‘Azura’ launched at Fincantieri Monfalcone

June 30, 2009

Italy: The Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard launched a new P&O cruise ship for the Carnival Group on June 26.

‘Azura’ is a sistership of the ‘Ventura’ which was delivered last year at the same yard. ‘Azura’ will commence operations in the northern spring next year. Present at the launch ceremony were, on behalf of the shipowner, David Dingle, CEO of Carnival UK and Nigel Esdale, Managing Director of P&O Cruises, while Fincantieri was represented by Paolo Capobianco, Director of Monfalcone shipyard. Godmother to the ship was Amanda Dowds, wife of Captain Keith Dowds who will command the new vessel. Weighing in at a gross tonnage of 116,000 tonnes, and at 290 metres long, with 2,180 cabins for 3,118 guests and 1,265 crew, the ‘Azura’ is a masterpiece of Italian style, a perfect mix of high technology, elegance and exclusive services.

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Maersk looks to boost intra-Asia volumes six fold

June 30, 2009

Hong Kong: AP Moller-Maersk wants to expand its share of the intra-Asia container trades six-fold, ScandAsia reported.

Expansion plans for this region through Singapore-based feeder subsidiary Mercantile Cargo Consolidators Transport were outlined a year ago, with AP Moller-Maersk keen to fully exploit a sector in which it has had only a peripheral interest until now. Current market share is put at around 2%, whereas Maersk Line’s share of the inter-continental trades is between12% and 15%. That is the target for MCC Transport, according to chief executive Tim Wickmann.

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‘Manannan’ participates in Manx TT Race

June 30, 2009

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s latest Incat fast ferry has completed her first Manx TT Race period, ferrying thousands of passengers and their bikes to and from the island during race festival.

During the TT period, the Steam Packet Company carried over 9,900 motorcycles, 4,000 cars/vans and 30,000 passengers, in each direction with its two fast craft and conventional ferry. Allocated to the busy Douglas to Liverpool service, the ‘Manannan’ is the largest diesel-powered high speed craft on the Irish Sea with greater cruising speed and increased vehicle and passenger capacity than the vessel she replaces. The 96-metre wave piercing catamaran was built by Incat in Tasmania, Australia, in 1998 as the ‘Incat 050’. Purchased by the Manx company in May 2008, the vessel sailed from Tasmania bound for Portsmouth, England, in June 2008 to commence an extensive refit project.

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Pride names four new drillships

June 30, 2009

HOUSTON: Pride International Inc. (NYSE: PDE) has named the four new ultra-deepwater drillships it has under construction.

Pride is naming the drillships after major subsea features that occur in some of the deepest areas of the ocean. Deep Ocean Ascension, formerly PS1, is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2010. Deep Ocean Clarion, formerly PS2, is expected for delivery in the third quarter of 2010. Deep Ocean Mendocino, formerly PS3, is expected for delivery in the first quarter of 2011. Deep Ocean Molokai, formerly PS4, is expected for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2011. The drillships, capable of operating in water depths of up to 12,000 feet (3,658 m), are being built at Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea.

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Shippers, insurers fear Somali piracy may escalate

June 30, 2009

Pirate attacks on vessels sailing off Somalia could get worse, pushing up insurance and shipping costs and possibly forcing companies to use longer sea routes, industry officials say.

Piracy has flourished in recent months off the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean shipping lanes and seaborne gangs have seized several cargo ships and collected tens of millions of dollars in ransom for the safe release of crews and cargoes. Last week the Group of Eight powers said it was “seriously concerned” about the increasing threat. “(The) piracy risk is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said a report this month commissioned by Lloyd’s of London [LOL.UL], the specialist insurance market. While foreign navies have been deployed off Somalia since the turn of the year to try to prevent attacks, those forces have found themselves stretched given the vast expanses of water involved leaving vessels vulnerable to attack. “It’s quite difficult to find vessels that will go through the Gulf of Aden these days,” said a London-based shipbroker. Marine insurance brokers said insurers were charging between 0.05 percent to 0.175 percent of the value of a ship per voyage in the Gulf of Aden versus zero to 0.05 percent in May 2008. “Rates and charges may well escalate if the number of successful piracy attacks increases,” said Paul Newton, head of hull and yacht underwriting in Britain with insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality.

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ACMA Monitors First Dry Dock of TxDOT Ferry

June 29, 2009

Alan C. McClure Associates (ACMA), a naval architecture and engineering firm, announced that the first dry dock for a ferry being built for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been completed at Conrad Deepwater in Amelia, Louisiana.

ACMA and Schuller & Allen provided engineering and design for the new 264-ft vessel, and ACMA is now providing owner’s representation during the construction period until vessel delivery. ACMA Vice President Darrel Harvey said “The ferry’s first dry dock went very smoothly. The vessel received her new propeller shafts, propellers and rudders, along with a fresh coat of bottom paint. Now she’ll be given the final top side colors that she’ll proudly wear during her tour of duty.

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Dockwise reduces debt by US$58 million

June 29, 2009

Hamilton, Bermuda: Dockwise expects to reduce its debt by a total of US$58 million to just below US$963 million by the end of the second quarter of 2009.

Following its 18-month refurbishment, ‘Mighty Servant 3’ will shortly rejoin the fleet of Dockwise Transport. ‘Mighty Servant 3’ will bring Dockwise’s total fleet to 20 semi submersible vessels. Delivery of the vessel triggers the release of the remaining US$40.6 million currently held in escrow to cover the costs of reinstatement and vendor compensation, Dockwise said. Also, settlement of the previously announced debt buy back is scheduled for June 30, 2009. This will reduce the group’s debt by some US$8.5 million.

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