Monday, May 15, 2000


Bingo 9000-1 is 82.19% complete
Sighs of relief, no doubt, at Friede Goldman Halter. As part of the settlement of its dispute with Ocean Rig ASA, FGH agreed revised delivery schedules for the Bingo 9000-1 and 2 rigs. Umoe Olje og Gass AS was retained to give an independent assessment of Friede Goldman's ability to meet the new delivery dates. Today, Ocean Rig ASA received a statement from Umoe Olje og Gass AS saying that it had finalized its status review of Bingo 9000-1 and that the rig was 82.19% complete as of May 12. "A detailed schedule has been developed by Umoe in close cooperation with Friede Goldman Offshore and Ocean Rig with a final delivery of the rig by October 31st 2000," says the statement.

Umoe will reach its final conclusion on the status of Bingo 9000-2 in mid-June , but says the yard is working out a schedule for delivery in December 2000. "There are," notes Umoe, "significant improvements in the efficiency in the construction of Bingo 9000 no. 2 compared to Bingo 9000 no. 1. Based on our review and preliminary conclusions, we feel comfortable about a first quarter 2001 delivery."


Chinese yards on engine ordering binge
Chinese shipyards continue to add to their orderbooks. Testimony to the size and diversity of the Chinese backlog comes in what Wärtsilä NSD Corporation reports as a "remarkable surge" in orders for marine diesel engines from China during the first months of this year. Contracts worth around $40 million were signed with Wärtsilä NSD in the first quarter. In March alone, a total of 115,000 kW of four-stroke engines and 33,200 kW of two-stroke engines were booked.

Notable projects include two semi-submersible heavy-lift vessels for COSCO contracted at Guangzhou Shipyard-- the first vessels of this type to be built in China. Each will be powered by a diesel-electric plant, comprising three Wärtsilä 9L32 main engines and a Wärtsilä 6L20 auxiliary engine, with a combined output of 12,015 kW. Propulsion will be by twin podded drives.

Main and auxiliary engines were also booked for the second of two RoPax vessels for Rederi AB Gotland, Sweden, at Guangzhou International Shipyard. The vessel will have four Wärtsilä 12V46C main engines, each of 12,600 kW at 500 rev/min, and three Wärtsilä 9L20C auxiliaries, of 1,530 kW each at 900 rev/min. These two vessels are the first ever RoPax vessels contracted in China for export to Europe and have a total propulsion output of 50,400 kW and an electrical output 4590 kW.

Another first is the series of five VLCCs contracted at Dalian New Shipyard for National Iranian Tanker Co. -- the first VLCCs ordered in the People's Republic of China. Wärtsilä NSD is supplying the auxiliary engines, a total of 15 of the Wärtsilä 9L20 type. The main engines for these 300,000 tdw ships, a Sulzer 7RTA84T-B engine in each, of 27,160 kW output at 74 rev/min, were contracted earlier by the licensee HSD Engine Co Ltd in Korea.

Both main and auxiliary engines were also recently ordered for the third 14,500 grt Ro-Ro vessel contracted by Stena AB of Sweden at Dalian Shipyard. It will be powered by four Sulzer 8ZA40S medium-speed engines with a combined output of 24,000 kW at 510 rev/min and two Wärtsilä 9L20 diesel generating sets.

Wärtsilä NSD has also recently received two orders from China National Oil and Offshore Co. One for four Wärtsilä 6L26 main engines for their two 4800 bhp anchor-handling tugs building at Wuchang Shipyard. Another contract was signed with the same owner and shipyard for engines to power a heavy derrick / pipelaying vessel. These include three Wärtsilä 9L32
main engines and a Wärtsilä 8L20 as a harbor generating set, with a total power of 13,080 kW.

Recent contracts for two-stroke engines include a pair of Sulzer 6RTA48T-B engines for two 32,000 tdw multi-purpose container carriers contracted by the German owner Bertling Reederei at the Jiang Du shipyard. The engines, of 8730 kW each at 127 rev/min, will be built in China by licensee Yichang Marine Diesel Engine Plant.

Two Sulzer 6RTA52U engines, each of 9.600 kW output at 137 rev/min, were ordered for a pair of 40,000 tdw tankers contracted by Nanjing Oil Transport at Dalian Shipyard. The engines are being built by Dalian Marine Diesel Works.

There was also a repeat order: a fourth Sulzer 5RTA52 engine, of 7100 kW output at 130 rev/min, to be built at Yichang for another 28 000 tdw log carrier contracted by Transocean Shipmanagement at Bohai Shipyard. This followed three similar vessels contracted last year.


Answer to maritime manpower shortage: Eastern Europe?
At least one ship manager is promoting Eastern Europe as the answer to the shipping industry's current 16,000 shortfall in officers. The "modest" lack of officers was revealed in the recently-published BIMCO/ISF 2000 Update, a study into the global supply and demand for seafarers in 2000 and beyond. According to the study, Eastern Europe, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East have become the new sources of manpower, overtaking the traditional maritime countries of Europe, Japan and North America.

Speaking at the LSM European Manning & Training Conference in Warsaw, Poland, today, Peter Larsen, managing director of Barber Ship Management AS, and Captain Jorlov Seattem, managing director of Polish Manning Services, estimate that Eastern Europe is currently home to between 8-10,000 unemployed, qualified officers. Many of these officers, especially Polish, have extensive experience of working with Western European companies so offer flexibility and English language skills.

The continuing plight of seafarers onboard sub-standard ships does little to improve the image of the industry. James Bell, International Commission on Shipping (ICONS) commissioner and former permanent secretary IACS, called for maritime organizations to join forces in the fight against "over-aged and under-maintained" vessels, on which thousands of seafarers are still experiencing "exploitation, abuse, denial of wages, essential medical care and contact with families." With 30 per cent of the world,s fleet over 20 years old, and many owners and managers still failing to comply with IMO standards, Bell describes the future as "bleak" unless corrective action is taken by both the industry and the governments.


Globalstar USA introduces maritime kit
Globalstar USA, the exclusive provider of Globalstar's satellite-based communications services in the United States and Airstar, a Globalstar USA distributor, have announced the availability of the Starphone QM 2500 maritime phone.

With the Starphone QM 2500, Globalstar users can maintain reliable satellite-based communications from up to 200 miles from shore, and cellular communications up to 20 miles from shore. The unit can also be used as a tri-mode portable phone both on land and shore by removing it from its boat-cradle.

The Starphone QM 2500 combines Globalstar's satellite-based communications services with Airstar's QM 2000 marine panel part-set, the Qualcomm GSP 1600 tri-mode portable phone (operable in satellite, digital and analog modes) and Qualcomm's hands-free car kit products. The portable unit is available for fixed installation inside a vessel, to be used from the vessel's nav-station, saloon or bridge area. It is recommended that the phone be mounted indoors to avoid weather damage, but it can be used for occasional outdoor use during poor weather conditions using a protective, clear watertight cover.

"There has been a large demand for maritime phones, ranging from small craft owners to large cruise lines," said Mike Kerr, vice president and general manager of Globalstar USA. "We are pleased that we can accommodate the need for this type of product and flexibility in service."


MTN buys CruisePhone assets
Maritime Telecommunications Network , a subsidiary of ATC Teleports Inc.,(MTN), has completed a definitive agreement to purchase specific assets of CruisePhone for approximately $1 Million.

MTN is a leader in providing C-Band satcoms for the cruise line industry and says it has "the global satellite networks and the technical capabilities to support the additional systems and vessels included in this transaction. "

CruisePhone previously filed for Chapter 11relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New York. The Chapter 11 proceeding held on May 4, 2000 allowed CruisePhone to complete the sale of assets to MTN.

MTN is expected to complete the transfer of all CruisePhone services to its network by June 31, 2000. MTN will support the following vessels: P & O Cruises' Arcadia and Oriana, Orient Lines' Marco Polo, Regal Cruises' Regal Empress, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Radisson Navigator, and Western Geophysical's Western Inlet.

"We look forward to serving these new customers and expanding our state-of-the-art C-Band maritime telecommunications. We are also very pleased to be able to introduce MTN's latest ShipNet technology, which allows high-speed Internet connectivity. This will give modern cruise vessels the communications capabilities that passengers want, including Internet connectivity through the installation of Internet cafes with our partner Digital Seas International," said Bradford Briggs, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MTN.


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