February 14, 2002
Singapore continues bunker crackdown
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is continuing its campaign to clean-up bunkering operations in the port. Today it announced it had canceled the Bunker Supplier License and Bunker Craft Operator License of Meridian Petroleum and Bunkering Pte Ltd, effective February 8 2002.
The MPA has also canceled the Harbor Craft Licenses of the two bunker tankers operated by Meridian, the MT Alexandrea and the MT Memphis on the same day. The Harbor Craft Licenses of these two bunker tankers had already previously suspended, pending MPA's investigations. Meridian has been given seven days to appeal to the MPA to re-instate its licenses.
The MPA says it will also bring prosecutions against the owner and masters of the MT Alexandrea and the MT Memphis, both of which are Singapore-registered vessels, for contravention of the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Act (Cap 243) because they did not maintain the Oil Record Books as required.
The MPA's investigations have revealed that Meridian and the two bunker tankers were involved in the sale of contaminated bunkers to ships, and as such, have breached the terms and conditions of Meridian's bunkering licenses, in particular, the failure to comply with the requirements of the Singapore Standard: Code of Practice for Bunkering by Bunker Barges / Tankers (SS CP60).
Seabulk looks for rebound
Seabulk International, Inc. (the one-time Hvide Marine) today reported a net loss of $6.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2001. Included in the loss was a writedown of $1.4 million on the planned disposal of the company's inland barge and shipyard operation. In the year-earlier period, Seabulk had a net loss of $9.6 million. Revenues of $84.2 million in the current quarter were up 5% from $80.0 million a year ago. Operating income, including the $1.4 million writedown mentioned above, fell to $7.3 million from $8.1 million in the year-earlier period.
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2001, Seabulk had a net loss of $7.9 million on revenues of $346.7 million, compared with the prior year's net loss of $29.0 million on revenues of $320.5 million. Operating income of $53.2 million in 2001 was more than double the $25.4 million earned in 2000.
"The fourth quarter saw a falloff from our strong second and third quarter results as drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico -- and hence the demand for vessels -- fell sharply on the heels of lower natural gas prices and reduced energy demand," commented president and CEO Gerhard E. Kurz. "We also had an unusually large number of scheduled drydockings in the quarter, including three of our double-hull tankers, which underwent their first inspections since being placed into service three years ago. This reduced their earnings capacity in the fourth quarter. The good news is that some of our idle equipment is going back to work in the Gulf, and we look for a rebound in exploration and production activity as the year progresses. In the meantime, the international offshore market -- and particularly West Africa, where we are the second largest operator -- continues to expand as this is primarily an oil-driven, deepwater business. In addition, our fleet of 10 U.S.-flag Jones Act tankers will reap the benefits of higher time charter rates, beginning this quarter, as three of our vessels entered into new contracts in January. As a result, we expect earnings from this sector to be significantly higher in 2002,''
P&I Club warns on need to check port-supplied data
The London P&I Club has urged its members to double-check, where necessary,information provided by port authorities, in order to avoid potential expensive claims.
In the latest edition of its StopLoss Bulletin, the Club notes that, from time to time, it receives reports indicating that information provided to vessels or vessel owners by some ports may be inaccurate.
"Recent examples," says the Club, "include discrepancies between declared depths by the authorities and actual draft limitations at ports in South America and India. These sorts of uncertainties may result from the use of out-of-date information by port authorities or reflect commercial pressures, expanding draft limits to allow deeper ships to use ports or terminals.
"In view of the potentially serious consequences of inaccurate depth or draft restrictions, masters are advised to double-check with the pilot or port authority where only a small clearance is expected in a channel, and, where appropriate, to carefully check depths alongside once at berth to help ensure that their vessel remains afloat, if required, at all stages of the tide."
Crowley makes IT software buy
Lawson Software has signed a major contract in the current fiscal quarter with
Crowley Maritime Corporation. Lawson will provide its Financials and Procurement suites to Crowley, including Requisitions and Vendor Self-Service, Scorecard and Design Studio.
Crowley cited low total cost of ownership, advanced technology and\ product functionality as deciding factors in choosing Lawson's product suites for use by its worldwide operations. Crowley will convert an internal legacy mainframe system to a UNIX-based system with 100 percent Internet-based clients, using Lawson's Business Component Integrator (BCI) to interface with the old system.