Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Marshall Islands slashes registration fees
Critics of the Open Register system have spoken scathingly about "sovereignty for sale." Right now, it seems to be on sale! Effective immediately, vessels registering under the Marshall Islands flag will be registered free of registration, documentation and mortgage recordation fees, annual tonnage tax, marine inspection and marine investigation and international participation fees. That's the word from International Registries, Inc., which administers the Marshall Islands corporate and maritime programs ( and which, of course, once upon time used to administer the equivalent Liberian programs).

IRI has also announced a reduction in the annual tonnage tax from U.S. $0.25 per gross ton to $0.20 per net ton. This conversion to a net tonnage tax results in a fifty percent reduction in the annual tonnage tax for vessels currently registered, or to be registered, under the Marshall Islands flag, says IRI. Owners with vessels currently under the Marshalls flag will see the reduction reflected as a credit against the 2001 annual tonnage tax billing.

Death sentences for pirates
Today's South China Morning Post and the Xinhua news agency report that a mainland China court yesterday upheld death sentences on 13 members of a pirate gang.

In November 1998, 18 members of the pirate gang boarded the Hong Kong-owned cargo vessel Cheung Son, with 23 crew on board, in the South China Sea. The pirates were posing as anti-smuggling police.

The gang killed the crewmen by beating them to death. The bodies were weighted and then dumped at sea.

Investigations by mainland police showed the gang had also attacked two other ships, including the Singapore oil tanker Loisan.

On October 22, 1999 the Intermediate People's Court of Sanwei in a first-instance trial, sentenced thirteen of the gang, including Soni Wee, an Indonesian national, and Weng Siliang to death, 19 others received sentences ranging from life imprisonment to shorter terms and six were found not guilty.

After the first-instance trial, 16 of those sentenced appealed to the higher people's court. Yesterday, however, the Guangdong Provincial Higher People's Court Monday handed down a a final judgment upholding the death sentences. It said the lower court's ruling was fair and correct based on the evidence presented in court.

The Higher People's Court ,however, cut the jail terms of two gang members convicted of robbery from 12 to 11 years and 12 to 10 years, though it rejected the appeal of a third gang member against a life sentence.

The gang members who have been sentenced to death have been spared immediate execution because one is Indonesian, and execution of foreign nationals must first be approved in Beijing.

The gang members are expected to be executed in 10 to 20 days if the Supreme People's Court in Beijing approves the sentence against the Indonesian, Wei Suoni.

Desktop support for NNS
Halifax Corporation's IT services division has been awarded a one-year contract to support approximately 10,000 desktop computers at Newport News Shipbuilding. The contract calls for a wide range of IT services and is valued at more than $2.5 million.

Marad contract for North Florida
American Overseas Marine Corporation (AMSEA), on behalf of Marad, has awarded North Florida Shipyards, Jacksonville, Fla., a contract to modify the deck spaces of M/V Cape Wraith.

The job involves removing six movable decks and one fixed deck. Three new fixed decks will be fabricated by the yard's affiliate, North Florida Shipbuilding, and installed in the cargo spaces. Further modifications will be made to fire stations, vent systems, lighting and hydraulic systems to serve the new deck areas. The work is expected to employ three hundred workers over eleven months.

AMSEA has an option to do the same work on a sister ship, Cape Washington, also owned by Marad

Gambling ship sold
Europa Cruises Corporation says it has entered into a $4,650,000 agreement to sell its gambling ship M/V Europa Sun, certain equipment, and any transferable lease rights it had to its Miami Beach, Florida port to Stardancer Casino, Inc. The purchase price includes the payment by the purchaser over time of approximately $1,800,000 to Debis Financial Services, Inc., which holds a first mortgage on the Europa Sun.
The payment to Debis will be secured with a $1,800,000 Letter of Credit. The r

Europa Cruises Corporation owns, operates and/or leases gambling ships. Until the sale of the Sun, the Company owned three vessels, including the Sun, which it chartered to Stardancer Casino, Inc. The company now owns two vessels. The company operates one of its vessels, the M/V Europa Sky, out of Madeira Beach, Florida.



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