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February 7, 2002

Horizon Shipbuilding files for Chapter 11
Privately held Horizon Shipbuilding, Inc., Bayou La Batre, Ala., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District, Mobile, Ala., on January 25. Comment was not available from Horizon Shipbuilding's attorney when Marinelog.com attempted to contact them today.

Horizon, which began operations in 1997, builds vessels in aluminum, fiberglass and steel. Last year, Horizon secured a $17.5 million contract to build three vessels, two 155 ft crewboats and one single point mooring vessel, for Slok Nigeria Limited, Lagos, Nigeria. The export deal was supported by the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

MSC charters high speed cat
The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Marine Corps' Third Marine Expeditionary Force opened a new chapter in defense logistics Jan. 30. MSC awarded a $31 million, 36-month contract to Austal Ships Pty. Ltd., Henderson, Australia, to operate a high speed catamaran for III MEF. When
reimbursables are included, the contract could total more than $49 million.
The twin-hull ship, WestPac Express, will transport III MEF personnel and
equipment in the Japanese and Pacific region.

WestPac Express, currently Panamanian flagged, will be re-flagged to
U.S. registry during the course of the contract.

The 331-foot-long WestPac Express is capable of sustaining at least 33 knots fully loaded with 970 passengers and 32,000 square feet of cargo. The ship can carry an entire reinforced battalion of Marines -- both people and equipment. WestPac Express has a shallow draft of only 14 feet, which will enable it to operate in a wide variety of ports.

Using a commercial high speed vessel to transport III MEF personnel and equipment frees about 10 military airplanes and one ship for other military purposes. This is advantageous in a time of limited military resources and increased operational tempo. WestPac Express also enables the Marines to move with their equipment, instead of flying separately and having to marry up with their equipment on site.

Prior to the award of the MSC contract, WestPac Express completed a six-month contract with the Marine Corps that began in July 2001. During the initial contract, the Marines reported that the ship more than met their requirements, demonstrating the effectiveness of using commercial high-speed ships to rapidly deploy troops and equipment.