October 14, 2000

Polar Tankers exercises $197 million option for fourth Alaska tanker
Phillips Petroleum subsidiary Polar Tankers Inc. has exercised an option with Litton's Avondale Industries Inc. subsidiary for a fourth double hull, crude oil carrier, valued at $197 million.

Under a contract awarded in 1997, Litton Avondale currently has three 125,000 dwt crude oil carriers under construction. Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for January 2001. Polar Tankers has an option with Litton Avondale for a fifth ship to be exercised in the first quarter of calendar year 2001.

"We are pleased to be working with Polar Tankers on building the ships of the Millennium Class,'' said Tom Kitchen, Litton Avondale president. "During the building of the first three ships of this contract, Litton Avondale has instituted continuous process improvements to enhance efficiencies in their construction. The fourth and fifth ships will receive the full benefit of these initiatives.''

The Millennium Class tankers being built at Litton Avondale are the first new crude-oil carriers being built for the Alaskan trade in compliance with OPA 90.

In addition to being built with double hulls that exceed regulatory minimums, the tankers incorporate double, independent engine rooms, twin propellers and twin rudders for greater maneuverability.

All cargo, fuel and lubricating oils are isolated from the ship's side by ballast tanks or void spaces. The vessels will meet pending air emissions regulations for engines. The ships are ao being painted with tin-free anti-fouling paint in anticipation of proposed regulations.

The crude carriers are 272.69 M long by 46.2 M wide by 26.3 M deep (894.7 feet by 151.6 feet by 86.29 feet). The ships will hold just over 1 million barrels of cargo at full capacity.


Greek shipping companies strike to protest ferry crack down
Greek shipping companies yesterday said they would idle more than than 400 vessels in a one-day strike. They are protesting what they call "government harassment" following last month's sinking of the ferry Express Samina. At least 80 lives were lost.

The Express Samina's captain and first officer have been jailed pending trial on manslaughter charges. Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis suspended the licenses of more than 60 ferries after the sinking. About a third of those vessels have now undergone repairs, and most are expected to meet safety requirements when the suspensions are reviewed next week.

Meantime, the Financial Times reported earlier this week that the new safety crackdown has brought mixed fortunes for Greece's ferry operators.

"For Minoan Flying Dolphins, owners of the Express Samina ... it has been a grim few weeks," notes the FT. "It was forced to postpone indefinitely its long-awaited listing on the Athens stock exchange." Shares in Minoan Lines, MFD's Crete-based parent group, the largest ferry operator in Europe, have been hammered down 33 per cent, wiping $154m illion off its market value.

However, the FTsays the Attica group, which owns MFD's main competitor Strintzis Lines, is likely to benefit both from new safety regulations and from lberalization of the domestic shipping market. This is expected to open routes for Strintzis, allowing it to gain market share.

The government is to tighten the age limit for Aegean ferries, reducing it to 30 years from 35. This is expected to force MFD's older vessels into retirement.


Ferry proposed for Hilton Head
A Beafort County, South Carolina, subcommittee,.chaired by Brantley Harvey, believes the time is right to push the county's Transportation Advisory Committee and then the County Council for at least a new feasibility study of a ferry service between the county and Hilton Head.

The possibility of a public-private partnership with the county was advanced by Fort Lauderdale consultant Ginger Gardiner, who is reportedly conducting a feasibility study for an unidentified client interested in establishing a ferry service in the area.

Gardiner proposed thhat her client could partner with Beaufort County to run a ferry between the Downtown Marina in Beaufort and a site on Skull Creek on Hilton Head's north end, and a second ferry between Hutchinson Island in Savannah and Harbour Town. Transportation times on the 49-person ferries would be approximately 32-44 minutes.

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