2001 Maritime

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June 8, 2001

Halter inks OSV contract
Halter Marine, Inc., the vessel unit of Friede Goldman Halter, Inc., yesterday said that it had signed a contract for the new construction of a 230-ft offshore supply vessel for Kim Susan, Inc.

Halter had announced a letter of intent for the vessel on May 11.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 30 days, and delivery is scheduled to take 12 months.

Harland & Wolff wins Glomar appeal
The Court of Appeal in London today ruled that Global Marine pay Harland and Wolff the amounts of $27 million and $3.3 million in relation to the outstanding delivery installment payable on the drillship Glomar Jack Ryan.

The ship was completed by Harland and Wolff in July 2000.The judgement restored an original arbitration award of September 14, 2000. The ruling stated that it was not for the court to substitute its own view for that of experienced arbitrators on such an issue.

Welcoming the award, Harland and Wolff chief executive Brynjulv Mugaas accused Global Marine of seeking to "starve Harland and Wolff of monies due in what, we believe, was a futile effort to bankrupt our company and avoid having to address our claim for more than $133 million of additional work." He added that we "would now hope and expect that Global Marine will honor their responsibilities and pay the outstanding amounts determined by the Court of Appeal."

Mugaas said the proceeds will be used to further repay outstanding bank debts.

Class leaders set for July implementation of stepped up safety measures
Implementation of nine of the ten sweeping safety initiatives announced by ABS, DNV and LR on March 15 will take place on July 1, as scheduled, the three leading classification societies have announced.

Among the most important changes is that, effective July 1, the three societies will jointly implement a three-part policy relating to the issuance of ISM Shipboard Safety Management Certificates (SMC).

Flag states have already been advised that, as of July 1, each of the three societies will decline to issue SMC certificates on vessels which they do not also class. From that date, too, each of the three will decline to renew, on expiry, SMC certificates that they previously issued on vessels not in class with that society.

The only exception is that there are many fleets whose ships may be classed with several societies but whose owner ship manager uses a single auditing body for the company's Document of Compliance (DOC) and for the SMCs for every ship in its fleet. In these instances, it has been agreed that, provided the society that issues the DOC and SMCs also classes a minimum of 25 per cent of the vessels, adequate oversight of the management and operation of the entire fleet will be achieved through the class engagement. This balance provides an appropriate sample for the society to assess both the effectiveness of the management system and the quality of the fleet.

In addition to these changes in their internal ISM procedures, the three societies have also agreed to recommend that IMO, flag states and IACS reconsider the current two and a half year period between ISM audits.

The three societies will provide the Secretary General of IMO with a report detailing their experience as ISM auditors since the Code was implemented in July 1998. This will show that a shorter interval between audits is required if the Code is to meet its intended purpose of improving the safety and quality of the shipping industry in a fair and equitable manner.

Flag states in information exchange agreement
Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands have signed an agreement to exchange information on vessels when flag transfers are made. A full history of the ship will be given by the deleting registry. The receiving registry undertakes not to accept a ship without receiving the full history.

The agreement was welcomed by Don Sheetz, Executive Vice-President of Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited.

"Vanuatu has been working towards an agreement of this kind for several years," said Sheetz. "Exchange of information will discourage owners with an unsatisfactory record from registering vessels with a less than satisfactory history".

In fact, Vanuatu has decided to supply all receiving registries with the history it has on any vessel it deletes.

"The aim is to prevent 'flag shopping' when an owner moves from flag to
flag to avoid regulations or inspections", said Sheetz. "It helps to find the vessels moving on because a registry gets tough".

Vanuatu is pressing for industry-wide standards on the exchange of information and sees the agreement with Marshall Islands as a first step towards this.

Clay Maitland, managing partner of International Registries, Inc. (IRI), which administers the Marshall Islands registry, said that an agreement had been reached with Vanuatu Maritime Services Limited (VMSL), the
administrator of the Vanuatu ship registry, aimed at enforcing high quality safety standards for ships transferring between the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu flags.

"This will ensure that no permission for transfer or certificates of deletion will be issued between the two registries, for any vessel deemed by either flag state to have failed to meet applicable international rules and standards", he said. "I believe it is the first agreement of its type".

He said that IRI and VMSL are also in discussion concerning cooperation on a number of broader safety-related and technical issues.

Maitland said discussions are also taking place with certain other safety conscious registries. "We hope they will join us in coordinating their vessel transfer policies. We expect that we can now work towards a high level of co-op era ti on with other responsible registries, and by that we mean not just open registries".

"We hope that other major registries will join us or form similar international agreements, and that perhaps in the not to distant future we will arrive at a global concordat of quality registries. That will clearly identify and isolate the substandard registries, which hopefully will either radically improve if they can, or go out of business".

New product from Leica Marine GPS
Leica Marine GPS unveiled what it says is the "first fully integrated GPS/DGPS/AIS shipboard system" at last week's Norshipping marine exhibition in Oslo

The new MX 420 system meets IMO carriage requirements for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). All new ships over 300 grt must be equipped with an approved AIS after July 1, 2002. Existing ships must be retrofitted with AIS over the next six years. Deadline dates for retrofits depend on the type and size of vessel.

The MX 420 system incorporates a high-accuracy MX 421 GPS/DGPS receiver and an IMO-compliant AIS transponder system, with a combined control and display unit. Optionally, the MX 420 AIS can be interfaced with an already installed GPS or DGPS receiver on board instead of the MX 421.

The MX 421 is a type-approved high-precision GPS/DGPS smart antenna, which was introduced by Leica in late 2000.

It is the first marine GPS product to use a new silicon germanium (SiGe) receiver chip developed jointly by Leica and IBM.

In field trials, the MX 421is said to have consistently achieved positioning accuracies of under three meters RMS (root mean square) in an autonomous, non-differential mode.

When used with the built-in dual-channel DGPS beacon receiver, the MX 421 yields accuracies of under one meter RMS.

The MX 421 DGPS beacon receiver includes an H-field antenna for superior signal reception and interference rejection, and has been designed to meet all existing and projected IMO carriage requirements for GPS and DGPS.

The AIS transponder module in the MX 420 system was designed and developed by SAAB TransponderTech. It meets all specifications for marine AIS shipboard equipment, including IMO Resolution MSC.74(69) Annex 3, ITU-R Recommendation M.1371-1 and IEC Standard 61993-2.The system is designed to be compliant with future standards through software upgrades.

The heart of the MX 420 system is a control and display unit (CDU) that controls all GPS, DGPS and AIS functions. Display and operating procedures are similar to Leica's MX 400 series GPS products. The CDU collects inputs from the ships gyrocompass, speed log and other sensors, organizes the data for transmission through the AIS transponder unit and collects and displays AIS data from all other stations. It also interfaces with the ships ECDIS, ARPA, VDR and other systems. The CDU keypad is used for entering static and voyage-related data for AIS reports, as well as system setup and all GPS/DGPS functions. The system provides extensive interfacing capacity, with eight user ports and additional dedicated ports for connection of the MX 421 smart antenna. A separate, dedicated port can be used for the ship's pilot to plug a laptop computer into the AIS.

SafeNet software for FPSO
ABS Nautical Systems LLC has been selected by Monaco-based Single Buoy Moorings (SBM) to provide its ABS SafeNet hull maintenance management software for an FPSO (floating production/offloading storage) vessel, currently under conversion.

The AMAZON FALCON, a former tanker, is undergoing conversion at Keppel Fels shipyard in Singapore. It is the first SBM vessel to utilize this type of operational management software.

The hull maintenance module is one of a suite of integrated fleet operational management programs available from ABS Nautical Systems. It provides a comprehensive system by which an operator can monitor the condition of a vessel's hull structure throughout its working life. It includes a complete technical model of the vessel, its structural data and survey history including details on all repairs and modifications.

With operators and regulators concerned about the future condition of older tankers that are being converted for use as FPSO's, ABS NS hull maintenance provides added security for owners such as SBM.

ABS NS has already modeled the main cargo block of the AMAZON FALCON. This computer modeling has returned immediate dividends as it has enabled more efficient on-site management of the shipyard conversion project.

Once in service, one of the main benefits of the system will be the expediting of the life cycle gauging process. The hull maintenance program provides electronic storage of all gaugings taken throughout the vessel's life. It incorporates a powerful tool that allows that data to be analyzed and provides accurate predictions of the future fatigue life of critical structural components.

Features of the hull maintenance module include: 3-D graphical representation of the hull, detailed 2-D models of structural components, life cycle gauging history, coating condition, anode condition, damage and repair history, a comprehensive electronic library of condition and damage photographs, accurate prediction of future structural deterioration and remaining life of members, and assistance in the development of cost-effective maintenance and repair strategies.