Monday, May 8, 2000

$22 million contract for NASSCO
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), has received a contract worth up to $22 million to complete the second phase of a program to convert a U.S. Navy Strategic Sealift Program ship to meet the enhanced readiness capabilities of the U.S. Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Force.

Phase I included development of design, material specifications and planning for Phase II. Phase II includes the actual conversion work, which will begin immediately. The ship to be converted, the USNS Soderman (T-AKR 299), will arrive at NASSCO today, Monday, May 8, and work is to be completed by March 1, 2001.

Among other changes, the conversion includes adding living quarters for 50 Marines, changing the stern ramp to an in-water ramp, and upgrading the helicopter landing platform to an all-weather flight deck,

The Soderman was originally converted by NASSCO from a commercial containership to a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) vessel and delivered to the Navy in November 1997. A $230-million contract for construction of a new LMSR, T-AKR 317, to replace the Soderman in the Navy's combat prepositioning fleet was awarded to NASSCO in February.

The Soderman will carry containerized U.S. Marine Corps cargo as well as vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, tanks, tractor-trailers and high-mobility military vehicles, and will be strategically deployed to areas of potential conflict.

The Soderman is named for Army Private First Class William A. Soderman, a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor.

NASSCO ( ), a General Dynamics Company, is the only West Coast shipyard capable of building and repairing large ocean-going vessels for the Navy and commercial customers. The yard employs approximately 3,100 people.

Marad announces RRF management contracts
U.S. Maritime Administrator Clyde J. Hart Jr. last week announced the award of 33 contracts, awarded on a competitive basis, to nine American ship owning and operating companies to manage 74 ships which are maintained to support America's armed forces. The performance-basedcontracts are contracts structured around the purpose of the work to be performed with measurable performance requirements.

The total estimated combined value for all 33 contracts awarded over the next five years is $1.1 billion. This figure includes the $316.3 million value of the basic contracts, plus expected costs of shipyard work and other maintenance and operational expenses for which the ship managers will be reimbursed.

The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) is composed of militarily useful ships maintained in a high state of readiness to be activated within four, five, 10, or 20 days of notice from the Defense Department. The Maritime Administration is responsible for acquiring, upgrading, deactivating, and maintaining the RRF.

Ship manager contracts are awarded on a competitive basis, utilizing full and open competition. Each contract covers a group of two or three ships, and the maximum award for any one contractor is 12 ships.

Following a previous announcement of contracts to manage RRF ships in 1998, MARAD independently discovered an error in the award process, and rescinded the contracts. It extended existing contracts to make sure the ships remained mission ready.

Click here for details of the 33 contracts, including managers and ships.

MODEC restarts MOSES TLP construction
MODEC International LLC has recommenced construction of the "MOSES" tension leg platform under its contract with El Paso Energy Partners, L.P.

The turnkey contract calls for the design, fabrication, and installation of MODEC's "MOSES" TLP concept, including the hull, tendons, pilings and production risers and installation of the deck.

On completion, MOSES will be installed as part of El Paso Production Company's Prince Field development project in Ewing Banks Blocks 958, 959, 1002, and 1003 in approximately 1,500 feet of water offshore Louisiana. El Paso Energy Partners will own the TLP.

MOSES was originally selected for the development of this project last year but construction of the facility was suspended while a subsea development plan for the field was analyzed.

The MOSES hull and tendons will be designed to support a deck and topside facilities weighing up to 6,000 short tons. The platform will be capable of processing up to 50,000 barrels of oil and 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and supporting a workover rig. "MOSES is a flexible, low-cost platform concept designed for deepwater applications," says MODEC CEO Shashank Karve. The design enables drilling and workovers in water depths of up to 6,000 feet.

"The MOSES concept provides us a good basis for establishing infrastructure to support deepwater production, and we are pleased to re-activate this contract with MODEC," said James Lytal, president of El Paso Energy Partners.

MODEC International LLC is a jointly owned company of FMC Corporation and Mitsui group.

Rowan commits to Super Gorilla XL
Rowan Companies, Inc. has committed to the design and construction of what is described as the "world's most capable bottom-supported mobile offshore drilling unit. "

The new rig, to be named Gorilla VIII, will be an enhanced version of Rowan's Super Gorilla Class rigs and will be designated as a Super Gorilla XL.

Gorilla VIII is estimated to cost $190 million and will be constructed at the company's Vicksburg, Mississippi facility. Delivery is expected during the third quarter of 2003.

Commenting on the investment decision, Rowan chairman and CEO C. R. Palmer, stated, "There are numerous tracts in the Gulf of Mexico beyond the water depth capability of existing jack-up rigs. Gorilla VIII will be outfitted with 708 feet of leg, 134 feet more than previous Super Gorillas, and have 30% larger spud cans enabling operation in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths up to 550 feet. Gorilla VIII will also be able to operate in water depths up to 400 feet in the hostile environments of eastern Canada and the North Sea.

RINA adds more exclusive surveyors
Italian classification society RINA has appointed eleven new exclusive Asia. The move comes in response to strong newbuilding orderbooks in the region. At the same time, RINA has reinforced its network of exclusive surveyors in Europe and the Middle East with three appointments in Istanbul, two in UK, and two in Finland.

In Asia, two surveyors join the Mumbai office, four join the Pusan office, two more join the Hong Kong office, two have been appointed in Shanghai and one in Singapore.

RINA is currently classing four newbuildings at at Daedong Shipyard, four at Daewoo, two at Hitachi Zosen, four at HHI, two at Samsung, five at Hudong Shipyard, and seven at other Chinese yards. RINA's Asian order book totals over 1million gt.

ExxonMobil Marine Fuels moves into e-trading
The world's largest supplier of marine fuels, ExxonMobil Marine Fuels, has moved into e-trading. In the first of a number of planned agreements with e-commerce portals, EMMF has signed a contract to participate in e-trading of marine fuels on BUNKERSTEM, with London-based Telemarine Ltd.

Peter Healey, director of EMMF says, "We believe that the Internet will have a place in providing high quality service to our customers. This trial period with BUNKERSTEM is one of a number of initiatives we are taking as part of ExxonMobil's move into e-trading. We expect to use a number of portals, and we will also be offering clients direct quotes over our own site this summer."

Telemarine operates and BUNKERSTEM, the secure e-trading facility for buying and selling bunkerfuels over the Internet.

Mike Boe, managing director of Telemarine says, "ExxonMobil is now the first international oil company in history to perform e-trading of marine fuels on the Internet. We are of course very pleased that they chose BUNKERSTEM as their platform for e-trading."

Healey says, "The Internet offers clients, brokers and traders a powerful information and trading tool. Used properly, it will benefit everyone in the bunker industry, by making the market more transparent, and by cutting out costs. ExxonMobil intends to be at the forefront of harnessing the power of the Internet for the benefit of our customers and partners. And in the spirit of the Internet, we will be open to links with all significant participants. We shall also offer our own direct web site facility, which will include direct quotes for bunker supplies and technical advice."

Visma Marine in e-commerce alliance
Visma Marine has has reached an agreement with e-commerce service provider Arena to distribute and integrate the SpecTec AMOS fleet management software with Arena's internet portal, The agreement also calls for the two companies to market Arena's global procurement supply chain applications to over 80,000 vessels worldwide.

According to some estimates, the combined procurement expenditures for vessels is around $20-40 billion a year, including procurement for provisions, spares, stores, fuels and lubricants. et.

"This is an exciting moment for SpecTec and Arena, says Thomas Falck, managing director of Visma Marine ASA. "The integrated product will significantly cut handling costs of vessel procurement. The cost of processing a procurement transaction is around $ 150-200 today. With the implementation of our integrated services, we believe this cost will be reduced by at least 50%.

Dredges, too, face tough air emission regimes
Many of modern generation of jumbo-sized trailing suction hopper dredges are powered by medium-speed diesel engines supplied by Wärtsilä NSD Corporation. Although designed to undertake a wide range of dredging tasks world-wide, these very large dredges are primarily employed in giant land reclamation projects, particularly those in East Asia. In recent years, these projects have included land reclamation for the new Hong Kong airport, new container terminals in Singapore and Hong Kong, a new Disney theme park in Hong Kong, etc. The jumbo dredges, however, are all designed to be highly versatile and capable of world-wide service--including offshore projects

A recent order for a 23,700 m3 trailing suction hopper dredger was contracted in December 1999 by HAM Dredging Ltd at IHC Holland, and due for delivery in Autumn 2001. To be named "HAM 318", it will be powered by two Wärtsilä 12V46C main engines of 25,200 kW, together with a 1860 kW Wärtsilä 6L26 auxiliary engine. It will have an overall length of 169.5 m, Panamax beam of 32 m, draft of 12 m, and deadweight of 36,450 tonnes.

An interesting aspect of recent orders of machinery for dredges is the tighter requirements on exhaust emissions because they are often operating close inshore or in waterways and channels. Although all diesel engines supplied by Wärtsilä NSD comply with the IMO regulation for NOx emissions, owners are increasingly looking for lower levels of emissions.

For this reason, the Wärtsilä 46 engines contracted for "HAM 318" and those for a recent Ballast Nedam newbuilding--the 21,500 m3 trailing suction hopper dredge "Rotterdam"--will be prepared for the later fitting of direct water injection.
The intention is that, if the dredgers are required to operate in waters where strict emissions regulations apply, then the engines can be readily adapted to reduce NOx emissions to about 50-60 per cent of the limit in the IMO regulation.

Twin Wärtsilä 12V46 main engines and a 6L26 auxiliary, installed in each of two 23,400 m3 dredges, the "WD Fairway" and "Queen of the Netherlands", built in 1997 and 1998 respectively for Royal Boskalis Westminster., have already been prepared for direct water injection retrofitting.

Contract for Alaska adventure cruise vessel
Townsend Bay Marine LLC (TBM), a yachtbuilding and repair company based in Port Townsend, Washington, has received an order from Glacier Guides to construct Alaskan Grandeur, a 67-foot (20.42-meter) composite vessel that will be used to carry passengers on adventure cruises in Alaska.

Designed to be independent of shore support for periods of up to three months, Alaskan Grandeur is based on a limit seiner hull that is being supplied by Little Hoquiam Shipyard in Hoquiam, Washington. John L. Anderson Yacht Design, Inc. of Kingston, Washington has been commissioned by the owner to design the superstructure, accommodation and systems. Powered by a single Caterpillar 3406, the vessel has a 21.5-foot beam and is scheduled to be delivered in October 2001.

FirstWave and A&P Group UK in strategic alliance
FirstWave and A&P Group UK say they have "formed the cornerstone of the first global network dedicated to marine repair." The alliance between FirstWave and A&P Group will initially capitalize on the multi-site facilities and expertise of both companies in offshore vessel maintenance, rig repairs and complex conversions.

The alliance will allow both companies to integrate marketing and to share project management expertise for the delivery of repair and conversion services for clients in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico. FirstWave and A&P intend to create a seamless delivery network for marine repair to their global clients. The alliance is now working to extend its services into West Africa by year end.

A&P CEO David Ring commented, "`We are very pleased to have entered this long-term arrangement. Our joint objective is to give our customers consistent, superior service around the world.''

Grady Walker, FirstWave President and COO, added, "We're sharing our know-how and expertise to create synergies that create the highest quality and service for our customers. Our customers can expect this anywhere in our network of facilities.''

The main operations centers for the alliance are Galveston and Houston in the U.S.A .and Newcastle and Falmouth in the United Kingdom. These facilities have substantial dry dock and dockside capacity.

FirstWave is a leading shipyard company in the Houston-Galveston area. The company provides repair, conversion, new construction, and related services for barges, boats, ships, offshore rigs, and other vessels in the offshore and inland marine industries. A&P Group UK is a leading provider of shipyard services in the North Sea region. The company's Newcastle and Falmouth facilities provide repair, conversions and related services for offshore rigs and Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.


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