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March 19, 2001

Marshall Islands owners can verify seafarers' docs on web
The Marshall Islands registry, administered by International Registries, Inc. (IRI) says that vessel owners and operators can verify potential employees' Marshall Islands seafarer documents on the IRI web site.

"Our web site was one of the first to feature a searchable database including all of the valid licenses, seafarers' ID books and special qualifications issued," says Capt. James R. Norman, vice-president of Seafarers' Identification and Certification. "This facility was created several months ago and has already assisted the international maritime community in preventing the use of fraudulent documents. It is very easy to use by entering a certificate number, a person's name or date of birth."

The database of valid certifications, with more than 50,000 entries, is updated weekly.

All Marshall Islands seafarers' documents are closely accounted for, and under the Marine Operations Department's ISO 9002-certified quality system there are special audit procedures in place to prevent abuses such as the unauthorized issuance of certificates to unqualified applicants.

"With a growing industry of specialized forgers, and easy access to high-tech reproduction facilities, the problem is set to increase dramatically," said Captain Norman. "The most effective way of dealing with it is for registries to have control procedures in place for document issuance, and to maintain publicly accessible Web sites listing details of the certificates issued by them."

Captain Norman was formerly chief of the Licensing and Evaluation Branch at the headquarters of the United States Coast Guard and has been a participant at IMO since 1978, sitting on the subcommittee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping. In this role he participated actively in the drafting of both the STCW 1978 and 1995 Conventions on The Standards of Training, Certificate and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.?

FGH doesn't make interest payment
Friede Goldman Halter, Inc.has announced that it has not made the semi-annual interest payment on its outstanding 4 1/2% convertible subordinated notes due 2004. The company says it plans to make this interest payment within the 30-day grace period provided under the indenture relating to the notes.

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