2001 Maritime

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October 31, 2001

Navy to scrap DD-21 plans, delay start of CVN-X?
Today's Wall Street Journal says Senior Pentagon and Navy officials are scrapping plans for the DD-21 land-attack destroyer. Instead they want a more efficient and more affordable "family of ships," the DD-X, that could also be adapted for missile defense.

The story says that the Pentagon and the Navy could announce today that contractors competing for the DD-21 will be asked to develop plans for a ship that can be adapted for missile-defense as well as attacking closer to shore.

The winner for the revised competition would then be chosen in the spring of 2002,says the newspaper.

Yesterday, the Hampton Roads, Va., Daily Press said it had obtained a budget document in which the Navy proposes delaying by one year the start of construction on the first CVNX-class aircraft carrier.

The slip in the schedule, from 2006 to 2007, is part of a revised five-year forecast submitted as part of the early preparations for a 2003 defense budget, said the Daily Press. The plan, which has not yet been approved, also calls for eliminating one Virginia-class attack submarine in 2007.

This document, too, "appears to kill plans for building the DD-21 Land-Attack Destroyer," says the newspaper. "Instead of buying a DD-21 in 2005, the revised schedule calls for continuing to buy the current-model destroyers, known as DDG-51s. The plan would add two DDG-51s in 2005 and each year thereafter, the document shows.All that remains of the next-generation DD-21, the document suggests, is research money for an undefined ship dubbed DD(X)," said the Daily News.

Bouchard cancels ATB order
Friede Goldman Halter, Inc.'s Halter Marine, Incunit has announced the cancellation by Bouchard Coastwise Management, Inc. of a 110,000-barrel, oceangoing, double-hulled articulating tug-barge (ATB).

Halter continues conversion work on a double-skin barge for the customer at the Pearlington, Mississippi yard.

Deepwater drilling record
Transocean Sedco Forex Inc. says it set another world record for ultra-deepwater drilling when its Discoverer Spirit drillship spudded an appraisal well in 9,727 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico for Unocal Corporation .

The Discoverer Spirit installed and tested blowout prevention equipment October 27 and 28 on Unocal's Trident 2 well in Alaminos Canyon block 903, surpassing the previous industry water depth record, also held by the Discoverer Spirit, for drilling in 9,687 feet of water. The prior record was set in May 2001 on the first Trident well in Alaminos Canyon block 903.

The Discoverer Spirit utilizes Transocean Sedco Forex's proprietary dual-activity drilling process. Dual activity is designed to reduce by approximately 15% the time required to drill exploration wells and up to 40% for production wells. Dual-activity time savings are achieved by performing drilling tasks in parallel steps instead of sequentially with conventional offshore drilling rigs. .