November's top stories: VT Halter secures Crowley contract, Ulstein to build vessels
VT Halter Marine has signed a contract worth $350m with Crowley Maritime to build two Container Roll-on/Roll-off (ConRo) vessels, while Ulstein Group will build two offshore construction vessels for Island Ventures' Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore units.
VT Halter Marine, a Mississippi-based shipyard of Singapore Technologies Engineering, has signed a contract worth $350m with Crowley Maritime to build two Container Roll-on/Roll-off (ConRo) vessels.
The construction of the vessels, which will begin in the first half of 2014, will take place at the Pascagoula facility in the US.
The two Commitment Class Jones-Act Ships, named El Coquí and Taíno, will offer reduced emissions, increased speed and capacity and optimised vehicle shipping decks.
Ulstein Group, a family-owned company that provides ship design, shipbuilding and system solutions, is set to build two offshore construction vessels for Island Ventures' Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore units.
Commenting on the contract, Ulstein Group CEO Gunvor Ulstein said they are pleased to develop the next generation of offshore vessels together with Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore.
"We have worked very well together on other innovative projects, and look forward to delivering a high-quality product that will serve the ship owners well for years to come," Ulstein added.
The TT Club, a global transport and logistics insurance provider, is set to provide liability cover for DP World London Gateway, a new deep-sea container port that recently opened in the UK.
With 45 years of experience in providing liability and asset insurance coverage for ports and terminals across the world, TT Club has the ability to underwrite the risk posed by the London Gateway facility, which can handle a capacity of 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).
The insurer provides coverage for both container handling ships and other types of cargo ships.
Tero Marine, a Norwegian marine IT firm, has signed a five-year contract with RK Offshore Management to install its TM Master software on 26 RK Offshore supply vessels.
The contract may extend to an additional 15 vessels, according to Tero Marine.
The agreement allows RK Offshore to lease the software from Tero Marine for a fixed annual sum.
UK shipping union RMT has joined forces with its sister union Nautilus to fight against a new ferry service between the Isle of Man and Liverpool, which will undercut the local Steam Packet ferry.
Ellan Vannine Line, owned by Sea Alliance, intends to use low-cost foreign crews and flag of convenience ships in order to bring down prices and improve customer service in launching a freight service this year and a passenger service in April 2014.
The unions noted that the new service will undermine services, jobs and working conditions on the lifeline Steam Packet operation, and put more than 300 fairly paid and rewarded jobs in jeopardy.
RMT has asked the UK and Manx governments to bring in new controls to prevent the unfair competition.
International offshore drilling contractor Ocean Rig has entered into an estimated $600m contract to build a seventh-generation ultra deepwater drillship at Samsung Heavy Industries.
The new drillship will be a sister ship to the company's three other drillships - Ocean Rig Skyros, Ocean Rig Athena and Ocean Rig Apollo - currently under construction at Samsung.
The new drillship is scheduled to be delivered in December 2015.
Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has announced that Qingdao Port in China has resumed operations following two huge blasts caused by oil leaking from a ruptured pipeline in the Huangdao district last week.
Providing an update on the accident, ISS noted that two vessels are currently alongside and discharging, while two further vessels are at anchorage waiting to discharge.
Following the explosion, most vessels changed their destination port, and as a result, no backlog has occurred.
National Science Foundation (NSF) has extended its partnership with Texas A&M University by signing a new cooperative deal to continue managing the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and operating its scientific research vessel, JOIDES Resolution.
The five-year deal, which will begin on 14 October 2014, is expected to be worth $250m, with an additional $87.5m being contributed by the international community.
Joint oceanographic institutions for deep earth sampling (JOIDES) Resolution is a premier research vessel that is used for deep-ocean drilling.
The deceptively simple SkySails system is aiming to bring wind power back to ship propulsion as an auxiliary fuel-saver.