Tidewater Inc. has signed contracts with two Far East shipyards
for the construction of eight vessels as part of Tidewater's new build program announced in January 2000. It has also announced that its subsidiary, Quality Shipyard L.L.C.
, will build a total of four vessels.
The $305 million in new build commitments falls on the heels of Tidewater's recent purchase of eight similar vessels from The Sanko Steamship Co., Ltd. The eight vessels to be built outside the United States will be comprised of five large 280-ft. anchor handling towing supply vessels with greater than 20,000 hp and three 260-ft. platform supply vessels.
The four vessels being built at Quality Shipyard will be similar platform supply vessels and will be built to full Jones Act compliance. "We are looking forward to introducing a state-of-the-art Tidewater fleet to the world through this new build program," said CFO Keith Lousteau. "The overall new build program is priced exactly in line with our budgeted goal of approximately $300 million in commitments. We anticipate being able to pay for these new boats through present and forecasted cash flows without the need to take on any long-term debt." Scheduled delivery of the new vessels will commence in December of 2001 and will continue throughout 2002, with the final delivery expected in January of 2003. "This is an exciting time at Tidewater, with new vessels being purchased and built over the next few years," said Tidewater's Chairman, President and CEO William C. O'Malley. "The demand for the vessels we have previously purchased and that are already operational has been strong. We anticipate that these new ships will be working from delivery if market conditions remain stable or continue to improve as we anticipate." Tidewater Inc. owns and operates over 570 vessels, the world's largest fleet of vessels serving the international offshore energy industry.