TAX CONFERENCE

The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!


March 10, 2005

UK Club stresses LNG ship safety record

With LNG ships receiving growing public attention, the UK P&I Club points out that "serious accidents affecting the ships and their cargoes have been few and the safety record has been good."

The UK P&I Club's latest issue of Carefully To Carry, published this month, cites the case of the Gaz Fountain, hit by rockets in the first Gulf War. Despite penetration of the containment system and huge LPG fires, the fires were extinguished and the ship and most of the cargo salved.

The gas trades still employ relatively few ships--just under 1,000 carriers of over 1,000 cu. meters capacity--compared with over 16,000 oil tankers.

The world fleet includes 336 pressurized LPG carriers, 189 semi-pressurized LPG carriers, 103 ethylene carriers, 185 fully refrigerated LPG carriers and 175 LNG carriers.

Of the total capacity ofÊ over 35 million cubic meters, nearly 20.7 million are accounted for by LNG carriers, which comprise just under 18 percent of the gas carrier fleet by number but respresent 59 percent of carrying capacity.

The UK P&I Club has insured the protection and indemnity risks of LNG carriers since 1964. Today, the club covers 43 percent of the world's LNGs by tonnage and 47 percent by number.

Herry Lawford, Chairman of Thomas Miller (Asia-Pacific) Ltd., told an LNG trade conference, organized by the International Association of Maritime Universities, at Busan, South Korea on February 28th that the UK Club's own analysis of claims over $100,000 showed just 32 LNG-related claims in 18 years, costing $17.5 million.

"Given that LNG ships are exceptionally carefully designed, built and maintained, the weakest link in the chain is, as usual, human error by crew and pilots," said Lawford. "Collision and grounding claims on all vessels are caused primarily by deck officer error which should not surprise anyone. However, no less than five per cent of major claims are caused by pilot error with 14 per cent of collisions due predominantly to pilots."

In recent years, collision claims in Chinese waters had shown a noticeable increase. Lawford said this was hardly surprising given the higher number of ship movements "but a worry nonetheless for the upcoming LNG project now being undertaken in that country, although the frequency of such cases seems to have stabilized."

Carefully to Carry discusses the carriage of liquefied gases in detail. It sets out the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each type of gas carrier and summarizes why they are among the safest vessels on the high seas. It covers tank and containment systems, the closed loading system which prevents venting to atmosphere, automated loading, vapor return lines, the interconnections between ship and shore emergency shutdown systems, drydock safety, the growth in vessel capacity, IMO Codes, certification and training.

Copies can be downloaded from the UK Club's website www.ukpandi.com

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