Pulling plug on China yard, Algoma turns to Uljanik

Equinox Class ship Algoma Harvester entering Port Colborne harbor from Lake Erie Equinox Class ship Algoma Harvester entering Port Colborne harbor from Lake Erie

SEPTEMBER 12, 2015 – Canada's Algoma Central Corporation has given up on a contract for three 740 ft Equinox self-unloading bulkers originally placed with financially troubled Chinese shipyard Nantong Mingde. Instead it has signed conditional contracts for the trio with Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik.

These contracts with Uljanik are contingent upon delivery by the shipyard of acceptable security for the construction instalments required under the contracts. The contracts with Nantong Minde were canceled earlier this year.

"Our experience with the Uljanik Group on the Equinox 650 Class project has given us confidence in the shipyard's ability to deliver high quality vessels on the agreed timelines," said Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma. "Our Equinox project has faced significant delays as a result of the financial problems encountered by Nantong Mingde shipyard. Working closely with Uljanik, we are confident in the continuation of Algoma's fleet renewal project."

These new Equinox Class ships will feature a boom forward configuration designed to provide greater flexibility in certain delivery situations. The vessels will have an overall length of 225.55 m (740 ft) and a beam of 23.77 m (78 ft), qualifying as Seaway Max size ships. The vessels will carry 29,300 tonnes at maximum Seaway draft.

The new Equinox vessels will have all of the features of the existing Equinox design, including the exhaust gas scrubber technology pioneered by Algoma on the Great Lakes in its first Equinox Class gearless bulk carriers. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2018 with the balance of the ships set for deliveryby the end of that year.

Algoma says it is "continuing with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities."

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