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The first web2.0 spanish blog about Maritime Affairs. El primer blog web2.0 español sobre el sector marítimo.

Moscow to create shipyard holdings

miércoles, diciembre 27, 2006
MOSCOW 27 December Russia's defence minister, Sergei Ivanov, has moved one step further in his plan to reorganise Russia's shipbuilding industry, with an announcement that three holding companies for the country's shipyards will be created. One is to consolidate the military yards of St Petersburg; a second to unify the civil shipbuilders and a third to be located in the Russian Far East, where there is currently just one yard at work: the Amur Shipbuilding Plant in Blagoveschensk. According to Ivanov, "it is important for us not to lose our position in the construction of ships of various classes on the Pacific coast". In August, President Vladimir Putin publicly ordered a new state programme to reinvigorate shipbuilding, and gave Ivanov the assignment. "Our niches where we are most competitive in the world markets of shipbuilding," Putin said, according to the Kremlin transcript, "should be selected." Referring to military shipbuilding as a "serious niche" in the market, Putin also added: "we do not need to compete with the Chinese and South Koreans [to build] large-capacity vessels, such as tankers. But for us, there are certain advantages, including in the field of high technologies." Moscow maritime sources told Fairplay they see no commercial benefit to the existing yards from the restructuring. Captain Mikhail Nenashev of the industry lobby the All-Russian Movement of Fleet Support, told Fairplay "no details were announced so far". ICT, former owner of the big Baltic Plant in St Petersburg, commented that Ivanov's announcement shows there is a plan, "but nothing more." MNP, the biggest ship-building group on the Volga River, added that Ivanov's announcement was news to them, and that "nobody is negotiating with us on this matter”.


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Rough debut for Costa Asia

viernes, diciembre 22, 2006
MIAMI 22 December – Carnival Corp has conceded that its fledging Costa Asia division is off to a poor start and that changes are ahead. The China programme launched in Shanghai in July with the Costa Allegra, which has repositioned as scheduled to Hong Kong for the winter. “We’re finding the Chinese market to be difficult,” admitted Carnival chief financial officer Gerald Cahill during yesterday’s conference call, adding: “The ship is underperforming our expectations, with larger than expected losses and lower net revenue yield.” As Carnival chairman Micky Arison put it: “We always knew we’d be making an investment to educate ourselves [in the Chinese market], but our investment is a little more than we expected – maybe more than a little.” Carnival chief operating officer Howard Frank concluded: “We’ve pretty much got the product right; the response from the Chinese passengers has been very good. But the issue is market penetration and getting support from the distribution system.” To compensate, Frank said that itinerary modifications would be made in 2007 and new passenger source markets would be tapped. “The plan is to stay the course,” he affirmed.

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Everglades cruise craze

FORT LAUDERDALE 22 December – Fort Lauderdale’s population is expected to temporarily grow 25% tomorrow as more than 46,000 cruise passengers disembark from 13 vessels at Port Everglades. This breaks the port's original record set three years ago said port director Phillip Allen in a statement, noting the previous record was set on 21 December 2003 when 15 cruise ships docked simultaneously. Adding “holiday cruises to the Caribbean are always popular this time of year, but this year is exceptional because Port Everglades will be hosting larger ships than ever before, including the immense Queen Mary 2.” In addition to the Cunard Line’s QM2, other vessels calling are Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Liberty, Costa Cruises’ Costa Magica, Discovery Cruise Line’s Discovery Sun, Holland America Line’s Volendam and Zuiderdam, Imperial Majesty Cruise Line’s Regal Empress, Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess and Star Princess, Royal Caribbean International’s Enchantment of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, Seabourn Cruise Line’s Seabourn Pride and SeaEscape Cruises’ Island Adventure.


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Carnival bullish on Germany

MIAMI 22 December – Carnival Corp is committed to growing its German joint venture with TUI using newbuilding tonnage, assuming a final deal is struck. Speaking during yesterday’s conference call, Carnival chairman Micky Arison explained that given TUI Cruises’ strong potential for premium pricing, it was decided not to shift older tonnage into the line, but rather to stick with newbuildings from the onset. “If we went into this with older ships, that by its very nature would require us to start the brand with discounted prices and we don’t want to do that,” he said, adding that Carnival “has had discussions with a number of yards on the TUI ship [to be delivered in 2010], subject to a finalised agreement with TUI”. The new TUI vessel’s design will be “very different” from AIDA’s ‘club ship’ concept, he continued, “and will be much closer to a traditional cruise product, but very much geared toward German clientele”. Carnival chief operating officer Howard Frank noted that the German cruise market is twice the size of the UK’s, yet Germany currently has only one brand, versus 6-7 in England. “We always knew we’d need other brands in Germany,” said Arison.

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Carnival warns on Caribbean

MIAMI 21 December – Carnival Corp raked in record profits this year, but concedes that Caribbean booking difficulties now extend through the first half of 2007. Carnival reported net income of $416M during 4Q06, up from $336M in 4Q05, and full-year 2006 profits of $2.28Bn, versus $2.25Bn in 2005. After more exceptional earnings growth in 2004 and 2005, the more “modest” earnings increase this year was due to a $210M hike in fuel costs combined with a drop in Caribbean pricing on “hurricane fears and a challenging economic environment”, said chairman Micky Arison. Adjusted for currency, net revenue yields increased 0.8% in 4Q06 and 1.5% for full-year 2006. Commenting on 2007, Arison said bookings remain strong for European cruise brands and North American brands outside the Caribbean. However, pricing in the Caribbean [for 1H2007] “is still under pressure”, he said, adding that “the strength of the upcoming ‘Wave Season’ will have a significant effect on 2007 revenue yields”. Currently, Carnival predicts currency-adjusted net revenue yields will fall 2% in 1Q07 and end flat to slightly down for full-year 2007. Capacity will increase 8.4% next year, while net cruise costs are expected to remain steady.


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Mass LNG terminals will favour US mariners

jueves, diciembre 21, 2006
BOSTON 21 December – Even as the governor of Massachusetts signed off on two new offshore LNG terminals, one of the facilities’ owners pledged to hire US merchant mariners to operate its tankers – and the platform. On Tuesday, Gov Mitt Romney approved construction of the Northeast Gateway and Neptune terminals, which will be built 11km and 21km respectively off Gloucester, Mass. With the Republican governor’s approval, the only remaining hurdle is approval by the US Maritime Administration, and MarAd boss Sean Connaughton said yesterday that a decision can be expected by the end of February. During the conference call when Connaughton announced the timeline, he and representatives of Suez LNG – developer of the Neptune project – revealed that Suez will seek to hire US seafarers and graduating cadets from American maritime academies to staff the tankers that will call at the platform. “Our company works everyday to be a pacesetter within the LNG industry,” said Joseph McKechnie, senior vice-president of shipping for Suez LNG. His company is working closely with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the US Merchant Marine Academy in training cadets to work aboard LNG tankers and platforms, he said. Suez currently owns four tankers and has three on charter, and the fleet is projected to grow by 15% to 20% annually McKechnie said.


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Stricter rules for carriage of chemicals and vegetable oils in bulk enter into force on 1 January 2007

Stricter rules on carrying vegetable oils in bulk by ship are among the changes introduced by amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), which enter into force on 1 January 2007.

The revised Annex II regulations on carriage of noxious liquid substances carried in bulk (including chemicals and vegetable oils) introduce significant changes to the way certain products may be transported, in order to protect the marine environment from harm.

Revised Annex I regulations on carriage of oil by ship update and re-order the regulations as well as introducing some new rules.

In addition, a number of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) also enter into force on 1 January 2007.

Revised MARPOL Annex I (oil)

The revised MARPOL Annex I Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil incorporates the various amendments adopted since MARPOL entered into force in 1983, including the amended regulation 13G (regulation 20 in the revised annex) and regulation 13H (regulation 21 in the revised annex) on the phasing-in of double hull requirements for oil tankers.

It also separates, in different chapters, the construction and equipment provisions from the operational requirements and makes clear the distinctions between the requirements for new ships and those for existing ships. The revision provides a more user-friendly, simplified Annex I.

New requirements in the revised Annex I include the following:

* Regulation 22 Pump-room bottom protection: on oil tankers of 5,000 tonnes deadweight and above constructed on or after 1 January 2007, the pump-room shall be provided with a double bottom.

* Regulation 23 Accidental oil outflow performance - applicable to oil tankers delivered on or after 1 January 2010; construction requirements to provide adequate protection against oil pollution in the event of stranding or collision.

Revised MARPOL Annex II (noxious liquid substances carried in bulk)

The revised Annex II Regulations for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk includes a new four-category categorization system for noxious and liquid substances.

The new categories are:

* Category X: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a major hazard to either marine resources or human health and, therefore, justify the prohibition of the discharge into the marine environment;

* Category Y: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a hazard to either marine resources or human health or cause harm to amenities or other legitimate uses of the sea and therefore justify a limitation on the quality and quantity of the discharge into the marine environment;

* Category Z: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a minor hazard to either marine resources or human health and therefore justify less stringent restrictions on the quality and quantity of the discharge into the marine environment; and

* Other Substances: substances which have been evaluated and found to fall outside Categories X, Y or Z because they are considered to present no harm to marine resources, human health, amenities or other legitimate uses of the sea when discharged into the sea from tank cleaning of deballasting operations. The discharge of bilge or ballast water or other residues or mixtures containing these substances are not subject to any discharge requirements of MARPOL Annex II.

The revised annex includes a number of other significant changes. Improvements in ship technology, such as efficient stripping techniques, has made possible significantly lower permitted discharge levels of certain products which have been incorporated into Annex II. For ships constructed on or after 1 January 2007, the maximum permitted residue in the tank and its associated piping left after discharge will be set at a maximum of 75 litres for products in categories X, Y and Z - compared with previous limits which set a maximum of 100 or 300 litres, depending on the product category.

Alongside the revision of Annex II, the marine pollution hazards of thousands of chemicals have been evaluated by the Evaluation of Hazardous Substances Working Group, giving a resultant GESAMP Hazard Profile which indexes the substance according to its bio-accumulation; bio-degradation; acute toxicity; chronic toxicity; long-term health effects; and effects on marine wildlife and on benthic habitats.

Transport of vegetable oils

As a result of the hazard evaluation process and the new categorization system, vegetable oils which were previously categorized as being unrestricted will now be required to be carried in chemical tankers.

The revised Annex includes, under regulation 4 Exemptions, provision for the Administration to exempt ships certified to carry individually identified vegetable oils, subject to certain provisions relating to the location of the cargo tanks carrying the identified vegetable oil.

An MEPC resolution, MEPC.148(54) Guidelines for the transport of vegetable oils in deep tanks or in independent tanks specially designed for the carriage of such vegetable oils on board dry cargo ships, allows general dry cargo ships that are currently certified to carry vegetable oil in bulk, to continue to carry these vegetable oils on specific trades. The guidelines also take effect on 1 January 2007.

Consequential amendments to the IBC Code

An amended International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code) reflecting the changes to MARPOL Annex II, also enters into force on 1 January 2007. The amendments incorporate revisions to the categorization of certain products relating to their properties as potential marine pollutants, as well as revisions to ship type and carriage requirements following their evaluation by the Evaluation of Hazardous Substances Working Group.

Ships constructed after 1986 carrying substances identified in chapter 17 of the IBC Code must follow the requirements for design, construction, equipment and operation of ships contained in the Code.

SOLAS amendments

Also on 1 January 2007, amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) enter into force. They include the following:

* New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-7 to require ship construction drawings to be maintained on board and ashore.

* New SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 concerning towing and mooring equipment. The regulation will require all ships to be provided with arrangements, equipment and fittings of sufficient safe working load to enable the safe conduct of all towing and mooring operations associated with the normal operation of the ship.

* New SOLAS regulation II-1/23-3 concerning water level detectors in the cargo hold(s) on new single hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers.

* Amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/31 concerning machinery control to restrict the application of propulsion control automation systems to new ships only.

In addition, amendments to the Guidelines on the enhanced programme of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution A.744(18)), as amended) enter into force on 1 January 2007. The amendments incorporate some elements of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) required for certain single hull tankers under MARPOL Annex I and include re-organization of the guidelines to include a new section on survey guidelines for the inspection of double hull tankers.


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India Ministry wants breaks for demolished industry

DELHI 20 December – India's steel ministry has asked the finance ministry to remove the 5% import duty on junk ships to breathe life back into the dying shipbreaking industry. Imports of old ships into India attract a basic duty of 5% and countervailing duty (CVD) of 16%, exactly the same duty structure as for imports of finished steel. Bangladesh has cornered all large ships for breaking with a simple duty structure: a fixed duty of Tk1,000 takka ($14.45) and nil value-added tax (VAT), as against 10% basic duty and 15% VAT for finished steel imports. Pravin Nagarsheth, president of the Indian shipbreakers' association, said the Bangladesh government has helped local breakers with a viable duty regime, whereas India's duty structures have pushed the industry to the brink of complete shutdown. Bangladesh has demolished over 4.6MDWT during the first 11 months of 2006, way ahead of India's 1MDWT. Other shipbreaking nations including China (0.2MDWT) and Pakistan (0.2MDWT) have also seen tonnage drop drastically. "The Bangladesh shipbreaking industry has thrived on the country's increased demand for steel, and insufficient supply from primary steel producers," said an Alang-based breaker.


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Govt support for Phils shipbuilding

MANILA 20 December – Shipbuilders in the Philippines have received government backing, with a new directive signed by the President to encourage employment in shipyards and protecting employers’ rights. Executive Order 588, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, seeks to strengthen the shipbuilding and repair sector by providing incentives for skills training under the country’s new investment programme. The presidential order was apparently sparked by Hanjin HI and Construction’s recent investment in a $1Bn yard in Subic Bay Freeport. The project is predicted to attract about 15,000 job opportunities. EO 588 also recognises shipyards’ rights to guard `trade secrets’ and urges them to adopt measures to protect building formulas, strategies and other controversial programmes and information. “There is a need to attract and maintain much-needed investments for the development of the shipbuilding and ship repair sectors in view of its significance to the country’s economic output … and its potential to open vast opportunities for employment and skills training for Filipinos,” the order said.


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Denholm moves up in UK agency

miércoles, diciembre 20, 2006
LONDON 19 December – Denholm Barwil (DB), the agency arm of the J&J Denholm shipping group, has become the largest provider of port agency services in the south-west UK, through the acquisition of South Coast UK, owned by the international minerals group Imerys. The acquisition gives DB offices at Bristol, Portbury, Falmouth, Fowey, Portland and Poole. This takes the company's UK operation to 17 port officers serving 34 ports and handling in excess of 5,000 calls a year. DB managing director Niall Denholm said that “our strategy of managed growth means that we are looking at locations where the other national agency companies do not have representation, and also to develop niche markets such as cruise and military. The UK market is served by five main groups, and we are in the top three by volume.” He would not say whether there were any ports in which DB would particularly like to be represented. As to Group relations, Denholm said: “We work with a number of partners where we are not as strong as we should be and we also work with other Denholm group companies.”


Caribbean cruises falter further

MIAMI 19 December – Pricing for cruising’s "bread and butter" Caribbean itineraries continues to fall, according to a new survey by AG Edwards analyst Tim Conder. The survey – which independently monitors forward rates offered by Carnival and Royal Caribbean – found that Caribbean pricing for both 1Q07 and 2Q07 is “still eroding” and “continues to modestly weaken”. Meanwhile, 2Q07 Alaskan pricing is “flattish”, while rates for European and other non-Caribbean itineraries “remain solid”. The analyst noted that Caribbean weakness is persisting in spite of the mild 2006 hurricane season and the delayed implementation of new US passport requirements. “Our data indicates weakness is more skewed toward the shorter Caribbean and entry-level cruise brands,” he said, implying that the problem is “likely related to mortgage interest rates impacting consumers’ share of spending available for cruises”. Conder added that a mild Northeast winter could dampen “escape-to-the-Caribbean cabin-fever demand” and that early indications for the 2007 Wave Season were “not positive”. On the plus side, Conder noted that fuel prices have fallen 3-5% since the last quarterly guidance from Carnival and Royal Caribbean. As a result, 2007 results could show positive year-on-year cost comparisons.

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Outcome of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee meeting in Istanbul

martes, diciembre 19, 2006
Outcome of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee meeting in Istanbul

A raft of new international standards for passenger ship safety were adopted when IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) met in Istanbul, Turkey, for its 82nd session from 29 November to 8 December 2006.

Other important issues on the MSC agenda included the further development of goal-based standards and discussion of security and facilitation issues related to the carriage of containers by ships.

The MSC Vice-Chairman, Mr. Neil Ferrer of the Philippines, chaired the session, following the untimely death of Mr. Igor Ponomarev, Chairman of the MSC and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to IMO.

Revised passenger ship safety standards

The package of amendments to SOLAS adopted at the session were the result of a comprehensive review of passenger ship safety initiated in 2000 with the aim of assessing whether the current regulations were adequate, in particular for the large passenger ships now being built.

The work in developing the new and amended regulations has based its guiding philosophy on the dual premise that the regulatory framework should place more emphasis on the prevention of a casualty from occurring in the first place and that future passenger ships should be designed for improved survivability so that, in the event of a casualty, persons can stay safely on board as the ship proceeds to port.

The amendments include new concepts such as the incorporation of criteria for the casualty threshold (the amount of damage a ship is able to withstand, according to the design basis, and still safely return to port) into SOLAS chapters II-1 and II-2. The amendments also provide regulatory flexibility so that ship designers can meet any safety challenges the future may bring. The amendments include:
alternative designs and arrangements;
safe areas and the essential systems to be maintained while a ship proceeds to port after a casualty, which will require redundancy of propulsion and other essential systems;
on-board safety centres, from where safety systems can be controlled, operated and monitored;
fixed fire detection and alarm systems, including requirements for fire detectors and manually operated call points to be capable of being remotely and individually identified;
fire prevention, including amendments aimed at enhancing the fire safety of atriums, the means of escape in case of fire and ventilation systems; and
time for orderly evacuation and abandonment, including requirements for the essential systems that must remain operational in case any one main vertical zone is unserviceable due to fire.

The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2010.

Fire regulations on balconies

The MSC adopted amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 and to the International Code for Fire Safety Systems (FSS Code) to strengthen the fire protection arrangements in relation to cabin balconies on passenger vessels. The amendments were developed in response to the fire aboard the cruise ship Star Princess, while on passage between Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, Jamaica, in March of this year. The fire began on an external balcony and spread over several decks.

The amendments to SOLAS chapter II-2 are aimed at ensuring that existing regulations 4.4 (Primary deck coverings), (Ceilings and linings), 5.3.2 (Use of combustible materials) and 6 (Smoke generation potential and toxicity) are also applied to cabin balconies on new passenger ships.

For existing passenger ships, relevant provisions require that furniture on cabin balconies be of restricted fire risk unless fixed water-spraying systems, fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems are fitted and that partitions separating balconies be constructed of non-combustible materials, similar to the provisions for new passenger ships.

The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2008.

Prevention of accidents involving lifeboats

The MSC adopted an amendment to SOLAS regulation III/ concerning provisions for the launch of free-fall lifeboats during abandon-ship drills. The amendment will allow, during the abandon-ship drill, for the lifeboat to either be free-fall launched with only the required operating crew on board, or lowered into the water by means of the secondary means of launching without the operating crew on board, and then manoeuvred in the water by the operating crew. The aim is to prevent accidents with lifeboats occurring during abandon-ship drills. The amendment is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2008.

Protective coatings

The MSC adopted the Performance standard for protective coatings of dedicated seawater ballast tanks on all new ships and of double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers, which will be made mandatory by way of amendments to SOLAS regulations II-1/3-2, also adopted at the session.

The SOLAS amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 July 2008 and the performance standard will apply to ships for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 July 2008; or, in the absence of a building contract, the keels of which are laid on or after 1 January 2009, or the delivery of which is on or after 1 July 2012.
Other amendments

The MSC also adopted a number of other amendments:
amendments to the FSS Code relating to fire extinguishers, specifically portable foam applicators; fixed foam fire-extinguishing systems; fixed-pressure water-spraying and water-mist fire-extinguishing systems, fixed fire detection and fire alarm systems for cabin balconies. Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance Code (LSA Code), including those related to life rafts, life boats and rescue boats, particularly in relation to stowage and release mechanisms. Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), relating to fire protection and fire extinction, and the revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply) and 19 (Index of Products Carried in Bulk). Entry into force on 1 January 2009.

amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code), to update the references to SOLAS regulations and to add two more chemicals to the list of products in chapter 19 (Summary of minimum requirements). Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the International Codes of Safety for High-Speed Craft (1994 HSC Code and the 2000 HSC Code), to update them in line with relevant SOLAS amendments and, in the case of the 2000 HSC Code, to revise requirements relating to testing and calculations for buoyancy, stability and subdivision. Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the Protocol of 1988, relating to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, to include in the Record of equipment for the relevant safety certificate an entry regarding the long-range identification and tracking system. Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, including amendments of a reference in regulation 22 (Scuppers, inlets and discharges) and an amendment in regulation 39 (Minimum bow height and reserve buoyancy). Entry into force on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC) Code to update it in line with relevant amendments to SOLAS. Will become effective on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the Gas Carrier (GC) Code, to update it in line with certain fire safety requirements in SOLAS. Will become effective on 1 July 2008.

amendments to the Revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances (resolution MSC.81(70)), including revisions to prototype tests for lifebuoys, lifejackets, immersion suits, anti-exposure suits and thermal protective aids, liferafts, lifeboats, rescue boats and fast rescue boats, launching and embarkation appliances, position-indicating lights for life-saving appliances and hydrostatic release units; and revisions to production and installation tests for survival craft, launching and stowage arrangements. The amendments will become effective on 1 July 2008.

IMSO appointed to oversee new satellite providers

The Committee agreed that the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) was the appropriate Organization to undertake the oversight of future satellite service providers in the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) and invited IMSO to undertake that role forthwith.

In essence, the MSC would determine the criteria, procedures and arrangements for evaluating and recognizing satellite services for participation in the GMDSS, while services recognized by the Committee would be subject to oversight by IMSO.

The MSC instructed the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications, Search and Rescue (COMSAR 11) to redraft resolution A.888(21) Criteria for the provision of mobile-satellite communication systems in the GMDSS, to reflect the decisions and to submit it to MSC 83 with a view to adoption by the 25th IMO Assembly. COMSAR 11 was also invited to finalize any corresponding amendments to SOLAS chapter IV.

Goal-based new ship construction standards

The MSC re-established the Working Group on Goal-based Standards and further progressed the work on the issue.

The Committee has worked on the basis of a prescriptive approach for GBS for provisions for hull construction for bulk carriers and oil tankers and of a safety level approach for all other ship types.

With regard to the GBS for bulk carriers and oil tankers, the MSC has already agreed on a five-tier system, consisting of goals (Tier I), functional requirements (Tier II), verification of compliance criteria (Tier III), technical procedures and guidelines, classification rules and industry standards (Tier IV) and codes of practice and safety and quality systems for shipbuilding, ship operation, maintenance, training, manning, etc. (Tier V). Tier I goals and Tier II functional requirements have already been agreed in principle.

Following consideration of the matter, the MSC approved the Plan for the pilot project on trial application of the Tier III verification process using the IACS Common Structural Rules (CSR) and agreed that the nomination of candidates for the Pilot Panel should be open to all, while the selection of members by the MSC Chairman, in consultation with the Secretariat, would assure that the Panel would be balanced. The objective of the pilot project is to conduct a trial application of Tier III for oil tankers and bulk carriers with the intention of validating the Tier III verification framework, identifying shortcomings and making proposals for improvement.

The MSC agreed to include ergonomic principles as functional requirements in Tier II, and the Group prepared revised Tier II functional requirements.

The MSC noted that the Group agreed on a revised version of the Ship Construction File (SCF) and that the SCF, as a result of GBS, could become an independent mandatory requirement under SOLAS chapter II-1 and not part of the classification rules. However, most of the content in the file would emerge from the application of classification rules.

A correspondence group on GBS for oil tankers and bulk carriers was established, to monitor the pilot project and disseminate information on its progress and to develop draft SOLAS amendments for the incorporation of GBS for oil tankers and bulk carriers in SOLAS chapter II-1.

A Correspondence Group on the Safety Level Approach was established, to progress work to determine the current safety level in a holistic high-level manner, divided by ship types, in order to develop Tier I goals by: distinguishing ship types in a clear manner resulting in definitions of generic ship types for the purpose of statistical analysis; determining time windows to be used for historical data when establishing statistics for risk categories; and reviewing available statistical data. The Group will also consider the linkage between formal safety assessment (FSA) and GBS and consider the tier structure so far agreed for GBS for oil tankers and bulk carriers for use in the safety level approach.

Both groups will submit a report to MSC 83, scheduled for October 2007, which will also consider the report of the pilot project with the IACS CSR.

Measures to enhance maritime security

The MSC approved a circular on Interim Guidance on voluntary self-assessment by Companies and company security officers (CSOs) for ship security.

The MSC also approved amendments to the Revised recommendations on the safe transport of dangerous cargoes and related activities in port areas (MSC/Circ.675), to include provisions intended to address the security of the transport of dangerous goods by sea.

It also approved amendments to the IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for packing of cargo transport units (MSC/Circ.787) to broaden the scope of the guidelines to address the need for vigilance and the need for security procedures to be developed and followed by all concerned. The latter amendments will be forwarded to ILO and the UNECE for their consideration and approval.

Security of ships which do not fall within the scope of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code

The MSC began consideration of issues relating to the security aspects of the operation of ships which do not fall within the scope of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code (including cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage which travel on international routes).

The Committee agreed that non-SOLAS vessels shared the same operational environment as ships which fall within the scope of application of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code and the operations of the former affect the security of the latter. Thus, it was necessary to address the security aspects of the operation of non-SOLAS ships in a systematic and analytical manner, so as to achieve a tangible enhancement of the global security net which the provisions of SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code were seeking to establish.

It was agreed also that any guidelines developed should be non-mandatory and that their application should be under the purview of the individual Contracting Governments concerned and proportionate to the assessed levels of threat and risk.

A correspondence group was established to undertake a study to determine the scope of the issues and threats involved and to develop recommendatory guidelines on measures to enhance maritime security to complement measures required by SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code, which could be utilized by Contracting Governments and/or Administrations at their own discretion.

Security and facilitation issues related to the carriage of closed cargo transport units and of freight containers aboard ships

In relation to closed cargo transport units and containers, the Committee and the Facilitation Committee established a Joint MSC/FAL Working Group which met during the MSC session and began work on container and supply chain security, with a view to ensuring that the right balance is struck between enhanced security and the facilitation of maritime traffic. The Group, in its work, took into account the SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate global trade (the SAFE Framework of Standards) and the Authorized Economic Operator Guidelines, adopted by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in June 2005 and June 2006, respectively. The SAFE Framework of Standards was developed by WCO in response to a request from the 2002 SOLAS Conference which adopted SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code.

The Joint Working Group held initial discussions on the need to develop any relevant amendments to the SOLAS and/or FAL Conventions concerning closed cargo transport units and freight containers, to enhance maritime security whilst at the same time facilitating the movement of cargo. The MSC urged all member delegations and observers to consult with their experts in all aspects of the security and facilitation of maritime cargo and to submit their proposals on the security and facilitation of the movement of closed cargo transport units and of freight containers to the next session of the Facilitation Committee (FAL 34), for consideration by the next session of the joint MSC/FAL Working Group.

Long-Range Identification and Tracking – technical specifications and guidelines

The MSC made progress on the development of the technical specifications of the components of the Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) System, including the technical specifications for the International LRIT Data Exchange, the International LRIT Data Centre and for communication within the LRIT System network; protocols for the development testing of the LRIT System and for the testing of the integration into the system of new LRIT data centres; and guidance on setting up and maintaining the Data Distribution Plan.

It was agreed that the ad hoc Working Group on engineering aspects of LRIT should be reconvened to further develop the draft technical specifications; update the required technical documents; prepare a technical costing and billing standard for LRIT; consider technical issues and develop technical criteria to be taken into account when establishing the International LRIT Data Centre and the International LRIT Data Exchange; liaise with the IMO Secretariat regarding consistency, security and other aspects of the Data Distribution Plan with the technical specifications; and ensure that the testing documents completely address the Performance Standards.

The Group is scheduled to meet in the week before the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications, Search and Rescue (COMSAR 11, scheduled for 12-16 February 2007), and COMSAR was also instructed to consider issues relating to LRIT, particularly matters other than the specific engineering aspects.

In considering the role of performance review and audit of certain aspects of the LRIT system, the MSC appointed the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) as the LRIT Co-ordinator.

The new regulation on LRIT, which is included in SOLAS chapter V on Safety of Navigation, was adopted at the last MSC session in May, along with related performance standards. LRIT will be introduced as a mandatory requirement for the following ships on international voyages: passenger ships, including high-speed craft; cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and mobile offshore drilling units. If accepted by 1 July 2007, the regulation is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2008 and will apply to ships constructed on or after 31 December 2008 with a phased-in implementation schedule for ships constructed before 31 December 2008. LRIT is intended to be operational with respect to the transmission of LRIT information by ships as from 31 December 2008.

Role of the human element

The Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on Human Element met during the session to consider human element issues.

Explosions on chemical and product carriers

The Group reviewed the report of the Inter-Industry Working Group (IIWG) and the Human Factors Task Group (HFTG), established to study the reported incidents of explosions on chemical and product carriers and agreed that it was difficult to draw conclusive analysis from existing casualty reports due to the lack of human element considerations during these investigations, such as investigators asking the relevant questions to determine if the human element was a contributing factor in the casualty. Nonetheless, the industry’s review of its procedures and guidelines was a very positive step towards addressing the issue. Member States were urged to provide reports of casualty investigations to the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) expeditiously, with a view to arriving at constant and consistent analysis to ensure that such accidents and incidents do not recur.

It was agreed that there was a need to review and strengthen requirements for Dangerous Cargo Endorsements (DCEs) and proposals were invited with regards to the need for extending the requirements for DCEs to operational shore staff including terminal personnel and cargo surveyors. The Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) was invited to review the requirements leading to DCEs for seafarers, under its agenda item “Comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and the STCW Code”.

Impact of ISM Code

The Human Element Working Group also considered the report of the Group of Independent Experts (GIE) established by the Secretary-General to analyze the impact of the ISM Code and its effectiveness in the enhancement of safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment.

The Committee agreed with the recommendations made by the GIE, in particular that: guidelines for Administrations should be revised to make them more effective and user-friendly; and guidelines and associated training should be developed to assist companies and seafarers in improving the implementation of the Code. It also agreed that the results of the study should be given wide publicity across the industry.

In discussing the GIE’s conclusions, the MSC agreed that the paperwork that supports ISM compliance should be proportionate to the size, type and operation of the company; concise and user-friendly; and relevant to the operations related to safety and environmental protection.

The Committee noted that the industry had identified common areas between the ISM and ISPS Codes and that resolution A.852(20) on Guidelines for a structure of an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies, may provide guidance to handle or manage common areas of the ISM and ISPS Codes.

It was noted that, in order to properly motivate seafarers, companies should take into account feedback from shipboard personnel, including the outcome of shipboard safety committees to improve their operations and procedures relating to safety and environmental protection and it was essential for the company to respond in a constructive and timely fashion to any feedback received from seafarers operating the safety management system (SMS). Since seafarers are integral to the effective operation of the SMS, they should, therefore, be involved in the development and improvement of the system in order to ensure that the manuals are proportionate, concise and relevant.

Near misses

The MSC agreed there was a need to encourage companies and seafarers to document and record information on near misses and hazardous situations in order to understand the precursors to events that were detrimental to safety and the marine environment. It invited Member Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in consultative status to submit proposals to the next session of the Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on the Human Element, which is scheduled to be reconvened at MEPC 56 (9 to 13 July 2007).

Implementation of the revised STCW Convention

The list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, was updated when the Secretary-General submitted his report on those countries whose reports of independent evaluations had been completed since the previous MSC meeting.

The list of confirmed Parties to the STCW convention now has 117 Parties. (MSC.1/Circ.1164/Rev.2).

Other issues

The MSC considered other issues arising from the reports of Sub-Committees and other bodies, and:
adopted new and amended traffic separation schemes, including new and amended routeing measures other than traffic separation schemes, as well as new and amended mandatory ship reporting systems;

adopted revised performance standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS). The aim behind the revision is to ensure the operational reliability of such equipment, taking into account technological progress and experience gained. The revised performance standards are more detailed than the current version and include references to newer equipment such as automatic identification systems. It is expected that the new revised performance standards would apply to ECDIS equipment installed on or after 1 January 2009;

adopted Performance Standards for shipborne Galileo Equipment Receiver valid for equipment installed on or after 1 January 2009;

adopted revised Guidelines for the design and construction of offshore supply vessels;

adopted amendments to the Guidelines for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (LHNS Guidelines);

adopted amendments to the Code of safe carriage of cargoes and persons by offshore supply vessels (OSV Code);

adopted amendments to the Code of safe practice for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers (BLU Code); and

adopted revised Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships (previously resolution A.872(20)). The revised guidelines will be put forward to the Facilitation Committee for adoption at its next session.

* * *

Resolutions adopted

Resolution MSC.215(82) – Performance standard for protective coatings for dedicated seawater ballast tanks in all types of ships and double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers

Resolution MSC.216(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended

Resolution MSC.217(82) –Adoption of amendments to the International Code for Fire Safety systems (FSS Code)

Resolution MSC.218(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code

Resolution MSC.219(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code)

Resolution MSC.220(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code)

Resolution MSC.221(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 1994 (1994 HSC code)

Resolution MSC.222(82) – Adoption of amendments to the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 2000 (2000 HSC Code)

Resolution MSC.223(82) – Adoption of amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, as amended

Resolution MSC.224(82) – Adoption of amendments to the Code of Safety for Dynamically Supported Craft, as amended

Resolution MSC.225(82) – Adoption of amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of ships carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk, as amended

Resolution MSC.226(82) – Adoption of amendments to the revised recommendation on testing of life-saving appliances, as amended

Resolution MSC.227(82) – Adoption of amendments to the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974

Resolution MSC.228(82) – Revision of the Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships (Resolution A.872(20))

Resolution MSC.229(82) – Adoption of new mandatory ship reporting system in the Galapagos particularly sensitive sea area (PSSA)

Resolution MSC.230(82) – Adoption of amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system in the Storebælt (Great Belt) traffic area

Resolution MSC.231(82) – Adoption of amendments to the existing mandatory ship reporting system in the Gulf of Finland

Resolution MSC.232(82) – Adoption of the revised performance standards for electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS)

Resolution MSC.233(82) – Adoption of the performance standards for shipborne Galileo receiver equipment

Resolution MSC.234(82) – Recommendations concerning tonnage measurement of open-top containerships

Resolution MSC.235(82) – Adoption of the Guidelines for the design and construction of offshore supply vessels, 2006

Resolution MSC.236(82) – Adoption of amendments to the Guidelines for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (Resolution A.673(16))

Resolution MSC.237(82) – Adoption of amendments to the code of safe practice for the carriage of cargoes and persons by offshore supply vessels (OSV Code) (resolution A.863(20))

Resolution MSC.238(82) – Adoption of amendments to the code of safe practice for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers (BLU Code) (resolution A.862(20))

List of circulars and circular letters approved by MSC 82

MSC.1 circulars
MSC.1/Circ.1212 Guidelines on alternative design and arrangements for SOLAS chapters II-1 and III
MSC.1/Circ.1213 Interpretation and application of the IGC Code for ships carrying liquefied carbon dioxide in bulk
MSC.1/Circ.1214 Performance standards for the systems and services to remain operational on passenger ships for safe return to port and orderly evacuation and abandonment after a casualty
MSC.1/Circ.1215 Early implementation of amendments to SOLAS chapter III and the International Life-Saving Appliances (LSA) Code
MSC.1/Circ.1216 Revised recommendations on the safe transport of dangerous cargoes and related activities in port areas
MSC.1/Circ.1217 Interim Guidance on voluntary self-assessment by Companies and company security officers (CSOs) for ship security
MSC.1/Circ.797/Rev.14 List of competent persons to be maintained by the Secretary-General pursuant to section A-I/7 of the STCW Code
MSC.1/Circ.1163/Rev.1 Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, confirmed by the Maritime Safety Committee to have communicated information which demonstrates that full and complete effect is given to the relevant provisions of the Convention
MSC.1/Circ.1164/Rev.2 Promulgation of information related to reports of independent evaluation submitted by Parties to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978, as amended, confirmed by the Maritime Safety Committee to have communicated information which demonstrates that Parties are giving full and complete effect to the relevant provisions of the Convention
MSC.1/Circ.1218 Guidance on exchange of medical information between telemedical assistance services involved in international SAR operations
MSC.1/Circ.1219 Interim LRIT Technical Specifications and other matters
MSC.1/Circ.1220 Voluntary structural guidelines for new ships carrying liquids in bulk containing benzene
MSC.1/Circ.1221 Validity of Type Approval Certification for Marine Products
MSC.1/Circ.1222 Guidelines on annual testing of voyage data recorders (VDR) and simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDR)
MSC.1/Circ.1223 Guidelines for pre-planning of surveys in dry-dock of ships which are not subject to the Enhanced programme of inspections
MSC.1/Circ.1224 Unified interpretations of SOLAS chapter V
MSC.1/Circ.1225 Navigational Warnings concerning operations endangering the Safety of Navigation
MSC.1/Circ.1226 Interim Explanatory Notes to the SOLAS chapter II-1 subdivision and damage stability regulations
MSC.1/Circ.1227 Explanatory Notes to the Interim Guidelines for alternative assessment of the weather criterion
MSC.1/Circ.1228 Revised Guidance to the master for avoiding dangerous situations in adverse weather and sea conditions
MSC.1/Circ.1229 Guidelines for the approval of stability instruments
MSC.1/Circ.1230 Amendments to the manual on loading and unloading of solid bulk cargoes for terminal representatives
MSC.1/Circ.1231 Interim Scheme for the compliance of certain cargo ships and special purpose ships with the management for the safe operations of ships

Joint MSC - MEPC circular
MSC-MEPC.1/Circ.1 Guidelines on the organization and method of work of the MSC, MEPC and their subsidiary bodies

Other circulars
COLREG.2/Circ.58 New and amended traffic separation schemes
SLS.14/Circ.115/Add.3 Issue of Exemption Certificates under the 1974 SOLAS Convention and amendments thereto
SN.1/Circ.257 Routeing measures other than traffic separation schemes
SN.1/Circ.258 Mandatory ship reporting systems
SN.1/Circ.259 Emergency wreck marking buoy

Circular letters
Circular letter No.1886/Rev.3 Implementation of resolution A.600(15) - IMO ship identification number scheme
Circular letter No.2554/Rev.1 Implementation of IMO Unique Company and Registered Owner Identification Number Scheme

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Barmy Army cruise hit for six

lunes, diciembre 18, 2006
LIMASSOL 18 December – Louis Cruise Lines has agreed to charter its 15,781-gt, 928-berth veteran Orient Queen to Germany-based Hansa Kreuzfahrten and Delphin Kreuzfahrten for 140 days with immediate effect. The charter runs until 7 May 2007 and will incorporate a round-the-world trip departing from Piraeus. A spokesman at Louis told Fairplay the charter of the 1968-built ship had become available because a previous charter to an English company for a 31-day period (30 March to 29 April 2007) had fallen through because the charterer had been unable to fulfill its contractual obligations. He believed the English charter was to serve as a floating hotel during the cricket World Cup in the West Indies. The news came on the very morning that the English cricket team lost a match in Australia, but it was not known whether this had a bearing on the cancellation of charter.


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Five gold rings for Korean builders

LONDON 18 December – South Korean shipbuilders have taken the top five places in the latest listing of yards and their order backlogs from Clarksons, the London-based shipping services provider. Hyundai Heavy Industries remains well ahead with 13.47M compensated gross tons - which measures the level of shipbuilding output - followed by Samsung with 9.23M CGT, Daewoo (7.6M CGT), Hyundai Mipo (4.06M CGT) and Hyundai Samho (3.06M CGT). The top ten included two Chinese yards (with Dalian New Shipyard at 2.74M CGT) and one Japanese yard. A spokesman from Korea Shipbuilders' Association commented that Chinese and Japanese rivals would find it hard to overtake Korean yards because the Koreans are regularly winning orders for high-value LNG carriers.



Birka axes jobs to trim costs

 MARIEHAMN 18 December – Birka Cruises, part of the Finnish short cruise and freight ferry group Birka Line, is to axe 27 jobs on its 34,758-gt cruise vessel Birka Paradise to trim costs. Starting early next year, the ship’s cabins will be cleaned up during turn around in Stockholm by contracted shore-based personnel rather than the ship’s own staff. The company said in late October it wants to save between euro2.5M-3.0M (up to $3.9M) a year by streamlining its administration, marketing and on board operations. The number of passengers increased by 27% in the nine months to 30 September and yields rose 3%, but this has not been enough to improve the financial performance of Birka Paradise as expected, which has forced the company to seek cost savings. The group made a 3Q06 pre-tax profit of euro1.24M, an increase from euro1.08M in the same period a year earlier. The company has forecast tough trading conditions in the Swedish short cruise market, while its six freight ferries have staged a stable performance.

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Carnival converts huge option

MIAMI 18 December – Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) has exercised its outstanding option at Fincantieri for a sister to its largest post-Panamax newbuilding ever. Carnival Corp firmed its order for a second 130,000-gt, 3,652-passenger vessel for the CCL brand to be delivered by the Monfalcone yard in summer 2010, at a price of euro565M ($739M). The option, which was due to expire on 31 December, was part of Carnival Corp’s multi-brand $2Bn-plus order last December. The first sister ship in the new class of larger CCL post-Panamaxes is due to enter service in autumn 2009. Despite the fact that the pending CCL option was denominated in euros, analysts such as UBS’s Robin Farley had previously predicted it would be exercised. Last week, Carnival Corp exercised its option for a second 92,700-gt, 2,260-passenger Costa Crociere newbuilding to be built at Fincantieri’s Marghera yard for delivery in March 2010. However, Carnival Corp decided to "extend" its option for an additional 86,000-gt, 2,044-passenger Holland America Line vessel (an option originally due to expire on 31 December). Carnival Corp currently operates 81 ships worldwide, with 19 newbuildings now firmed up for delivery between March 2007 and summer 2010 – 13 of those at Fincantieri.


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US to demand much more container data

viernes, diciembre 15, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC 15 December – US Customs will require much more information about the contents of US-bound containers as what is called the “10+2” is rolled out next year. Customs & Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham told a small gathering of reporters yesterday that the added data, needed to identify high-risk shipments, will be rolled out gradually but will be in place by the end of summer. His remarks to the media came after he told about 700 importers and other trade executives at the annual CBP trade symposium that he “wants to be sure that all the issues that impact your business are resolved before we go to full compliance." Addressing fears that the added data might be used against shippers, Basham said the information “will not be used for compliance purposes.” Fairplay suggested that ocean carriers would like to share in that information so they would know what they are carrying. Basham’s deputy, Michael Mullen, responded by saying the new data will be for law enforcement purposes only and will not be shared with the industry. Mullen, assistant commissioner over the Office of International Affairs and Trade Relations, said the new data will be collected by third-party “fusion centres” and funnelled to CBP’s targeting centres for evaluation. The information newly required will include detailed data on contents, shippers, recipients, eventual buyers, consolidators, ports transited and more. World Shipping Council president Chris Koch told the group the 10+2 scheme will be challenging to implement but said it is “absolutely the thing to do”. As to a lack of information sharing with the industry, he told Fairplay: “that’s fine” as long as the government ensures the boxes are safe.

(Via Fairplay)

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Herz trumps Bureau Veritas

HAMBURG 15 December – German entrepreneur Günter Herz has emerged as the winner in the takeover race for Germanischer Lloyd. Shareholders representing over 40% of GL’s share capital officially agreed to sell their stakes to Herz at a meeting in Hamburg today. Others were still deciding to sign sale contracts as the shareholder meeting came to a close, attendants reported. Acceptance might rise to around 60% eventually, some believe. Herz’s bid, which was promoted by GL’s board all the way, valued the German society at around euro550M ($724M) while French rival Bureau Veritas offered around euro500M. GL's management praised the agreement as an amicable “Hamburg solution” that will cement the class society’s independence. “This is the best solution for all our maritime and industrial clients who can now continue to rely on our high safety and quality standards,” said executive board member Rainer Schöndube. After five turbulent weeks in which GL’s management struggled hard to keep the group’s shareholders at it, the society can now “concentrate on its actual day-to-day work again”, he said.


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Carnival and TUI Joint Venture to Operate Existing AIDA Cruises Brand and Launch New TUI Cruises Brand in Germany

MIAMI and HANOVER, Germany, Dec. 15. Carnival Corporation & plc , the largest cruise vacation group in the world, and TUI AG, the world's largest tour operator, today announced the signing of a letter of intent to form a joint venture company to develop, market and operate two cruise brands - Carnival's existing AIDA Cruises and a new TUI Cruises brand - both designed for the German-speaking holiday market.

AIDA, the German affiliate of Costa Crociere S.p.A., is currently the market leader in Germany with its "club resort" cruise concept aimed at younger, more active passengers. AIDA currently operates a four-ship fleet, with four additional ships under construction at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard and scheduled for delivery between 2007 and 2010.

Under the proposed joint venture agreement, a new TUI Cruises brand, which will target a different segment of the German cruise market, will be developed. It is expected that the first TUI branded ship, with an estimated 3,000 passenger berths, will be delivered in spring of 2010.

The new joint venture company will be managed under the direction of Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Carnival's Costa Cruises unit, who currently oversees Carnival's German operations, including AIDA. Michael Thamm, president of AIDA Cruises, based in Rostock, Germany, will become president of the new joint venture company.

Under the proposed transaction, TUI will initially purchase five percent of the joint venture in 2007 and is expected to purchase another 20 percent in 2010. For purposes of this transaction, AIDA's business was valued at euro 1.9 billion for inclusion in the joint venture, which will be formed with euro 600 million of indebtedness. The purchase price will be paid to Carnival in cash at the closing of each transaction based on a net equity value of euro 1.3 billion. When the initial five percent purchase closes in 2007, Carnival expects to record a pre-tax gain of approximately euro 60 million ($80 million). Another gain will be recorded under U.S. accounting principles at the time of closing of the subsequent 20 percent purchase in 2010.

Apart from the aforementioned gains, Carnival expects the transaction to be neutral to earnings on an annualized basis for the 12-month period following the transaction closing.

"TUI is a highly diversified and experienced company in the European travel and tourism sector and has extensive brand awareness throughout Europe, particularly in Germany," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO. "By combining TUI's strengths with Carnival's tremendous experience in building, operating and marketing cruise ships, we are creating an excellent platform for growth in the rapidly expanding German cruise market."

Added Dr. Michael Frenzel, CEO of TUI AG, "With AIDA Cruises, Carnival has already set up a successful and profitable model in the German cruise market. By entering into this joint venture and benefiting from Carnival's unrivaled expertise, we are able to put the TUI Cruises brand on water. Together, AIDA and TUI Cruises will provide ideal offers to an even larger potential of cruise customers in this commercially highly interesting segment."

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2007 pending approval of both companies boards of directors, all necessary regulatory approvals, customary due diligence and the execution of definitive agreements.

About Carnival Corporation & plc

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 81 ships totaling approximately 144,000 lower berths with 18 new ships scheduled to enter service between March 2007 and spring 2010. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

About TUI AG

The TUI Group is the European market leader in tourism and one of the top five players in global container shipping. The tour operators of TUI trade in 17 European countries and in 2005 sold the Group's products to around 21 million customers. TUI encompasses all in all about 3,200 travel agencies, 7 airlines with more than 100 aircraft and 35 incoming agencies. Its hotel portfolio is made up of 279 hotels with approximately 164,000 beds in 30 countries.

TUI provides its customers with complete holidays from a single source - from booking in a TUI travel agency, flights with one of the World of TUI airlines, accommodation in the Group's own hotels and customer-care by the Group's own incoming agencies.

Through its wholly owned subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, TUI operates one of the world's leading container shipping companies with more than 140 container ships. Under the brands of Hapag-Lloyd in Germany and Thomson in the UK, TUI also operates a fleet of nine cruise liners. The Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship division is the leading "premium and luxury cruise" tour operator in German-speaking countries. The four cruise liners including the 5-star-plus "MS Europa" are at home on all the world's oceans.

In the 2005 financial year, more than 60,000 employees achieved a turnover of more than EUR 19 billion. Over 70 percent of this was generated by the tourism division.


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Celebrity takes Pullmantur's Moon

MIAMI 14 December – Celebrity Cruises is wasting no time in bringing Pullmantur’s younger ships to the US market, confirming the second transfer from the Spanish fleet. Parent Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd will shift Pullmantur’s 710-passenger, 30,277gt Blue Moon (ex-R7) to Celebrity sub-brand Celebrity Expeditions in October 2007, when it will be renamed Celebrity Quest. Previously, RCCL had announced that sister ship Blue Dream (ex-R6) would be transferred to Celebrity next May and be renamed Celebrity Journey. The Celebrity Expeditions brand also has a third ship, the 2,842gt Celebrity Xpedition (ex-Sun Bay I), which sails the Galapagos. Both the Celebrity Journey and Quest will undergo extensive drydockings (valued at $35M combined) during which 32 suites will be added to each vessel, among other enhancements. The Celebrity Journey will sail Bermuda cruises next summer, then be repositioned to South America, while the Celebrity Quest will inaugurate with a season of longer Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises next winter. In addition to shifting the two Pullmantur vessels to Celebrity, RCCL is transferring Celebrity’s 1990-built Zenith to Pullmantur.


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Gazprom, Shell reach Sakhalin deal

MOSCOW 14 December – Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas giant, is to acquire shareholding control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and LNG project from Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi, following the resumption last week of negotiations with Shell. The outcome has been widely reported, but the terms are still under negotiation, according to Dmitri Medvedev, chief of the Kremlin staff and chairman of the Gazprom board. Russian reports suggest that Gazprom will not pay cash up front. Instead, it will reportedly defer payment for its stake until the project starts operation, and cash is generated from LNG shipments and sales. This suggests that the takeover will oblige Shell to accept an audit of its actual project costs, instead of its estimated $22Bn in capital expenditure; and that the income that would otherwise have flowed to Shell under the old production sharing agreement will be diverted to Gazprom, and then paid to Shell for shares. Neither side is keen to acknowledge publicly what price has been tabled. This was clearly one of the sticking-points when Russian energy minister Victor Khristenko said early this week that the talks were “difficult”.

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Loyola de Palacio dies

(Via Fairplay.co.uk)

MADRID 14 December – Loyola de Palacio, the Spanish minister who served as deputy president of the European Commission and transport commissioner between 1999 and 2004, died in Madrid yesterday. She was 56 and had been suffering from cancer. De Palacio will be remembered as strong, determined and committed to European values. She was rarely shifted from her course of action and was often described as “implacable”. In October 2003 she scolded EU member states for lacking the political will to find solutions to deal with maritime disasters, and warned that she was considering legal action against governments whose response to the requirement to implement safety legislation had been apathetic. That came after she had driven through a proposal to make maritime pollution a criminal offence on the grounds that the existing civil liability regime for pollution by ships “do not provide sufficient financial disincentives to ship owners … to behave in the most responsible way.” Her hard-line views on the imprisonment of Prestige captain Apostolos Mangouras won her few friends in shipping circles, while her port reform initiative was viewed by insiders in Brussels as a something of a “personal mission”. The determination to bring in unprecedented levels of regulation was handed on to her successor, Jacques Barrot, at the end of 2004.

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ICS/ISF urge EU to stay international

miércoles, diciembre 13, 2006
LONDON 13 December – EU shipping will be more competitive if international rather than regional solutions are adopted, say the International Chamber of Shipping and International Shipping Federation in their joint response to the EU’s future maritime policy green paper. Although the two organisations welcome the document’s recognition of the importance of international regulation, there are concerns about proposals to increase the co-ordination of member states’ positions at IMO and ILO; and about proposed changes to UNCLOS, freedom of navigation within the Economic Exclusion Zone and the right of third-country ship operators to engage in trade between ports in EU member state. In addition, ICS and ISF call for greater emphasis on the sound environmental performance of shipping in comparison to other commercial transport modes “and the extent to which shipping is part of the solution rather than the problem with regard to concerns about global warming.” The ICS/ISF submission can be downloaded from www.marisec.org (click on ‘industry submissions’).

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FONASBA granted IMO status

 LONDON 13 December – Ship agents' and brokers' association FONASBA has been granted consultative status with the IMO, although formal endorsement will not take place until the next IMO assembly. FONASBA president Mario Fróio said the move was in recognition of the role agents and brokers play in the safe and efficient transport of goods by sea, and that agency members in particular are becoming more closely involved in issues such as ship and port security and vessels reporting, which come under the aegis of IMO. A statement from the Federation said that until now agents and brokers had no means of contributing to the discussions within IMO or of putting their knowledge and experience at the disposal of the UN agency in developing regulation that was effective and appropriate. Fróio, who heads up Brazil's Federação Nacional das Agências Navegação Maritima in Santos, took over as president at the recent FONASBA gathering in Morocco. He paid tribute to his predecessors, Umberto Masucci and Philip Wood, for guiding the application through.


Vietnam to join WTO next month

SINGAPORE 13 December – After years of deliberation, the Republic of Vietnam will officially become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 January. "In principle, it is a good move," said an official from Ho Chi Minh City-based Falcon Shipping, the Vinalines subsidiary that owns and operates a diversified fleet of about 11 vessels. He told Fairplay the inclusion will give greater market access for Vietnamese light industries and their products. "Container movement is certainly going to benefit as a result of wider trade." Among other areas, the removal of quota and tariffs on Vietnamese imports will significantly help the Vietnamese garment industry. WTO membership will give nations aggrieved by unfair trading practices the opportunity can take their case before a tribunal, while it also offers a framework for increasing the network of forwarding agents for Vietnamese shipping lines. Last month, NYK Line acquired a stake in Vietnam Ocean Shipping Agency, hoping to benefit from Vietnam's new status.


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Carnival Exercises Option for New 92,700-Ton Ship for Costa Cruises & for New 86,000-ton Holland America Line Ship

MIAMI, Dec 12, 2006 / Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE: CCL; LSE) (NYSE: CUK) today announced that it has exercised an option for a new 92,700-ton cruise ship for Italian cruise operator Costa Cruises.

Additionally, the company has extended the option for a previously announced 86,000-ton ship for Holland America Line.

The new Costa ship, which is scheduled for delivery in March 2010, will have 2,260 lower passenger berths and will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard at an all-in cost of approximately 420 million euros. It will be a sister ship to a previously announced 92,700-ton Costa vessel which is scheduled to enter service in spring 2009.

With today's announcement, Costa has four new ships on order with a combined capacity of 10,520 lower berths. Once those vessels are introduced, the Costa fleet will have a total of 15 ships.

"Europe is one of the world's fastest growing cruising areas and Costa is the region's preeminent cruise operator. Continuing to invest in new ship construction will enable Costa to maintain its leadership position within the region while providing new and innovative on-board facilities and features for its guests," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO.

Added Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Costa Cruises, "With this new ship order, Costa reaffirms its long-term successful association with Fincantieri and its continued role in the development of the Italian economy. We expect this new ship to be highly popular with its many innovative facilities, including a double-deck-high magradome, Samsara spa, Samsara on- board life style concept and other state-of-the-art features."

Carnival is also extending the option for a new 2,044-passenger Holland America Line ship which, if the option is exercised, would be built by Fincantieri and enter service in late 2010. The 86,000-ton Panamax vessel would be the second in the line's new Signature class. The first in the series, the Eurodam, will be delivered in June 2008.

With the addition of the new Costa ship, Carnival Corporation & plc has 18 new ships on order, 12 of which are being built by Fincantieri.

Giuseppe Bono, chief executive officer of Fincantieri, added, "This new order, which is a further endorsement of our role as reference builder for the Carnival group and our position as the sector's world leader, marks for both Costa and ourselves the successes of the past and the important achievements which we shall reach together." He added, "This order, which extends our shipyards' workload until 2010, confirms once again that our company can rely on a sound financial framework."

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 81 ships totaling approximately 144,000 lower berths with 18 new ships scheduled to enter service between March 2007 and spring 2010. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

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Fincantieri deal for cruise ship

 ITALIAN cruise operator Costa Crociere, has exercised an option with Fincantieri for the construction of a new 92,700-gt cruise ship. The vessel, which is scheduled for delivery in March 2010, will be built at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard, at an all-in cost of about $556M. The vessel will have 2,260 lower passenger berths and a total of 1,130 cabins, (772 of which will have private verandas) that being the highest percentage of veranda cabins in the Costa fleet. It will be the sister ship of another 92,700-gt vessel, already announced, also to be built in Marghera and scheduled to enter service in spring 2009.

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EU approves Peel Ports deal

martes, diciembre 12, 2006
LIVERPOOL 12 December – The acquisition of a 49% stake in Peel Ports by Deutsche Bank’s RREEF Pan European Infrastructure Fund has been approved by the European Commission. The deal, which poses no monopoly issues, was cleared under the EU’s simplified process for reviewing mergers and was seen as presenting no problems on competition grounds. While no price for the deal has been released, estimates understand it to be around £700M ($1.37Bn). Peel Ports is the UK’s second largest port operator owning Liverpool, Clydeport, Heysham, the Medway ports and the Manchester Ship Canal.

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India, Pakistan to sign protocol

DELHI 12 December – India and Pakistan will sign a revised shipping protocol on Thursday in New Delhi that will enable vessels registered in one or other country to carry third-party cargo from ports in both states. Pakistan’s port and shipping minister Babar Khan Ghauri will sign the amended shipping protocol. The protocol will restore direct shipping links between the two neighbours after a lapse of 35 years. It is expected to give an impetus to ship owning in Pakistan and help it to win a share of the 4.5M-tonnes of cargo handled each year by Indian ports. Both countries initiated moves to amend the protocol in 2003. The Indian cabinet last month approved the proposed amendments to the protocol whereas Islamabad gave its approval about eight months ago. Shipping sources consider the amendment as an important move as it will increase the volume of trade and eventually bring down shipping rates. Recently Pakistan added 200 more items to the list of imports from India, and trade sources believe that once shipping links are restored the bilateral trade volume will soar from $1.2Bn to $2Bn, besides accelerating private sector participation in the shipping sector.


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Hurtigruten sells older tonage

 NARVIK 12 December – Hurtigruten, the Norwegian passenger shipping company, has sold two old ships for a total of about $17M. The 1982-built Narvik of 6,257gt, which has been deployed on the service between Bergen and Kirkenes along the west coast of Norway, has been sold to the Young Seafarers’ Christian Association for NK62M ($10M). The sale will generate a profit of about NK20M. The 1975-built Jupiter has been sold to undisclosed Asian interests for about $7M. The ship has been used as a floating hotel after it was taken out of the service of Fjord Line, a now defunct subsidiary. Hurtigrute will book a loss of about NK17M from the sale. The company says one further coastal express vessel will be sold in a move to harmonise the fleet that resulted from the merger of OVDS and TFDS earlier this year.


Spanish owners try again

MADRID 12 December – Spanish ship owners have renewed their attempt to encourage the government to support short-sea shipping after the finance ministry rejected proposed amendments to the state budget for 2007. According to shipowners’ association Anave, amendments included incentives for road hauliers who used short-sea services and funding for ‘motorways of the sea’ projects’. The proposed changes would have cost euro8M ($10.5M) and were initially presented by the Catalan conservative party (CiU), but failed to win support in either the parliament or senate. In a comment published this week, Anave said the shipping projects – which the association claims would have benefited the maritime sector – would now be delayed for a year. The owners have called on the public works ministry to present the amendments to parliament early next year for inclusion in the 2008 state budget.


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BV to raise bid for GL

 HAMBURG 11 December – Germanischer Lloyd shareholders willing to sell are now seeing their shares’ market value spiral up, as Bureau Veritas attempts to outbid the other suitors. The French class society announced today that it will submit an improved offer in time for its meeting with GL shareholders scheduled for 18 December in Hamburg. In particular it aims to outrival the friendly takeover-bid by Hamburg businessman Gunter Herz, who has made an unconditional offer for up to 100% of GL’s shares. Unlike BV, whose offer comes with various strings attached, Herz is prepared to buy the shares without first going through a due diligence process. However, BV’s chances seem to have increased again after GL shareholders refused to decide for the Herz offer at a meeting in Hamburg at the end of last week. The French class society has underlined its intention to concentrate all decision-making functions of the combined marine business in the Hansestadt. “And the alliance will provide a vital incentive to create new jobs, so fears about job losses are completely unwarranted”, said BV chief executive Frank Piedelièvre.

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Korea needs more LNG ships

SEOUL 12 December – South Korea, which is one of the leading importers of LNG in Asia, is estimated to import up to 32M tonnes of liquefied natural gas by 2015. Last year, Korea imported 25M tonnes of LNG. Power utility Korea Gas Corp and steelmaker Posco account for the bulk of the imports. Together they are estimated to import up to 22M tonnes in 2007. The study was published by Korea Gas Corp, which was tasked by lawmaker Cho Jung Shik of the ruling Uri Party. Newbuilding and ship owner sources told Fairplay that at least 10 additional LNG ships would be needed to meet the projected rise in imports.

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Carnival confirms TUI talks

 MIAMI 12 December - Carnival Corporation has confirmed that it is in discussions with TUI, but rebutted reports in German media that negotiations involve an exclusive distribution deal for AIDA. German tour operator TUI is parent of container line Hapag Lloyd. In a statement, Carnival admitted that “discussions are continuing”, but stressed that “the nature of the discussions has been incorrectly reported”. Carnival maintained that talks “do not involve exclusive distribution of any of Carnival’s cruise products”, adding that AIDA is “completely satisfied with its present distribution model” (as the german brand of Costa Crociere) . Carnival said that it will immediately announce details should current discussions lead to an agreement with TUI refusing to comment further on the issue.

[YESTERDAY info via Carnival Corp.]
Carnival Corporation & plc Confirms, Clarifies Discussions With TUI AG

MIAMI, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE: CCL; LSE) (NYSE: CUK) has confirmed that it has held discussions with TUI AG (TUIGn.DE) and that those discussions are continuing. However, the nature of the discussions has been incorrectly reported by various German media as they do not involve exclusive distribution of any of Carnival's cruise products.

The company's very successful AIDA brand, which serves the German market, is completely satisfied with its present distribution model and appreciates the support that it receives from its travel agent partners.

Should current discussions lead to an agreement with TUI AG, Carnival Corporation & plc will immediately announce details of the agreement. However, until that time, the company will not comment further.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 81 ships totaling approximately 144,000 lower berths with 17 new ships scheduled to enter service between March 2007 and spring 2010. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

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Active storm season forecast for 2007

 MIAMI 11 December – Hurricane forecasters, whose prognostications missed the mark in 2006, are again projecting an active storm season for 2007. Forecasters in the US and UK now say at least 14 storms are expected in the Atlantic, including seven hurricanes – three of which should reach Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Colorado State University climatologist William Gray was the first to reveal his projections and those were followed closely by UK-based Tropical Storm Risk. "Despite a fairly inactive 2006 hurricane season, we believe that the Atlantic basin is in an active hurricane cycle,'' Gray said, noting that the cycle may last as long as 20 years before entering a calmer period. Gray and colleague Phillip Klotzbach said there is a 64% chance that a major storm will strike the US mainland, compared with the 50-year average of 52%, adding that both the East and Gulf coasts have a 40% chance of being hit. Tropical Storm Risk scientists forecast 16 named storms, nine of which will become hurricanes and four of those being intense hurricanes with three of the tropical storms and two hurricanes are predicted to hit the US. Predictions for 2006 called for upwards of 16 or 17 storms, but far fewer formed and no hurricanes actually struck the Atlantic coast.

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Shareholders sue Top

NEW YORK 11 December – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Top Tankers, its chief executive Evangelos Pistiolis and its chief financial officer Stamatios Tsantanis, alleging violations of federal securities laws. Plaintiffs, represented by Kahn Gauthier Swick, filed their case in the US Southern District Court of New York following Top’s revelation that its independent auditor Ernst & Young had resigned and its 1Q-2Q06 results would be restated on accounting revisions involving the company’s sale leaseback transactions. According to a copy of the suit obtained by Fairplay, the plaintiff class (representing Top shareholders between 28 June 2005 and 28 November 2006) allege that Top and its executives artificially inflated shares through deception; paid a “massive” $7.50 special dividend to shareholders “almost $40M of which went to defendants and their families”; and allowed Kingdom Holdings, owned by Pistiolis’s family, “to liquidate almost 900,000 shares while in possession of material adverse information”. The suit alleges that Top and its executives failed to disclose numerous factors that had a bad impact on business and at the same time it “propped up the company’s results by manipulating accounting for sale leasebacks”. The suit also claims Top “did not have adequate systems of operational controls and financial procedures – and therefore, Top’s reported financial statements were not true or reliable.”


Infected Freedom delays cruise

MIAMI 11 December – Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, has delayed its next departure after repeated outbreaks of norovirus. According to a statement by RCCL, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) officially recommended that the vessel not sail as scheduled on 10 December, and that it instead undergo additional sanitising. RCCL said it will follow the CDC recommendation, departing on 12 December on a shortened five-day cruise to Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti. On its 26 November to 3 December voyage, 338 of the Freedom’s 3,823 passengers and 43 of its 1,400 crew suffered gastrointestinal illness. On the subsequent 3-10 December cruise, 97 of the 3,907 passengers and 11 crew members fell ill. In addition to special cleaning in co-ordination with CDC before tomorrow’s departure, heightened sanitation procedures will be in place throughout this week’s cruise. Beyond the Freedom of the Seas situation, more than 100 passengers and crew were also reported to have become ill aboard Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess, which returned to Port Everglades this weekend. It appears increasingly likely that 2006 will end up as the worst year ever for norovirus, with 34 outbreaks so far and additional incidents being reported on a weekly basis.

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Insurance group AIG takes P&O assets

DUBAI 11 December – DP World has sold its US terminal assets to the American International Group (AIG) Global Investment Group, which will operate the former P&O ports terminals under a newly-created subsidiary. The purchase price was not disclosed, but DPW was reported to be asking for $700M. “With the sale of the US assets, we have concluded the process and our commitment to the American people that we began in March 2006. Meanwhile, we continue to expand globally in response to our customers’ needs,” DPW chief executive Mohammed Sharaf said in a statement. EDPW chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem added that “while we are disappointed to be exiting the US market, the price we received was fair. We are pleased that POPNA will have a strong owner in AIG and wish them well for the future.” AIG is the world’s largest insurer and was not among the finalists speculated upon by the media over the past weeks as DPW finalised the bidding process. DPW was forced to sell the marine terminal concessions in the ports of New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa and New Orleans, coupled with stevedoring operations in 16 locations along the East and Gulf Coasts and a passenger terminal in New York City it acquired as part of the $6.8Bn purchase of P&O ports global operations.

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GL shareholders ask for more time

lunes, diciembre 11, 2006
 HAMBURG 08 December – Germanischer Lloyd shareholders have asked for more time and more information about the class society’s business prospects as yet another takeover bid was made for GL. A meeting of 90% of GL’s 50 shareholders in Hamburg made no decisions about the hostile euro500M ($657M) takeover bid from France’s Bureau Veritas or the friendly takeover offer made yesterday by German multi-millionaire businessman Gunter Herz, the main shareholder in German sportsware giant Puma. “The shareholders have asked the executive board for more detailed information about future business developments,” GL said in a statement. “In another meeting in the next week, the shareholders will have a concrete examination of the future outlook.” Meanwhile, another friendly takeover bid for GL was submitted today by Germany’s TÜV SÜD, a large company whose main business is annual technical roadworthiness inspections of automobiles on behalf of the German government. A TÜV SÜD spokesman said the company had on Friday submitted a bid for 50.1% of GL. “We made the bid on the request of GL, this is not a bluff,” he said. Both GL and TÜV SÜD are involved in similar technical standard certification, he said. GL would be integrated into the other company as an independent division.

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Dutch port slated over Ivorian poisoning

 AMSTERDAM 08 December – Authorities in the Dutch port of Amsterdam have been criticised by a local inquiry for their role in a chain of events that led to 10 people dying and thousands falling ill in the Ivory Coast. An Amsterdam municipal inquiry has collectively blamed four agencies for allowing the tanker Probo Koala (now re-named Gulf Jash) to leave port in July, bearing unprocessed slops that were offloaded in the Ivorian port of Abidjan, taken away by truck and dumped on landfill sites in residential areas. The dumped material caused widespread casualties. An Ivorian inquiry has implicated Ivorian authorities and the haulage company in the scandal. The Amsterdam inquiry says that while Marpol regulations permitted the tanker to leave as it did, the slops were "hazardous" and should have been treated. It recommends strengthening Dutch law in providing one authority to oversee future such operations. Dutch-based commodity trader Trafigura chartered the tanker but maintains its slops were not the cause of the casualties. The company's founder and regional manager both remain in prison in the Ivory Coast while police determine if they are to be charged.

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Hanjin transfers assets to fund expansion

 SEOUL 08 December – South Korea’s largest shipping line, Hanjin Shipping, will transfer container terminals in Taiwan and Japan to another Hanjin entity to fund a ship expansion drive. The move is expected to raise $320M, according to a source, and the money will be used to buy five 10,000teu vessels and also spent on operating costs. Hanjin Shipping will transfer its terminals at Tokyo, Osaka and Kaoshiung to Hanjin Pacific, a venture it co-owns with Macquarie Korea Opportunities Fund. Under the 60/40 operating regime, Hanjin will retain control of the terminals.The ships have already been ordered from Samsung Heavy Industries and will be used to cater for rising cargo demand.

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Puma millionaire pounces on GL

HAMBURG 07 December – German multi-millionaire businessman Günter Herz has made a takeover offer for Germanischer Lloyd that has been described by the classification society as “friendly”. Herz is a major shareholder in giant German sportsware firm Puma and part of the family that owns Tchibo, one of Europe’s largest coffee companies. Herz is offering “significantly above” the euro500M offered by French class society Bureau Veritas, says Rainer Kutzner, head of Herz’s investment company. Herz, who lives in Hamburg where GL is based, regarded the bid by Bureau Veritas as unwelcome and he wanted GL to remain independent, Kutzer said. “The Germanischer Lloyd executive board welcomes the initiative from Mr Herz and is currently examining the details of the offer,” GL said in a statement. The offer will be put before a meeting of GL shareholders scheduled for Friday, although the meeting was unlikely to take a decision on the bid.


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Disappointment for Indian owners

jueves, diciembre 07, 2006
MUMBAI 06 December – The Indian government has decided not to amend the Merchant Shipping Act to allow foreign officers to be employed on Indian flagged vessels. Indian ship owners, facing a shortage of trained officers for their ships, had asked the government to lift the ban on employment of foreign officers on Indian-registered vessels operating in domestic trades. They argued that a large number of Indian officers had been encouraged to work on foreign vessels through better pay and tax incentives; Indian companies could not compete. However, the government has responded that the shortage only relates to senior officers such as captains and chief engineers, and wasn’t as acute as the owners claim. The government says it is confident the shortage can be eased by raising the standard of training in the country’s maritime institutes and by training more officers.

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