2001 Maritime

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July 5, 2001

First Wave files reorganization plan
First Wave Marine, Inc. announced Tuesday that it had filed a plan of reorganization in its Chapter 11 proceeding. The company, which operates five shipyards in the Houston-Galveston area, said the filing should pave the way for its emergence from bankruptcy in early fall. The plan calls for an exchange of all of First Wave's 11% senior notes for 96.7% of its common stock. First Wave says the committee of unsecured creditors has stated that it will support the Plan.

First Wave filed Chapter 11 relief in February. Immediately after filing, it secured $20 million in post petition financing to provide working capital during its restructuring. At the same time, First Wave obtained bankruptcy court authority to pay employees and certain qualifying critical vendor and subcontractor prepetition payables on an uninterrupted basis. Since its Chapter 11 filing, First Wave has successfully maintained normal operations.

First Wave president Grady Walker said, "filing this plan represents the achievement of a major milestone in our efforts to restructure the company and paves the way for a speedy emergence from bankruptcy. Additionally, the plan dramatically reduces the long-term indebtedness of the company, thus improving its financial and competitive strength."

The original majority shareholders, Sam Eakin, Frank Eakin and David Ammons, have elected to resign their positions as officers and directors uon bankruptcy court approval. H. Grady Walker III, Frank R. Pierce and Suzanne B. Kean will, upon court approval, be appointed as directors. They will also continue in their current respective management positions.

Izar lands order for 900,000 bbl FPSO
Belgium's Exmar has awarded Spanish shipbuilder IZAR a contract to build a 900,000 bbl FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) unit. The unit is scheduled for delivery at the end of January 2003. It is intended for operation in the Aquitaine field, in the Mediterranean offshore Libya.

Dimensions are compact in relation to the unit's 900,000 bbl storage capacity: 210.6 meter length, 44 meter breadth, 23 meter depth and 16.5 meter design draft.

The unit will be built at Astillero Fene, the former Astano yard of Astilleros Españoles. The newbuilding will actually be the largest, in terms of capacity, ever delivered by the yard, which has built several large FPSO units in the past. These include Kerr-Mcgee's Gryphon A and Texaco UK's Captain, both in the 550,000 bbl capacity, and the 850,000 bbl Alba FSU (Floating Storage Unit) for Chevron UK.

Gryphon A1 was the first newbuild FPSO used in a primary production facility in the North Sea, and Alba1 was the North Sea's first FSU at the time.

Vela replaces VLCC liferaft winches
Safety specialist Schat-Harding has won an order to replace the winches on the lifeboat stations of seventeen VLCCs owned by Vela International Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco.

Since the implementation of the 1996 SOLAS amendments, there has been an increased focus by the authorities on survival equipment on all ships. Maintenance programs and special tests have not seemed to reduce the number of incidents involving lifeboat drills and lifeboat equipment.

As a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to the very highest standards of safety and crew confidence, Vela International Marine, in addition to introducing an upgraded training and maintenance programme, has invested in two replacement lifeboat winches for each of the seventeen tankers. The contract with Schat-Harding includes installation, testing, and training on the new winch systems.

The winches are of a type that require very little maintenance and which, under all conditions, help effect an extremely safe and controlled descent of the lifeboat and combined lifeboat/rescue boat.

Research shows that most incidents involving lifeboats happen during training, and Schat- Harding has addressed this issue by placing the winches at the ship's side, where the operator can see the lifeboat during the lowering process, and has direct control of the winch brake lever.

Heavy lift barge Giant 4 to be converted for Kursk salvage
The project to salvage the Russian submarine Kursk, lost last August with all its crew, has brought a significant conversion order to Netherlands repair yard Shipdock Amsterdam.

It has been awarded a contract to convert Smit International’s 24,000 dwt, semi-submersible GIANT 4 to make it ready for the salvage of the Kursk in September 2001. The order was placed by Mammoet Transport and Smit International, who plan to deliver the submarine under the barge into a dock in Murmansk before the start of the winter.

"We have quoted very competitive steel prices for this work’," says Ruud Schumacher, general manager of the yard."We were able to beat Polish and Dutch competition. This job perfectly suits our facilities where we can both work in our steel construction shop (prefab) and work in dry-dock."

Main modifications include installing 30 leading pipes for lifting ropes, removing deck and bottom plates to create a recess for the submarine's sail, fabricating saddles and fitting them under the barge, making foundations for lifting gear and installing new railing on the deck.