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P&O Looks For A Containership Kure

The P&O Containers' newbuilding saga continues with the company currently denying rumors that ifil's Kure shipyard has emerged as its favorite for the contract involving two ships of approximately 6,000+ TEU each. No news has emerged from the owner as to how many ships the order will finally comprise; but many believe it will be for as many as six ships. This will no doubt revive the race for the largest containerships, as illustrated by recent orders being confirmed at much higher capacities than originally ordered. For example, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) increased the capacity of its ships from 5,046 to 5,551 TEU during the building project; and AP Moller increased its capacity from 4,800 to 6,000 TEU during the same period.

Meanwhile, Dutch boxship operator Nedlloyd has completed a twoship deal with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) involving a design of 4,850-TEU containerships. Japan's yearly figures reveal that 398 vessels were ordered from overseas owners during FY '95 on March 31, although only four tankers of VLCC size were among these international orders, compared with 11 the previous year. The largest category was bulkers, with some 186 being ordered. However, these figures do not take into consideration domestic orders.

Norway's Statoil, the country's state-owned oil company, is rumored to be looking to increase its order for 100,000-dwt shuttle tankers from two to three ships. Two $100-million units have already been confirmed at South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). Another tanker owner reportedly looking to increase its order is Cyprus-based Klaus Oldendorff, which has exercised an option for a third 105,000-dwt tanker from Halla Engineering & Heavy Industries (HEHI), with the first two ships ordered this January.

Another South Korean shipyard busy on the export market is Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. (HHIC), which has won a $180-million order from Germany's Hansa Treuhand for two 1,600-TEU containerships, with an option for another four sisterships. What is thought to be an order for the largest bulk carriers currently on the world's shipbuilding orderbook is set to be placed with South Korea's Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI), with Germany's Krupp looking for two 320,000-dwt ore carriers.

The Chinese shipbuilding industry took another step forward in April with an order from Canada's CSL group for a 71,000-dwt, self-unloading bulk carrier. Meanwhile, China's Qui Xin shipyard has increased its international orderbook with an 8,000-dwt tanker from Norway's Stenersen, which will be chartered to Norske Hydro. This shipyard is currently building four coastal tankers for P&O Tankships. Another Chinese yard doing well on the international market is Jinling Shipyard, which has won an $85-million order from Singapore's Steamers Maritime, part of the Keppel group, for a series of six small container feeder ships.

On the Far East conversion market, the latest contract has been won by Singapore's Sembawang Shipyard, which has been awarded a $20-million conversion contract to convert 136,960-dwt tanker Tantawan Explorer (ex-Bayern) into an FPSO. Owned by Single Buoy Moorings (SBM), Monte Carlo, work on Tantawan will involve the installation of an IMODCO-designed, single point mooring turret (SPT) system, which will allow the vessel to weathervane freely in order to take up the position of least resistance to winds. Both upper and lower collars and columns will be installed for turret integration. The process decks also call for installation of process modules and facilities.

A substantial amount of steelwork around 1,200 tons — will be carried out in the installation of a helideck, process deck support structures, equipment supports and tandem offloading station. In compliance with international safety standards and regulations, the fire fighting system and lifesaving equipment will be upgraded, including fire and gas detection systems. Additionally, modification and upgrades will be carried out on existing utilities systems, as well as the conversion of the main boiler to dual fuel firing. More than 30-km of pipework will be installed, and upgrading and refurbishment of accommodation areas, including the galley and laundry equipment for the 70- worker crew, will also be performed. When completed, the 1976-built unit will be stationed at the Tantawan gas and oil field, located 265 miles south of Bangkok in Thailand.

Also in Singapore, Far East Levingston Shipbuilding Ltd. (FELS) has sold multi-purpose, semi-submersible vessel Polyportia to Sonat Offshore Drilling Inc. for $40 million. The deal includes hull modifications to ensure proper ballast and displacement during ultra deepwater drilling operations. After hull modifications and delivery, which is expected in mid- October of this year, the vessel will be towed to the U.S. Gulf coast where it will undergo the remaining conversion work to a drilling mode. FELS' wholly-owned Texasbased subsidiary, AMFELS, will be bidding for the conversion work. In August 1995, FELS — another member of the Keppel Group — purchased Polyportia from Norway's Rasmussen Offshore for $22.5 million.

The Far East repair industry picked up during the first few months of this year. Hongkong United Dockyard's (HUD) new large United floating dock, which began operation in 1995, has experienced an occupancy level of 85 percent during its first full year in service. The facility was built in 1995 by Far East Levingston, Singapore.

HUD, part of the Swire Group, has also announced the retirement of Glynn Gough as managing director, effective May 1. Mr. Glough's replacement is Chris Pooley, managing director of Honkong Towage & Salvage, also part of the Swire Group. Swire's holds a 50 percent stake in both companies, which, also effective May 1, will be headquartered at HUD's TsingYi Island base. Chris Pooley will retain his position as managing director of both companies. Malaysia Shipyard & Engineering's (MSE) Pasir Gudang has started the year with repairs on a large number of VLCCs. So far this year, MSE has completed repairs on VLCCs of approximately 1.1 million dwt, compared with 23 VLCCs of approximately 5.4 million dwt repaired last year. In 1995, Japanese shipowners stemmed 11 vessels with the yard, including six VLCCs contributing 1.66 million dwt (45 percent of the total dwt). These companies included Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Idemitsu Tanker Co., NYK and Koyo Kaiun Co.

The official opening of Singapore Technologies Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. (STSE) was scheduled for May 18. The new Taus Yard will be declared open by Radm. Teo Chee Hean, the Singaporean minister for Environment and second minister for Defense. The yard was recently busy with more than 10 ships undergoing repairs.

One of Singapore's darkest incidents is about to be put to rest: U.S. oil major Exxon will allow Keppel Shipyard to start bidding for drydocking contracts after almost nine months of receiving no opportunity to win repair contract from the company. Keppel will reportedly be allowed to bid for the next scheduled drydocking, which involves the 307,235-dwt Bahamas-registered ULCC Geneva, due for repair this month. Since June 1995, when a bribery scandal broke, Petroleum Shipping, which operates the Exxon international fleet, has drydocked four of its tankers in other Singaporean yards. The bribery case resulted in Cees van der Horst of Petroleum Shipping convicted of fraud by a U.K. court and being sentenced to three years in prison. After the scandal, many oil majors appeared to avoid placing repair contracts with Keppel, which resulted in a lack of orders in the second half of 1995.

Kvaerner Ships Equipment (KSE), part of Norway's Kvaerner Group, is reportedly planning to move its headquarters from Tranby, Norway, to Singapore. The reason for this move includes the development of a number of new worldwide maintenance contracts signed with various shipowners, including its latest with Sweden's Wallenius Lines. KSE believes Singapore is a better location from which to handle such contracts.

The repair industry in mainland China appears to be strengthening. Quingdao Beihai is currently completing a new 28,000-ton lifting capacity floating dock — 755.9 x 144.3 ft. (230.4 x 44 m) — which will be ready for use in October. The unit has been designed in cooperation between the shipyard and the Shanghai Design & Research Institute, Shanghai. Meanwhile, the first floating dock of 30,000-ton lifting capacity measuring 738 x 141 ft. (225 x 43 m) — is in place at the new Da Dong Shipyard on Cho Mung Island; the new shipyard venture being a joint venture between Hudong Shipyard and the local Cho Ming government. The shipyard is scheduled to open for repair operations this month.

South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) is reportedly planning to proceed with the building of a new $100-million shipyard in Vietnam, in a joint venture with the state-run Vinashin Group.

The deal stipulates that construction of the new yard will be completed by January 1998. HMD will hold a 70 percent stake in the new yard, which will be built on a 990,000-sq.-m. green field site. Details of the yard's location, dock capacity and workforce have not yet been released.

In what is the first significant move by HMD to diversify its increasingly expensive ship repair and building facilities away from its home base, HMD said it must begin to search for lower cost centers around Asia for ship repair work and the building of less sophisticated, smaller tonnage. In 1995, HMD handled 425 vessels, of which 410 were repaired and 11 constructed for domestic owners. Of the total, 77 percent of the repair work was carried out for foreign owners, the rest for Korean shipping lines.

According to M.S. Byun, senior manager, Overseas Sales Department, HMD, the average contract value at the yard, located in Ulsan, has dropped. Today it stands at around $450,000 to $600,000 per job. The number of vessels repaired at HMD decreased for the first time in three years, but Mr. Byun reported that this was insignificant and the figure compared well with the 300 vessels repaired in 1990.

There have been some developments at the Netherlands' Sigma Coatings, Uithoorn. Sigma has signed an agreement with Philippines' Mata Marine, part of Singapore's Keppel Group, for the stocking and distribution of marine coatings within the territory. Sigma Coatings has also announced that a license agreement has been signed with Taiwan's Yung Chi Paint and Varnish Mfg. Co. Ltd. for the manufacture and marketing of the marine product range of Sigma Coatings within the territory of Taiwan.

 
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