November 22, 2000
Seacor Smit boosts fleet
Seacor Smit Inc.says it has signed letters of intent to acquire two platform supply vessels and six mini-supply vessels.
All the vessels were constructed in the last three years. The two separate are worth about $40 million in total. Seacor Smit saysapproximately $22.0 million of the purchase will be paid in cash, and $3.0 million in shares). In conjunction with the purchase, Seacor will assume approximately $15.0 million in debt.Both transactions are expected to close in early January 2001.
Charles Fabrikant, Chairman of Seacor, commented: "The addition of these vessels is in keeping with our program of modernizing our fleet."
Maritrans shelves shuttle plans
Maritrans Inc. chairman and CEO Stephen A. Van Dyck has announced that the company has withdrawn from talks to develop technology for crude oil shuttling with Conoco Shipping Inc.
"Our joint evaluation shows a number of future opportunities for station-keeping vessels and devices that will enable crude oil production in the deep water Gulf of Mexico," said Van Dyck.
"However," he added. "Maritrans believes it would be premature to invest in crude oil shuttling in the Gulf of Mexico because of the infancy of the market. At this time we believe the risk is too high to make large capital investments years before deep water discoveries are ready for initial production. Production schedules and volumes are inherently unpredictable years in advance, and utilization during production delays would endanger a reasonable return on the vessel investment.''
Instead, the Maritrans board decided that the company should continue its focus on Gulf of Mexico product transportation and reevaluate the shuttling market as it develops over the next five years.
Van Dyck commented, "Significant capital investments must be made to replace the single-hulled Jones Act tonnage retiring in the Gulf of Mexico product market. Maritrans' double-hull rebuild program is part of that effort, and by the end of 2001 we will have invested $38 million to preserve the life of our single-hulled barges. At that time, 52 percent of our fleet capacity will be double hull. Over the next year, we also will continue engineering to rebuild our existing fleet and evaluating preliminary designs for new vessels.''
Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, between 2001 and 2010, 40 out of a total of 86 oil tankers and barges in the size range operated in U. S. waters by Maritrans and its competitors will be removed from oil transportation service due to their single-hulled construction.
Van Dyck explained, "The availability of vessels will significantly decrease in the near future. Maritrans is committed to doing its part to ensure that domestic vessels are available to meet the petroleum consumption of the American public. The United States has always relied on its own fleet to transport oil, and Maritrans has been a major part of that system since 1928. We will be part of the future.''
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