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Ocean Business


December 2011 Issue

Hornbeck to Start $720M OSV Newbuild Program
Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. (Covington, Louisiana) in November announced approval of a vessel construction program for 16 U.S.-flagged, 300-class DP-2 offshore supply vessels (OSVs) for its upstream business segment.

The $720 million deal includes options to build an additional 16 similar vessels. Delivery of the first 16 vessels is expected to occur in 2013 and 2014.

The 300-class DP-2 vessel design features 6,000 deadweight tons and 20,000 barrels of liquid mud carrying capacity. Hornbeck said the length and load capacity of these OSVs make them ideal candidates for conversion into deepwater construction service and for subsea inspection, repair and maintenance work. For more information, visit www.hornbeckoffshore.com.

Los Angeles, Long Beach Ports Ban Older Trucks
Beginning January 1, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach will ban trucks with an engine year older than 2006 from marine terminals, phasing out a previous program of assessing a "clean truck fee." The fee, $35 per 20-foot-equivalent unit, began in February 2009 for trucks older than 1994. For more information, visit www.polb.com and www.portoflosangeles.org.

BTForms Installed on Seven United Tugs Vessels
Boatracs Inc. (San Diego, California) announced in November that it had completed installation of its BTForms electronic forms product on seven vessels for United Tugs Inc. (Belle Chasse, Louisiana). The project entailed converting United Tug's paper forms into an electronic version that captains can complete with their onboard PC. For more information, visit www.boatracs.com.

1.7-Kilometer Depth Record Set for UnderwaySV
Using Valeport's (Totnes, England) RapidSV sound velocity probe, surveyors from PeterGaz LLC (Moscow, Russia) set a 1,730-meter depth record with an Oceanscience (Oceanside, California) UnderwaySV sensor deployment system.

The cast, completed in about 35 minutes from start to finish, surpassed the previous 1,563-meter UnderwaySV depth record, which was held by NOAA's National Data Buoy Center. The cast was conducted from a stationary vessel to gather sound-speed profiles in support of an ROV multibeam pipeline survey in the Black Sea.

The RapidSV probe free-falls at more than 5 meters per second, reaching 1,000 meters' depth in only three to four minutes. Oceanscience said the key to the down-cast profiling speed is a tail spool loaded with up to 1,000 meters of high-strength tether line before each deployment, allowing the probe to drop with little or no drag. For more information, visit www.valeport.co.uk.

Korean Navy Orders Schilling Robotics HD ROVs
Schilling Robotics LLC (Davis, California) in October announced an order for two 150-horsepower, 3,000-meter-rated HD ROV systems from GMB USA Inc. (Northvale, New Jersey). The systems will be delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy's amphibious submarine rescue vessel and auxiliary towing salvage vessel. For more information, visit www.schilling.com.

No Oil Found on Tanker Sunk During World War II
Eleven days of surveying and sampling determined that no oil remains on the SS Montebello, an oil tanker that sank off the coast of Cambria, California, after being hit by a Japanese submarine torpedo in December 1941.

Led by the U.S. Coast Guard and California Department of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the unified command said in October that it found no substantial oil threat from the Montebello.

Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Seattle, Washington) assessed cargo and fuel tanks and collected ocean floor sediment samples. The company's Cougar XT ROV supported the inspection.

Global teamed with T & T Bisso (Houston, Texas) to provide engineering support and 3D modeling of the vessel and subcontracted Tracerco (Billingham, England) to utilize its neutron backscatter tool, a noninvasive sensing device, to determine the presence of oil. Physical samples of the cargo tanks were taken to verify its contents utilizing a proprietary sampling/plug device. For more information, visit www.gdiving.com.

High-Resolution Capability Added to SonarWiz 5
Chesapeake Technology Inc. (Mountain View, California) in December introduced a high-resolution capability for SonarWiz 5 that doubles the resolution of the earlier version. The company said the new version offers crisper, sharper mosaics, waterfalls and sonar contact images.

"Other sonar mapping solutions also offer high resolution but at a significant cost to performance," said John Gann, Chesapeake Technology founder and chief technology officer. "We focused on, and I think we achieved, just the right balance between increased fidelity without sacrificing performance."

The new release of SonarWiz 5 is free to all customers who have an extended maintenance agreement. For more information, visit www.chesapeaketech.com.

World's Largest Hover Barge Sold, Marcon Says
Ship broker Marcon International Inc. (Coupeville, Washington) announced in November the sale of the newbuild hover barge Monty, claimed by Marcon to be the world's largest such vessel, from builder Sundial Marine Construction & Repair (Troutdale, Oregon) to private buyers.

The unfinished air cushion barge was designed to hover about 5 feet above the surface while carrying about 450 tons of cargo on a 9,000-square-foot deck. Mining company Redfern Resources Ltd., which ordered the barge, went bankrupt in 2010, and the barge was not completed.

The barge was designed to be capable of operating year-round over shallow water, ice and land, while being towed by a vessel during ice-free conditions in the summer and amphibious tractors in the winter. The private buyers said they plan to complete the barge. For more information, visit www.marcon.com.

Port of Houston Approves BOSTCO Lease
The Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority in November approved a 25-year lease with Houston, Texas-based Battleground Oil Specialty Terminal Co. (BOSTCO) for about 55 acres of port authority-owned property.

The commission also approved a marine construction permit to BOSTCO, as well as an agreement for the placement of about 2.2 million cubic yards of dredged material.

The liquid terminal will be the first greenfield terminal built at the Port of Houston in more than 25 years. When completed, the project is expected to result in 75 full-time jobs, said Jeffrey R. Armstrong, president of terminals for Kinder Morgan. BOSTCO is a joint venture between Kinder Morgan and TransMontaigne Partners L.P. For more information, visit www.bostco.net.

Meggitt Sensing Expands 'InStock' Cable Program
A new program will allow customers of Meggitt Sensing Systems (San Juan Capistrano, California) to choose from 18 cable product families, in standard or custom lengths, for shipment in one week or less, the company said in October.

The Guaranteed InStock program includes Endevco models 3090C, 3075M6 and 6917B. The company said it will regularly add other cable assembly families to the program. For more information, visit www.meggittsensingsystems.com.

M Ship Moves Hull Testing into the Open Ocean
A new approach to hull testing has ditched the controlled conditions of an indoor tank and moved the process into the real-world conditions of the ocean.

M Ship Co.'s (San Diego, California) Rapid Empirical Innovation (REI) approach uses a self-powered, 20-foot pontoon platform, named FLOWT, to tow scaled-down hull models in real-world conditions. The company said the REI program cuts 50 to 80 percent of the cost that it would take to utilize a conventional tow tank, without sacrificing accuracy or waiting for tank access.

After the hulls are fabricated, they are outfitted with identical high-frequency accelerometers that provide comprehensive motion and acceleration comparisons. The models are then tested on the FLOWT platform, which provides real-time force, trim and acceleration measurements and allows the hulls to be analyzed on power, speed, payload, fuel efficiency, range capability and ride quality.

The REI program has tested a range of vessels, including catamarans, displacement monohulls, advanced planing hulls and submersibles. The program data were validated to a 95 percent threshold at the U.S. Navy's David Taylor Model Basin with smooth and rough water, M Ship said. For more information, visit www.mshipco.com.

DHL Moves into Marine Spare Parts Logistics
DHL's Global Forwarding division announced in October that it was entering the marine spare parts logistics industry, a move that includes the launch of its first global marine spare parts logistics control tower in Singapore.

DHL announced plans to invest $15 million over the next five years to support the new business. The Singapore control tower will offer different pricing and transport, ranging from pickup at the spare parts supplier warehouse to onboard delivery, including reverse logistics for parts return. For more information, visit www.dhl.com/en/about_us/forwarding_freight.html.

BSI to Develop New System for Screening Cargo
The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a contract to BSI Group's supply chain solutions business unit for the creation of a protocol to aid the screening of cargo at U.S. ports, the company announced in October.

BSI said it will work with Homeland Security engineers to integrate data from new detection systems, along with BSI's proprietary intelligence on cargo disruption and anti-Western terrorism, to better identify high-risk containers. For more information, visit www.bsigroup.com.


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