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Avondale in dealfor seven 42, OOO-dwt double hullproduct carriers, pending TitleXI financing, approvals Avondale Industries Inc. signed a contract with the Primorsk Shipping Corp. of Nakhodka, Russia, for the construction of seven 42,000- dwt double hull product carriers. "This is a significant event in our strategic plan for increasing our commercial activities," said Albert L. Bossier Jr., Avondale's CEO.

Financial details were undisclosed at press time, and the contract is subject to a Title XI financing guarantee from MarAd as well as the satisfaction of certain other conditions. The vessels will be non-U.S.- flag and will comply with all of the requirements of OPA 90. All seven are scheduled to be delivered prior to the end of 1998.

The product carriers will measure 627.3 x 105.5 x 60 ft. (191.2 x 32.3 x 18.3 m) and will be propelled by a slow-speed diesel.

Accommodations will be for a complement of 33 crew members. As a result of this first contract for Avondale's standard tanker, the name Primorsk Class has been selected for the design. Mr. Bossier attributed much of the yard's current success to capital improvements. "Our current shipyard modernization effort, which is financed primarily using MarAd's Title XI program, played an important role in our ability to compete effectively in both the domestic and international commercial markets," he said. The Avondale modernization effort involves a $20 million facility upgrade called "The Factory," which will provide efficient steel fabrication under cover.

The area of the new steel processing factory is approximately 570,000 sq. ft. The design of the vessel was accomplished in-house with all Avondale departments supporting the Advanced Programs and Marketing Department. The effort was performed under the Maritech program, part of President Bill Clinton's five-part plan to assist the shipbuilding industry in international competition.

Primorsk Shipping Corp. is a publicly quoted company on the Vladivostok Stock Exchange. It is the first Russian shipping company to have been 100 percent privatized (in 1994), and its origins go back to 1969 when it was created as the tanker operating arm of Far Eastern Shipping Co. In 1972 it became an independent entity. Primorsk, the second largest Russian tanker company, owns and operates 43 tankers.

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