2001 Maritime

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May 2, 2001

Bender seeks control of Tampa Bay Shipbuilding
If the Tampa Port Authority blesses the deal, Mobile, Ala.-based Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co. Inc. will take control of Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Co. later this month.

Bender's subsidiary Shipyard Properties Inc. now controls 50 percent of the Tampa shipbuilder, and Tampa businessman Aaron Hendry owns the other half. Hendry apparently has agreed to transfer 1 percent to Bender. But Tampa Bay Shipbuilding operates on land owned by Tampa Port Authority, under a 1997 lease which grants the authority the right to approve ownership changes.

Port authority members met on the issue last week, but delayed voting on the ownership change until May 15, saying they needed more information on the deal. The authority voiced particular concerns about the impact of the deal on the shipyard's revenues, according to a transcript of the meeting. The lease allows the authority to charge higher rent as Tampa Bay Shipbuilding's revenues increase.

Bruce Croushore, an attorney representing Tampa Bay Shipbuilding who also is vice president and general counsel at Bender, told the authority the ownership change would allow the companies to save money by eliminating administrative duplication and providing "a more rational approach to the market."

Tampa Bay Shipbuilding is a full-service conversion, overhaul and repair yard employing about 300 workers. Bender has some 850 employees, and is a partner with Austal Limited in Austal USA, the Mobile-based maker of high-speed aluminum ferries.

Tim Colton opens new maritime consultancy
Tim Colton, formerly president of international shipbuilding consultants Colton & Company, has returned to the consultancy biz after three years with Halter Marine.

Colton, the perennial moderator of Marine Log's "Shipbuilding
Decisions" conference and a frequent contributor to Marine Log magazine, has set up his new shop in Biloxi, Mississippi, and can be reached through his website:

Ocean Rig private placement oversubscribed
Ocean Rig SA, whose Bingo rig contract with Friede Goldman Halter has been a large part of that company's problems, seems to have little trouble in raising money.

The subscription for its recent Private Placement of shares was oversubscribed at approximately NOK 693 million (about $77 million).

The Board of Directors has accepted the subscriptions and completed the allocation of NOK 400 million (about $44 million).

Shareholders registered as of April 30 and who were not invited to or allowed to participate in the private placement, will be invited to subscribe to shares in a subsequent share issue at the same price and comparable volume as those shareholders who were allocated shares in the first issue. Such shareholders will receive subscription material during the next two weeks.

Shareholders owning more than 38,000 shares have been allotted new shares for a total value of NOK 323 million, representing an average allotment of 77% of their subscriptions. New investors were allotted shares for a total value of NOK 77 million, representing an average allotment of 45% of their subscriptions. Shareholders holding less than 38,000 shares will be invited to subscribe to shares in the subsequent share issue.

The largest allocations are (NOK):

1. Sinvest ASA: 74.000.000

2. Morgan Stanley & Co. Int. Ltd.: 53.313.600

3. Goldman Sachs Int.: 34.560.000

4. Odin - various funds: 23.000.000

5. Fidelity Funds - various funds: 20.564.400

6. Skeiegruppen AS: 20.000.000

Skeiegruppen is owned by Bjarne Skeie and his family.

Bjarne Skeie, the Chairman of Ocean Rig, is also the Chairman of Sinvest ASA and owns through Skeiegruppen approx. 36.5% of Sinvest.

Interestingly, Bjarne Skeie owns 21.8% of Hydralift ASA while the Skeie Group owns another 27.76%. Hydralift, of course, is the company that is buying FGH's Brissoneau & Lotz Marine (BLM) unit.

Big FPSO contract for ABS
ABS has been selected as the preferred classification society for one of the world’s largest FPSO (floating production storage and offloading) projects. Working on behalf of main contractor Kellogg Brown & Root, ABS will class two floating production/offloading and storage units for Petrobras’ giant deepwater development in the Barracuda and Caratinga Fields offshore Brazil in waters ranging from 670 meters to 1,200 meters deep.

The work and equipment supply for the Barracuda/Caratinga FPSOs calls for a globally integrated logistical effort, for which ABS is well-qualified, says Todd Grove, ABS director of offshore project development.

Recognized by the industry as Brazil’s most promising offshore fields, the two FPSOs associated with the overall $2.5 billion project are each capable of storing around 2 million barrels and processing 150,000 b/d crude oil.

The FPSOs will be converted from two ABS-classed Stena/Universe very large crude carriers (VLCCs): the “Stena Continent” for the Barracuda Field and the “Stena Concordia” for the Caratinga Field. The conversions will consist of extensive modifications including complete removal of all existing marine systems and accommodations followed by installation of topsides production facilities, mooring and offloading equipment as well as new accommodations.

ABS will class both units as X A1 Floating Production Storage and Offloading Units, which includes the FPSO hull structure; marine, production, utility and safety systems; and mooring systems. ABS also will certify the subsea components, including risers, flowlines and umbilicals.

ABS will employ its SafeHull technology—an advanced design and analysis tool for vessel structures—on the two FPSOs. The recently enhanced capabilities of SafeHull for FPSOs will assess the vessels for relatively benign, but site-specific, conditions in Campos Basin.

“Work for the Barracuda/Caratinga project is distributed worldwide—creating a huge logistical effort among manufacturers, designers and fabricators to ensure quality work and on-time completion. With staff located around the world, ABS is providing on-site facilitation and inspection to accommodate the global scope and time-critical effort,” said Grove.

Marcelo Barros, ABS project manager based in Rio de Janeiro, adds that ABS’ global resources, combined with unique regional experience offshore Brazil, led to its choice selection for the fast-track project. The Barracuda project requires 900 days from project’s start to commencement of operations. Caratinga will follow three months later.

“I can’t underscore the importance of in-country surveyors to coordinate with designers, engineers and regulatory bodies,” said Barros.

“By applying the maximum expected, yet realistic dynamic loads to all major structural members, ABS SafeHull significantly improves the overall level of safety and reliability for the hull structure,” said Sidney Bereicoa, ABS Engineering Manager, South America.

To facilitate the fast-track project, ABS will incorporate its Vendor Coordination Program into the procurement process, says Barros, to ensure efficiency on the vast amount of equipment that will be necessary for a project of this magnitude. ABS’ Vendor Coordination Program helps manage the equipment certification process for Class, providing a single point of contact for vendors and customers. The program also helps ensure that equipment arriving at integration sites is ABS-certified and complies with applicable Rules, standards and regulations.

“This technology management tool can avert delays on construction and assembly resulting from incomplete documentation or miscommunication on specifications, bringing increased value to the overall project cost and schedule,” said Barros. He adds that the vendor coordination program monitors communication among all parties for both technical issues and survey activities. “ABS and Kellogg Brown & Root are working closely together on overall project controls to ensure project efficiency,” said Barros.