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Thursday, 28 March 2013

London P&I Club issues warning on bagged rice cargoes

THE London P&I Club has advised shipowners to seek advice before loading bagged rice cargoes in view of the inherent risks associated with the trade and an increase in the severity of claims in recent years.

In the latest issue of its StopLoss Bulletin, the club notes that poor freight markets have seen an increase in the number of owners employing their ships in the bagged rice trades. It says the size of individual consignments being shipped from S E Asia to the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa has also increased, magnifying inherent risks and contributing to an elevation in the severity of claims notified to the club. Moreover, owners often have to settle claims in the first instance before seeking a contribution from charterers, where possible.

The club says the fact that bagged rice is usually shipped nowadays on conventional bulk carriers up to supramax size introduces a greater practical challenge for owners. “In addition,” it notes, “there has been little improvement in efficiencies at ports of loading and discharge. The combined effect of port congestion and lengthy voyages from the Far East to West Africa often results in cargoes remaining on board for prolonged periods.

“Prolonged storage on board increases the risk of condensation and damage where there is a high pre-shipment moisture content or poor stowage or ventilation during the voyage. Certificates of quality upon shipment usually record pre-shipment moisture levels and may provide scope to rely on an inherent vice defence. However, inadequate stowage or ventilation will increase owners’ exposure to bill of lading claims.

“Handling damage and cargo shortages also tend to be endemic in this trade. In some ports, the stevedores may be in a monopoly position, meaning there is no competition, and ship operators effectively have no choice. Stevedores are usually unskilled and provided with only rudimentary equipment for slinging bagged cargo loads. They often receive bonuses for prompt discharge, with the result that preservation of the cargo can be sacrificed in the interests of maintaining a quicker cargo outturn.

“Pilferage at some West African ports is also widespread. In addition, owners can encounter difficulties with inaccurate tallies. Both loading and discharging operations require careful supervision, including performance of tallies and cross-checking figures with other interested parties. It is usually best to appoint independent surveyors who can dedicate their time to these tasks. Sealing cargo-hold openings and performing draft surveys may also assist in defending shortage claims.”

The club urges owners entering this trade to give careful consideration to the allocation of risk under the relevant charter party, as well as to the suitability of the ship and the capabilities of the hold ventilation system. It says members should notify the club in advance of loading rice cargoes to discuss appropriate loss prevention measures.”

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Shipping confidence reaches highest level for two years

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry recovered to their highest level for two years in the three months ended February 2013, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens. There was improved expectation of freight rate increases over the next twelve months, particularly in the dry bulk sector, and greater likelihood of new investment in the industry.

In February 2013, 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 the figure of 5.6 recorded in the previous survey in November 2012. The survey was launched in May 2008 with a confidence rating of 6.8.

All categories of respondent expressed increased confidence over the three-month period.  The confidence rating for managers of 6.2 (up from 6.0 last time) was the highest since August 2010, while that for charterers was up from 5.6 to 6.0, the highest since November 2010. Confidence on the part of owners was up from 5.5 to 5.7 (the highest since May 2011) while for brokers the increase was from 5.3 to 5.6, the highest level in the past twelve months. Geographically, although confidence in Asia was down (from 6.0 to 5.6) and in North America (from 6.6 to 6.1) it was up in Europe, from 5.3 to 5.8, its highest level since August 2010.

A number of respondents felt that there were positive signs that a recovery was on the way. One said, “Scrapping continues apace, and new orders have all but dried up. These are two of the main drivers for recovery, the third being demand, which will improve, with the result that we should see a measurable upturn by year-end.” Another noted, “Demand trends for seaborne trade are generally positive, and tonnage reaching obsolescence due to age and regulation will exit the market. Finance is competitive where available and, where it isn’t, owners and their ships will leave the market. Patience and strong cashflow management are essential.”

In the opinion of one respondent, “This year will be crucial in determining who will be able to benefit from the upswing in the market when it happens. It will depend on the banks’ attitude towards bad debt and increased foreclosure, the increased competitiveness of Japanese shipyards, and the phasing out of uneconomical, old ship designs.”

Some foresaw a continuation of difficult market conditions, such as the respondent who noted, “Last year was very difficult, and 2013 is likely to produce similarly meagre yields, so once again it will be all about trying to survive rather than moving forward.” In even more pessimistic vein, another respondent maintained, “The shipping market has been getting worse every year since 2008, and there is unlikely to be any improvement in 2013. There are still crazy shipowners ordering new ships which will hit the water in two years’ time, so the world fleet will keep increasing at a faster rate than will cargo volumes.” Elsewhere it was noted, “Be careful when selecting your counter-parties, and be happy if you are able to cover your expenses in today's market.”

A number of respondents were constrained to comment on the role of the banks, and the situation with regard to shipping finance generally.  “The lack of available finance severely restricts many good deals from getting off the ground,” said one, while another pointed out, “There may be a measurable upturn in the shipping industry by end-2013, but will the banks be with us? I doubt it.”

Elsewhere it was noted, “Despite some areas for optimism in specialist niche markets, the cost of capital looks certain to increase. Moreover, there are ominous signs that the German banks will be forced to get to grips with their shipping loans, leading to an increase in enforcements and distressed sales, putting further pressure on asset prices.” Another respondent said, “It is beginning to look as if the banks are starting to foreclose, with KGs no longer defying gravity,” while another still warned, “Even if banks take action against owners who cannot meet their repayments, the ships will not disappear but will stay in the market and potentially cause problems for other owners who have been able to survive thus far.”

Fuel costs were uppermost in the thoughts of a number of respondents. While some talked about the exciting prospects for LNG propulsion, others remained concerned about the rising cost of operating with heavy fuel oil.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next twelve months was up on the previous survey, on a scale of 1 to 10, from 5.4 to 5.5 – the highest level since May 2011. Owners (up from 5.7 to 5.9, the highest level since May 2011) and managers (up from 5.5 to the highest level for two years at 5.7) were more confident than in our previous survey. And although charterers recorded a fall from 6.1 to 5.7 in this regard, the percentage of charterers who assessed the likelihood of their making an investment at 7.0 out of 10.0 or higher was up by two percentage points to 46 per cent. The number of owners who thought likewise was up, also, from 44 per cent to 47 per cent.

One respondent noted, “Those who are able to purchase new designs of ships at competitive prices this year with delivery within the 2015 horizon should be well-positioned when the market turns. Newish ships based on old designs will very quickly become obsolete.”

Geographically, expectation levels of major investments were down in Asia, from 5.7 to 5.4, and in North America (from 5.4 to 4.9), but up in Europe from 5.2 to 5.5, their highest level since May 2011.

Demand trends, competition and finance costs once again featured as the top three factors cited by respondents overall as those likely to influence performance most significantly over the coming twelve months. The numbers were static for demand trends at 23 per cent, up for competition (from 18 per cent to 20 per cent), and unchanged in the case of finance costs at 16 per cent. Tonnage supply (up two percentage points to 13 per cent) featured in fourth place, ahead of fuel costs, which were down one percentage point to 11 per cent.

Demand trends remained the number one performance-affecting factor for owners, despite being down from 26 per cent to 22 per cent. Tonnage supply featured in second place at 18 per cent (up from 17 per cent last time), followed by finance costs, up one percentage point to 16 per cent. For managers, meanwhile, competition, up from 16 per cent to 20 per cent, featured in first place, followed by demand trends (up two percentage points to 19 per cent), and finance costs, down from 19 per cent to 17 per cent. For charterers, competition again was the leading performance-affecting factor, identified as such by 31 per cent of respondents, up from 24 per cent last time. Demand trends were in second place, up 7 percentage points to 29 per cent, followed by fuel costs, up one percentage point to 18 per cent.

Geographically, demand trends remained the most significant factor for respondents in Europe (unchanged at 24 per cent), and North America (up 10 percentage points to 38 per cent). In Europe, competition (up two percentage points to 19 per cent) featured in second place, ahead of finance costs, down one percentage point to 17 per cent. In Asia, meanwhile, competition (up from 19 per cent to 21 per cent) emerged as the number one performance-affecting factor, pushing demand trends (down two percentage points to 20 per cent) into second place, ahead of fuel costs. 

There was a 2 percentage-point fall (from 42 per cent to 40 per cent) in the number of respondents overall who expected finance costs to increase over the next twelve months. This is the lowest figure in the life of the survey to date. Charterers cannot seem to make up their minds in this respect. In August 2012, the number of charterers who thought that finance costs would increase rose by 18 percentage points to 52 per cent. In November 2012 the figure was down by 20 percentage points to just 32 per cent. Now, it has risen again, to 50 per cent. The number of owners anticipating dearer finance this time was down by two percentage points to 37 per cent (equalling the lowest figure in the life of the survey), while 41 per cent of managers thought that finance costs were likely to rise over the coming year, down 10 percentage points on last time.

The number of respondents in Asia anticipating an increase in finance costs was down by 4 percentage points to 38 per cent compared to last time, and the corresponding figures for Europe and North America were also down, from 43 per cent to 39 per cent, and from 43 per cent to 42 per cent respectively. In the Rest of the World, meanwhile, the numbers who thought that finance costs were going to rise was up by 8 percentage points to 46 per cent.

Turning to freight rates, the numbers of respondents overall who expressed an increased expectation of higher rates over the next twelve months was up in the three main categories of tonnage covered by the survey. In the tanker sector, the numbers expecting higher rates rose by 4 percentage points to 35 per cent. Charterers were the only category to show a fall (from 31 per cent to 29 per cent) in the number of respondents anticipating a rise in tanker rates compared to the previous survey.  Owners recorded a two percentage-point increase to 36 per cent, for managers the increase was from 27 per cent to 32 per cent, and for brokers from 33 per cent to 42 per cent.  Geographically, the prospects for increased tanker rates were deemed lower this time by respondents in Asia (down from 35 per cent to 33 per cent), static in North America at 47 per cent, and up in Europe from 28 per cent to 36 per cent.

In the dry bulk sector, meanwhile, there was a 19 percentage-point rise, to 50 per cent, the highest figure in the life of the survey, in the overall numbers of those anticipating rate increases. Owners (up 20 percentage points to 50 per cent), managers (up to 52 per cent from 30 per cent), and charterers (up 27 percentage points to 60 per cent) were united in being more confident of dry bulk rate increases than they were in the previous survey. Even brokers (up 11 percentage points to 44 per cent) were in agreement. Geographically, it was the same story. In Asia, expectations of higher dry bulk rates increased from 33 per cent to 52 per cent, in Europe from 30 per cent to 51 per cent, and in North America from 28 per cent to 65 per cent.

“We are very confident of bulk industry growth in the short term,” said one respondent, while another noted, “Bearing in mind the deliveries due very soon in most dry bulk sectors, and the stabilisation of demand, we expect that the dry bulk market will soon show signs of recovery.” That view was echoed by the respondent who remarked, “We can expect higher freight levels in the second half of 2013, especially for handysize vessels.”

In the container ship market, meanwhile, there was a 7 percentage-point increase, to 34 per cent, in the overall numbers expecting rates to go up. Indeed, expectation levels in relation to rate increases were up across all categories of respondent, most notably in the case of charterers (up 12 percentage points to 47 per cent). Meanwhile, 36 per cent of owners (compared to 27 per cent last time) and 33 per cent of managers (up 10 percentage points on last time) expected container ship rates to rise in the next twelve months. Geographically, expectations of improved rates were down in Asia (from 36 per cent to 24 per cent), but up in Europe (from 22 per cent to 38 per cent) and in North America, from 39 per cent to 40 per cent.

Moore Stephens shipping partner, Richard Greiner, says, “Another small increase in confidence is very good news. Indeed, two successive quarters of improved confidence is in many ways more encouraging than one sizeable swing. It suggests that confidence is slowly building, indicating the start of a credible recovery.

“It is still early days, but the tone of the comments from respondents this time indicates something of a sea change. Whereas previous surveys have been dominated by concerns over specific issues such as tonnage overcapacity and the economic woes in Europe and elsewhere, this time there were no similar over-arching areas of concern identified by respondents. Indeed, the responses in many cases focused on planning for the future - for example by investing in new, fuel-efficient tonnage, exploiting new opportunities created by companies exiting the market, and exploring the possibilities for LNG as a clean fuel - rather than on compensating for past events.

“Improved confidence was reflected in another increase in the expectation levels involving potential new investments. Now is certainly a good time to invest, particularly for those who can identify a niche opportunity in a specific area, one for which there is growing demand and which is backed by a proper business plan.

“The indications are that the worst of the current shipping cycle could be over. But serious challenges lie ahead. Operating costs are going up, particularly fuel and manpower, and there is the added burden of increasing operational and environmental regulation. The cost of complying with the BWM convention has still not been accurately quantified, but it will not be insignificant. Indeed, one respondent likened it to a “ticking bomb which can go off at any moment, demanding enormous investment from already cash-strapped owners, and the banks will probably not be standing in line to support them.”

“Meanwhile, although freight rates still have a long way to go before they reach the levels seen at the height of the boom, the responses to the survey did reveal greater overall confidence in rate increases over the coming year in all three main tonnage categories. This was most evident in the dry bulk sector, where expectations of better rates were higher than at any time since the survey was launched in 2008. Although there is still a lot of new dry bulk tonnage coming into the market, scrapping levels in this sector have raced ahead, with well over 500 bulk carriers reported to have been consigned to demolition yards in 2012.

“Scrapping levels in all over-tonnaged sectors will need to be maintained, and improved upon, over the next twelve months, if shipping is to have a chance of returning to profitability. It is likely to be a slightly different industry which emerges from this prolonged downturn, one in which the banks will exert greater control for some time to come. Vessel values are likely to remain under pressure this year, and there is a lot of financial restructuring yet to be done. But shipping will retain its entrepreneurial flair, which is in no way undermined by operating from a stronger financial base.”

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. Editors can apply for a copy of the survey by emailing chris@merlinco.com

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 624 offices of independent member firms in over 100 countries, employing 21,224 people and generating revenues in 2012 of $2.3 billion. www.moorestephens.co.uk

For more information:                                                             
Richard Greiner                                                                        
Moore Stephens LLP                                                                
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191                                                            richard.greiner@moorestephens.com                                          

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Monday, 25 March 2013

ITIC warns on costs of US documentary disclosure

ITIC has warned that onerous documentary disclosure rules in the US courts can drastically increase the cost to shipping interests of defending even without-merit claims.
In the latest issue of its Claims Review, ITIC cites a case involving the manager of a number of cruise ships which was sued by a shipowner in a US court for alleged failure to oversee maintenance, for negligence in the provision of manning advice, and for negligence in relation to stability problems experienced by one of the owner’s ships. The owner alleged that theses breaches of contract caused it to incur increased maintenance and repair costs, and to lose profits. In total, it claimed in excess of $20m.

ITIC notes that an enormous amount of documentation was requested by the plaintiffs in this litigation. There were demands that the manager produce over five million documents, and such was the magnitude of the request for documentation that the court ordered that a specialist company be employed to track emails specific to the management of these vessels. The costs of the court-appointed email tracking firm were $350,000, while the average monthly legal costs incurred were $110,000 for each of the twelve months prior to trial.

At an early stage, the manager and ITIC concluded that the case was without merit. But ITIC recognised that the substantial legal costs likely to be incurred (which the winning party cannot recover in US litigation) meant that, if a sensible settlement offer was made, it would be considered. At no stage, however, was such an offer made by the owner, which continued to hold out for its original claimed amount.

When the case came to trial, the court dismissed all the claims. The owner appealed and the manager put in a counter-claim for its fees, costs and other expenses incurred. This helped to shorten the appeal process as the owner eventually dropped its appeal and its motion for fees and costs, and paid to the manager a settlement of $375,000 to ensure that the manager dropped its counter-claim.

Although the manager comprehensively won the case, the legal costs incurred, which were covered by ITIC, still amounted to $2.7m.

Copies of the ITIC Claim 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 www.itic-insure.com

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

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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Moore Stephens says UK Budget is generally good news for shipping sector

International accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens says the UK Budget 2013 contains generally good news for the shipping sector.

Measures which will have an impact on the shipping industry include a reduction in the main rate of UK corporation tax.  This is 23 per cent for the year ended 31 March 2014, reducing to 21 per cent from April 2014. A further reduction to 20 per cent from April 2015 has now been announced. 

There was also good news for shipping on the capital gains front. Last year the government announced that, where a company had a functional currency other than sterling, capital gains and losses on disposals of shares would with effect from April 2013 be calculated in that functional currency rather than in sterling. Moore Stephens tax partner Sue Bill says, “Now, following representations by Moore Stephens and others, it has been announced that this measure has been extended to cover the disposal of ships and aircraft as well as shares, thus removing an anomaly in the calculation of capital gains and losses arising on ships outside the UK tonnage tax regime.

“Where ships are held outside the UK tonnage tax regime, capital allowances (or tax depreciation) are available in respect of the capital cost of the ship.  For many years, no first-year allowances (being accelerated capital allowances available in the year of acquisition) have been available in respect of ships. This exclusion from claiming first-year allowances has now been removed for ships and railway assets.  This, however, may be of limited benefit as first-year allowances are currently only available in respect of a limited number of assets, in particular energy-efficient and environmentally beneficial plant and machinery of a description specified by Treasury order, which can qualify for 100 per cent allowances in the first year.  Therefore it is not yet clear how beneficial the removal of this anomaly will be in practice.”  

Sue Bill concludes, “The Budget 2013 is generally good news for the shipping sector as the UK government is clearly looking to ensure that the UK tax system is as competitive as possible, and certain anomalies having a potentially detrimental effect for some shipowning companies have been removed.”

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 624 offices of independent member firms in over 100 countries, employing 21,224 people and generating revenues in 2012 of $2.3 billion. www.moorestephens.co.uk

For more information:                                                          
Sue Bill                                                               
Moore Stephens LLP                                                    
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191                                              sue.bill@moorestephens.com                                         

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bureau Veritas confirms MSC’s green credentials

MSC Cruises is committed to making green choices that keep the oceans blue. The company’s energy efficiency matches the industry-leading ecoship and cleanship credentials and its green efforts have been recognized with a string of environmental certifications, alongside awards praising its creative interior design, comfort, cuisine and friendly service.
Once again, the latest flagship in the MSC fleet is set to become a green paragon in the industry, with leading international classification society Bureau Veritas officially conferring the “7 Golden Pearls” award to MSC Preziosa, the company’s 4th Fantasia class ship.
The “7 Golden Pearls” is one of highest awards for cruise vessels in recognition of the specific voluntary attention paid, from design and building to operation, to “Quality Health Safety Environment” (QHSE).
The integrated sections that make up the award are:
Classification notation “CLEANSHIP 2”, for the three domains of potential air, water and waste pollution. It targets the Advanced Waste Water Treatment which is unique in the cruise industry and acknowledges that the ship is fitted with the means to prevent the release of pollutants or waste matter into the sea and air.
This award also:
- validates that the vessel has been designed, built, operated and maintained to achieve appropriate protection for the environment.
- covers annexes I, IV,V and VI of MARPOL, as well as the very strict rules on waste and ballast water management, the anti-fouling system and pollution by ozone-depleting substances.
- validates that the vessel is fully equipped with high incineration capacities, advanced water treatment systems, the newest oil water separators, and vast storage capacities for two days full operation at sea. 

MSC Cruises and the new vessel are covered by:
ISO 14001- Certification of the highest standards of the Environmental Management System, requiring a complete coherent management system of all environmental aspects and impacts of all activities.
HSAS 18001 – Certification for the highest standards of the Safety Management System requiring complete management of health and safety of workers on board and in the company’s head office.
ISO 22000 – Certification for the highest standards of Food Safety Management, ensuring complete and validated safety of all food processes, from farm to fork.
And the newly acquired ‘pearl’ ISO 50001 – Certification for the highest standards of Energy Performance, requiring an energy management system that follows a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of the ship’s energy performance.
The “7 Golden Pearls” award is a reflection of MSC Cruises’ commitment to safeguarding the marine ecosystem, as well as protecting the health and safety of its passengers and staff.
Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice President and head of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore Division, says, “The ‘7 Golden Pearls’ we are awarding to MSC Preziosa are a demonstration that MSC Cruises is committed to the environment, to food safety and to the health and safety of its workforce. MSC Cruises takes a holistic view of its responsibilities in all these areas and invests to go well beyond the basic requirements of regulation. It is a great pleasure to be able to verify and recognise these achievements, which set a new and higher integrated standard for the entire cruise industry.”

For a photo of MSC Preziosa, go to: http://bit.ly/o4oUp8 or email chris@merlinco.com
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the market leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil and operates across the globe. MSC Cruises sails throughout the year in the Mediterranean and offers a wide range of seasonal itineraries in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, the French Antilles, South America, South and West Africa, and the Red Sea. Its modern fleet comprises eleven ships: Fantasia-class MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia; Musica-class MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Musica; Lirica-class MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. In 2013 the fleet will once again increase in size with the addition of MSC Preziosa, who will be christened in March. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the "6 Golden Pearls" award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both on shore and on board. MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. As such, a long term partnership with UNICEF was undertaken in 2009 to fund a community project aimed at providing disadvantaged children in Brazil with a quality education. To date, MSC Cruises has raised over two million euros for the initiative.
About Bureau Veritas
Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has 58,000 employees in 940 offices and 340 laboratories located in 140 countries. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.
www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information                            www.veristar.com  for marine information

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bureau Veritas in FOWT decision support initiative

LEADING international classification society Bureau Veritas says an innovative decision support system for the structural maintenance of Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWTs) is close to being finalised. The initiative could result in significant cost and energy saving for all types of renewable marine energy farms.

The system has been developed within the framework of Eurogia+, the Eureka cluster for low-carbon energies. The partners in this project - Bureau Veritas, Materiaal Metingen Europe, University of Liège, DN&T, and Ifremer - have recently completed their studies and developed prototype software for the structural maintenance of FOWTs. Finalisation of the project is expected within the next few months.

Philippe Renard, manager of the ships in service projects department at BV, says, “FOWTs at sea are continuously exposed to the effects of wind and waves, making access difficult. The profitability of FOWT farms therefore depends on good initial design and an optimal Inspection Maintenance and Repair (IMR) strategy during their entire operational life.”

The BV HLC-AIMS (Hull Life Cycle & Asset Integrity Management System) project integrates a simulation of inspection scenarios, Risk-Based Inspections (RBIs), probabilistic calculations, and time domain hydrodynamic calculations of wind turbine motion and stress. These elements are combined with a finite element and fatigue structural analysis, and a geometrical 3D model for each FOWT, using the marine OpenHCM standard.

Philippe Renard explains, “The expected benefit for designers will be to take into account the IMR aspects early in the interactive design process, with a view to optimising the life-cycle global cost.

“At a later stage, measured environmental conditions, inspection results and repairs will be re-injected into the system, thus allowing finalisation of the optimal IMR strategy. The result will be a reduction in the KWh cost of the electricity delivered by this low-carbon technology.

“Although the project focuses on FOWTs, it can be applied directly to fixed offshore wind turbines and could be used extensively for any type of renewable marine energy farm.”

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has 58,000 employees in 940 offices and 340 laboratories located in 140 countries. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

www.bureauveritas.com   for corporate information                             
www.veristar.com    for marine information

For more information:     
Philippe Renard
Manager ships in service projects department
Bureau Veritas                                                           
+33 1 55 24 72 91

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Monday, 11 March 2013

RINA Group launches Cruise Ship Centre of Excellence

International classification society RINA Group has grouped all its experts on cruise vessels under a new Cruise Ships Centre of Excellence. The aim is to deliver improved service to operators, designers and builders of cruise vessels, and to foster innovation in new services internally.

Paolo Moretti, General Manager, Business Line Marine, RINA Group, says, “We have a lot of expertise around the group which can benefit cruise ship owners. Our recent internal reorganisation has given us the chance to harness that expertise more effectively. We have created a Cruise Ship Excellence Centre which brings together a group of leading experts in passenger ship safety, environmental issues and operational aspects. The Centre has a footprint in Italy, the USA and Asia so that we can serve clients in both mature and emerging markets.”

The Cruise Ship Centre of Excellence will provide a one-stop point of contact for the cruise industry to deliver assistance with classification and design review, environmental services, risk assessment, trouble-shooting and management and software tools. Says Moretti, “We currently class forty cruise vessels and we get diverse approaches about technical issues such as Safe Return to Port, environmental issues and energy efficiency, and above all at present about operational efficiency. Cruise companies really know that their big risks, and big operational gains, come from improving the skills of their people and helping them to work smarter. We want to help the cruise lines with the software, their people, as well as their hardware. That is why we are delivering specialised behavioural training, risk-assessment and trouble-shooting services, health, sanitation and hotel services management, monitoring and certification and managerial software, including maintenance activity, purchase cycle and cost control. People matter.”

RINA is a multi-national group which delivers verification, certification, conformity assessment, ship classification, environmental enhancement, product testing, site and vendor supervision, training and engineering consultancy across a wide range of industries and services. RINA Group operates through a network of companies covering Marine, Energy, Infrastructures & Real Estate, Transport & Logistics, Food & Agriculture, Environment & Sustainability, Finance & Public Institutions and Business Governance. With a turnover of around 280 million Euros in 2012, over 2,200 employees, and 140 offices in 49 countries worldwide, RINA is recognized as an authoritative member of key international organizations and an important contributor to the development of new legislative standards. www.rina.org

For more information:

Giulia Faravelli
Media Relations Manager RINA Group
Ph. +39 010 5385505

Susanna Gorni
Media Relations
Ph. +39 010 5385555

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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Shipping interests among those affected by draft UK residential property tax changes

 International accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens says many overseas companies, including some connected to shipping interests, will be among those affected by draft legislation from the UK government proposing changes to the taxation of UK residential property valued at £2m or more. Among other things, companies resident outside the UK will, for the first time, be liable to capital gains tax (CGT) on such property, with effect from 6 April 2013.

The measures in the draft legislation include CGT at a fixed rate of 28 per cent on  disposals of UK property owned by so-called ‘non-natural persons’ (NNPs), including those resident overseas, and an annual residential property tax (ARPT) on such properties where they are held by NNPs.  Various entities are classed as NNPs, principally companies, but the definition does not include trusts.  This means that a property owned directly by a trust will not be subject to the new charges.

These changes were  announced in the March 2012 UK Budget but, following lobbying, the government has allowed properties to be re-based to 6 April 2013, so that only gains from that date onwards will be caught  by the charge. Non-resident companies will be liable for CGT in respect of any chargeable gain accruing for a period where the property has been liable to ARPT. Previously, companies resident outside the UK were not liable to tax on gains unless they were trading in the UK.

Gill Smith, a tax partner with Moore Stephens, says, “The government’s original proposals would potentially have taxed gains accruing since 1982, and involved the need to consider restructuring before April 2013.  The rebasing to 6 April 2013 has bought a little time, but structures still need to be reviewed and valuations obtained.”

The ARPT will apply to ownership of interests in residential property valued at more than £2m. The charging structure falls into four bands, starting from an annual charge of £15,000 for properties valued between £2m and £5m, and rising to £140,000 for properties valued at more than £20m. Charges will be uprated annually in line with the Consumer Prices Index.

Gill Smith concludes, “The ARPT and CGT charges being introduced are significant.  Structures need to be reviewed to see if restructuring can be undertaken to reduce liabilities. However, care is needed to ensure that other tax charges are not inadvertently triggered.”

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 624 offices of independent member firms in over 100 countries, employing 21,224 people and generating revenues in 2012 of $2.3 billion.  www.moorestephens.co.uk

For more information:                                                           
Gill Smith                                                                                 
Moore Stephens LLP 
Tel: + 44 (0)207 334 9191                                                                                                                            gill.smith@moorestephens.com                                                  

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Monday, 4 March 2013

Bureau Veritas classes first Bangladesh-built ferry for Danish owner

LEADING international classification society Bureau Veritas has classed the first passenger ferry built in Bangladesh for a Danish owner and operation in Danish waters.

The 147-passenger Isefjord was built by Western Marine Shipyard Limited in Chittagong, Bangladesh and delivered to Danish operator Hundested  Rorvig  Faergefart A/S in February. The vessel meets all Danish Maritime Authority requirements and will fly the Danish flag.

The vessel is a 51metres long double-ended ferry carrying 147 passengers  and 28 vehicles.  It is fully automated and can be operated from bridge with only two crew. It is fitted with two main propulsion systems, two remote control systems, two engine rooms and two sets of other essential machinery.

Propulsion and manoeuvring is by azimuth thrusters at both ends. An optimised hull design results in significantly improved propulsion efficiency through the water, while an ICCP and an  ICAF system  prevent hull corrosion and marine growth.

 For a photo of the Isefjord go to: http://bit.ly/YmDmAx    or email john@merlinco.com

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has 58,000 employees in 940 offices and 340 laboratories located in 140 countries. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.

www.bureauveritas.com for corporate information     www.veristar.com  for marine information

For more information:    
Philippe Boisson
Communications Director
Bureau Veritas                                                
+33 1 55 24 71 98                    

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