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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Bureau Veritas issues guidance for Risk-Based Qualification of New Technology

LEADING international classification society Bureau Veritas has issued guidelines for the Risk-Based Qualification of New Technology. Qualification is a process by which a new technology or an existing technology used in a new context is validated. The qualification process is intended to prove with an acceptable level of confidence and in a cost effective manner that a technology is fit for purpose, that it complies with the specifications that the designer developed and that it is sufficiently reliable and is safe for the people and the environment.

“The pace of change in offshore energy is now so fast that industry is pushed to use new technologies to cope with new challenges and we can no longer only extrapolate from experience to check that things are going to be safe and effective,” explains Jean-Claude Astrugue, Offshore Equipment and Safety Technical Manager. “We need a new methodology that can assess new technologies quickly and safely. And it is most important that everyone involved understands the strengths and limitations of the assessments we can make, and how we do them. That is what these guidelines are about – how we make sure new ideas are safe while getting new systems and projects into service quickly.”

The time frame and the costs are important parameters as it is often impossible to perform tests for the duration of the entire expected life of the product or system that uses a novel technology and the qualification has to be cost effective with regards to the expected results.

The application of Risk Based Qualification of New Technology changes the standard processes of design review and inspection. The detailed guidelines cover how to analyse the service conditions for which a novel technology is designed, identify the possible resulting failure modes which it needs to withstand and against which it needs to be qualified and how to establish the relevant qualification program.

The qualification process should combine both theoretical analytical modelling and physical tests. The decision making process at the end of the qualification process is an important step in the methodology. Its goal is to help solving the trade-off between the level of qualification, the resulting costs and the expected results in terms of confidence in the novel technology.

Bureau Veritas is working globally on numerous projects for FLNG, offshore renewable energy and deep water oil and gas exploitation which require a risk-based approach to project validation.

For a copy of the Guidance Note NI 525 e mail john@merlinco.com

Bureau Veritas is a leading international service provider, dedicated to quality assurance, environmental, health, and safety, (QEHS) management services across a wide range of economic activities, including marine, industry and facilities, government services, and consumer products. By far the largest classification and certification society in the world, Bureau Veritas has over 48,000 employees and 900 offices in over 140 countries throughout the world. www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information, www.veristar.com for marine information.

For more information: Jean-Claude Astruge, Bureau Veritas, +33 1 55 24 73 27 jean-claude.astrugue@bureauveritas.com

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

ITIC exposes real cost of crew internet access for ship manager

International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has explained how a ship manager was recently asked to pay $436,000 in communication costs as the result of an error which unwittingly allowed the crew of a ship unrestricted access to the internet over a three-month period.

In the latest issue of its Claims Review, ITIC notes that it was the policy of a particular shipping company to upgrade the communications packages on all its time-chartered and owned vessels from systems which provided email and satellite telephone communications only, to systems that also included limited onboard internet access at fixed monthly rate payments.

These new systems were gradually being fitted throughout the fleet. When the existing communications unit on board one ship (which did not include internet access) failed during the first few months of 2009, it was replaced by a modern broadband unit, but not by the new system.

This unit was intended to replace the existing email and voice communications only. But the broadband unit was also capable of internet access via satellite link. The vessel superintendent employed by the ship manager inadvertently failed to exclude internet access when he completed the activation form.

During the installation and activation he also failed to notify the crew of its intended use or advise on any tariff rates, which were in his possession. The crew, who had already been notified of the company’s intentions regarding future internet access for all its vessels, wrongly assumed that the new unit had been provided for their unlimited use, and proceeded to download at will.

The usual cost of communications under the old system was no more than $1,800 per month. Had the intended upgraded system, including limited internet access, been in place, the monthly cost would have been $3,800. During a three-month period, before the error was discovered, the crew downloaded freely and managed to run up an enormous airtime charge of $436,000.

As the shipping company had never agreed to this free-for-all use of the internet by the crew, it claimed from the ship manager the difference between what it would have paid ($5,400) and the actual amount charged.

Copies of the ITIC Claims Review can be requested from:

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at

For more information: Charlotte Kirk ITIC Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150 Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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Schat-Harding sees shipowners select secure service

Leading lifeboat manufacturer and service provider Schat-Harding says more shipowners are opting to enter into long-term service agreements in order to ensure priority service for the lifeboats, davits and hooks on their vessels.

David Torres, vice-president sales, Schat-Harding Service, says, “We see a welcome trend away from ad hoc servicing of key lifesaving equipment and a move towards long-term Fleet Service Agreements. With world trade growing, shipowners cannot afford delays or detentions related to Life Saving Appliances.

"In addition, it reflects a growing recognition by owners that they want to keep lifesaving equipment in good order and ready to go by a company that really services their equipment, and also that our capability to deliver a consistent global service has grown considerably.

“In the last few months alone, five important shipowners from around the globe have chosen Schat-Harding to provide long-term fleet support for their lifeboats, davits and winches. With over sixty vessels between them, the shipowners have recognised the benefits of a Fleet Service Agreement, which ensures that their lifesaving appliances are always in good order, that spares are readily available and costs are clear and competitive.”

A major Hong-Kong-based shipmanager has entered a five-year agreement covering 24 ships. Most of the 5-year inspections will be performed in China by Schat-Harding’s China offices, but annual inspections will be carried out by Schat-Harding’s global network.

In the USA, a tanker operator has entrusted the care of the LSA for its eight oil and chemical tankers to Schat-Harding. This is the first FSA to be taken up by a US merchant company, and it is significant that all the vessels operate under the US flag.

In Europe, three key new agreements include twenty-three tankers managed from Portugal on behalf of a US owner, a Dutch seismic vessel fleet and the leading Mediterranean cruise ferry fleet.

These FSAs demonstrate that shipowners recognise the benefits of planned servicing and pricing, by a company that truly understands the equipment that needs to be serviced, and the ease of having one point of contact for all their FSA service needs, wherever their ships may be trading.

“Schat-Harding’s global network has shown how it can work together seamlessly to provide global owners with the support they need at sensible costs,” says Torres. “Owners owe it to seafarers to ensure that their equipment is safe, and it cannot be safe if serviced by ad-hoc service companies with little to no experience of the equipment they touch and who do not even bother to use original spares, putting themselves and the crew in danger. FSAs give owners and seafarers safety and good service at a sensible cost.”

To download hi res photos of Schat-Harding service engineers at work click on: http://picasaweb.google.com/Merlinclients/SchatHardingor e mail john@merlinco.com

Schat-Harding is the world’s leading supplier of lifeboat and evacuation systems for the offshore, cruise and shipping industries. With factories and offices in Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Canada, the Czech Republic, the USA and China, and agents or service partners in thirty other countries, Schat-Harding provides a global service and supply network. Brands now owned by Schat-Harding include Watercraft, Viking Marine, Waterman, Fiskars, Davit-Company, MASECO, Watercraft America, William Mills Marine, Schat, Harding, Mulder & Rijke and the Beiyang Boatbuilding Co.

For more information: David Torres VP Sales +47 902 82 987 USH Service

Jennifer Manning Marketing Manager USH Service +47 45 86 74 47

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Monday, 28 March 2011

Graig wins major Chinese newbuilding contract

Shanghai-based Graig China, part of the UK’s Graig group, has won a ten-ship order to supervise newbuildings for Chinese leasing company Minsheng Financial Leasing Co Ltd.

The supervision contract brings to twenty-three the number of Chinese-owned vessels building in Chinese shipyards under the supervision of Graig.

The new contract is to supervise the construction of ten 76,000 dwt bulk carriers to be built at Jiangsu Rong Sheng Heavy Industries Co Ltd, with delivery of the final vessel scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. The ten are in addition to the eight vessels already under construction under Graig supervision for Minsheng at the same yard.

Graig China is also supervising the construction of four 45,000 dwt bulkers for Shanghai Xiang An Electric Power Shipping Co being built at Chengxi Shipyard and the 79,600 dwt bulk-carrier King Peace, building at China’s Wu Jai Zui Shipyard for Shanghai-based Zhong An Shipping.

John Coffin, CEO, Graig China, says, “Chinese owners are now turning to Graig for its newbuilding expertise in China for the same reasons that numerous owners outside China have entrusted us with the supervision of over 120 newbuildings in the last fifteen years. It is our knowledge of Chinese shipyards and our ability to understand both the yard and the owners’ needs that ensures vessels are built to owners’ requirements.

"These big contracts for emerging Chinese shipping players are important, because they recognise our expertise here and our place in China as a local provider of global quality services and expertise.”

In addition to the twenty-three ships now under supervision for Chinese owners, Graig China is currently supervising around 50 vessels on behalf of ten international owners.

The Graig Group is a broad-based international shipowning and shipping services group delivering technical and commercial ship management, newbuilding supervision, lay-up services, ship design, ship owning and ship finance to global clients who appreciate personal service.

Graig has been building, managing and owning ships since 1919. Today it provides technical management and crewing for a mixed fleet of vessels on behalf of a number of owners. It has supervised over 120 newbuildings for itself and major shipowners. It provides technical consultancy services to a major European bank with a portfolio of 90 vessels. It develops innovative designs such as the Diamond bulk carriers and it can source yards and finance and provide newbuilding supervision and follow up with in-service management. Based in the UK, Graig has offices in Cardiff, London, Shanghai and Singapore.

For more information contact: John Coffin Graig China +86 21 6219 5055

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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

UK Budget good news for shipping despite mixed news for non-doms

Leading accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says that, despite mixed news for non-UK-domiciled individuals, the UK Budget 2011 appears to be good news for shipping.

The bad news in the Budget, announced on 23 March, is that the existing annual remittance basis charge for non-doms resident in the UK for twelve years or more will increase from £30,000 to £50,000, albeit not until 6 April, 2012.

The good news is that the government also proposes not to tax foreign income or capital remitted to the UK for the purposes of ‘commercial investment in UK businesses’, and to simplify some aspects of the current rules for non-doms to remove administrative burdens, which increased significantly from April 2008. It is also proposed that no other substantive changes to the rules for non-doms will be made for the rest of this parliament. The government will issue a consultation document in June with a view to implementing the rules from 6 April, 2012.

Sue Bill, a tax partner with Moore Stephens, says, “The government will also be consulting on the introduction of a statutory definition of residence. Under current rules, the residency of individuals is a very grey area and greater certainty is only to be welcome. Again a consultation document is proposed for June with implementation of the new measure from April 2012. It is unlikely that there will be more detail until June, but the timetable should provide time for adequate planning.

“Overall, there seems to be an acceptance by the government of the positive impact that inward investment by non-doms brings to the UK”.

Other, minor changes in the Budget include a change to the rate of capital allowances on ships which are leased to tonnage tax companies. The rate of writing-down allowances that can be claimed on the first £40 million of expenditure will be aligned with the rate applicable to other ships, including where the ship is a long-life asset. This legislation has effect for expenditure incurred on or after 1 January, 2011, and is likely to reduce the rate of writing-down allowances in respect of such ships.

There is also a new exemption from tax on foreign branches of UK companies whereby a UK company operating outside the UK through a foreign branch will be able to make an election to exempt the profits of its foreign branches from UK corporation tax. Such companies may be able to reduce or eliminate the UK corporation tax payable on branch profits by offsetting foreign tax paid on these profits in any case. This new foreign branch exemption, however, does not apply to shipping, to the extent that the foreign branch is not taxed in the overseas jurisdiction as a result of the terms of a double tax treaty.

Minor changes have also been made to the ‘controlled foreign company’ (CFC) rules. The de minimis exemption is to be increased to companies with chargeable profits below £200,000 per annum, and there will be a statutory three-year exemption from these rules for foreign subsidiaries that come within the scope of the CFC regime as a consequence of a reorganisation or change to UK ownership. There will be further consultation on these rules.

Finally, corporation tax rate will be reduced by a further 1 per cent, so that, from April 2011, the corporation tax rate will be 26 per cent and, by 2014, it will be 23 per cent.

Sue Bill says, “There is mixed news for non-UK-domiciled individuals. But there are few other changes that will affect shipping. The government has emphasised the need for stability, and clearly intends to consult before making any major taxation changes. The government has also emphasised the need for the UK corporation tax regime to be attractive to international businesses. Overall, it seems to be good news for shipping.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 638 offices of independent member firms in 97 countries, employing 20,588 people and generating revenues in 2010 of $2.15 billion.

For more information:
Sue Bill
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Over-tonnaging fears see confidence dip again as shipping braces itself for finance costs rises

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry dropped for the third successive quarter in the three months ending February 2011, to reach their lowest level for fifteen months, according to the latest survey by leading accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens.

Over-tonnaging and the uncertainty created by political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa were the dominant themes running throughout the responses to the survey, which also revealed an increase across all categories in the number of respondents who expected finance costs to rise over the coming year.

In February 2011, the average confidence level expressed by respondents in the markets in which they operate was 5.8 on a scale of 1(Low) to 10(High), compared to 6.0 in the previous survey in November 2010. Confidence over the three-month period covered by the latest survey fell most noticeably on the part of brokers (down from 6.1 to 5.2), followed by charterers, down from 6.1 to 5.8, and managers (6.1 to 6.0) Confidence on the part of owners remained unchanged from the previous survey, at 5.8. Geographically, confidence on the part of respondents in Asia was down from 6.2 to 6.0, and in Europe from 5.7 to 5.6.

Although confidence levels were down on the previous survey, a number of respondents felt that the prospects for improvement were reasonably good. “Although we are not truly out of economic recession,” said one, “we have effectively weathered the storm and are now in an advantageous position for future growth.” Others were more pessimistic, however, typified by the comment that, “Most shipping markets are over-supplied to such an extent that even good incremental demand will not strengthen them”. A number of respondents were convinced that there was worse to come, with one pointing out, “Western governments are still spending far more than their income and, when the crunch comes, there will be a knock-on effect for shipping”.

Political developments were uppermost in the minds of many. “Political and economic developments in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and Libya over the next few months mean that prospects for shipping and world trade in this part of the world are likely to be very uncertain for some time,” observed one respondent, a sentiment echoed by another who suggested, “The problems in Egypt could affect the smooth flow of cargo through the Suez Canal”.

Concerns about over-tonnaging and the effect of a glut of newbuildings coming on to the market dominated the responses. “The amount of new tonnage due for delivery this year in all three major vessel categories will continue to depress the markets,” said one respondent, while another observed that the industry is facing a ‘wall’ of newbuildings yet to be delivered. Others took the thinking a stage further. “You get the impression,” said one, “ that, unless rates improve, owners are not going to generate sufficient reserves to cover drydocking, maintenance, surveys and the like. It's a ticking time-bomb”.

Expectations of making a major investment or significant development over the next twelve months showed a small increase in the latest survey - up, on a scale of 1 to 10, from 5.6 to 5.7. Owners were most bullish (up from 5.6 to 6.0), and charterers remained unchanged at 6.1, but the expectation on the part of managers was down from 5.9 to 5.7. The biggest regional increase was recorded in Europe (up from 5.3 to 5.6), while Asia was unchanged at 5.9.

Demand trends, competition and finance costs - at 22 per cent, 18 per cent and 16 per cent respectively – were once again the three factors which respondents expected to influence performance most significantly over the next twelve months. Tonnage supply was also a significant factor, cited by 14 per cent of respondents, the same number as in November 2010. In October 2008, it was a major factor for only 9 per cent of respondents – an all-time low. Unlike last time, however, tonnage supply did not feature as a top-three performance-influencing factor for charterers, being replaced by fuel costs (19 per cent).

There was a 15 percentage point rise (from 44 per cent to 59 per cent) in the number of respondents who expected finance costs to rise over the coming year - the highest figure recorded since October 2008. The biggest increase was recorded by brokers (up from 39 per cent last time to 67 per cent), and there were also hefty rises on the part of owners (up from 41 per cent to 59 per cent), managers (51 per cent to 59 per cent), and charterers (up from 48 per cent to 58 per cent). There was a 22 percentage point increase (from 42 per cent to 64 per cent) in the number of respondents in Asia who expected finance costs to rise, compared to a 15 percentage point increase in Europe. One respondent felt that, “For cash-rich owners with finance lines available, this will be a period of opportunity for expansion”. But another complained, “Finance is the major constraint”, and asked, “Which ruined banker or high-level investor is going to pull us out of this one?”

Overall, the numbers of respondents expecting rates in the tanker sector to increase over the next twelve months was down from 47 per cent to 46 per cent. Expectation on the part of owners was down from 46 per cent to 43 per cent, while for managers the fall was from 52 per cent to 50 per cent. There was a 15 percentage point fall on the part of brokers to 33 per cent, but charterers recorded a 14 percentage point rise in expectation from 47 per cent to 61 per cent. Europe was alone in recording a fall in expectation of higher tanker rates, down from 49 per cent to 43 per cent. In Asia, there was a 5 percentage point increase to 50 per cent of respondents.

In the dry bulk sector, there was a six percentage point increase overall – from 32 per cent to 38 per cent – in the numbers of those expecting higher rates, in contrast to the 10 percentage point drop last time to the lowest figure since May 2008. Expectation on the part of owners and managers was up by 10 and 9 percentage points respectively to levels of 43 per cent and 39 per cent. Again, charterers begged to differ, returning a 2 percentage point drop from 33 per cent to 31 per cent. While expectation of higher rates remained unchanged at 42 per cent in Asia, they rose by nine percentage points in Europe, to 36 per cent. One respondent noted, “There will be big problems for the dry bulk market due to the extremely high volume of new deliveries and the relatively low rate of demolition that we are seeing.”

In the container ship market the only way was up, with the single exception of ship managers. Overall, the number of respondents anticipating an increase in rates over the next twelve months rose by 6 percentage points from 43 per cent to 49 per cent – the second-highest level since the survey was launched. Higher rates were anticipated by owners (up from 45 per cent to 56 per cent), brokers (42 per cent to 48 per cent), and charterers (up by 15 percentage points from 25 per cent to 40 per cent). But the number of managers of like mind was down on last time, from 49 per cent to 47 per cent. There were 10 and 6 percentage point rises, to figures of 47 per cent and 51 per cent, in the numbers of respondents in Asia and Europe respectively who were anticipating higher rates.

Moore Stephens shipping partner, Richard Greiner, says, “Although the small drop in confidence levels is disappointing, particularly since it follows a similar fall in the previous quarter, there are some compelling external factors influencing the current mood of the industry. The political unrest in the early part of the year in North Africa and the Middle East was bound to have had an adverse effect on confidence. When you operate in a global industry, you are susceptible to global influences.

“The continuing concern about over-tonnaging is not a surprise, and will doubtless persist until yards around the world have cleared their orderbooks of the current glut of newbuildings. More respondents expected the cost of borrowing money to rise over the next year and that must be a concern for everybody. Yet all the available evidence suggests that the banks are increasingly ready to listen to proposals from shipping businesses which have done their homework and their housekeeping and developed a sound business plan.

“In any industry, news of new investment can be something of a double-edged sword. So it was with the recent confirmation of Maersk’s order for a series of big new container ships which, while sending a confident message to the market, will at the same time have done little to ease fears about over-tonnaging, particularly on the part of smaller operators. Yet new investment is undoubtedly good for any industry and, despite the difficult economic climate, our survey still showed an increase in the number of respondents who expected to make a major investment or significant development over the next twelve months. It was noticeable, also, that a large number of respondents felt that shipping had taken the worst that could be thrown at it and was now ready to bounce back. However, it will be interesting to see the impact of events in Japan in our next survey.”

The Moore Stephens Shipping Confidence Survey includes responses from key players worldwide in the international shipping industry to a targeted, web-based survey by the Moore Stephens Shipping Industry Group. Responses were received from owners, charterers, brokers, advisers, managers and others.

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 638 offices of independent member firms in 97 countries, employing 20,588 people and generating revenues in 2010 of $2,15 billion.

For more information:
Richard Greiner
Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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Monday, 21 March 2011

Fleeced by statistics

There is good news and bad to be had from the latest ‘basket of goods’ assembled by the UK Office for National Statistics, which is used to calculate inflation and is supposed to reflect what Mr and Mrs Average have in their supermarket trolleys.

First, the good news. In the clothing range, fleeces are gone. Good riddance. Show me somebody who looks good in a fleece, and I will show you a sheep. Discerning people are no longer wearing them, it seems. The earth exhales. Also out of fashion are pork shoulder and four cans of lager, the latter replaced by sparkling wine. Nobody will miss them.

Another piece of good news is that hardback novels are back in vogue, and that can only be a good thing. There is fifty per cent more enjoyment in reading a hardback book, compared to the same work in soft covers.

On the debit side, however, mobile phone applications are in the basket. Damnation. Also in there are oven-ready joints and dating agency fees. Please.

Times change. Fifty years ago, the basket of goods would have included slim-jim ties and bri-nylon shirts on the clothing front, and black forest gateau and two half-bottles of Blue Nun on the culinary side. But you would never have found dating agencies in there. In our day we took ourselves off to the Tottenham Royal and were engaged three weeks later. It never did us any harm.


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Friday, 18 March 2011

Arrest order forces cruise ship owner to settle outstanding ship agency bill

International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has warned that failure to pay ship agents promptly in accordance with contractual agreements can have serious consequences for shipowners, and can potentially involve them in costs which far exceed any unpaid invoices.

In the latest issue of its Claims Review, ITIC cites the case of a South American ship agent which was owed $25,000 by the owners of a cruise ship in respect of crew costs and supplies. The costs had been incurred over the course of a number of port calls and, when reminders and chasers to the owners failed to elicit payment, it was decided that more aggressive action was needed.

ITIC ascertained that the ship was chartered to a cruise line, was due to sail from a port in the Canadian Arctic for the High Arctic, and had no apparent plans to revisit South American waters. ITIC instructed Canadian lawyers to arrest the ship where it was, in the Canadian Arctic, and within hours of the arrest being served the owners had paid all outstanding debts in full.

ITIC notes, “The owners admitted that they did not think that anyone would be able to arrest the ship in such a desolate place. The owners were wrong, and paid not only the outstanding disbursements, but also the arrest costs”.

Copies of the ITIC Claims Review can be requested from: chris@merlinco.com

ITIC is managed by Thomas Miller. More details about the club and the services it offers can be found on ITIC’s website at

For more information:

Charlotte Kirk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7338 0150
Fax. +44 (0)20 7338 0151

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RINA develops CNG rules and guidelines

International classification society RINA has used its offshore gas expertise to develop rules and guidelines for the exploitation, transport and storage of Compressed Natural Gas.

Angelo Lo Nigro, Oil and Gas Manager, RINA, says, “Compressed Natural Gas offers an alternative way to move natural gas where volumes do not support a liquefaction plant or a pipeline. A significant amount of the world’s gas reserves fit these criteria, and as environmental pressure makes it more difficult to flare gas CNG transportation is a useful alternative to expensive re-injection into the field.

“There are a number of potential systems for CNG carriers, but to date no solution has been implemented. We have worked with industrial partners and drawn on our own experience with LNG offshore to set up rules and guidance for the approval in principle of pressure vessels for use in a marine environment and for the conceptual design of various CNG carriers.”

Visit RINA at Hall 2 Stand B121 Gastech, Amsterdam RAI, The Netherlands, 21-24 March 2011 and at Hall 6 Stand K1 OMC, Ravenna, Pala de André, Italy, March 23-25, 2011.

For a copy of the paper “Development of RINA Rules for Classification of CNG Carrier Ships” given by RINA at the10th Offshore Mediterranean Conference and Exhibition

To download a graph showing CNG best practice go to:


or email

RINA is one of the oldest classification societies and certification companies in the world. Established in Genoa in 1861 to serve the marine industry, today it spans the globe as a multinational and multi-faceted company, sharing its knowledge and experience through a wide range of services which help industries and the community to improve their businesses and quality of life. RINA’s services cover the environment, energy, transportation, logistics, safety, quality and social responsibility.

For more information:

Claudia Filippone
Press Co-ordinator
+39 010 538 5643

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Lubmarine outlines a new era of bio-lubes for shipping

Room 4204, Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level 4, Sea Asia, Singapore, on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at 1100hrs

TOTAL Lubmarine invites you to attend a press conference during Sea Asia 2011 in Singapore at which it will offer an insight into the unique operational challenges faced by Asian shipowners on trade routes that are experiencing increasing growth despite the difficult economic climate.

Lubmarine has seen particular uptake patterns around its products in the Asia Pacific region, and will be announcing a change to its product range as a direct result of these developments. With a view to the future, TOTAL Lubmarine will be looking specifically at the beginning of a growth in uptake of bio-lubricants in Asia.

After the briefing, you will have the opportunity to meet the speakers, and to ask any questions that you may have relating to the presentation or to Lubmarine in general.

Drinks and canapes will be available. So that we can adequately cater for all attendees, please email chris@merlinco.com to confirm whether or not you are able to join us.

We look forward to seeing you in Singapore.

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Sanko and Hellespont join offshore forces

The Sanko Steamship Co Ltd and Hellespont Group have entered into a joint venture for manning and/or shipmanagement services to Sanko’s and Hellespont’s offshore fleets through their Singapore subsidiaries.

The Singapore-based joint venture company, Sanko-Hellespont Offshore Management Pte Ltd, owned by Sanko Ship Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd and Hellespont Singapore Pte Ltd on an equal partnership basis, started operations on 7 March, 2011, and is led by Captain Andrew Lidgard of Hellespont, as CEO and Mr Yasushi Hashimoto of Sanko, as Chairman

Captain Lidgard, who has many years of offshore seagoing experience, agrees with Mr Hashimoto that, “A specialised level of experience and the ability to provide and maintain the most experienced crew is vital to success in the growing market for offshore support vessels. This joint venture gives both companies economies of scale in delivering that expertise, and allows us to attract and retain a greater pool of experienced and capable offshore seafarers.”

Initially, the company will provide manning and /or ship management services to four 12,250 BHP Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessels (AHTS) and four 3,250 dwt Platform Supply Vessels (PSV), plus a further four new 16,320 BHP AHTS and four new 4,700 dwt PSV. Some more vessels will enter this Joint Venture during 2011-2012, making a total of about twenty units in all.

The company will be located at 26-12 International Plaza, 10 Anson Rd, Singapore.

Sanko, one of Japan’s oldest shipping companies with its origins dating back to 1935, operates a fleet of 36 owned and 156 chartered vessels consisting of oil, gas and chemical tankers, bulk carriers and offshore support vessels totalling over 18m dwt from its headquarters in Tokyo, with overseas offices located worldwide, including London, New York and Singapore. It also has a crewing subsidiary in Manila. http://www.sankoline.co.jp/

Established in 1946, Hellespont manages vessels from offices in Hamburg, Piraeus and Singapore and has its own crewing company in Manila. Today the group operates a chemical tanker pool and manages a fleet of 26 vessels including crude, product and chemical tankers, platform supply vessels and one bulk carrier. http://www.hellespont.com/

Sanko and Hellespont this year celebrate forty years of business relations during which 36 vessels have been period-chartered by Sanko from Hellespont.

To download a hi-res photo of the Hellespont Dawn or the Sanko Bride, use the download buttons at:
http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/Merlinclients/Hellespont or email john@merlinco.com

For more information:

Yasushi Hashimoto / Andrew Lidgard
Sanko-Hellespont Offshore Management Pte Ltd
+65 6225 4944 yasushihashimoto@sankoss.com.sg
+65 6224 1913 laj1@hellespont.com

Monday, 14 March 2011

On aggregate

The insurance team at Moore Stephens has embarked on a round-up of alternative definitions of insurance terms. Here is its take on aggregate limits:

An aggregate limit is the total amount you can claim under your policy in respect of pieces of crushed stones used in the making of cement. This has given rise to the saying that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The only exceptions to this rule are kings, who should not stow thrones, subject to underwriters’ approval.

If you have an aggregate limit, you can have as many claims as you like during the course of the year, providing they don’t add up to more than your body mass index.

If you are insuring aggregates, beware the Pozzolanic reaction, which is caused by a mixture of slaked lime and pozzolan, and is typically found in Roman concrete of the type used to build the Parthenon, or possibly the Pantheon. For this reason, Free of Pozzolanic Average (FPA) clauses are typically found in aggregate policies.

The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, who is second only to Euripides as the subject of lewd jokes involving Romans. When first built, the Pantheon faced south, but now it faces north. This may have happened when Hadrian rebuilt it with some bricks left over from his wall, or it may be a trick of the light.

Marcus Agrippa had a romantic relationship while watching television with Octavian’s sister, Octavia Minor, for which there is no historical evidence whatsoever.

Beware the Ides of March.


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Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bitter pill on language

Academics in the UK have found something new to study. They have concluded that many people are struggling to understand the warnings on their medicine bottles. Supposedly unclear wording which will now be banned includes, “This medicine may cause drowsiness”. Because some people apparently think that this signifies that the medicine is an aid to sleeping, the wording will be changed to, "This medicine may make you sleepy". Who are these people, and why? Define 'many'.

Other warnings to be banned include “Do not operate machinery”, which will be changed to, “Do not drive or use tools or machines”, and, “Avoid alcoholic drinks”, which will become, “Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine”.

Apparently, ‘drowsy’ is not a word that people use any more. Well, it should be. It is a fine word, and banning it from medicine bottles will speed its disappearance from our vocabulary, which is a great pity. Before you know it, ‘dampish’ will go the same way.

That said, we should all be in favour of clear language in all forms of public media. Sometimes, simple misprints can lead to confusion, as one Amateur Dramatics Company found when it put on a play which included a version of the Cole Porter classic, ‘I’ve Got You Under My Sink’.

But other times the language is just too loose. I myself was unable to use the London Underground for many years because, whenever I went to embark on the escalator, I was stopped in my tracks by a sign proclaiming, “Dogs Must Be carried”. Where is one to get a dog at such short notice?


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Monday, 7 March 2011

Multraship utilises floating sheerlegs to salvage fishing trawler off Dunkirk

LEADING towage and salvage specialist Multraship has salvaged the fishing trawler Nieuwpoort 28 (N28) which capsized off Dunkirk on March 1, using its recently upgraded floating sheerlegs Cormorant to successfully complete a challenging operation.

The trawler capsized twenty miles off the French/Belgian coast. It was upside-down in the water and the French and Belgian Coastguards mobilised a Search & Rescue operation during which Navy divers searched the vessel but were unable to find any of the trawler’s three crew members – two brothers and their brother-in-law, all from the close-knit Zeeland fishing community.

On March 3, Multraship was awarded the salvage contract. It mobilised its Multratug 18, which held water in position while air was pumped into the trawler to keep it afloat. The initial plan had been to tow the trawler to shallow water near Flushing to parbuckle it with the Cormorant. But when clearance could not be obtained from the Belgian authorities to enter their waters with the capsized-but-floating tow, the Cormorant had to be mobilised to the site of the casualty.

The Cormorant arrived at the site on the night of March 4 and, after divers had inspected the casualty overnight, slings were prepared on the next tide and the trawler was parbuckled on March 5. The Nieuwpoort 28 was then pumped dry, whereafter a search failed to locate the missing crew members.

By this time the weather had deteriorated to such an extent that it was not possible to get the trawler out of the slings and safely break up the Cormorant’s four-point mooring system. Subsequently it was decided it would be safer to wait for a better weather window and transport the trawler to Flushing in the Cormorant’s slings, under tow by Multratug 18. On March 7, the convoy arrived at Flushing, where the slings were removed, and the trawler was subsequently towed to Multraship’s home port of Terneuzen, where it was redelivered to its owners. An investigation into the cause of the accident is currently under way.

Multraship had a team of approximately forty people working on the salvage operation. Its managing director Leendert Muller says, “This was a challenging job, successfully completed, but our sympathies of course lie with the families of the missing crew members.

“The Cormorant is stationed in the Flushing / River Scheldt area, and we have only recently fitted a new A-frame and upgraded it to 600 tons lifting capacity. It certainly proved its worth on this occasion.”

Multraship is a leading Dutch towage and salvage company. It draws on a century of experience in the maritime sector. Multraship’s core operations include salvage, wreck removal, harbour towage, coastal and deep-sea towage, services to the dredging, offshore and wind-farm industries, and support for inland navigation. It operates and manages a large fleet of tugs, salvage vessels, floating sheerlegs and other craft equipped with modern towage, salvage and fire-fighting equipment and manned by experienced and highly-trained masters and crew.

For more information contact:
Eline Muller
Multraship B.V.
Tel. +31 (0) 115 645 000

For high-resultion photos of the N28 salvage, please go to:

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Friday, 4 March 2011

Record numbers attend the IBIA Annual Dinner 2011

THE International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) welcomed a record number of 985 members and their guests to its 17th Annual Dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last week.

The popularity of the dinner, which was previously held at the Hilton, on London’s Park Lane, enabled the association to move the event to a larger venue for 2011.

Charlotte Egan, IBIA Event Manager, says, “The decision to move the event to the Grosvenor House was a wise one. Its capacity for dinners is one of the largest in London. We were confident from the success of the 2010 event that numbers were going to keep increasing, and we were right. This is the largest number of stakeholders in the bunker industry that we have ever had under one roof, and I really don’t see it starting to slow down.”

The IBIA Annual Dinner focuses on bringing members and non-members together for one night of networking, making it the biggest event for the bunker industry in the UK. Members and their guests enjoyed a fabulous three-course dinner, with pre- and post-dinner drinks receptions, which gave them ample time and opportunity to meet with key members of the bunker industry.

Ian Adams, IBIA Chief Executive, says, “Since I started with IBIA in 2001, it has always been my ambition to take the Annual Dinner to one of the largest venues in London. It was quite an experience on the night to see close to a thousand people networking and enjoying the dinner, which I am proud to say has now reached its pinnacle. I look forward to seeing this grow even further in 2012.”

The IBIA Annual Dinner will return to the Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel, in February 2012.

The IBIA Annual Dinner 2011 was sponsored by Akron Trade & Transport.

For more information about the 2011 event and for photographs of the evening, please visit the IBIA website

Founded in 1993, IBIA is the trade association of the global bunker industry. Its membership is drawn from bunker buyers, traders, brokers, suppliers and service companies worldwide. IBIA is dedicated to promoting quality and professionalism in international bunkering, and is engaged in a series of long-term initiatives designed to raise standards in the industry.

For more information:
Ian Adams
+44 (0) 2380 226 555

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Thursday, 3 March 2011

IBIA appoints three members to its board of directors

THE International Bunker Industry Association announced at its Annual General Meeting on Monday 21 February, 2011, the three members who have been elected to its Board of Directors.

Eugenia Benevides and Paul Dyke were elected - and John Stirling was re-elected - to the board with effect from 1 April, 2011. They will each serve for a period of three years.

The retiring members of the board are Chris Fisher and Angus Ogilvie.

Founded in 1993, IBIA is the trade association of the global bunker industry. Its membership is drawn from bunker buyers, traders, brokers, suppliers and service companies worldwide. IBIA is dedicated to promoting quality and professionalism in international bunkering, and is engaged in a series of long-term initiatives designed to raise standards in the industry.

For a high-resolution of John Stirling, please go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/Merlinclients/IBIA

For more information:
Ian Adams
+44 (0) 2380 226 555


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