WIN Group, Seacor Work on Haiti's Fuel Terminal

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WIN Group, the Haitian conglomerate that owns and operates Terminal Varreux in Port-au-Prince, situated just five miles from the epicenter of the January 12 earthquake, and Seacor Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CKH) have launched an emergency response project to enable the crucial marine terminal to resume receiving bulk fuel and containerized cargoes thereby replenishing the stricken country’s rapidly dwindling supplies of gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil, propane gas and edible oils used for cooking.  

Terminal Varreux receives and stores in excess of 70% of Haiti’s fuel oil used for power plants, gasoline and diesel used for land-based fueling stations, propane used for multiple applications and edible oils used for cooking. Terminal Varreux has a minimum of 18 large storage tanks with a total capacity of approximately 45 million gallons.

Terminal Varreux has been unable to unload any tankers since the January 12 earthquake destroyed the marine docking facilities and damaged a complex network of steel pipe connecting the marine operation to the tank storage area.

“Seacor has agreed to provide the emergency support we need to return Terminal Varreux to operation in order to help us keep Haiti supplied with critically needed fuel. Their assistance in getting our marine operation stabilized and back to work, constructing a new temporary section of piping to connect Terminal Varreux’s mooring facilities and the usable storage tanks and insuring the safe return of our storage tank operations is invaluable," said Youri Mevs, managing partner of WIN Group.

Under an agreement for their emergency response venture executed late Jan. 21, and effective immediately, WIN Group and Seacor Holdings have begun to utilize a combination of Seacor’s diverse maritime, aviation and emergency response resources to support the restoration of the marine operations, repair and construction of the new temporary 200 yard-long section of the piping and the resumption of the storage tank operations.

Earthquake-damaged structures and debris will be removed from the dock area; debris will be removed from vessel traffic areas; collapsed mooring infrastructure will be replaced with temporary capability; a new series of piping will bypass and temporarily replace an equal length of the piping from the dock area to the tank farm; collapsed walls in the tank farm area will be removed from critical piping and the piping repaired; critically damaged tanks will be inspected and shifted from service; and the overall terminal operation will be restored in time to accept marine fuel transfers before Terminal Varreux and the country run out of fuel.

The estimated cost of the emergency project has not been disclosed.

Seacor already has an emergency advance team in Haiti from its O’Brien’s Response Management group, part of the company’s environmental services business unit, which includes global emergency response personnel, equipment and technology companies. Seacor’s work over the years has included close support of the U.S. Coast Guard throughout its response to Hurricane Katrina and responding to and managing numerous major oil spills, including the cleanup of oil fields in the aftermath of both Gulf wars. 

In addition, Seacor dispatched a vessel from one of its environmental services companies, National Response Corporation. The NRC Perseverance, a 110-ft, specially fitted command vessel used to protect the environment and shipping channels against oil spills around the Hovensa, LLC refinery in St. Croix, arrived in Cap-Haitien last week and is expected to arrive at Terminal Varreux early this week.

NRC Perseverance has a spill response capability and will initially support the emergency project and the Seacor team at Terminal Varreux.  The vessel is also laden with 10 tons of pure water, medicines, crutches, food, diapers and other personal hygiene products which were donated by local organizations including Hispanos Unidos and the St. Croix Rotary Club. The donations were coordinated, collected and loaded onto the vessel for transport by several Hovensa personnel.  More than 60 volunteers assisted in the effort.  

In other special projects responding to the Haitian disaster, Seacor has coordinated a supply of donated medical supplies and food relief from Food for the Poor, which departed from Port Everglades, Fla. and arrived in Haiti this past weekend. 

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