Two MHI companies
file for Chapter 11
The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts Heavy Industries
Inc., owner of the Fore River Shipyard, and yard operator MHI
Shipbuilding LLC filed for Chapter 11 reorganization Monday in
U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston. T
The action move came two weeks after the U.S. Maritime Administration
demanded $47 million in loan payments that the two companies
could not meet.
The paper quotes a spokesman for the companies as saying they
will continue to look for new financing so the yard can be reopened.
The court action prevents creditors from forcing the liquidation
of the shipyard's assets. In addition to the Maritime Administration,
creditors include the City of Quincy, the Massachusetts Water
Resources Authority and the Massachusetts Development Finance
Pacificats for sale in BC Ferries bail out
Joy MacPhail, the British Columbia Minister responsible for BC
Ferries, and Paul Ramsey, Minister of Finance, has announced
a financial restructuring package for the British Columbia Ferry
Corporation and a plan to sell its three PacifiCat fast ferries
"BC Ferries is important to the province's
economy, its tourism industry and the communities that depend
upon B.C.'s marine highway system," said MacPhail. "The
refinancing and ongoing provincial subsidy will guarantee stability
for BC Ferries."
The refinancing package includes:
- The removal of BC Ferries' debt of C$1.1
- A permanent, annual subsidy of 1.25 cents
per liter from the province's motor-fuel tax.
- A decision to write down the PacifiCats
by a total of C$240 million and to offer the three fast ferries
- Plans for the wind-up of Catamaran Ferries
International, BC Ferries' wholly owned shipbuilding subsidiary.
"This financial plan is the best solution to provide for
economic stability over the long term for coastal communities,"
said Ramsey. "The time has come to put BC Ferries on a sound
financial footing and let the corporation get on with the job
of managing our essential ferry system."
The government will introduce legislation
this session that will pave the way for the debt removal and
the financial restructuring of the corporation, the ministers
The decision to place the three PacifiCats
on the market was made after the corporation carefully assessed
concerns of customers, residents along the route, tourism groups
and the trucking industry. It is recognized that the sale value
of the vessels will be less than the current book value. As a
conservative accounting measure, each vessel will be written
down on BC Ferries' books to C$40 million from C$120 million.
BC Ferries will continue to operate the PacifiCats on a supplementary
basis to demonstrate their value to potential buyers.
"The fast-ferry project was a failed
experiment, and now we need to move on," said MacPhail.
"The PacifiCats will be put up for sale immediately."
CFI's assets will be sold later this year, after the third PacifiCat
is turned over to BC Ferries. "Our government always intended
to divest itself of CFI when the third fast ferry was finished,"
BC Ferries' board of directors recommended the sale of CFI's
assets as the most cost-effective course of action. The book
value of these assets is C$7 million.
"The shipbuilding industry has done excellent work, and
we know that new skills have been developed here in B.C.,"
said MacPhail. "We are confident in the abilities of our
private sector and the shipbuilding industry to take these new
skills and pursue future economic opportunities."
"BC Ferries has had a proud 40-year maritime history,"
said Bob Lingwood, BC Ferries' president and CEO. "We now
need to return to the business we know best: providing a reliable,
safe, efficient ferry transportation service to coastal communities
at a reasonable price. This new fiscal framework will allow us
to move the corporation forward in a way that will make all British
On June 17, 1999, the first PacifiCat was
introduced into service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo, with
the second one following in November.
On Jan. 12, 2000, BC Ferries' president and CEO Bob Lingwood
announced that effective Feb. 1, a conventional ferry would replace
one of the PacifiCats between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo.
Opportunities to use the vessels on other BC Ferries routes have
also been reviewed, and the analysis shows the value of the PacifiCats
on the resale market likely exceeds their value to BC Ferries
as part of its fleet.
BC Ferries will place the three PacifiCats on the market. Their
exact resale value is unknown.
links cruise ships with cell phone network
Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN), a subsidiary of American
Tower's ATC Teleports Inc., of Fairfax, announced today it will
provide the satellite communications network for a new service
developed and patented by BT A&M, BT's satellite communications
division. This new service, known as `Cruise Connect', will enable
passengers and staff on cruise ships to make and receive calls
from their cell phones while at sea.
Using the new service, has solved the problem
of passenger vessels cruising beyond the reach of cellular signals.
Passengers and staff can make and receive calls on their cell
phones in exactly the same way as they would on land. Discrete
``mini'' cellular stations are installed on the vessels themselves.
These stations are linked, via the MTN satellite communications
network, to a mobile switching center within the land based cellular
In addition to providing global cell phone
coverage while aboard the ship by using MTN's ShipNet technology,
an IP broadcast network with a continuous full-time data link,
`Cruise Connect' gives passengers and staff the added benefit
of being directly contacted on their normal cellular number with
the flexibility of the call charges appearing on their regular
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