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March 1 2004

Graig to extend size range of ships built in Vietnam

The Cardiff, U.K., based Graig Group is to build on its recent fifteen-ship order in Vietnam by developing series production of a full range of modern-design bulk carriers at Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (Vinashin) yards. The series will range from handysize up to capesize.

Speaking after announcement of a strategic alliance with Vinashin, Graig CEO Hugh Williams said, "We see significant potential here in Vietnam, and we will be working together with our Vinashin partners to meet the growing demand for modern bulk carriers. The success of our Diamond 53 handymax project in China and in Vietnam proves that owners want well-thought-out and strong vessels at good prices. We will shortly be announcing new sizes of the Diamond range for Graig and its partners. Vinashin is investing heavily in yard capacity, and with our help it will be able to build series of bulkers to quality levels, but with good prices and attractive delivery dates."

Graig currently has 27 Diamond 53 handymax bulkers on order or building at Chinese and Vietnamese yards.

"The key to successful production of good ships at attractive prices is to work in partnership with yards that want to upgrade quality and productivity," explains Williams. "The concept of partnering has been a hallmark of our growth in China and with the strategic alliance with Vinashin we look forward to significantly growing our business together. We can now provide owners, other end-users and ourselves with one-stop access to quality vessels, while helping our yard partners to develop. Partnership is the key, and we have proven we can be the key partner in all aspects of the shipbuilding and operating chain."

Graig Investments Ltd, a subsidiary of the Graig Group, is currently discussing long-term partnerships with key shippers and end-users of bulk carriers, to ensure stable employment for the series of vessels. "Shippers with regular needs want to be able to cover part of their long term requirements," says Williams, "It makes a lot of sense to extend the partnership concept right through from the design to the end-user to create long-term partnerships which serve everyone's interests."

The Diamond 53 ultra-handymax double hull bulk carrier design has been developed jointly by Graig and Denmark's' Carl Bro after detailed discussions with charterers. Diamond 53 is a geared, wide-hatched, 53,000 dwt handymax bulk carrier with double hull and a high specification intended to address current bulk carrier safety concerns.

Graig Group has placed five firm orders and secured ten options for its Diamond 53 bulker with Vinashin. The orders are part of an alliance intended to see the Vietnamese yards expand the range and quality of their output, drawing on Graig's long-standing experience of building ships in China.

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