Maritime News Headlines

March 2004

Raytheon denies continued rumors that Northrop Grumman will take over as prime contractor on Raytheon's LCS team (3/28).  The latest reports say that Raytheon is meeting with the Navy this week to explain the deal, but Raytheon says that this is "factually incorrect" and "completely false": Northrop Grumman is a "valued member of Raytheon's team" and nothing more.

Hornbeck Offshore Services did an IPO on Thursday, raised $78 million and is now traded on the NYSE under the symbol HOS (3/28).

Bay Shipbuilding has joined the ranks of shipyards getting state subsidies (3/19).  The Sturgeon Bay barge builder and ship repairer will get a $2mm tax credit from the State of Wisconsin if it creates received 600 new jobs over the next three years.  The shipyard will use the money to buy a new panel line.

Trinity Marine Products has settled with Florida Marine over the allegedly faulty paint job on 28 barges that Trinity built for Florida Marine (3/19).  Read Trinity's announcement here.

The State Department is proposing to eliminate crew list visas (3/19).  Read the proposal here.  This is completely insane, isn't it?

The ULCC Marine Atlantic has been sold for scrap at a record price (3/19).  Tradewinds reports that the 400,000-dwt crude carrier, built by Newport News Shipbuilding in 1979 for $136.5mm, (NNS Hull #613), fetched $24.5mm ($410/ldt) from a Chinese breaker.

The Navy has decided that Ingalls will be the lead shipyard on the DD(X) Program, without even the pretence of a competition (3/12).  ASN(RDA) John Young told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that holding a competition would only delay the program.  Watch the contract prices skyrocket, but what the hell, it's only the taxpayers' money.  Read Young's prepared testimony here.

SeaRiver takes another step toward the exit?  Reliable sources report that they have sold the S/R Charleston to U.S. Shipping (3/12).  The S/R Charleston was built by Avondale in 1983 as the Exxon Charleston, (Avondale Hull #2335), back when Exxon wasn't embarrassed to be in the shipping business.

American Steamship Company, which operates 11 lakers and is owned by GATX, is reported to be considering making an offer to buy Oglebay Norton, which operates 12 lakers and is now in Chapter 11 (3/12).  If this deal goes through, the combined fleet would represent about 40% of the Great Lakes fleet. 

AMFELS delivers the jack-up drilling rig Tonala to Perforadora Central SA de CV, of Mexico City (3/12).

MARAD has approved an application from K-Sea Transportation to sell the single-hull tank barge KTC-135 to a Canadian operator, McKeil Work Boats Ltd., of Hamilton, Ontario (3/12).  Does Canada not have an OPA90 equivalent?  The barge was built by Gulfport Shipbuilding in 1969 as the Ocean 135, (Gulfport Hull #722).  Read MARAD's announcement here.

MARAD has also approved an application from Horizon Lines to sell the containership Horizon Mayaguez for scrap (3/12).  The ship was built by Sun Ship in 1968 as the American Lynx. (Sun Hull #643), one of the eight Lancer-class containerships.  Read MARAD's announcement here.

Horizon Lines is reliably reported to be for sale again already, or at least looking for new investors, only 15 months after the Carlyle Group bought it (3/5).

The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice has announced that Bollinger Shipyards has joined the National Shipbuilding Research Program, and Cascade General has left.  Huh?  Really.  Read the notice in the Federal Register here.

A key change in the management of the American Bureau of Shipping is about to be announced, reliable sources report (3/5).  When Bob Kramek moves up to take over from Bob Somerville as President of ABS, he will be succeeded as President of the ABS Americas division by Todd Grove, currently VP of the Western Region of ABS Europe.

The ill-fated chemical carrier Bow Mariner was not engaged in Jones Act trade (3/5).  For those of you who were wondering what a foreign-flag tanker was doing trading between New York and Houston, I am advised that chemical carriers routinely load export cargoes and discharge import cargoes in multiple U.S. ports without ever carrying a domestic cargo.

Aker Kvaerner's announcement of its reorganization plans raises more questions about the future of Kvaerner Philadelphia than it answers (3/5).  Why is Kvaerner Philly not included with all the other shipyards?  How is that going to work?  Non-Americans can read the announcement here.  (Be very careful, now.  The Aker Kvaerner web site says that Americans are forbidden by SEC regulations from reading this announcement.  I didn't read it, I swear: I had a dastardly furriner read it to me.  If there is indeed an SEC regulation that forbids Americans from reading Aker Kvaerner's press releases, what kind of idiocy is that?)

February 2004

Leading Great Lakes shipping company Oglebay Norton files for Chapter 11 protection (2/27).  This comes only four months after their major competitor, Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., was sold to Canadian National.  Read the company's announcement here.

VT Halter Marine has been awarded a contract by Tide Leasing for the construction of a barge-mounted bulk cargo handling facility (2/27).  The contract value is $5.2mm and delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2005.

The offshore supply vessel "Lee III" has apparently been lost in the Mississippi River's Southwest Pass, after colliding with the containership "Zim Mexico III" (2/22).  The crew of five is missing.  The 178-foot Lee III is owned by Ocean Runner, Inc., of Houston and was Built by Halter Moss Point in 1972.

Reliable sources report that Maritime Administrator Bill Schubert is telling friends that he will not return in 2005 even if the President is re-elected (2/20).

USCG and MARAD publish final rules concerning foreign investment in coastwise shipping (2/13).  Read them here and here.  The Maritime Cabotage Task Force issued a press release but hasn't managed to get it on its web site yet, so I'll do it here.

The Bush Administration requests $13.3 billion from three different sources for naval shipbuilding in FY-05, but it only buys 9 ships (2/13).  See the details here.

Tradewinds reports that the "Stolt Spirit" has been sold for scrap for $2mm (2/13).  The ship was built by Todd San Pedro in 1976 as the "Zapata Ranger" (Hull #106).  It was laid up Marine Transport Lines several years ago after an accident in the Houston Ship Channel: MTL was never able to come up with an economic reactivation plan and sold her to US Chemical Shipping last year.

Lloyd Werft went into receivership on Monday after NCL withheld a $48mm progress payment for the conversion of "Shame of America" (2/13).  The saga continues.

Although its OPA90 phase-out date is 8-Dec-05, Keystone Tankships will scrap the tanker Fredericksburg rather than incur the cost of its next dry-docking survey, which is due this month (2/6).  The doyenne of the US-flag tanker fleet, Fredericksburg was built as the "Eagle Traveler" in 1958 by Ingalls Shipbuilding in its East Bank shipyard (Hull #1030).

Tradewinds reports that Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has agreed to allow the Canadian Government's relationships with Canada Steamship Lines to be investigated by the Auditor General (2/6).  Martin headed CSL for many years, during which time he presided over the dismantling of the Canadian Great Lakes shipbuilding industry.

Major US-flag Great Lakes operator Oglebay Norton will miss a bond interest payment and may face Chapter XI (2/6).  Read the announcement here.

Senesco Marine has won a contract from Reinauer Transportation to build a 100,000-barrel tank barge (2/6).  Read the Marine Log report here.

Northrop Grumman reveals that it has taken another charge on earnings, this time of $68mm, as a result of cost over-runs on Avondale's contract to build five Alaskan-trade crude carriers for Polar Tankers (2/6).  Read NG's report here.

January 2004

Seabulk International has bought two foreign-flag tankers (1/31).  The ships are the 48,000-dwt clean product carriers "World Trumpet" and "World Trust", built by Daewoo in 2000 for World-Wide Shipping, of Singapore.  The price paid was $62 million for the pair.  Read Seabulk's announcement in the Press Room section of their web site here.

SeaRiver sells another tank barge as ExxonMobil edges ever closer to abandoning the U.S. flag (1/30).  The ATB "S/R New York" (built by Bay Shipbuilding) and its tug "S/R Everett" (built by Martinac Shipbuilding) have been sold to K-Sea Transportation as "DBL 140" and "Lincoln Sea".  Read K-Sea's announcement here.

Federal judge Russell Holland has increased the judgment against Exxon for the Exxon Valdez spill (almost 15 years ago!) from $4 billion to $4.5 billion, plus about $2.25 billion in interest (1/30).  Read ExxonMobil's statement here.

NAVSEA has exercised options on its contract with NASSCO for two more T-AKEs (1/30).  The average price for these two ships, T-AKEs 5 and 6, is $289.1mm.  Read the DefenseLink announcement here and NASSCO's announcement on the News Releases section of their web site here.

Halter Marine to develop the design of a coastal cargo ship for MARAD (1/23).  Read Halter's announcement in the Press Releases section of their website here.

U.S. Marine Repair buys Honolulu Shipyard for $16mm (1/23).  Read USMR's announcement here.

Laker "Edgar B. Speer" gets stuck in the West Neebish Channel, closing down Seaway traffic (1/23).  Read the Coast Guard's announcement here.

Bollinger Shipyards has appointed Danny Irby, a very experienced small-ship shipbuilder who previously ran new construction at JeffBoat and at Bender, to be VP, New Construction (1/23).  Read Bollinger's announcement here.

Austal USA has signed an agreement with Hawaii Superferry to build two 340-foot catamaran vehicle/passenger ferries (1/17).  The deal, which is reported to be worth about $150 million, is subject to approval of Hawaii Superferry's application for Title XI financing.  Deliveries are tentatively scheduled for 2006 and 2008.  Visit Hawaii Superferry's web site here.  Read Marine Log's report here.

The US Coast Guard has announced that it plans to decommission the buoy tender "Sundew" in May (1/17).  Sundew was built by Marine Iron & Shipbuilding, in Duluth, in 1944 is almost the last of the Coast Guard's WWII generation.  Read the USCG anouncement here.

US Marine Repair has appointed an experienced ship repairer, Bob Kilpatrick, as President of Southwest Marine, replacing Monty Dickinson, who has retired (1/17).  Read USMR's announcement here.

The wildly inappropriately named cruise ship "Pride of America", which was due for delivery in April, sank at the outfitting pier at Lloyd Werft just after midnight on 1/14, after storm water apparently entered an access opening in the ship's side (1/17).  Delivery is apparently delayed several months.  Read Norwegian Cruise Line's announcement here.

K-Sea Transportation has completed its IPO and its stock is now trading on the NYSE under the symbol KSP (1/10).  Read K-Sea's extensive and detailed prospectus here.  (It's a large file - over 2 mb.)

The first Petrodrill semi-submersible, "Pride Rio de Janeiro" has finally been completed, almost six years after contract signing (1/9).  The rig, the contract for which was the primary cause of the collapse of Halter Marine Group, was completed by Cianbro, in Portland ME, and will shortly begin work in Brazilian waters for Pride Offshore.  The second rig, "Pride Portland", is supposed to be completed in the spring (spring 2004 that is).

The notorious Searex liftboat, "Trident Crusader", which was started by Alabama and finished by Ingalls in the mess of Searex's bankruptcy and Title XI default, has been sold to National Drilling Company, of Abu Dhabi, and transferred to the UAE flag (1/9).

Matson Navigation has sold the 34-year-old "Manulani" for scrapping in China (1/9).  Manulani was originally built by Bethlehem Steel, at its Sparrows Point shipyard, as Matson's "Hawaiian Progress".  Her sister ship was scrapped last year.

Seacor Marine affiliates have sold two recent Halter-built OSVs, the PSV "Seacor Alcina" and the AHTS "Seacor Valiant", to Maritima Mexicana, for service under the Mexican flag (1/9).

The venerable name of United States Lines has had another reincarnation (1/9).  The new company's first ship started its first voyage this week, from Shekou to Long Beach.  The new U.S. Lines, which is run by Ed Aldridge, formerly of APL, apparently has five ships, all 1700-teu containerships, none of them US-built (natch) and, more curiously, none of them US-registered, despite the famous name.

VT Halter Marine has delivered the PSV "Seacor Pride" to Seacor Marine (1/9).  Read Halter's announcement in the Press Releases section of its web site here.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Port of Valdez and suspended all Alaskan oil movements on December 31 and January 1, apparently for security reasons (1/2).

US crude oil imports broke through 10mm bpd in 2003 - that's five VLCC loads every day - as domestic production fell to 5.6mm bpd (1/2).  Read the EIA's year-end report here.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation, which filed under Chapter XI in October 2001, was dissolved on December 31, and is no more (1/2).

Headlines from 4Q2003

Headlines from 3Q2003

Headlines from 2Q2003

Headlines from 1Q2003

Headlines from 2002