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Marine Log

June 12, 2008

P&O Ferries throws Aker Yards a lifeline

P&O Ferries has signed a Letter of Intent with, Aker Yards, to construct two new ships for the Dover-Calais service.

Aker Yards says the intention is to build the vessels in Aker Yards, Rauma, Finland, where they would create some 1,800 man-years of work--and where work is desperately needed. Just yesterday Kang Duk Soo, Chairman of STX which owns 39.2% of Aker Yards, was talking of the possibility of closing the Finnish yards.

The first of the new P&O Ferries will enter service in December 2010 and the second in September 2011, replacing the Pride of Dover and the Pride of Calais.

At 49,000 gross tonnes, the new ships will be the largest ferries ever to operate in the Short Sea sector and, at 210 meters in length, will be the largest ships capable of fitting into facilities in the Channel ports.

With 2,700 lane meters of vehicle space, they will double the freight carrying capacity of the ships they are replacing, whilst additionally providing a third vehicle deck for up to 250 tourist vehicles. Facilities for up to 1,500 freight drivers and passengers will set a new benchmark in quality standards.

These ships will be as environmentally friendly as possible, offering significant advances in fuel efficiency. The company will also be selecting eco-friendly materials in their construction and intends obtaining for them a “Green Passport” issued by Lloyd’s Register.

The value of the order to Aker Yards is approximately 360 million euros.

With this investment, P&O Ferries, the largest ferry operator on the Strait of Dover, is planning to capture growth in the freight market, currently running in excess of five per cent per annum, whilst also serving the premium tourist market with a superior on board offer.

The company, and ultimately its customers, will also benefit from the huge economies of scale and lower running costs that such large ships can offer.

Aker Yards and P&O Ferries have signed a letter of intent for building two large car-passenger ferries. The total contract price for both vessels would be approximately EUR 360 million. The vessels, scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011 respectively, would be of crucial importance for the Finnish maritime industries.

The intention is to build the vessels in Aker Yards, Rauma, where they would create some 1,800 manyears of work.

"We are glad to have P&O Ferries as our customer. The company is an esteemed operator on the English Channel vehicle and passenger traffic," says Juha Heikinheimo, President of Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries. "When the contract is finalized, it will be of crucial importance for the whole Finnish maritime cluster."

"P&O Ferries is a new customer to Aker Yards, but they are operating four vessels built by the company, so they have already solid experience of our products," he noted.

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