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Thursday, September 28, 2000

Murder charges in ferry disaster
The BBC now reports that multiple murder charges have been brought against the captain and four crew members of the ferry that sank Tuesday, killing at least 64 people

The BBC says investigation is focusing on claims that the ship, which was carrying about 530 passengers, was on automatic pilot minutes before striking a clearly-marked rocky outcrop off the island of Paros.

A number of passengers have accused the crew of negligence - some witnesses said the crew were busy watching the Panathinaikos-Hamburg soccer match on television when the ship ran aground.


Another VLCC for Frontline
Frontline Ltd. has entered into a contract to buy the 1993-built VLCC
M/T General Ace (275,000 dwt) for $53 million. The ship is
scheduled for delivery to Frontline October 10, and will immediately
start trading in the Tankers International pool. The ship is fully
financed and will be named M/T Front Ace.

The ship, which is built by Hitachi, Japan, has since delivery been
financed and operated by Japanese interests. A party related to
Frontline's major shareholder, Hemen Holding, has since delivery been
obliged to purchase the ship. In view of the non-competitive
commitment Hemen Holding has given to Frontline in order to avoid a
conflict of interest, the parties have agreed that the ship will be
taken over by Frontline. Frontline has asked three independent
shipbrokers to assess the value of the ship. The agreed purchase
price of $53 million reflects the average of these three
valuations less a discount of $1.0 million.

The purchase of General Ace brings the total number of Frontline
controlled VLCCs to 30.

 

ATB order for Atlantic Marine
Atlantic Marine, Inc. has received a contract for a second state-of-the-art articulated tug and barge (ATB) vessel to be built at its Alabama Shipyard facility in Mobile, Alabama . This will be the second ATB to be supplied
to Reinauer Transportation Companies headquartered in Staten Island, New York.

"We were awarded this contract to build a second ATB for three reasons, " said Alabama Shipyard' president Dick Wells. "First, the performance of the first ATB has been excellent, fully meeting the requirements of Reinauer's customers. Second, Alabama Shipyard has worked hard to support the first ATB to ensure that Reinauer is a fully satisfied customer. And finally, we offered a market competitive price backed by a proven track record of high quality and on schedule delivery."

Craig Reinauer, CEO of Reinauer Transportation stated, "The first ATB, with
its speed and loading capabilities, enabled us to provide our customers with superior, more timely service." The first ATB, the Nicole Leigh Reinauer,
was delivered by Alabama Shipyard on December 11, 1999 .

The 7,200 hp twin-screw ocean-going tug will have a length of 124 feet and
will feature the patented Intercon tug/barge coupler system designed and
built by Intercontinental Engineering and Manufacturing Corporation of
Kansas City, Missouri.

The system consists of two independently mounted gear drive ram assemblies which connect the tug and barge. The connection is transversely rigid and mechanically locked, resulting in a vessel that
handles like a conventional ship. The tug is able to push a loaded barge at
approximately 11 knots, up to 35% faster than traditionally towed barges.

Alabama Shipyard designed the 143,000-barrel, 487-ft. barge in compliance
with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 ("OPA 90") which requires vessels to have
a "double-hull" in order to provide greater safeguards to the marine
environment. OPA 90 requires most large coastal barges operating in the
petroleum and chemical trade to have double hulls by 2005. Reinauer stated, "This additional ATB will put us ahead of the curve in providing superior service to our customers in an environmentally safe manner."

Additional benefits claimed for the articulated tug/barge unit include the ability to operate in the widest range of sea states; the complete elimination of tug/barge hull contact; fail-safe mechanical connection with redundant
controls, and elimination of the expense and hazards of towing lines and
related gear. The tug/barge can be engaged and disengaged without crew on deck.

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