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March 7 2002

OECD focuses on maritime security
The focus of international efforts to enhance maritime security has currently switched to the OECD. Today and tomorrow an ad-hoc working group on security of the OECD's Maritime Transportation Committee is meeting in Paris to brainstorm on port security.

The Maritime Transport Committee (MTC) is the only international forum that looks at the maritime sector from both the policy and economic perspectives. The panel is chaired by  Bruce Carlton, Associate Administrator for Policy and International Trade at the U.S. Maritime Administration. He is leading the working group on security.
Prior to the meeting, Carlton expressed the hope that the discussions would be open and would encourage an international dialogue.  “We must participate in these international forums because port security problems require international solutions," he said.  "It is vital that we work with other countries and international agencies worldwide, as well as with all the modes within the Department of Transportation and other agencies in the U.S. government.” 

MARAD says the OECD initiative complements and augments the extensive domestic work being done in port security, such as the Port Security Grant Program, which is being administered by MARAD and the U.S. Coast Guard on behalf of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Maritime Administrator Captain William G. Schubert says Carlton will apply a balanced approach, one that recognizes the critical need for secure ports without sacrificing the efficient flow of international commerce.  Captain Schubert added, "The world’s markets are dependent upon safe, secure and reliable port operations across the globe, because maritime transportation is the dominant component of our international trade infrastructure, carrying over 95 percent of the volume of U.S. overseas foreign trade.”

The meeting will be a workshop, including not only government officials but also members of the shipping industry, and the agenda reflects a relatively “zero-based” approach to defining the future work of the MTC.

“This workshop will not duplicate the work of other international governments or organizations," said Carlton.  "We will not, for example, list or discuss the number of existing port security measures because other working groups have already done that.  The goal of this meeting is to assess the economic and political impact of security measures on international trade and economic growth.  We also hope to accelerate and reinforce the work the International Marine Organization (IMO) accomplished in February.” 

Fast ferry giant finalizes fleet deployment
Sea Containers, which operates a fleet of 16 fast ferries in eleven countries, has finalized deployment of its craft for 2002.

Hoverspeed's fast ferry English Channel service from Dover to Calais will be operated by three SeaCats "Hoverspeed Great Britain,'' "Danmark'' and "France'' providing an "on the hour, every hour" service from 0600 to 2100 for the fastest channel crossing in just 50 minutes berth to berth. The craft are undergoing a complete interior refurbishment with new seating supplied by Beurteaux of Australia.

The Newhaven-Dieppe service restarts March 22 operating SuperSeaCats and SeaCat "Diamant'' resumes operating on the Dover-Ostend service on March 25.

On the Irish Sea network a 100-m monohull SuperSeaCat is operating the historic Liverpool-Dublin route. The service resumed on February 28. The craft can carry up to 620 passenger and 140 cars on the under four-hour crossing. It will also provide services from Liverpool to Douglas, Isle of Man.

SeaCat "Rapide" will take up the Belfast-Heysham service on March 28 with extra car and passenger capacity at 145 and 630 respectively. This is a larger vessel than SeaCat "Hoverspeed Great Britain," which previously operated the service. SeaCat "Isle of Man" will provide fast ferry crossings from Douglas to Belfast, Heysham, Liverpool and Dublin starting on March 27.

SeaCat "Scotland'' continues to serve the Belfast-Troon route, which celebrates its third anniversary in April. The craft has recently undergone a refurbishment that includes a new look passenger interior, bar area and shopping facilities.

In the Baltic Sea the popular duty free route between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia will continue to be served by a SuperSeaCat. The service will start March 28.

The joint venture fast ferry service with SNAV on the Ancona, Italy to Split, Croatia route will operate between June to October - its third season. A new high-speed craft, which will retain the Croazia Jet'' brand, will be introduced. It has capacity for 676 passengers, 156 cars and 8 coaches.

In the U.S., a fleet of five high-speed catamarans operated by SeaStreak America Inc., provides commuter services to several points in Manhattan, New York and New Jersey. TLast year SeaStreak carried 550,000 commuter passengers, a 30% increase on 2000.

Farstad joint venture set for Brazil AHTS contract
Brazilian Offshore Services (BOS), a 50/50 joint venture between Norway's Farstad Shipping ASA and Petroserv SA, is set to win three contracts of 8 years duration in the present Petrobras tender for anchorhandling vessels.

Petrobras has asked for offers in three different classes of AHTS vessels and from one to three vessels in each class. The total number of contracts to be awarded is six. However, each operator can only offer one vessel in each class and the vessels must fly the Brazilian flag.

Farstad say BOS is well placed for three contracts, one in each class of AHTS vessels. This is however subject to the Board of Petrobras approval of the tender board's proposal, which is expected later this month or early next.