2001 Maritime

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September 6, 2001

Cruise line pays Alaska $55,000 in air quality case
Celebrity Cruise Lines has agreed to pay the State of Alaska $55,000 to settle claims of violations of the state’s air emission standards during the 2000 cruise season, state Attorney General Bruce Botelho announced today.

"This settlement represents another positive step by the state and Celebrity Cruises to resolve environmental concerns raised over the last several years,” Botelho said. “I am pleased that Celebrity was willing to cooperatively resolve these Notices of Violation short of litigation.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation last year issued 15 civil Notices of Violation of state air emission standards to large cruise lines that operated in Alaska waters. Virtually every major cruise line received at least one notice.

Under the settlement agreement Celebrity paid a total of $55,000 to satisfy the state’s claims that Celebrity’s ships violated air opacity standards on two occasions during the 2000 cruise season. Celebrity did not admit or deny the state’s allegations in the settlement agreement, but stated that by settling it hoped to bring a quick resolution to the matter and foster cooperation with the state in the future.

“We are encouraged by the timely resolution of these issues by Celebrity Cruises,” said Michele Brown, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. “Through the landmark cruise ship legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Knowles, we will continue to closely monitor air emissions and work with the cruise lines to find ways to prevent violations from occurring in the future.”

Discussions with other cruise lines regarding violations during the summer of 2000 are ongoing.

NCL orders bilge water "polishers"
Norwegian Cruise Lines has ordered two ship-sets of PFM filters from Hermont Marine Inc. They will operate as the final effluent-polishing element of the bilge water treatment systems on two ships. One system was installed on a ship sailing between Vancouver BC and Alaska, the other for installation in Europe.

Hermont Marine Inc. comments that for oil -free bilge water discharges it proposes treatment through Coast Guard approved oily water separators, followed by the PFM filter for the removal of emulsified oil from the overboard discharge. Effluent quality achieved is well below environmental requirements, says Hermont, as oil content becomes undetectable and total hydrocarbons in the effluent are typically at <4ppm, even with heavily emulsified "real world" bilge water.

Rather than attempting to break the emulsions in bilge water before separating through oil filtering equipment, Hermont absorbs residual hydrocarbons in the PFM filter media.

Hermont offers company offers calibration services for oil content meters, to insure IMO compliant performance and to reduce the personal liability of managers and directors.

West Africa work for Bingo 9000-1
Ocean Rig ASA has received a Letter of Intent from affiliates of ExxonMobil Corporation and a subsidiary of BP p.l.c. for drilling services with its semi-submersible drilling rig Leiv Eiriksson.

Leiv Eiriksson is the first of the two Bingo 9000 rigs built under a problem-plagued contract with Friede Goldman Halter.

The Letter of Intent reflects a drilling program of multiple wells (including firm and optional wells) offshore West Africa.

The drilling contract will commence upon finalization of a customer-defined acceptance test program in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The rig will thereafter mobilize to West Africa and it is estimated that drilling operations on the first well will start in the fourth quarter of this year. The gross revenues under the firm portion of the drilling program (estimated duration of around 10 months plus mobilization) of this contract will amount to approximately $ 57 million.

The Letter of Intent is made subject to final agreement on contractual terms, completion of the testing program as well as final approval from the consortium’s coventurers and appropriate governments.

Ocean Rig has been marketing its units for the West Africa deepwater areas since 1998, and the commitment now announced represents a breakthrough in Ocean Rig’s effort to provide drilling services in this area.