Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Chunnel challenger
Britttany Ferries will place a giant cruise ferry on the Portsmouth, England, to Caen, France, route in the Spring of 2002. It will be capable of carrying the equivalent of nearly five jumbo jet loads of passengers and a mile and a half of freight vehicles.

Construction of the $98.7 million, 36,000 tonnes vessel will start at the Rotterdam yard of Dutch shipbuilders Van de Glessen next March.

It will replace the 10,000 tonnes Duc de Normandie which will be transferred to Brittany Ferries' Plymouth-Roscoff service.

The new 21 knot ferry will be 175 m long and 28 m wide and will be the largest cruise ferry to be purpose built for the Channel. It will carry up to 2,200 passengers and nearly 800 cars and will have 2,250 meters of lane space for freight vehicles.

Its on-board facilities will be modeled on the best from Brittany Ferries existing ships. Cabins, all with private facilities, will include Commodore Class suites as well as those designed specifically for disabled passengers.

A choice of restaurants, bars, ergonomically designed Club Class style seating and cinemas will be featured along with an internet café and a disco club area designed specifically for teenagers.

Three Japanese yards plan merger
The Japan Times reports that Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. have announced a comprehensive shipbuilding alliance that will create Japan's largest shipbuilder.

The three said they intend to integrate their shipbuilding operations into a new company in two or three years.

Combined revenues would amount to about 350 billion yen, topping the roughly 300 billion yen in sales by the industry leader, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Mitsubishi Heavy has said it plans to cut its shipbuilding workforce by about 1,000 people, or a fifth, by 2006, and is considering spinning off the unit.

The Japan Times quotes industry sources as saying the three-way alliance may grow to include Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. since IHI has already reached a basic agreement with it to integrate production of naval ships for the Defense Agency

Industry sources believe major Japanese shipbuilders will consolidate into three groups:

  • the IHI-Kawasaki-Mitsui alliance plus Sumitomo Heavy,
  • Mitsubishi Heavy and
  • NKK Corp.-Hitachi Zosen Corp.

The alliance of IHI, Kawasaki and Mitsui will focus on commercial shipbuilding. To meet Korean competition, the three aiming to cut costs by joint procurement, developing new technologies, and using common designs.


Offshore Systems gets exclusive rights to market advanced maritime positioning technology
John Jacobson, President and CEO of Offshore Systems International Ltd. , a leader in electronic charts and positioning systems for the maritime industry, says it has signed an agreement with xwave. The deal gives Offshore Systems exclusive worlwide marketing rights to a technology that enhances the accuracy and fault tolerance of electronic chart navigation systems.

Xwave's Dual Integrated Inertial Navigation System (DIINS) was originally developed by xwave under a contract from a Canadian Department of National Defence research lab.

DIINS receives position sensor inputs from two independent GPS receivers, two independent Inertial Navigation Systems, and other position and motion sensors, and applies sophisticated mathematical modeling techniques to derive a fix of the vessel's position. It recognizes sensor failures and degradation of data quality, and computes the most reliable position possible from the signals available.

"We're thrilled to be partnered with xwave to bring DIINS to market,'' said Jacobson. "Combining DIINS with ECPINS (Electronic Chart Precise Integrated Navigation System) allows us to offer a unique capability to our customers. DIINS gives ECPINS three important new capabilities: it combines many different position signals into a single position fix, it tells the navigator how reliable the fix is, and it continues to do so even if any or all of the sensors fail. This capability is valuable to all mariners, however, its principal application is in naval operations. Acquiring exclusive world-wide marketing rights to DIINS keeps ECPINS at the forefront of electronic navigation chart technology.''


Visma sells Visma Marine to Station 12
Norway's Visma ASA says it has entered into an agreement in principle with Station 12 BV regarding the sale of Visma's marine division. Station 12 BV will pay EUR 84.5 million for the assets acquired, and will repay debt of about EUR 5 million owed by Visma Marine ASA to Visma ASA. Adjusted for cash reserves in the SpecTec companies, the net transaction value is about EUR 85.5 million (about $73 million).

Station 12 BV is owned 65% by KPN, the Netherlands telecommunications operator, and 35% by the Australian telecommunications operator Telstra. Station 12 includes the satellite operations of KPN and Telstra, especially those aimed at the marine market.

Visma's marine division will continue as an independent division in Station 12. The acquisition involves continuation of the operations in the SpecTec Group. The association with Station 12 will create new business opportunities, and the new ownership structure will secure capital for further expansion of the SpecTec Group. As the world's largest supplier of satellite communication to the marine sector, Station 12 will be able to realize greater synergy effects than Visma can achieve.

Thomas Falck, the current managing director of Visma Marine ASA, will continue as managing director of the SpecTec Group. Knut Reed, managing director of Station 12, will be the chairman of the SpecTec Group's Board of Directors.

It is expected that the sale will be completed by early November.


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