Tuesday, May 30, 2000

Bergesen to cut number of Norwegian, British officers

Traditionally, Norway's Bergesen has employied a high number of Norwegians onboard its ships. It has also been a leader in recruiting and educating Norwegian seafarers. Today, some 3,800 seafarers work onboard Bergesen vessels today ; approximately 1,050 are Norwegian and approximately 200 British nationals. Most of the Norwegian and British seafarers are officers.

Those numbers are set to be cut dramatically.

To regain competitiveness and long term stability in recruitment of seafarers Bergesen wants to replace a number of Norwegian and British seafarers onboard its vessels with officers and others from other countries. The aim is to obtain a substantial reduction resulting in Bergesen having approximately 600 Norwegian and British seafarers by the end of 2002. It says a large portion of this reduction "will take effect at the normal term of employment" and "for the rest voluntary solutions
will be sought in co-operation with the organizations involved."

Cadets, trainees and junior officers will be allowed to finish their education.

Bergesen says the number of people seeking employment as seafarers has increased in recent years. However, changes in the general labor market and development in the offshore sector has, says Bergesen, "caused young Norwegian seafarers to lose interest in choosing the maritime sector as a lifelong career possibility. The result is a high turnover of the younger Norwegian officers and an increase in the average age of our Norwegian top officers.

Bergesen says its competitors in Norway and abroad operate their ships with a much lower number of West European officers, resulting in considerable differences in costs. Bergesen notes it "is dependent upon having a competitive level of ship operating costs" and that manning costs constitute a substantial portion of the total ship operating costs. Bergesen says itschange in policy will yield annual cost savings estimated at NOK 200 million based on its current fleet.

CMB unit in long term LNG shipping deal with Enron
Exmar, the gas transportation operating company of CMB (Compagnie
Maritime Belge) , has entered into a long-term agreement with the U.S. based energy group, Enron, for thetransportation of LNG.

Exmar has placed an order for a 138,000 cubic metre LNG carrier with
South Korea's Daewoo Heavy Industries for delivery second
half 2002.

Litton awarded $41.7 million for Aegis destroyer engineering, planning services
Litton Industries (NYSE:LIT) announced today that the U.S. Navy awarded Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding a $41.7 million cost-plus-award-fee contract, under which Ingalls will continue to provide engineering and planning support services to the Navy's DDG 51 Class Aegis guided missile destroyer program.

The $41.7 million award is the first increment of a five-year Follow-Yard Services contract, which has a potential total value of more than $211 million. The remaining elements of the contract will be awarded annually over the next four years. Litton Ingalls has been providing support services for the DDG 51 program for the past 12 years.

"Ongoing support of the Navy's surface fleet is a major element of Litton Ship Systems' business base," said Jerry St. Pe, executive vice president of Litton and chief operating officer of Litton Ship Systems. "By awarding this new five-year Follow-Yard Services contract, the Navy expresses its confidence in Litton Ship Systems' ability not only to build these ships, but also to provide vital engineering and planning support to a class of destroyers that now includes more than 50 ships in the Fleet or under contract."

Litton Ingalls has delivered 12 Aegis destroyers to the Navy, and will deliver a 13th, ROOSEVELT (DDG 80), next month. Twelve additional Aegis destroyers are under contract or option to Litton Ingalls, with delivery dates extending into 2006.

New charterparty
BP Amoco Shipping and BIMCO have developede a new charterparty, with the BIMCO Documentary Committee giving its approval to a new standard tank time charterparty, code named BPTIME3.

BP Amoco Shipping, which has a long tradition of developing tank charterparties,
saw it as its objective to draft a new time charterparty applying clear language
and striking a good balance between the two parties. "We wanted to draw up a
charterparty that is easy to read, easy to use and reflects the interests of
both parties," said Adrian McMahon, BP Amoco Shipping's Manager Chartering
and Operations. "We felt that in order to ensure that the right balance was
struck it was important to bring the shipowners into the process, and we therefore
took the unusual step of approaching BIMCO. BIMCO was chosen because of its
long tradition of producing standard documents for the industry and its expertise
in time charters in all sectors of the shipping market. The relationship has
been very productive."

The BIMCO Documentary Committee, renowned for its documentary expertise, was approached in the spring of 1999. Soren Larsen, Deputy Secretary General of
BIMCO, accurately summed up both organirations' dedication to the project,
stating "A considerable amount of work has been devoted to this project by
BP Amoco Shipping and BIMCO during the past year. Nevertheless, the development of this thoroughly revised and modern tanker time charterparty within such a short time span took a substantial amount of effort. This serves to prove the importance of the new document."

BIMCO and BP Amoco Shipping say they have worked hard to ensure that the new form not only meets the stringent expectations of the industry, but will also conform to the high standards required of all documents which gain BIMCO's stamp of approval. Particular attention has been paid by BIMCO and BP Amoco Shipping to the often contentious issues of cancelation, speed and performance,
delivery/redelivery, and dispute resolution, with a fresh and innovative
approach taken to these provisions.

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