Thursday, May 25, 2000

New fast ferry for Steamship Authority

One week ahead of contract schedule, the Woods Hole & Martha's Vineyard Steamship Authority has taken delivery of Flying Cloud. The Nigel Gee design Derecktor 41-meter high-speed catamaran ferry was built by Derecktor
Shipyards in Mamaroneck, N.Y, Flying Cloud

Flying Cloud's speed during sea trials was in excess of 39 knots. The boat showed great stability and ride comfort thanks to its dynamic ride control system. Noise levels are contained on both passenger decks and on the bridge. The Steamship Authority plans to employ this vessel on its Hyannis Port to Nantucket route. Its service speed of 36 knots will allow a crossing time of less than one hour, significantly less than the traditional designferries, which take over two hours to cover the same distance.

The route serviced by Flying Cloud caters to tourists as well as local residents. In view of this a dedicated storage space for 30 bikes has been built into the bow cargo hold. This space also has 8 bays for special luggage carts that allow to quickly load and unload over eight thousands pounds of luggage.

The Derecktor 41m is powered by Paxman 12VP185 diesel engines driving Kamewa 71SII water-jets that provide a service speed of 36 knots with a full load of 300 passengers.

Passenger accommodation is with aircraft quality seats on two decks with 171 passengers seated in a 3-3-3-3 arrangement on the main deck and 129 seated in a 4-4 configuration with a central lounge area on the upper deck. Exterior seating is also provided on the upper deck to allow passengers the option of open-air travel. The boat has a large bar on the main deck, is ADA friendly and has a four-season HVAC system capable of removing moisture from the air and eliminating window fogging. The pilothouse has 360-degree vision and is equipped with the latest and most up-to-date navigational equipment, including a night vision system that allows seeing ahead of the boat in total darkness.

A particularly critical issue for the Woods Hole Steam Ship Authority is the wake wash generated by the vessel when operating in the wash sensitive areas at either end of the route. The extremely low wash characteristics of the Derecktor 41m assure a particularly low environmental impact. In independent tests carried out by Washington State Ferries, the hull design used in the Derecktor 38 m was shown to have the lowest wake wash of any fast catamaran operating in North America that had been tested.

Warning on vessel arrests in Egypt
The London P&I Club has warned its members about a spate of vessel arrests in Egypt, and in particular the port of Suez, in respect of claims for unsettled invoices for supplies and/or services which have supposedly been provided to vessels.

Writing in the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the Club says that, although suppliers have submitted false invoices with apparently authentic signatures of ship's staff and the ship's stamp, in most instances the master has been unable to explain how these have been affixed to the invoice.

In other cases, invoices have been completely forged. Suppliers and their lawyers have also ordered the arrest of vessels as security in some instances.

The London Club's correspondent in Alexandria, Eldib Advocates, has applied to the Egyptian Ministry of Justice to have vessel arrests limited to those cases involving only known and established suppliers. It has also asked the ministry to support the creation of a system whereby arrested vessels can be released immediately upon submission of a bank guarantee.

The Club says masters should not sign any blank papers, particularly while in the Suez Canal area, and should not leave any blank spaces above their signature on legitimate documents which they do sign.

The Club has also reminded its members that the Suez Canal Authority is the only organization in Egypt authorized to take measures to protect the marine environment in the port of Suez, and to impose fines. Other agencies, such as the Society Marine Environment Protection Committee, are alleging that they are empowered to carry out such tasks.

ExxonMobil predicts bunker price rise following new EU laws
ExxonMobil Marine Fuels (EMMF), the world's largest supplier of marine fuels, believes prices are likely to increase significantly for low sulfur HFO sold in Europe when current EU guidelines become law.

Speaking at the 21st Norwegian Shipping Academy/Port of Rotterdam International Bunker Conference in Rotterdam today, Sowmi Krishnamurthy, EMMF's general manager Europe, Africa and Middle East, said, "We face a European Council Directive 1999/32/EC which stipulates maximum sulfur contents for industrial fuels. HFO will be limited to 1% sulfur by January 1, 2003 and distillate fuels to 0.2% by July 1, 2000 and half that by January 1, 2008. Our customers, shipowners, will have to run auxiliary engines on gas oil, and ISO spec fuels DMX, DMA and B&C will not be allowed unless they are produced to a reduced sulfur content. I have to tell you that refineries in Europe face a major challenge in meeting this requirement."

According to Krishnamurthy, environmental concerns will continue to challenge the shipping industry throughout the world, with subsequent effects on prices. He said, "When environmental concerns translate into additional curbs on what can be burnt, prices will be pushed up as the costs to meet those new regulations are incurred."

Krishnamurthy told the audience that fuel prices are likely to continue to be volatile and supply chains capricious, though proper marine fuels purchasing would help offset the worst problems. According to Krishnamurthy,"Large companies can, and many, like AP Moller, Gearbulk, Teekay and others, already have, employed dedicated expert teams to buy their fuel at the best price, while ensuring continuity of supply and quality. Smaller companies will have to outsource that expertise."

He warned, though, that best practice purchasing is based on flexible, pro-active supply management, tailored to individual clients, requirements, rather than on long-term, fixed supply contracts.



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