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February 7, 2002

Austal USA delivers first boats ahead of schedule
Two 150 ft Crew / Supply vessels, "Anapaula" and "Veronica", have been completed and handed over by Austal USA to owners Otto Candies LLC ahead of the contracted delivery date.

By the end of last month, the boats had already reached Del Carmen in Mexico where they will be based.

These vessels comfortably exceeded contract speed targets in official sea trials.

The Candies boats are the first two vessels delivered from Austal USA's new, state-of-the-art facilities commissioned less than a year ago. In fact the Austal USA team produced the two vessels in just 8 months in the main construction hall at this Mobile, Alabama facility.

The 150 ft Crew / Supply Vessel is the first of a new line of crew boat designs developed by the Austal Group. Design features that have attracted industry attention include everal unique aspects of design such as aluminum honeycomb joiner work, passenger seats with high speed ferry heritage and unparalleled vision and control from the bridge.

Austal has brought considerable aluminum structural design expertise to the U.S. and combined this with industry-leading project management and production systems. Austal says that high productivity is "underpinned by an 'in-bedded' quality assurance system which gives the 120 Austal USA team members a unique template for an instantaneous step-up to the mature end of the learning curve, using the 12 years and 75 aluminum vessel experience of Austal Ships.

In the period between launch and handover, Austal USA welcomed many of the leading crew boat operators on-board these vessels and received considerable recognition of their quality and also interest in s
In less than a year of operation, Austal USA has proven itself as a leading aluminum shipyard in the US, capable of providing their "trademark" Austal performance criteria of conformance to requirements and on-time delivery which have now become very well known in the global market in which the group has been operating for more than a decade.

Next USCG Commandant nominated
President Bush today nominated Vice Admiral Thomas H. Collins, 55, to be the 22nd Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta described Admiral Collins as "the right person to lead the modern Coast Guard through today’s challenges to tomorrow’s promise of a safer, more secure American coastline and maritime transportation system."

“Tom Collins brings a combination of scholarly intelligence, practical experience at sea, and Washington policy expertise to the critical job of commandant at a time when the Coast Guard is facing a host of new missions,” Secretary Mineta said. “I look forward to working with him.”

Once confirmed by the Senate, Vice Admiral Collins will relieve the current Commandant, Admiral James M. Loy, at a formal change of command ceremony in Washington, DC. The ceremony is being planned for May 30, 2002.

Admiral Loy, who has held the Commandant position since May 1998, will retire at the May ceremony.

 Vice Admiral Collins is currently serving as the Coast Guard’s Vice Commandant, the service’s second-in-command. Prior to that he served as Commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area.

Vice Admiral Collins began his Coast Guard service at sea aboard the Coast Guard Medium Endurance Cutter Vigilant. He later commanded the Patrol Boat Cape Morgan, a Coast Guard Group at Long Island Sound, NY, and the 14th Coast Guard District at Honolulu, HI. He also served in several Headquarters assignments including Deputy Chief of Staff.

Carnival ups Princess bid
Carnival Corporation today continued its effort to thwart the planned merger of P&O Princess Cruises with Royal Caribbean. It raised its bid for Princess to 3.8 billion pounds ($5.4 billion)).

Carnival, whose previous three offers have been rejected by P&O Princess management, said it was prepared tois now offering 550 pence per share, compared with 515p previously. But shareholders controlling at least 15 percent of P&O Princess must back a motion to delay next week's EGM. Carnival needs the support of shareholders controlling 50 percent of Princess to force an adjournment. Carnival says that deferring the EGM would give regulators time to examine both competing deals for P&O Princess. But Princess's management says a delay would jeopardize the agreed merger with Royal Caribbean.

Carnival's new offer is 0.3004 of its own shares for each P&O Princess share, with a partial cash option of 250 pence per share.