Norway: Teekay Seeks to Grow Suezmax Fleet

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Expanding the Suezmax fleet and greater involvement in carrying oil products are among the ambitions being pursued by theTeekay Tanker Services (TTS) business unit of Teekay. "At the same time, we're working to expand our strong Aframax position," said TTS Vice President Peder Farmen, who heads the product transport sector of TTS from the group's Norwegian office in Stavanger.

Teekay's conventional shipping operations in Norway have further diversified the company's fleet, the majority of which is comprised of Aframax vessels. Since Teekay's acquisitions of Bona Shipholding in 1999, Ugland Nordic Shipping in 2001 and Navion in 2002, Teekay has established itself as a leading tanker operator in the North Sea and Atlantic, in addition to the Pacific. The group now owns and operates a fleet of approximately 100 conventional tankers and has chartering offices in Connecticut, Houston, London, Singapore, Stavanger and Tokyo. Teekay's conventional shipping business in Stavanger derives from Navion, which was established in the late 1970s as a support function for the growing crude sales of the Norwegian oil company, Statoil. Over two decades, Navion developed into one of Norway's largest shipping companies. Its main markets were in the North Sea and the Atlantic basin. While TTS is led from Vancouver, Canada, approximately 30 staff at the Stavanger office are involved in the business development, chartering and post fixture operations together with a team in London.

Most of the conventional tankers operated by Teekay from Norway are chartered from shipowning companies - some for periods as long as 10 years. The fleet comprises 32 double hull ships with an average age of less than four years.

The main traffic areas are northwestern Europe and the North Atlantic, but Mediterranean and West African destinations are also served.

SMT: Safe and Cost Effective Mooring

Tandem offloading from a spread moored FPSO is a high-risk operation that involves significant challenges with respect to safety and regularity. Based on extensive operational experience with shuttle tankers, combined with state-of-the art knowledge on mooring systems, APL has in co-operation with Statoil developed SMT, a concept designed to improve safety and regularity. The SMT system improves tandem operations and seeks to dramatically reduce risk. The basics of the concept is to utilize the mooring lines of the FPSO to introduce a collision barrier between tanker and FPSO and to prevent the tanker from extensive rotation in case of a change in weather direction or abnormal operation. The aft most mooring lines of the FPSO, or two dedicated mooring lines, are routed in an appropriate direction. At a distance of 100m to 150m from the FPSO two mooring buoys are connected to the FPSO mooring lines. The forward mooring lines of the export tanker is connected to these buoys. Between the buoys a collision barrier, consisting of heavy-duty fenders, is arranged. At a distance of approximately 700m from the FPSO a second set of buoys are connected to the mooring lines. The aft mooring lines of the export tanker are further connected to these buoys. The loading hose (floating hose string) is routed from the manifold on the FPSO to one of the mooring buoys, and further to the midship manifold of the export tanker. A rigid spool pipe is arranged on the mooring buoy with a flange connection to the loading hoses. In idle condition the outer loading hose can be tied back to the FPSO to avoid entanglement and obstruction during tanker berthing.

The berthing operation will be similar to a standard SPM berthing. During approach a tug with sufficient bollard pull will be attached to the stern of the tanker for safeguard. The collision barrier will be a second safeguard for avoiding collision with the FPSO. When the tanker is in position the assistance vessel will hand over the fwd mooring lines, which will be pulled in and locked in the chain stoppers. The aft mooring lines will then be picked up by the assistance vessel, handed over to the tanker and attached to the strong points aft. Finally the loading hoses are tugged over to the tanker and connected to the midship manifold.

Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA: Profits to Roll Through 2004

Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA's intent is to transition from traditional shipping activities to be a leading international supplier of maritime transport and associated services. The company has a workforce in excess of 13,000 in 250 offices across 60 countries running a fleet of more than 200 ships. As the company transforms itself, though, it continues to be a leader in terms of fleet innovation and construction. WW's liner and car carrying business was up in 2003, with net operating income at $89.6 million, versus $78.2 million the year before. The company attributes this success to high utilization rates, a number of operational efficiencies, and a reduction in net financial expenses. Global transport of new cars and other light vehicles increased by four percent in 2003.

WW joined forces in December 2002 with OW, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation to establish EUKOR Car Carriers Inc, following the acquisition of Hyundai Merchant Marine's car carrying division. While results for the first year were lower than expected the trend for transported volumes was very positive. WW secured its position in the car carrier market with several newbuilding order. The group placed a contract during 2003 with MHI of Japan for the construction of four car carriers. The first of these vessels is due for delivery in October 2004. Each ship will cost about $50 million, and will be employed by WWL. The company recently activated an option for two additional ships. In January 2004, WW awarded a contract to Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of two car carriers with delivery in 2006-07. These vessels, which are rather simpler than the tonnage from Mitsubishi, will sail under long-term charters to EUKOR.

WW sold the Takamine car carrier in October 2003 to ARC for $40 million, which yielded an accounting loss of $1 million. The ship then changed to the American flag and is now part of ARC's fleet in the North Atlantic.

The conversion project for four RoRo carriers was completed in early 2003 as planned. A garage with substantial car capacity was installed on the container deck of each vessel. These ships are employed in WWL's round-the-world service. A similar conversion project began in January 2004 for five older RoRo ships belonging to Mark I K/S (owned 50 percent by WW). These vessels will also secure substantial additional car capacity.

Jotun Launches New Coating

Norway's Jotun has launched Balloxy HB Lumi, a system, which aids ballast tank inspection. Following on from the original Balloxy HB epoxymastic ballast tank coating system, the new 'Lumi' system allows for inspection of the new coating with the aid of UV light clearly indicates areas with too great or too little coverage. In this way, not only are the standards of inspection improved, but also very considerable savings in time and materials can be achieved. The use of Balloxy HB Lumi ensures defect-free application at both newbuilding and during maintenance and, hence, reductions in re-working time, paint consumption and VOC emissions. Maintenance-free service periods are increased. Early detection and repair of defects prevents the need for more extensive repair at a later date.

DNV: There is no Alternative to Class

According to Terge Staalstrom, Senior Vice President at Norway's Det Norske Veritas (DNV) "There is no alternative to Class," although he added, "The independency of Class raises concerns both within the shipping industry and among regulators. The integrity and quality of performance are questioned." However, looking to the future, he "can see a time when Class would take on a more involved role. We are looking to the surveyors for vetting and surveying for tanker owners and underwriters to replace in the long run. However, it is unlikely that Class will ever replace the Port State Control."

He also said that Class should look at expanding its scope to offer the owners/managers more. "Class will continue to provide top notch quality services and technical competence". According Claes Isacson, CEO of Norway's Gard, "I would be happy if the Class returned to previous years and were able to carry out surveys for insurers such as Gard, but this is still some way off - not an immediate decision."

Farstad: North Sea Utilization Rates Down

Farstad Shipping ASA is an Aalesund, Norway-based company that operates a fleet of 49 supply-vessels, AHTSs and PSVs. In December Farstad received two new PSVs from Ulstein Verft AS. Immediately after delivery Far Symphony took over a contract for Norsk Hydro from Far Scandia. Far Scandia left the North Sea in December to start a long-term contract for Esso in Australia. Far Splendour has started a five-year contract for Peterson Supplylink in Holland.

Farstad Shipping has through its Joint Venture (BOS) in Brazil, three AHTS under construction at Brazilian yards for delivery in 2004/2005. These vessels have all got long-term contracts to Petrobras.

The demand for supply vessels in the North Sea has decreased during the fourth quarter and the number of vessels on long-term contracts was by the end of the year down to 122. The spot market has varied between 27 vessels and 39 vessels, and has resulted in a total demand for vessels in the fourth quarter of 161 vessels on average. The average for the year was 179 vessels. The supply side in the North Sea has seen a continuing departure of vessels and even though a number of new vessels were delivered from yards in the North Sea area during this quarter, the fleet still ended at 182 vessels. The average utilization ratio was as low as 86 percent, resulting in a low rate level during the quarter. The prospects for the North Sea are uncertain for the rest of the year. If the rate level is to recover, the activity has to increase and the fleet will have to be reduced.

In Australia/the Far East the level of activity has remained good, but the supply side is increasing and the rates are coming under pressure. In addition there is now a temporary lower activity level due to the monsoon season in the Southeast Asia during the first quarter.

The activity in the Mediterranean and West Africa is increasing, but a large part of the departure of vessels from the North Sea has been to these areas, and it is uncertain how much the fleet in these areas can increase in the time to come. However, a larger part of the world's fleet is more than 20 years old, so a renewal will be required. This together with an expected increase in activity on a world basis and a reduced activity in new building, give expectation of a balance between supply and demand during the year.

ConCat Survey Cat Trolls for Buyers

Kongsberg Maritime and Uniteam International are pursuing new clients by placing them directly on the ConCat Survey Catamaran, with the intent of delivering a first-hand experience of the innovative boat's capabilities. Demonstrations of the turnkey survey platform ConCat have now started across the U.S., U.K. and Canada. ConCat is fitted with Kongsberg high performance navigation and surveying equipment, factory installed and calibrated. Proving that big things do come in small packages, the vessel is transportable in an ISO 40 ft. container, making it mobile and flexibile. ConCat is flexible in another manner, as it can be designed to suit a customer's requirement, taking into account required survey performance and logistical considerations. Oslo based Uniteam International, is an experienced manufacturer and supplier of turn-key mobile systems for military and commercial customers world-wide. Increased demand for mobility has positioned the Uniteam range of special purpose vessels, shelters and complete systems in focus. Freddy Pøhner at Kongsberg Maritime said, "In addition to displaying the integrated ConCat vessel itself, we are looking forward to demonstrating Kongsberg Maritime's new EM3002 Multibeam Echosounder and the EA400 Survey System package, alongside Uniteam who will be host to a marketing offensive for its entire product range."

Berge Boston Gets New Ship Security System

The first vessel certified by DnV to comply with the new International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code by IMO, Berge Boston, has installed a new integrated Ship Security System by Norway-based Hernis Scan Systems A/S. Hernis is offering three alternative standardized ISPS packages: Basic, Advanced and SeaTouch. Cato Borch, Company Security Officer (CSO) for the owners Bergensen, said "What SeaTouch can do, is to minimize the size of the watch keeping force onboard and is, at the same time, an excellent tool to comply with the ISPS Code, being implemented on 1 July 2004." The Basic package consists of up to eight fixed cameras, a monitor and a switch; the Advanced system can have up to 16 remotely pan and tilt controllable cameras; and the SeaToch System - run with the a newly developed intelligent software - is able to simultaneously handle inputs and alarms from multiple sensors, including CCTV, Hull perimeter detectors, thermal cameras for day and night vision, acoustic sensors, intrusion detectors, as well as a short range radar system. A multifunctional redundant supervision of the vessel and its surrounding waters results in full control of the vessel and can, at the same time, act as an early warning system from possible piracy at sea or at anchor. The previous need for manual watch-keeping of the crew, relying on a single source for early warnings or installing multiple types of security equipment, is now replaced by the single integrated SeaTouch system. SeaTouch allows for an effective supervision of a large number of inputs from independent detection sources in one single control unit.

The user-friendly Man-Machine-Interface (MMI) consists of just one touch-sensible flat screen, administrating inputs from the entire security system. The graphical interface, including a GA drawing of each deck, immediately and clearly identifies the location of a breached alarm. It visually verifies the alarm condition using video images from the area in question.

Kongsberg Maritime: United, Diverse

Kongsberg Maritime can provide complete integrated systems and solutions across the board. The systems available range from hydroacoustic survey solutions and subsea autonomous vehicles and transponders, through DP, Automation, Navigation and Simulation. The company has enjoyed recent success, and is energized for 2004 and beyond via the amalgamation of Kongsberg Simrad, Kongsberg Maritime Ship Systems (KMSS) and The Marine IT Company (MARITCO); all separate Kongsberg companies until the official merger date of January 1, 2004. Kongsberg Maritime is now the home to the hydroacoustic and DP expertise that made Kongsberg Simrad a leader in the offshore market. The ship electronics capabilities of KMSS and the sophisticated software coming out of MARITCO complete the full picture to offer the marine industry a portfolio for most applications. "Kongsberg's marine companies have always been major players in their respective fields but bringing them closer together under the Kongsberg Maritime banner means that the experience and expertise throughout the organisation can be shared and utilized in a much more efficient manner," said Torfin Kildal, President, Kongsberg Maritime. "The companies still provide solutions within specific remits but as Kongsberg Maritime. As a united force we can provide the marine and offshore sectors with solutions for almost every conceivable electronics application on a vessel, platform or under the sea. We like to call it the full picture." Kongsberg Seatex stays a separate division of the Kongsberg Maritime group, but its products in the position reference sectors including its AIS infrastructure business will be marketed under the Kongsberg Maritime banner.

Kongsberg Maritime offers a broad range of products and solutions, including DP, Automation and Software. The AutoChief C20 propulsion control system, first announced at Nor-Shipping 2003, has received a good deal of attention and, more importantly, early orders. AutoChief embodies a striking minimalist design, but the unit offers both form and function. By reducing the amount of buttons and controls on the panel itself, operation of the propulsion control system has been simplified, leaving crewmembers to concentrate on more complex actions. AutoChief C20 is actually the fifth generation AutoChief, with the first AutoChief appearing in 1967. So Kongsberg Maritime certainly has the technology to back up the grand design, but this new interface has taken it in an entirely new direction. When quizzed about plans for the design of Kongsberg Maritime's other bridge equipment, Ole Gunnar Hvam, VP Navigation and Automation said, "We will follow the AutoChief closely and listen to feedback from the users before we commit to the direction of the design of our other bridge equipment." The design is proving popular already though, with the Norwegian Design Council recently awarding the AutoChief C20 a sought after design award.

Newbuild and Retrofit

Kongsberg also has a busy refit department. "It's not just about providing Kongsberg's high quality systems, it's about providing integrated solutions in a timely fashion with the least disruption to the vessels operation," said Roy J. Larsen, Marketing Manager, Refit Systems, Kongsberg Maritime. This awareness of the market has been demonstrated with the completion of several refit projects already this year, not least a project involving 14 Royal Norwegian Navy Hauk Class MTBs. The initial refit contract was for the supply and installation of Kongsberg Maritime's DC 2000 alarm and engine control system. As the project developed, Kongsberg Maritime continued to research new technology in parallel and the final specification on all 14 MTBs has become the DataChief C20 alarm, engine control and manoeuvring system. The DataChief C20 is one of Kongsberg Maritime's most requested systems for retrofit. Kongsberg Maritime Sweden AB retrofitted a DataChief C20 system with WatchCall, Deadman and Power Management System (PMS), onboard the Stena Germanica. It also completed a full automation systems refit onboard the 20,000 ton passenger/car ferry the M/S Jupiter, which was the first vessel to install Kongsberg Maritime's DataChief C20 system some five years ago.

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