UK holds six vessels

March 20, 2008

The UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency detained six foreign ships during February 2008 after failing Port State Control (PSC) inspection.

In February 159 Port State Control inspections were carried out in the UK. A total of 41 vessels had no deficiencies raised against them, 70 had between one and five deficiencies, 36 had between six and ten deficiencies 11 had between eleven and twenty deficiencies and there was 1 vessel inspected which had more than twenty deficiencies. Out of the detained vessels three were registered with a flag states listed on the Paris MOU white list, six were registered with flag states on the grey list and two were registered with flag states on the black list and one was not listed.
The vessels detained in February included a 499gt St Vincent & Grenadines flagged general cargo vessel, which was detained in Hull following the arrest of the master who had been arrested by the local police as it was suspected he had been drinking. In another case a 20,248gt Panama-flagged vessel was detained in Bristol because the port lifeboat suspension falls blocks – forward & aft were holed and wasted. The fire drill and abandonment drill was substandard and the crew showed a lack of emergency preparedness during these drills. The number and nature of the defects identified on board indicated a major breakdown of the vessels’ Safety Management System (SMS).

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Somali pirates free Russian-built tugboat

March 20, 2008

Somali pirates have freed a Russian-built tugboat more than a month after it was seized off the coast of the Horn of Africa country, a minister in the breakaway Puntland region said.

Ahmed Said Awnur, Puntland’s minister for seaports and fishery, told that the Svitzer Korsakov was released late Monday along with its crew after a ransom was paid. “We got the information that the pirates released a Russian ship in the coastal village of Eyl after they were paid a ransom of 700,000 dollars,” Awnur told. “We regret that deal because it encourages the pirate attacks.” Comprising six crew members — a British captain, an Irish chief engineer, a Russian first officer and three Russian crewmen — the boat was captured on February 1. Denmark-based maritime services company Svitzer said: “All crew members are well and unharmed,” but declined to elaborate on the ransom. “Any such details provided in the public domain would, we believe, encourage would-be pirates and add further danger to the victims of such attacks,” it said in its website. Numerous attacks have taken place off Somalia’s 3,700-kilometre (2,300-mile) coastline, prompting the International Maritime Bureau to advise sailors to steer clear. Somalia lies at the mouth of the Red Sea on a major trade route between Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal.

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Yantai Raffles Shipyard to have a new major shareholder

March 20, 2008

Yantai Raffles Chairman, Mr Brian Chang, has entered into an agreement to sell approximately 81.8 million shares in YRSL.

It represents approximately 29.9 percent of YRSL’s issued share capital, to China International Marine Containers (CIMC) at a price of US$6.92 per share (for a total consideration of approximately US$566 million). The agreement is expected to complete in 3Q, 2008 and is conditional, inter alia, upon CIMC obtaining necessary PRC governmental approvals. Mr. Chang will retain a total interest (direct and indirect) in YRSL of approximately 39.0 million shares representing approximately 14.3 percent of Yantai Raffles’ issued share capital.

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Chinese yards in jack-up frenzy

March 20, 2008

A hot offshore rig market in China has spawned a flurry of orders at Chinese fabricators, with Offshore Oil Engineering Company about to secure an order for four jack-ups and with Yantai Raffles Shipyard forging plans to bear the risk itself by building speculative jack-ups at its own-cost.

Increased offshore oil and gas activities, particularly in the Bohai Bay shallow waters, have triggered a hefty increase in China’s rig demand. At least 18 jack-ups are already being built or on order at Chinese yards for developing oil and gas fields off China. Most of these rigs, scheduled for delivery in about 2010, are owned by China Oilfield Service Ltd (COSL), the drilling service unit for top offshore oil and gas operator China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). CNOOC has worked out an ambitious plan to increase annual oil and gas production in Bohai Bay from about 20 million cubic metres of oil equivalent at present to 30 MMcm by 2010, at which time it will account for about 50% of CNOOC’s total output.

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Gulf of Mexico lease sales reap record breaking results

March 20, 2008

The U.S. Minerals Management Service reported record-breaking results for Lease Sale 206, which offered blocks in the central Gulf of Mexico, and Lease Sale 224, which offered blocks in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Both sales were conducted at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. MMS Director Randall Luthi said, “Today’s sales emphasize the Gulf’s strategic value for America’s energy security and the significant economic benefits of environmentally safe oil and gas production for the nation and the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas producing states.” The sum of high bids in Lease Sale 206 totaled over US$3.7 billion, setting a new record, while the sum of all bids was over US$5 billion. Operators left around US$2 billion on the table, an indication of how heavily invested many of these companies are or want to be in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Of the 5,569 blocks offered in the sale, 615 received bids. Eighty-five companies participated in the sale, making 1,057 bids in total. The average number of bids on a block was 1.72. Of the bids, companies bid on 185 blocks in shallow waters of less than 200 meters (656 ft). Lease Sale 224 offered 118 blocks, with 36 receiving bids. The sum of high bids in the sale was US$64 million, while the sum of all bids was over US$72 million. Fifty-eight bids were submitted from six companies, with an average of 1.61 bids per block. The highest bid per acre was made by BHP Billiton Petroleum, which bid on US$22,277.78 per acre on De Soto Canyon Block 818. The deepest blocks receiving bids were Lloyd Ridge Blocks 332 and 333. These are located in water depths of 3,091 meters (10,141 ft). BHP Billiton submitted 27 of the high bids in the sale, totaling US$47,858,420.

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