January 23, 2001
First Sulzer common-rail engine passes official shop test
Wärtsilä Corporation has announced that a Sulzer 6RT-flex58T-B, with common rail fuel injection has successfully completed its official shop test. This revolutionary engine has no camshaft and runs with electronic control of all key engine functions to give flexibility in operation and reduced exhaust emissions.
The engine has a maximum continuous power of 12,750 kW and was built under licence from Wärtsilä Corporation by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd at its Ulsan works, Korea. It will be installed in a 47,000 tdw bulk carrier building for Gypsum Transportation Ltd at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.
As this is the first production engine built with the Sulzer RT-flex common-rail system, its manufacture has involved very close co-operation between Wärtsilä, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard. The engine tests at Ulsan were undertaken with support from Wärtsilä engineers.
This RT-flex engine was first started on January 5, 2001, and completed its official shop test on January 16 . Soon after starting, it developed full power. It went through all tests without difficulty.
The success of these tests on the first production engine was largely the result of the comprehensive research and development programme undertaken on a full-sized research engine in the Diesel Technology Center in Switzerland.
The Sulzer 6RT-flex58T-B tested is basically a version of the existing ' RTA58T-B low-speed marine diesel engine but with the Sulzer RT-flex system to give a camshaftless engine. Common-rail technology with full electronic control is applied to the fuel injection, the exhaust valve operation, and the starting air system. All these functions are controlled within the Sulzer RT-flex concept using the WECS 9500 engine control system. The RT-flex common-rail fuel system operates on the same grades of heavy fuel, up to 700 cSt viscosity, as is usual for "classic" Sulzer RTA-series engines.
In December 2000, the second order was received for Sulzer RT-flex diesel engines. Two 7RT-flex60C engines were ordered from Wärtsilä's Trieste factory in Italy to power two 13,200 tdw reefers which will be built in Portugal.
Carnival and ABB in Azipod settlement
Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) and ABB Industry Oy, Marine Group a unit of the ABB Process Industries, have reached a settlement regarding a malfunction in the propeller bearing system of one of the Azipod propulsion units that occurred last July on Carnival Cruise Lines' cruise ship Paradise.
"Carnival Corporation very much appreciates ABB standing behind its products and working diligently to quickly address our concerns and resolve matters important to us," said Stein Kruse, senior vice president, head of fleet operations for Carnival Corporation's Holland America Line unit who negotiated the settlement on behalf of the corporation. "ABB is a major player in marine propulsion, and we feel we have a good customer-supplier relationship with them."
Carnival Cruise Lines currently has Azipod propulsion installed on three of its cruise ships with similar systems ordered for three additional vessels. Holland America Line has also ordered Azipod systems for five new cruise vessels. Carnival Corporation's European cruise operator, Costa Cruises, also has Azipod units on the Costa Atlantica with plans for a unit on another vessel, as well. Kruse said that the company believes that the system represents a technological breakthrough in marine propulsion.
"ABB looks forward to continuing its 15-year long relationship with Carnival and helping it to maintain its well deserved reputation for quality in the cruise industry," noted Andreas Fokkens, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Marine and Turbochargers.
ABB was the first company to commercially develop electric azimuthing pod propulsion in cooperation with Kvaerner Masa-Yards of Finland, and currently has the most extensive experience with (over 200, 000 operating hours) in the world with this technology.
Commodore still working on reorganization plan
Commodore Holdings Limited (the Hollywood, Florida based cruise operator that filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy laws on December 27, 2000), announced that its securities were delisted from the Nasdaq National Market effective January 22, 2001.
The delisting results from the company's failure to meet the minimum bid price of $1.00 and the minimum market value of public float of $5,000,000. Nasdaq halted trading in Commodore's securities on December 27, 2000 in connection with its bankruptcy filing, and trading was not resumed prior to the delisting date.
Following the delisting, trading is likely to resume on the OTC Bulletin Board depending on interest in the company's securities by market makers. The company has not yet been advised by any market makers that they intend to make a market for the company's securities.
Since its bankruptcy filing, Commodore has returned all but one of its ships and all of their passengers to port and is in the process of repatriating all non-essential crew to reduce costs while it develops its plan of reorganization. The Universe Explorer is on long-term charter, and will continue to operate unaffected by the bankruptcy petition. Commodore has also reduced its management and shore side personnel from approximately 120 to 18 during the reorganization process to conserve cash. Contrary to some media reports, Commodore believes that its reorganization plans are too preliminary at this stage for it to estimate when or if it will resume operations.
In Commodore's initial petition filed with the bankruptcy court, it reported total assets of approximately $33 million and total debts of approximately $12 million. Although the reported value of Commodore's assets exceed its debts, preliminary indications suggest that it is unlikely that Commodore's common stockholders will receive any value in a reorganization of the company.
OMI takes over newbuilding contracts
OMI Corporation is acquiring shipbuilding contracts for two Suezmax tankers to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.. The contracts are for the first two of six ships ordered by subsidiaries of Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skibsrederi AS ("Jebsen"). Deliveries are scheduled for September and October of 2002.
The acquisition price is $53.8 million per vessel.OMI will issue approximately 4.05 million shares at $7.00 per share as partial payment and will guarantee the price performance of its stock for approximately a four month period following closing, which is expected in the next several weeks.
Craig H. Stevenson, Jr., OMI president, CEO and chairman, commented that "we are excited to acquire high quality assets in advance of when we could by ordering new ships. With seven Suezmaxes delivered to us since mid-1998 and these new ones, we should continue to have the youngest fleet in the world. Our flexibility in performing services for customers is enhanced by these new vessels. We are also pleased to have Jebsen, which is a well-respected shipowner, as a substantial shareholder."
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