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December 30, 2001


Brits release suspect ship

Underscoring continued concern about the high potential for misuse of shipping by Al Qaeda, British authorities intercepted the Great Eastern cargo ship Nisha on Friday, December 21 in international waters off the Sussex coast, about 30 miles south of Beachy Head.

BBC footage of the interception showed HMS Sutherland trailing the Nisha by a few hundred yards. Four rigid-inflatable boats then went after the merchant vessel, zipping across the waves until they pulled level on the starboard side.

The Nisha had been heading for the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in Silvertown, east London. It was originally due to arrive at 0400GMT on Saturday The Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist Branch, in a joint security operation with the Royal Navy and Customs, said it was acting on "a credible tip-off" that terrorist material was on board.

An initial search of the vessel uncovered nothing. It was then taken to Sandown Bay off the Isle of Wight, for a second search. On December 27, the Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying that extensive scientific tests had confirmed initial findings that there were no noxious, hazardous or dangerous substances aboard the ship.

"The ship is not a danger to the public and Anti-Terrorist Branch officers are due to leave the ship today," said the statement. It added that the MPS Anti-Terrorist Branch was also satisfied that the ship's crew and owners - who had fully cooperated with police - had not committed any offense.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner David Veness, head of Specialist Operations, said:"New information, combined with the relentless efforts of scientific experts, our detailed knowledge of the ship and its movements, and very careful examination of the vessel over the last three days leads us to be completely satisfied that the Nisha is not a suspicious vessel and does not pose a danger. We have not detected any signs of interference and we do not believe that the seals of the holds have been interfered with."

The ship, which sailed from Mauritius, had been due to dock in East London to deliver the cargo of sugar to Tate & Lyle when it was intercepted and boarded .

During their inquiries, the statement concluded, police had received "complete and highly professional" cooperation from the chairman of the London-based ship owners Great Eastern Shipping Company, Mr Sudhir Mulji. Similarly, Tate & Lyle, the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate, charterers of the vessel, and the authorities of St Vincent and the Grenadines, where the ship is registered, had been extremely helpful and supportive


Court denies Maritrans' claim for damages from OPA requirement The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled on December 21, 2001 that the double hull requirement of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 does not constitute a "taking" of Maritrans' petroleum barges.

Maritrans is currently evaluating whether to take an appeal.

OPA mandates that existing single-hull tank vessels be phased out over a period of years in accordance with schedule.

In 1996, Maritrans filed a lawsuit alleging that the forced retirement of its predominantly single-hulled vessel fleet represents a "taking" under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits the taking of property by the government without just compensation.

In 1998, the Court ruled that Maritrans' suit was only "ripe" with respect to vessels that had been sold, scrapped or rebuilt after enactment of OPA. Trial concluded in February 2001 with respect to eight of Maritrans' single-hull barges that had been sold, scrapped or rebuilt.

In its decision the Court essentially held that, even though OPA had deprived Maritrans of a substantial portion of the value of its vessels, Maritrans had been able to recoup its investment during the period from enactment of OPA until the OPA retirement date.

Therefore the government's ban on further use constituted a non-compensible diminution in value, and not a "taking."

Maritrans says it believes strongly that the forced retirement of Maritrans' vessels did in fact meet the legal test of a taking under the Fifth Amendment, and is evaluating the merits of an appeal.

New president &CEO for Kvaerner

Helge Lund (39) has been appointed president & CEO of the Kvaerner group. He takes up his appointment January 1, 2002, succeeding Kristian Siem who has held the position during a transitional period from the beginning of November.

Lund was deputy chairman of Aker Maritime before being appointed to the Kvaerner board on November 29. He is deputy president and CEO of Aker RGI. p> As president & CEO of Kvaerner, Lund's remuneration package will include an annual salary of NOK 4 million. He will receive a twelve-month salary guarantee. Upon appointment, Lund will invest approximately NOK 5 million in Kvaerner shares (to be purchased in the market). He will then be offered an option to buy four times the value of his original investment at a rate equal to the average price of the shares on the final day of trading in 2001. This option can be exercised at any given time until December 31, 2004. Lund will pay an option interest rate of 7 per cent.


DDG 51 contract for Ingalls

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a $369.8 million contract to build an additional DDG 51 Class Aegis guided missile destroyer for the United States Navy. The work will be performed at the company's Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss.

The contract represents funding for the 2002 fiscal year ship, DDG 102, included in a multi-year contract awarded to Ingalls in March 1998. Ingalls has now been awarded contracts to build 25 Aegis destroyers, with 15 ships having been delivered. A 16th destroyer, SHOUP (DDG 86), completed its initial sea trials in December.

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