Wednesday, May 10, 2000
Northern Ireland's Harland and Wolff has entered into a contract with Seamasters International, Inc. of Bahamas for the design and construction of four sophisticated Ropax (Roll on Roll off passenger) vessels, to be known as the Atlantic 4000 class, valued at some Euro 500 million ($450 million) , subject to Intervention Aid, financing and guarantees.
The Norwegian shipbroking company O-J. Libaek & Partners AS acted as intermediary for this contract, which also includes options for a further two vessels. If exercised, these options would bring the total value of the contract to approximately £500M.
The Atlantic 4000 class is based on the Starship 2000/ _ -Pax 2500 ropax concepts developed by SeaTrade AS of Oslo.
The first vessel is scheduled to enter service in mid 2002 with subsequent deliveries phased through until early 2004, should contracts for all six vessels be confirmed.
Announcing the contract, Harland and Wolff chief executive, Brynjulv Mugaas, said: "We are delighted to have secured this contract, based on our capability, capacity and ability to meet the delivery requirements of the customer. These will be truly innovative vessels, illustrating the capability of Harland and Wolff to undertake the design and construction of sophisticated projects.
"This contract represents a significant opportunity for Harland and Wolff to establish itself in this market sector. There is presently a lack of tonnage available in the market for Ropax vessels and none as innovative as the Atlantic 4000.
"The innovative design of the Atlantic 4000 differs from competing vessels through its better utilization of the vessel's internal space, substantial improvement in the flexibility of transporting different payloads and a much more economic propulsion system which will deliver a higher average speed.
"It is expected that the Atlantic 4000 will be 15-20% more fuel efficient than competing designs by virtue of reduced steelweight, new hull lines, Siemens diesel-electric propulsion systems with pod propellers and optimized load sharing software controlling the main engines.
"Although initial design work will
commence immediately and use the vast majority of our technical
capability, full construction activity would not commence until
around the end of the year. We are continuing our efforts to
manage this underutilization of our construction capability by
seeking to secure steelwork and outfitting contracts from both
the marine and commercial sectors."
Tanker captain arrested for concealing leak from
U.S. Coast Guard
According to the affidavit, the leak had existed since at least March 12, 2000, when the ship was sailing from Europe to Bermuda. A makeshift repair using a cement patch failed to stop the leak and the ship continued from Bermuda to Baltimore. Estimates of the leak ranged from approximately 105 to 516 gallons per hour. The ship was detained as a flooding risk by the Coast Guard on March 22, 2000, after inspectors found "a cascade of water flowing into the bilge from the patch and the surface of the water in the engine room bilge was covered by a thick layer of black oil and the water was rising."
As also alleged in the affidavit, on March 20, 2000, Captain Maric sent a telex to the ship's operator in Denmark asking whether he should report the temporary repair of the leak to the Coast Guard. The operating company replied the following day that they intended to make repairs in the next port, Tampa, Florida, and further directed: "the temporare [sic] repair shall not be reported to the coast guard in baltimore."
Under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act it is a crime for the owner, agent, captain, operator or person in charge of a ship to knowingly and willfully fail to immediately report a hazardous condition such as leaking to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port.
The Freja Jutlandic was inspected by the Coast Guard upon arrival in the Port of Baltimore on March 22, 2000, as part of a Port State Control Boarding to assure compliance with international and domestic standards. Coast Guard found a total of 14 deficiencies including the hull breach and the ship required repair in a dry dock. According to the affidavit, a metal plate of approximately 12" x 18" containing a "rust cancer that is worn extremely thin in some areas and contains two distinct holes" was removed from the ship during the repair.
The criminal complaint also charges that Captain Maric made false statements and presented false documents to the Coast Guard. The complaint affidavit alleges that the tanker's Oil Record Book, a required log used to record all overboard discharges, contained no entries showing the discharge of oily bilge water created by the leak, including those made without the use of an Oil Water Separator, a required pollution prevention device. "The Oil Record Book's silence regarding overboard discharges helped to initially conceal the hazardous loss of hull integrity and the discharge of oil," according to the complaint affidavit.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Coast Guard Investigative Service with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, Activities, Baltimore, the F.B.I., and the Baltimore Police Department and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Udell.