Joy as round-world cruise rescued

December 31, 2007

Hundreds of cruise ship passengers are celebrating after being told their world trip will go ahead.

Travelscope Holiday’s cruise on the MV Van Gogh, due to leave Falmouth on 4 January, was under threat after the firm went into administration. However, travel organisation Abta (the Association of British Travel Agents) has arranged for the ship to sail. Gloucestershire-based Travelscope went into administration just before Christmas. The company was covered by Abta bond and the Civil Aviation Authority’s Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL), meaning those who had traveled abroad with Travelscope were able to continue their holiday. Customers who had booked future trips were also told they would receive full refunds.

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Big swell closes Sydney beaches

December 31, 2007

Heavy swell is pummeling Sydney’s coastline with most metropolitan beaches closed to swimmers.

The 2m-plus waves have been whipped up by a low off the Queensland coast and one of its beaches – Freshwater – were closed. Curl Curl was believed to have been among the most treacherous. Despite the giant swell, the NSW Ambulance Service said there had been few emergency calls.
The rough conditions had closed beaches right up and down the state’s coast. The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was called on to rescue two surfers stranded off Stanwell Park on the south coast about 10am today. The helicopter was also called in to help a surfer in trouble at Curl Curl beach but lifeguards had rescued him by the time they arrived.

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Gazprom sparks 2008 capital spree

December 31, 2007

Russia‘s gas export monopoly Gazprom will increase capital investment by 43% in 2008 to a record level of almost $20 billion as it speeds up development of Arctic fields and new pipelines.

Gazprom has prioritized equity investment over capital expenditures for several years because of massive new asset purchases despite investor criticism over inadequate new -production investment amid stagnant mature-field output in Siberia. The world’s largest gas producer said its state-controlled board had approved its capital investments, which will rise to a record of 479.4 billion roubles ($19.41 billion) in 2008 from 335.5 billion roubles in 2007 and 324.9 billion in 2006.The capital investments will be equally split between gas production and transportation. Long-term financial investment will fall by 48% to 230.7 billion roubles from a record of 443.86 billion in 2007 and 133.7 billion in 2006. The company, which has a total long-term debt including affiliates of around $45 billion, making it Russia’s most indebted company by far, will borrow 90 billion roubles next year.

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Taiwan’s shipbuilding output expected to top NT$50 billion for 2007

December 31, 2007

The production value of Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry is expected to amount to NT$52 billion (US$1.6 billion) for 2007, up 21 percent over the year-earlier level.

This will mark the first time the country’s shipbuilding output has topped NT$50 billion, predicting that the production value will further expand to more than NT$60 billion for 2008. For the first 11 months of this year, Taiwan’s state-owned shipbuilder — CSBS Corp., Taiwan — saw its revenue amount to NT$26.2 billion and its pre-tax net profit hit a record-high of NT$4 billion. Taiwan’s largest private-owned shipbuilder — Jong Shyn Shipbuding Co. — has invested an additional NT$1.75 billion in expanding existing shipyards and building new facilities this year, and the company’s annual turnover is expected to increase to NT$4 billion after the completion of the project.

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Govt giving importance to maritime security: PM

December 31, 2007

Conceding that the country neglected its maritime security and maritime economy in the past, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the UPA government is paying greater attention to them.

“I do believe that in the past, we have neglected our maritime economy as well as maritime security. The government has been paying greater attention to both,” the PM said while addressing the Goa University Convocation ceremony here this morning. “Centre has modernised ports, improved port efficiency and increased investment in port development,” the PM said. On the defence forces front, the Centre has increased investment in Coast Guard and Indian Navy. “We are proud of our Navy. It is one of the best navies in the world and today offers maritime security in the waters around our subcontinent,” he stated.

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Superior cans Ocean Flow takeover plan

December 30, 2007

US offshore services group Superior Offshore International has cancelled plans to acquire subsea engineering company Ocean Flow International.

Superior Offshore chief executive Jim Mermis said the companies had however agreed to co-operate in future for large deep-water projects. Ocean Flow is a privately held company specializing in deepwater project engineering and offshore project management services.

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Russia delivers nuclear fuel to Iran

December 30, 2007

Russia has delivered a second consignment of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr power plant.

The second consignment of fuel for the Bushehr nuclear plant arrived in Iran on Friday. Ahmad Fayazbaksh said, adding that the delivery was the same amount supplied in the first consignment on December 17. Russia will deliver a total of 82 tonnes of nuclear fuel to Iran over two months in eight separate consignments. It would take at least a year to start the power station. Iran had said it hoped the 1000-megawatt plant in the southern city of Bushehr could come on line within three months, at up to 200 megawatts before being cranked up to full capacity nine months later. The United States and Israel have voiced fears that Iran’s civilian nuclear power program could be a cover for a program to develop atomic weapons, a charge denied by Tehran.

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