is believed to be around $250 million.


The World of ResidenSea to fit UNIC davits
Schat-Harding has won its first order for itsspace saving lifeboat davit system for cruise ships. Four sets of the UNIC davits will be supplied to the World of ResidenSea project, now building at Norway's Fosen yard.

"This significant order is the first of many to come, as cruise ship operators appreciate the flexibility this davit gives them," says Arne Dybvik, director marketing & sales at Umoe Schat-Harding. "Representatives of all the major cruise lines and ship builders recently came to see the UNIC demonstrated, and they were all very impressed."

The UNIC rolling pivot davit combines the space saving functions of a telescopic stored power davit with the simplicity of a gravity davit. The UNIC davit is based on a trolley running in a traveling beam which stows under the deck, or can be free-standing to allow a balcony on the cabins above. A small stored power unit starts the beam in motion, after which gravity swings the boat clear of the ship.

The UNIC davit will stow any size of boat or cruise tender within the ship's side, to meet Panama Canal requirements. The davit leaves the deck clear and the simple winch and small stored-power system requires only low maintenance. Embarkation can be in either the stowed position or at deck level.

Compared to stored power telescopic davits, the UNIC system offers substantial cost savings in purchase, installation and operation. It
eliminates the need for expensive and space-requiring power packs. Installation costs are lower than gravity davits and considerably less
than the telescopic type. And weight savings, of key importance to modern cruise ship designers, are over twenty-five per cent less when
compared to similar telescopic davits.

The UNIC davit system transfers loads onto parts of the ship's side that are already reinforced, simplifying design and installation. Significant maintenance cost savings are expected as the UNIC system has fewer mechanical parts and simpler construction than conventional stored power systems.

ICO's first satellite fails to launch
Launch of the first satellite for ICO Global Communications on board a Sea Launch rocket was unsuccessful. After an apparently successful liftoff yesterday at 2:49 p.m. GMT, the Sea Launch rocket "suffered an anomaly."

The launch vehicle lifted off in an easterly direction from the Sea Launch mobile launch platform (a converted offshore unit ) approximately 230 miles from Kiritimati (Christmas) Island in the Pacific. Several minutes into the flight, flight data signals from the rocket were lost.

Sea Launch has informed ICO that loss of the rocket and its payload occurred over the Pacific Ocean and posed no known safety threat to population. Sea Launch has further informed ICO that it intends to conduct an investigation into the cause of the failure.

Richard Greco, ICO's Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are disappointed with the loss of our first satellite. But launch failures are a well-known risk in this industry and ICO's planning has, from the outset, taken into account the possibility of such an occurrence. We have mitigated the impact of such a failure by building and planning to launch twelve satellites even though our intended service requires only ten operational satellites in orbit. Moreover, the F1 launch was adequately insured to cover the anticipated costs of building and launching a replacement spacecraft. We expect no significant adverse impact on our business moving forward."

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