TAX CONFERENCE

The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!

Cable vessel Normand Clipper is being converted to offshore construction services vessel

February 11, 2005

Conversion contract for Ulstein Verft

Norway's Solstad Offshore ASA has entered an agreement with the Australia's Clough Limited for hiring of the former cable vessel Normand Clipper.

The contract is for 180 days firm, commencing in November. Clough has options to extend the charter period by either 3 + 2 x 1 years or 5 yearly options in direct continuation of the 180 days period

The commercial terms between the parties are confidential, but Solstad says it gives it an "acceptable return" on the investment.

Normand Clipper will be converted to an offshore constructions service vessel at Ulstein Verft AS and will be ready for service June 1, 2005. The cost of the conversion is approx. NOK 200 million (about US$ 30.5 million).

The conversion will be very similar to that of sister vessel Normand Cutter last year.

"We are pleased that Solstad has yet again chosen us as its partner for a project that is very demanding, both technically and with respect to the delivery date," says Tore Ulstein, president of Ulstein Verft.

The vessel will become a combined construction and pipe-laying vessel with a large freight capacity. The conversion will increase Solstad's capacity for various types of crane assignments, diving assignments and all types of construction work.

"This conversion will be about as extensive as the conversion of her sister vessel, and will demand almost the same amount of working hours as when constructing a large platform supply vessel," says Harald Moeller, Ulstein Verft's sales manager, who says the job is worth around NOK 150 million (US$23 million) to the yard.

Normand Clipper was delivered by Ulstein Verft in 2001 as yard number 258. The vessel had the same employer from then until its contract ran out in October 2004. The vessel has been laid up at Ulstein Verft since early last spring due to a poor cable-laying market that has led to Solstad's decision to convert the vessel.

Normand Cutter following conversion

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