2001 Maritime

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November 7, 2001

French oil giant under judicial investigation
French oil giant TotalFinaElf has been placed under judicial investigation in connection with the December 1999 Erika pollution disaster. The investigation focuses on allegations of "complicity to endanger the lives of others" as well as "maritime pollution." The investigation could lead to criminal charges.

Meantime, TotalFinaElf must post a bond of 50 million francs (nearly $7 million). It has also been ordered not to charter tankers older than 15 years for the transportation of heavy oil. The company says it wuill appeal both these decisions.

A number of senior TotalFinaElf officials are expected to be placed under judicial investigation.

Royal Olympic Cruises to take delivery of Olympia Explorer
Relations between Greece's Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. and German shipbuilder Blohm + Voss look to be improving. The line said yesterday that it had held a "very constructive meeting" in Piraeus with representatives of Blohm + Voss regarding the delivery of the Olympia Explorer. The vessel was originally due for delivery in April 2001 and Blohm + Voss , in fact, tendered it for delivery on April 27, following completion of trials in March.

At that time, though, Royal Olympic said it wanted "certain improvements" making.

Now the 28-knot ship is expected to reach the port of Piraeus early next year, enableit to offer itineraries from Venice to Piraeus, Istanbul and the Greek Islands next summer, with Piraeus as an alternative port of embarkation.

Aker Maritime hit by by losses on Kvaerner shares
Aker Maritime reports that operational performance continued to improve in the third quarter, resulting in a strong NOK 352 million operating profit for the first nine months of the year, compared with a loss of NOK 107 million in the same period last year. ($1.00 = NOK 8.5 approx).

Profits were however severely hit by a write-down of the group's Kværner holding from NOK 95.59 to NOK 10 per share. Including fees, the loss recognized in the third quarter amounts to NOK 1.7 billion (accumulated loss NOK 2.3 billion). The book value of the Kværner investment is NOK 190 million.

MarAd offers "green" workshop
On January 29 and 30, 2002, the Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a workshop on Maritime Energy and Clean Emissions. It will be held at The St. Regis Hotel, located at 16th & K Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

The two-day workshop will identify major energy and emission issues facing the marine industry and assist in the formulation of maritime research priorities.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Regina Farr at telephone (202) 366-1924, fax (202) 3667197, or e-mail regina.farr@marad.dot.gov003.