‘Earthrace’ eco-boat smashes round-the-world speed

June 30, 2008

‘Earthrace’, the world’s fastest eco-boat, has smashed the world speed record for a powerboat to circumnavigate the globe, completing the 24,000km journey in 60 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes.

The boat crossed the finish line in Sagunto on Friday 27 June and completed the journey using 10 per cent biofuel to demonstrate and draw global attention to the potential for alternative fuel sources. ‘Earthrace’ is a 24-metre tri-hull wavepiercer built in New Zealand, and the record attempt, run by a team of international volunteers from New Zealand, UK, Sweden, Guyana and Hungary, has been completed as a carbon neutral project. The vessel set off from Spain on April 27 in an attempt to challenge the world record that has remained unbroken since 1998, when it was set by the British boat, ‘Cable and Wireless Adventurer’.   The finish in Spain by Earthrace was monitored by D Jaime Pérez López, Presidente de la Federación Territorial Motonaútica de la Comunidad Valenciana. ‘Earthrace’, a not for profit enterprise, has overcome many obstacles during its journey, the most challenging of which were the replacement of the boat’s driveshaft and propeller after hitting sea debris in Palau, encountering monsoon conditions in the India Ocean, and bypassing a massive backlog of ships waiting to transit the Panama Canal.’Earthrace’’s success has proved that any form of transport, including marine, can be non-damaging to the environment as well as being high performance.

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First of two 1,740-TEU vessels delivered to Samudera

June 30, 2008

Samudera Shipping Line received the 1,740-TEU Sinar Sumba from Guangzhou before its maiden deployment from Hong Kong in its new Korea-China-Malaysia service (KMS).

The US$83 million Sinar Sumba was put into service with another vessel and will help the shipping group to attain its long term strategy of providing flexibility in fleet deployment and stability in overall vessel operating costs, said a company statement.

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Fair Weather for Overseas Shipping Companies

June 30, 2008

The U.S. economy might be slumping, but the global transport of oil, liquefied natural gas, coal, iron ore, steel, grains and other high-value cargoes continues to surge.

In the first quarter of 2008, the volume of goods on containerships traveling from Asia to Europe increased 12 percent. This is good news for Seaspan, which owns a fleet of 29 containerships, with 39 more on order over the next three years. Seaspan has long-term contracts for moving freight on all its ships, including those still under construction. Chief executive Gerry Wang says the company should have no trouble raising dividends 5 to 6 percent over the next two years and possibly at a faster rate afterward. The stock, which at $27 yielded 6.9 percent in mid-May, has delivered double-digit total returns each year since Seaspan went public in 2005. Seaspan is among 20 shipping companies that rely on long-term, fixed-price contracts with shippers to ensure steady cash flow, and they distribute a high percentage of that cash flow to shareholders. The stocks generally yield 8 percent or better, although a few companies are using their excess cash to expand or retire debt rather than raise dividends.

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Sovcomflot and Novoship under one flag

June 30, 2008

Russia’s two largest commercial fleets, Sovcomflot and Novoship, will operate as a single commercial entity from 1 July at Moscow.

The single chartering location will be operated out of Sovcomflot’s London office.
Sovcomflot is Russia’s biggest shipping company with a fleet of 66 vessels totaling 4.97m dwt which will expand to 130 vessels of 9.3m following the merger with Novoship. An initial public offering for the 15% of the combined entity could happen as soon as the end of this year.

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Oilexco makes discovery at Moth

June 29, 2008

Oilexco has made dual zone oil and gas-condensate discovery at Moth in the Block 23/21 in the UK Central North Sea.

The 23/21-6z Moth discovery well was drilled to a total depth of 14,616 feet (4,454 m) by Diamond Offshore semi submersible Ocean Guardian. Hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir sands with a thickness of 605 feet (184 m) were intersected in the Middle Jurassic Pentland and a further 219 feet (66 m) were intersected in the Upper Jurassic Fulmar. The Middle Jurassic Pentland sands at depth of 13,283 feet (4,048 m) were drill-stem tested through perforations from 13,276 feet to 13,730 feet (4,043 m to 4,184 m) in 439 feet (133 m) of oil and gas bearing reservoir sands. Although they say initial indications are encouraging, the company has decided not to continue with the testing process of the Pentland sands at this time.  Further testing will likely occur during the course of additional appraisal drilling in the future. The partners will put together a forward program for the development of this discovery.  Future appraisal wells will likely utilize higher capacity testing equipment in order to determine the maximum achievable flow rates, they say. “Oilexco remains the most active driller in the UK North Sea and we continue to achieve significant results from our exploration program, with Moth being the second major discovery to be made by the company in the last year,” said Arthur Millholland, president and CEO of Oilexco. The company’s partners are BG Group, Hess, and BP.

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Worldwide offshore rigs unchanged

June 29, 2008

The worldwide offshore contracted rig count and total worldwide offshore rig fleet size are unchanged this week.

However, some rig markets did experience fluctuations in their fleet numbers, according to ODS-Petrodata’s weekly mobile offshore rig count. This week, 625 of the world’s 691 mobile offshore drilling units are under contract, and worldwide offshore rig fleet utilization is 90.4%. The US Gulf of Mexico contracted offshore rig count and available offshore fleet size were unchanged. With 104 rigs out of 123 available under contract, US Gulf fleet utilization stands at 84.6%. No change was recorded this week in the South American offshore rig count. With 71 rigs out of 95 available under contract, South American fleet utilization is 74.7%. The European and Mediterranean region saw the offshore contracted rig count and total offshore fleet size decrease by two each. The European offshore rig fleet remains fully utilized, with all 97 rigs under contract. In West Africa, the offshore rig fleet size and the number of contracted rigs grew by two each this week. With 58 rigs out of 61 available under contract, West African utilization remains at 95.1%. In the Asia and Australia region, the total offshore fleet size and number of rigs under contract rose by one each. With 104 out of 107 available offshore rigs under contract, fleet utilization in the region is 97.2%.

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New World Alliance and Grand Alliance offer joint Black Sea Service

June 29, 2008

The member lines of The New World Alliance and the Grand Alliance have begun a jointly operated service from Asia to the Black Sea.

TNWA member lines comprises Mitsui OSK Lines, APL, and Hyundai Merchant Marine. TNWA and the Grand Alliance carriers began co-operating in February this year with a slot exchange on their respective fortnightly services to the Black Sea. The new joint service will now provide shippers a weekly frequency with the common port coverage. Eight vessels will be deployed on the service. TNWA members will operate three vessels. Grand Alliance member lines will operate five vessels. Hanjin and UASC will keep participating in this service as slot charterers. Capacity for these eight ships is about 5,000TEU. Port rotation for the “EBX” (East-Mediterranean/Black Sea Express) Service is as follows:  Shanghai – Ningbo – Shekou – Singapore – Suez – Istanbul – Constanza – Odessa – Constanza – Istanbul – Damietta – Suez – Jeddah – Singapore – Shanghai.

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