Thursday, June 22,
new spill penalties
According to Dewhurst, more than 1,200 oil spills were reported in Texas waters last year. "Most of these were accidents," her said,."caused by the absence of established commonsense procedures, adequate training, or due caution. Many companies were responsible for multiple spills, all of which were easily preventable."
The new guidelines are posted on the Land Office web site, www.glo.state.tx.us/oilspill, The guidelines were developed by a task force made up of industry representatives, environmental groups, and GLO staff. "A number of oil transporters who are conscientious about handling oil and reporting spills have said privately that the penalties will help level the playing field with operators who have been less than conscientious," Dewhurst said.
The new scheme also includes incentives. Companies with a "Sound Management Practice Program" will receive reduced assessments when spills occur. "This is not about making money for the state," Dewhurst said. "It's about protecting our beaches, bays, wetlands, and aquatic life. After an appropriate interval we'll sit down with the stakeholders and see how we're doing and what else, if anything, needs to be done."
Under Texas law, oil spills in Texas coastal waters must be reported to the General Land Office. Federal law requires reporting maritime spills to the Coast Guard.
The Land Office operates the state's oil spill prevention response program created by the 1991 Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act. The 56-person staff includes 43 response officers and support staff in five field offices along the coast. The program is paid for by a two-cent per barrel fee on out-of-state oil entering Texas.
EPA continues crackdown
on Alaska cruise ships
"Each ship was informed that their smoke was in excess of what is allowed by the state air quality (law) and the federal Clean Air Act," said John Pavitt, Alaska air quality coordinator for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Daily News.
The paper quotes Pavitt as saying that the results from the June 10-12 inspections will be reviewed by the EPA's Seattle regional office, which will determine whether air pollution violations occurred and whether to issue citations.
Pavitt told the newspaper he would not name the cruise ships, because the data is still being reviewed, but he did say that all four of the ships were owned by companies that were cited by the EPA last February for air quality violations during the summer of 1999.
Pavitt, who conducted the inspections that led to the February citations, said the amount of smoke observed coming from the ships in the recent checks was "very similar" to the levels that were determined to be violations.
Pavitt is one of the agency's specially trained "smoke readers," who must be recertified every six months. They are trained to judge the opacity of air pollution while the ships are in various positions.
The smoke reader determines the opacity by measuring over time the percentage of landscape that can be seen through the smoke with the naked eye. If nothing can be seen, opacity is considered to be 100 percent. If everything is visible, opacity is zero.
Pavitt said he measured the ships' emissions both while they were in port and during movement to or from the dock.
During the same three days of the June inspection, the EPA received complaints from the public saying the ships at the docks in Juneau were creating a lot of smoke, Pavitt said.
stock offering will raise $69.7 million
Frontline in $48.5 million
The transaction was successfully placed by Fearnley Fonds ASA and Alfred Berg. Part of the proceeds from the private placement will be used to finance the equity investment in the two Suezmaxes Frontline recently bought from Euronav. The remaining part of the proceeds will be used to fund further acquisitions in the modern Suezmax and VLCC market.
Chairman John Fredriksen said: "The strengthening of Frontline's equity combined with the strong operating cashflow we are currently enjoying, puts Frontline in an excellent position to continue to be the driving force in the consolidation of the tanker market. The success of Tankers International and Alliance Chartering confirm that we are on the right track.
"We see several interesting investment
opportunities in today's market. Opportunities which would strengthen
Frontline's market position further and, most importantly, give
a good financial return to our shareholders."
Roads repairers team to pursue Navy business
Norshipco and Metro Machine Corp. announced the teaming agreement Wednesday.
The two Norfolk-based firms will remain independent and will still compete against each other for other Navy ship repair jobs not covered by their teaming arrangement, says the paper.
The target of the teaming arrangement is the Navy's plan to begin modernizing its 27 Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers beginning in 2003. While it's not yet clear if the Navy will elect to modernize all 27 warships, each job will be extensive, lasting up to a year.
The teaming will help the two yards compete against yards such as Ingalls Shipbuilding of Mississippi and Bath Iron Works of Maine, both of which built the cruisers, and, perhaps, Newport News Shipbuilding.
"This work is going to be large and complex and might be judged beyond the capability of either one of us individually,'' the newspaper quotes Richard Goldbach, Metro Machine's president, as saying. "By combining we increase our chances of that work being done by us.''
The teaming arrangement, says the newspaper, will also allow more effective and efficient use of the two shipyards' big drydocks, Norshipco's Titan and Metro Machine's Old Dominion, which is currently being repaired in Romania and is scheduled to be back in Norfolk by October. The goal is to put cruiser modification work into the Old Dominion, freeing up the Titan to pursue the large amphibious ships and commercial work such as cruise ships and oil tankers.
While many details remain to be worked
out, the arrangement calls for Norshipco to serve as the lead
contractor with Metro Machine as a subcontractor.
Swedish stealth corvette
The Visby corvette, also known as the YS
2000 series, was designed and built by Kockums AB at the Karlskrona
Shipyard in Sweden. Kockums AB currently has a total of six Visby-class
corvettes on order. These are the first stealth vessels in series