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sábado, 9 de diciembre de 2006

Crew rescued from U.S. ship working for Pemex

Sinking off Mexico a mystery
Crew rescued from U.S. ship working for Pemex

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

A U.S. ship doing work for Mexico's state-owned oil company sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week, but the vessel's 30 crew members were rescued before it went down.

The Ocean Leader was abandoned 19 miles north of Tuxpan, Mexico, and eight miles off the coast after being battered by a storm late last Thursday night, said Dan Stabbert, head of Stabbert Maritime, the Seattle company that owns the vessel.

"She was considered to be a great ship," he said. "This was a tremendous surprise to everyone."
The massive ship, 220 feet long and 42 feet wide, had been performing surveys and test borings of the seafloor through a contract with Fugro-McClelland Marine Geosciences, a Houston-based division of Dutch energy conglomerate Fugro, Stabbert said.

Mexico's Pemex energy company hired Fugro to gather the data before constructing oil and gas infrastructure in the shallow-water area, which had water depths of about 165 feet, he said.
Joe Castleberry, president of Fugro-McClelland, confirmed that the ship sank, but declined further comment.

Pemex officials said they were not aware of the sinking.

Fishing vessels respond
The Ocean Leader made its first distress calls late Thursday evening, Stabbert said. Two Mexican fishing vessels responded and stood by the boat all night while the crew made repairs. By midday Friday, however, the vessel was judged to be unsalvageable, and the crew evacuated to the fishing boats, he said.

In the process, two crew members were injured. A cook sustained a knee injury as she boarded one of the fishing ships, and a deck mate broke his leg during a final sweep of the boat with the captain before it was abandoned, Stabbert said.

The ship's distress calls were overheard by the U.S. Coast Guard's office in South Padre Island. But when the agency confirmed the Mexican navy was handling the call, it closed the case, said Mario Romero, a Coast Guard spokesman in Houston.

The accident occurred in Mexican waters. And although the vessel was U.S.-flagged, the crew was transported to Tuxpan in the coastal Mexican state of Veracruz.

Mexican authorities have been investigating the incident in recent days to determine why a relatively new ship accustomed to operating in rough waters was taken under by the storm, Stabbert said.

He also seemed baffled to explain what happened.

"There was no flooding in any of the machinery spaces," Stabbert said. "It just was a loss of buoyancy in the stern for some reason that has not been discovered."

Environmental impact?
Mexican officials will also explore the site to determine the potential environmental impact of the ship's sinking.

The incident came about the same time that authorities in the United Kingdom said they were temporarily calling off a search for a Fugro fishing vessel and its four crew members that went missing in the North Sea in October, according to British press reports. The search will continue next year.

Anuncia México exploraciones petroleras en el Golfo

Anuncia México exploraciones petroleras en el Golfo

MEXICO.— La empresa paraestatal Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) informó hoy que realizará en 2007 inversiones para la exploración en aguas profundas del Golfo de México, para restituir parte de la caída de la producción de su principal yacimiento.

Autoridades de esa entidad explicaron que de acuerdo con el presupuesto de la Federación, dentro de los planes de Pemex está el proyecto Aceite Terciario del Golfo con una inversión de 194 mil millones de pesos (cerca de 19 mil 400 millones de dólares).

Prevé además continuar el desarrollo de nuevos programas para fortalecer las reservas de hidrocarburos, gas natural no asociado y avanzar en la modernización del Sistema Nacional de Refinación, además de aumentar la infraraestructura para el procesamiento de gas. (PL)

Gobierno panameño aprueba primeros fondos para ampliación del Canal

Gobierno panameño aprueba primeros fondos para ampliación del Canal

PANAMA.— El Consejo de Gabinete (ministros) aprobó los primeros 120 millones de dólares para la ampliación del Canal de Panamá, obra que comenzará a realizarse el próximo año, informó el ministro de la Presidencia, Ubaldino Real.

"Como un hecho histórico aprobamos los primeros fondos que se van a utilizar para la ampliación del Canal", destacó el funcionario. Precisó, que el dinero fue obtenido a través de un crédito extraordinario.

El 22 de octubre último, los panameños sancionaron en un referendo la construcción de un tercer juego de esclusas, proyecto valorado en cinco mil 250 millones de dólares. (PL)

Tira hacia una política marítima integral, destacando el Coast Guard Europeo

Joe Borg

Member of the European Commission responsible for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs

The Green Paper on Maritime Affairs

3rd European Parliamentary Symposium on Maritime Europe
Brussels, 9 November 2006

Distinguished Members of the European Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here at this event which has assembled so many Members of Parliament and key stakeholders to discuss maritime affairs.

I am also glad to see that maritime affairs are firmly on the agenda of the European Parliament. At a time when a comprehensive Green Paper on a future maritime policy for the Union is under consultation, it is particularly important that the Parliament remains seized of this issue.

When we speak of maritime affairs we are talking of the health of our oceans and seas, their economic importance for the future of Europe and just how much is to be gained from looking at them in a cross-cutting light so that each nuance, interrelationship and link between them may be emphasised and catered for.

When we think of our oceans and seas we may often think of globalisation and the benefits that expanding maritime activities, to cope with international trade, can bring. We think of climate change, and how this phenomenon has become a concrete threat, one which has at its centre the seas and oceans. We think about energy, and how the sea as a source of energy, particularly renewable energy, can contribute to Europe's energy mix and to the security of our supply. We think of maritime transport and the opportunities there are to open up more routes for
transport while alleviating road congestion in Europe.

The interplay between so-called 'different' subject matters is clear. It is also one of the very real challenges facing us policy-makers as we seek to determine ways in which these different aspects can reinforce, rather than compete with or exclude, one another.

It is for this reason that we have decided to publish a Green Paper to look into the options for having a maritime policy for the Union. I believe that the year-long period of consultation that is currently underway, is a necessary part of the process in order to enable us to find the best responses to the challenge ahead.

We are almost half way through the consultation period and, if this has already shown one thing, it is that the range of maritime issues at stake is as vast as the ocean itself. And yet, like the ocean, these multiple issues are all part of one and the same system.

And it is this that convinces me, more and more, that we should no longer treat maritime affairs as random pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We must assemble them to form a holistic picture - the picture that we seek of a clear vision for our oceans and seas.

This brings me to the question at the heart of our debate, that is: how can we best manage our maritime affairs?

I do not suggest that the answer lies in anything too radical.

Many within our institutions have already invested long and hard in developing
policies for shipping, ports or shipbuilding, or to protect the marine environment and
its rich resources. These policies have sought to enhance maritime safety, to protect
our fish stocks, to build cleaner and safer ships or to reduce the release of toxic
substances into our waters. They have looked at gaining a better understanding of
our oceans and seas.

Yet one might well ask: did they do this by looking at all the pieces or just some of
them? To what extent has a coherent vision of the oceans and seas been possible
to date?

The manner in which EU integration has been conducted, leaves some with the
impression that Europe has looked at the pieces rather than at the big picture.
Others will add that Europe to date has also been more intent on looking inwards -
focusing rather more on its land based activities than those carried out in its waters.
Put simply, this has meant that Europe has concentrated to a large extent on
removing its internal borders, but not its sea borders and that, therefore, sea
voyages from one EU port to another are still considered external. Notwithstanding
the successes of European integration on land, a “common EU maritime space”
governed by the same standards on safety, security or environmental protection
does not yet exist

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A number of Europeans regard their countries as maritime powers with a long and
glorious maritime tradition. Yet, it was Canada and Australia that first responded to
the call of the Rio Summit on Environment and Development, which spearheaded
the idea of an integrated oceans policy. The US was quick to follow suit in 2004.
Of the European Union, the first country to develop a strategy for an integrated
oceans policy was Portugal. This fuelled the idea, at the end of 2004 as the Barroso
Commission took office, that there should be a Europe-wide approach to maritime
affairs – a fact which is now firmly reflected in the Commission’s strategic objectives
for 2005-2009. These objectives declare that there is: 'the particular need for an allembracing
maritime policy aimed at developing a thriving maritime economy in an
environmentally sustainable manner. Such a policy should be supported by
excellence in marine scientific research, technology and innovation'.
A holistic, all-inclusive, vision of maritime affairs is the best guarantee we have to
maximise the benefits we derive from our oceans and seas whilst protecting the
marine environment that makes it all possible.

We will never be able to eliminate accidents. But marine spatial planning will allow
us to map the activities of all users at sea. By overseeing all these individual
activities and their potential impact, we can take a firm step in the direction of
controlling the risks that menace our seas and shores. More cooperation, among
Europe’s coastguard services, perhaps in the form of an EU articulated coastguard
system, thereby improving the efficiency in monitoring ship movements, could be
another step in the right direction.

We cannot prevent storms, but we can predict them. Thus, a number of observation
and monitoring systems are being developed. But today data are stored in
heterogeneous formats; different users have different access rights; and monitoring
is fragmented. These could be pooled together, for example in a European Marine
Observation and Data Network.

We know that no boat or human device is free from accident. This is precisely why
we need to redouble our efforts to continue to reduce the number of ships lost. It is
worthy of note that this has been more than halved over the past decade. The
introduction of the double-hulled tanker is also the norm today, meaning that the
amount of accidents involving oil spills is also on the decline.

In this context, we owe a great deal of credit to the work carried out under the EU's
auspices, particularly under its maritime transport policy, as Vice-President Barrot
eloquently stated this morning. This is why the Third Maritime Safety Package is
viewed in the Green Paper as a significant component of a comprehensive Maritime
Policy. It will contribute substantially to enhance maritime safety and, therefore,
minimize the risk of accidental pollution of European seas in the future.
Yet, in each of the areas I have highlighted, we can also see that other policy areas
such as the environment, research, industry or regional development, come into the
This is also true of port policy today. Ports are essential nodes in the supply chains
of goods, but they are also increasingly diversifying parts of their operations into
logistics centres and industrial zones. They are employment motors for the
surrounding regions and in many cases may even become attractive locations for
private housing. Their competitiveness in today's global economy is critical for
Europe's growth and employment and this will be ever more so in the future.
Ship dismantling is an equally broad and pressing subject relating not only to
environmental protection and the competitiveness of our fleet, but also touching on
interests of shipbuilding and repair yards. It also has a wider international dimension
in terms of our relations with developing countries, and an economic dimension due
to rising steel prices.

We would like to contribute actively to the ongoing work within IMO on this important
issue. This is why Commissioner Dimas has announced an initiative to find global
solutions and to work towards an EU-wide strategy on ship dismantling. The
Commission has established an internal working structure headed by DG ENV to
pilot just this. It is also the intention to draft a Green Paper on ship dismantling in the
coming months.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Unfortunately, my time is limited. I would have liked to bring more examples to the
table in order to amply demonstrate the need for an all-embracing maritime policy to
be devised to account for the diverse players, and the causes and effects on
maritime activities in Europe. Yet I believe that the Green Paper, and a number of
the background papers that we have already received from stakeholders, offer
ample insight into existing links and the need to bridge existing gaps. I hope that
these can serve as food for thought in your own deliberations on the Green Paper.
The European Parliament has already demonstrated its interest to address maritime
issues from a broad perspective. This was amply visible on the day the Commission
adopted the Green Paper, when I had the honour to present the Green Paper to a
joint meeting of several Parliamentary committees just hours after its launch.
The Parliament’s temporary MARE Committee, set up to improve safety at sea, also
took an approach which I warmly welcome. In its work, it has focused not only on
accidents at sea but also on the environment, health questions, the consequences
for fisheries, industry and tourism. It has looked at maritime safety standards,
considering fully aspects at a European and international level, and also their
application by Member States.

Based on all this, I am confident that we can work with the European Parliament on
a future structure for maritime governance.

Insofar as Member States are concerned, the Finnish Presidency has brought
together a group of Friends of the Presidency to discuss maritime affairs within the
Council. They will pass their findings to the incoming German Presidency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A solid approach to maritime governance is the foundation for building a truly holistic
maritime policy.
But we are not there just yet.
Our programme for consultation is still underway and will last until the end of June
2007. This consultation is necessary for a number of reasons.

The matters we deal with are highly complex and need to be grounded in reality. We
therefore need to have input from those that know about the oceans and seas, from
those whose lives are intrinsically linked with that of the oceans and seas. Some of
the matters we deal with are also controversial and regarded through different eyes
by different quarters. If we are to have a maritime policy that is worthwhile, then we
will need to engage in long discussions, discussions that can lead us to identify
common ground. Finally, we have many players involved with many strategic
interests. Through our consultation, we hope to come into contact with and hear
from as many of those with a stake in the maritime sector as possible.
Allow me to conclude by joining Vice-President Barrot in appealing for your
reactions to the Green Paper. I augur that you will play your part in this process with
your own contributions both now and in the near future.

Thank you.

EU Approves State Aid to Modernize German Shipyard

viernes, 08 diciembre 2006

The European Commission said it has approved a $5.5m regional investment aid package for the German shipyard Volkswerft Stralsund...

The commission said the investment will enable the yard to build larger ships at competitive costs, thereby increasing the productivity of the yard without creating a result in a disproportionate capacity increase.

The total investment will be $24.8m, with $5.5m paid as state aid, corresponding to 22.5 pct -- the maximum aid intensity allowed under the Framework on State aid to Shipbuilding. Germany said it would provide aid to Volkswerft Stralsund, situated on the Baltic coast in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in August 2005.

The region has a standard of living is below the EU average and serious unemployment. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: 'This is in line with the objective of the State Aid Action Plan of less and better targeted state aid. I am satisfied that the aid is only used to modernise the yard and not to create additional capacity.'

Source: AFX

Shipping insurance costs may rise 5-6% next year

(LONDON) Insurance costs for shipping companies may rise between 5 and 6 per cent next year as underwriters prepare for stricter maritime safety regulations, said Aon Corp, the world's second-biggest insurance broker.

Underwriters will be 'looking for more money in expectation of a tighter regulatory environment' when providing protection and indemnity policies, which cover against 'third-party' risks such as oil spills, damage caused during collisions or crew injuries, Stephen Hawke, London-based executive director of Aon's Marine unit, said on Tuesday in an interview.

The UN and EU are implementing tougher guidelines on issues such as the discharge of waste oil into the sea and the treatment of injured sailors. The rules bind shipping companies such as Frontline Ltd, the world's biggest tanker operator by capacity, and Teekay Shipping Corp, the largest by sales.

'Previously, a vessel that sank in deep sea would be allowed to rot, but now they're required to be removed and that can be a complex operation' costing more than the loss of the vessel, Mr Hawke said. - Bloomberg

Hanjin sells Japan, Taiwan terminals

viernes, 08 diciembre 2006

(SINGAPORE) Hanjin Shipping Co, South Korea's biggest shipping line, said it agreed to sell its container terminal operations in Taiwan and Japan for 322.3 billion won (S$515.7 million) to a venture it partly owns...

The terminals in Tokyo and Kaohsiung are sold to Hanjin Pacific Corp, which Hanjin Shipping set up with Macquarie Korea Opportunities Fund, the Seoul-based shipping company said in a regulatory filing yesterday.

Hanjin Shipping and other rivals are selling their terminal operations to focus more on cargo transport to cater to growing global trade.

In the last five years, container shipping lines have increased fees amid rising demand. Worldwide trade is estimated to expand 8.9 per cent this year and 7.6 per cent in 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Orient Overseas (International) Ltd of Hong Kong also agreed in November to sell its North American container terminals to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Canada's third-biggest retirement-fund manager, for US$2.35 billion.

Hanjin Shipping said in September it will acquire a 60 per cent stake in each of two ventures that will take over the shipping line's terminal operations in the US, Japan and Taiwan.
The remaining shares are owned by Macquarie Korea Opportunities.

Source: The Shipping Times.

Greek owners buy US$13 billion of ships

viernes, 08 diciembre 2006

(ATHENS) Shipowners in Greece, the biggest ship operating nation, have placed a record US$13.2 billion of orders with shipyards this year amid optimism about the outlook for freight rates, shipbroker George Moundreas & Co said...

Record orders come amid optimism over outlook for freight rates. The spending compares with US$3.7 billion in 2005 and US$6.9 billion in 2004, the previous record year, Moundreas data show.

November's expenditure was almost equally split between ships that transport oil and those that can carry commodities such as coal and steel.

The orders reflect the strength of the dry-bulk market and that shipowners are assuming the volatility in tanker freight rates is a 'temporary fluctuation', the Piraeus, Greece-based shipbroker said in a report on Wednesday.

Demand for shipping has been buoyed by a surge in economic growth in emerging nations including China, which is expanding at more than five times the rate of the European nations sharing the euro.

The companies ordered 44 vessels in November for a total of US$1.91 billion and had options for another eight ships for a total price of US$275 million, Moundreas said.

Among Greek companies that placed orders in November was closely held Remi Maritime Corp, which transports oil products and dry bulk. It plans to buy six tankers, each with a capacity of 93,000 deadweight tons, from South Korea's Hyundai Samho Shipyard for US$30 million each.
The ships are scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010, Moundreas said. Remi also has options for a further six such tankers.

Transmed Shipping Ltd, another closely held company, plans to buy 10 bulk carriers, each with a capacity of 93,000 deadweight tons, for about US$44 million apiece from China's Jinglu Shipyard for delivery between 2008 and 2010.

Pioneer Tankers Shipping Corp, also closely held, plans to buy four tankers, each with a capacity of 51,000 deadweight tons, for about US$44 million a ship from China's Guangzhou Shipyard International Co for delivery in 2010, Moundreas said.

Asia's shipyards have enough orders to keep them busy for the next three years. The shipyard boom is being driven by the increasing newbuilding orders from shipowners optimistic about growth in global trade. - Bloomberg

Source: The Shipping Times

Modern technology 'must to protect ports'

jueves, 07 diciembre 2006

BAHRAIN and countries with port facilities must use modern technology to protect themselves against the risk of a sea-based terrorist attack...

Globally recognised technology and business executive Arpad Toth says drug trafficking, piracy, arms and money smuggling, biological attacks and the sabotage of sea-based telecommunication lines are the major threats facing the industry.

The chairman and chief executive officer of US-based Alacera argues countries with ports should use devices that can detect weapons of mass destruction and nuclear materials.
"Maritime security is an integral part of a nation's security," said Mr Toth, who was speaking at the ASIS International Middle East Security Conference yesterday.

"Maritime security protection is a very complicated task and involves several agencies. The detection devices should have the capabilities for uncovering weapons of mass destruction because they are the biggest danger.


A.P. Møller-Maersk and Teekay Shipping establish Swift Tankers

martes, 05 diciembre 2006

A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S (A.P. Moller - Maersk) (CSE: MAERSK A and MAERSK B) and Teekay Shipping Corporation (Teekay) (NYSE: TK), today announced an agreement to form Swift Tankers, a Pool of Intermediate Product Tankers...

The management company, named Swift Tankers Ltd (Swift Tankers), will provide safe and flexible solutions to customers by offering a large, homogenous fleet of double hull, ice class Product Tankers of 10,000 to 20,000 dwt.

Swift Tankers will undertake all daily commercial and operational tasks, including fixing vessels, voyage execution, post-fixture operations, and demurrage and claims procedures.
“With an initial combined fleet of more than 20 vessels, Swift Tankers will meet the immediate needs of our customers for quality tonnage that carry a broad range of cargoes from petroleum products to chemicals, and with the planned growth by both partners, we will be able to offer a uniquely flexible transportation solution” said Kristian Morch, Group Senior Vice President, A.P. Moller - Maersk.

“Swift Tankers will offer a high degree of versatility through an interchangeable and reliable fleet, matching preferred dates and positions for spot business and tailor-made volume contracts.”

Paul Wogan, President of Teekay Tanker Services, said “We are excited to be able to further grow our position in the intermediate segment with a company of the standing of A.P. Moller - Maersk, who shares our commitment to quality, commercial business values and strong customer focus.”

“The joint venture will be dedicated to strengthening service to both long standing and new customers while exploring global trading opportunities."

Swift Tankers will be managed and staffed jointly by employees from A.P. Moller - Maersk and Teekay. The Pool will be headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark at Maersk Tankers’ existing premises supplemented by a regional office at the Teekay offices in Stavanger, Norway. It is expected that Swift Tankers will be fully operational in January 2007. The Managing Director of the Pool will be Mr. Kristian Lohmann.

Source: AP Moller - Maersk.

NYK y Tata Steel forman una 'joint venture' para el transporte de acero

La compañía india Tata Steel, filial del fabricante de automóviles del mismo nombre, y la naviera japonesa Nippon Yusen Kabushiki (NYK), han formado una 'joint venture' para el transporte de acero. El director general de Tata Steel, B Muthuraman, y el representante de la dirección de NYK, Hiromitsu Kuramoto, firmaron el acuerdo hace tan sólo unos días en la ciudad india de Jamshedpur.

Según explicó Kuramoto, la relación comercial entre ambas empresas se remonta 100 años atrás, cuando la compañía marítima empezó a operar en la ruta comercial entre Japón y Mumbai. Asimismo, Muthuraman reconoció que, debido al constante crecimiento del fabricante Tata Motors, la empresa tendrá que transportar grandes cantidades de distintos tipos de acero con un control estratégico de su logística. "Esta 'joint venture' es el primer paso en esa dirección", señaló el director general de Tata Steel.