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May 17, 2001
Suit alleges Taylor controls Liberian -flag franchisee
In another of the unseemly spats that do little to enhance the credibility of the open registry system, International Registries, Inc.(IRI) has filed suit against Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry, LLC ("LISCR") in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, on May 11, 2001,
IRI used to hold the franchise to run the Liberian open register. LISCR is the current operator of the business
Its suit alleges that LISCR, at the behest of the Government of Liberia and its president Charles Taylor, breached its material obligations to, among other
things, make payments to IRI in connection with LISCR's assumption of Liberia's corporate and maritime programs. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages of over $10 million and associated relief arising out breaches of financial and other obligations owed to IRI by LISCR under a Settlement Agreement.
The suit describesTaylor "as a silent but obsessively controlling partner" in LISCR.
The suit alleges LISCR has refused to make monthly payments to IRI Group under the settlement agreement and, the suit claims, these monies presumably have been diverted to Taylor and his friends. It further alleges that, "given the current situation in Liberia, there is a substantial risk that, absent prompt protection from [the] court, there will be no money left to satisfy a judgment."
LISCR's CEO, Yoram Cohen, described the allegations as "completely unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue" and said they would "trigger a massive counter-suit".
"LISCR is a private company operated and fully owned from the United States by U.S .nationals, completely independent of the Liberian government," says Cohen. "It complies fully with all aspects of US regulatory law. Since assuming control of the Liberian Registry on January 1, 2000, LISCR has made significant gains in both its ship registration and corporate registration
activities. Its ship registration business is currently growing at an equivalent rate of four million gross tons a year - a sure sign that it is providing shipowners with the service they require."
NNS gets $9.3 million CVN 70 contract
Newport News Shipbuilding has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $9.3 million for preparations in advance of the overhaul and refueling of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) scheduled for 2004. The contract involves advance planning, design, documentation, engineering, material procurement, ship checks, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work. This will be the ships first and only refueling during a service-life expected to span approximately 50 years. The ship is scheduled to arrive at Newport News in late 2004 and remain for approximately three years.
Costa targets German market
Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corporation will launch a new cruise product aimed exclusively at the German market beginning in spring 2002.
The new product, which will consist of year-round European and Caribbean sailings aboard the 760-passenger Costa Marina, will be specifically tailored to German passengers and designed to build upon Costa's leadership position in the fast-growing European marketplace.
Marketed exclusively for German speaking clientele by Costa's German subsidiary, Frankfurt-based Costa Kreuzfahrten, Costa Marina's new schedule will consist of voyages of seven to 16 days in length to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Black Sea from Venice or Savona in the spring and fall, and from Hamburg and Kiel to the Baltics, Russia, Scandinavia and British Isles in the summer. In the winter, the 24,441-ton vessel will reposition to the Caribbean to offer weeklong voyages from the Dominican Republic.
"Germany has historically been an important market for Costa and this new cruise product is consistent with our strategy to expand Costa's strong European presence while solidifying the line's role as the region's number one cruise operator," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation chairman and CEO.
While the Costa Marina will maintain its Mediterranean-style decor and Italian dining experiences, the ship will have a German-speaking crew with German the vessel's official language. Entertainment and on-board activities will also be geared toward German audiences.
The creation of the new German cruise operation is Costa's latest effort in expanding its wide-ranging European vacation offerings. In addition to three new cruise ships on order, including a sister to the highly successful Costa Atlantica and two 105,000-ton vessels, Costa will expand its fleet with the transfer of two ships from sister companies Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line. The Costa Tropicale, formerly Carnival's Tropicale, will begin sailing from Venice in June, while Holland America's Westerdam will launch a new European program under the Costa banner next spring.
Cascade General "set to buy back Cammell stake"
According to the Financial Times, PwC, the receiver to Cammell Laird, is close to a deal to sell Cammell's 49 per cent stake in the Portland, Oregon, Shipyard to Cascade General, the majority shareholder.PwC expects to complete the sale of Cammell's yards in Gibraltar to a management buy-out team by the end of this week. PwC did not disclose the expected proceeds from the sales. Apparently, it has no firm offer for the group's U.K. business.
Ian Stokoe, receiver for PwC, reportedly said Tuesday that the UK yards would close unless new work or buyers were found in the next few months.
It is increasingly likely the UK operations will be broken up and sold to more than one buyer.
Stokoe said eight interested parties were talking to the receiver.
Tyneside-based Swan Hunter, has said it is interested in buying Cammell's Hebburn yard on the Tyne. However, says the FT story, Swan Hunter is also close to a deal with Kværner to buy the its Port Clarence Dock on Teesside.
The company is likely to pull out of the bidding for Cammell's yards if it completes the deal with Kvaerner.
Others believed to be in talks with the receiver include two venture capital groups,A&P Holdings and Norway's Ugland.
Mr Stokoe said the winding down of work in progress made any sale difficult.
"Potential buyers could face large redundancy bills if they bought the yards in the UK as contracts were being completed" says the FT. The receiver is yet to win new business from the public or private sector.
"We have to maximize the realization of assets for creditors and we have a baseline price below which we cannot sell," Stokoe told the FT.