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Starboard Briefing

Dutch-built tugs for T&T operator


Two more Damen ASD 2810 tugs are on their way to ARC Towage in Trinidad & Tobago – the last of a four-vessel order.

The azimuth stern drive tugs ‘Manatee’ and ‘Atlantic Legacy’ departed Damen Shipyards Galati (Romania) on 13 November and, following bunkering in Las Palmas, they will increase speed for an expected arrival in the port of Chaguaramas, Trinidad, where they are due to start work on 1 January.

All four tugs have a bollard pull of 60 tonnes and a maximum speed of 12.9 knots. They have been delivered in under 18 months – one of the reasons ARC Towage chose Damen Shipyards Group. The four sister vessels have been adapted to comply with international LNG handling regulations. They will provide towage, escort, berthing and unberthing services for LNG carriers under a long-term contract for a leading energy company.

The tugs are equipped with ‘rig savers’ on all engines: remote shut-off valves, remote-closing air intakes, gas detection systems and explosion-proof lighting.

Damen Shipyards is also responsible for the commissioning and handover of the tugs. The first two vessels, ‘Kairi’ and ‘Guapo Warrior’, are already in service. They are being used for crew training and familiarization.

Damen will provide after-sales support from its service hub in Curaçao, just a one-hour flight from Trinidad.


End of Panama Canal expansion in sight

With the last four of the 16 huge lock gates having been delivered to Panama, the canal expansion project is entering its final stages. The gates, each weighing 3,300 tonnes, are 10 meters wide and 29 meters high and were built in Italy by Cimolai. Eight gates will be used in each lock complex.

In other news, DP World is in discussion with Panama about building additional infrastructure to meet the expected demand once the expanded canal opens in January 2016. The government has shown interest in cooperating in the business model proposed by DP World, one of the world’s largest port and terminal operators.

The expanded canal will accommodate vessels of up to 13,500 teu capacity.


New oil and gas exploration begins in Jamaica

Exploration for oil and gas began off the south coast Jamaica on 1 November 2014 after a production-sharing agreement was signed between the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and Tullow Jamaica Ltd.

PCJ has received an exploration license after committing around $60 million to undertake oil exploration activities off the island’s south coast. The agreement is initially for a period not exceeding 25 years, but with scope to renew for a further 25 years. Conducted in several phases, it is hoped the project will initially pinpoint locations suitable for more detailed seismic work.


Ship registry cooperation

A collaboration between Antigua & Barbuda and Jamaica is under discussion with a view to increasing the Caribbean’s market share of the ship registration sector. Antigua is the second-largest ship registry in the Caribbean, behind The Bahamas; but the Caribbean holds just six per cent of the global share and this collaboration is looking to exploit the opportunities for growth.


Oil refinery set to reopen in St Croix

The Hovensa oil refinery in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, is set to reopen after a tentative operating agreement was reached between its owner, Venezuela’s PDVSA and Hess Corporation, and a new buyer in the form of Atlantic Basin Refinery.

Until it closed in 2012 the refinery was the largest in the Caribbean and its reopening would be a welcome and much needed economic boost for the island.

The agreement requires the new owners to rebuild and restart the refinery, employ Virgin Islanders and make fixed payments to the government totaling over $1.6 billion.

Atlantic Basin Refining has been established specifically to take over the site. After restarting, more than 700 workers are expected to be employed at the refinery. Without an agreement the current owners are required to dismantle and clean up the site.


Maiden voyage of new Royal Caribbean ship

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Quantum of the Seas’ made its maiden voyage from England to the United States in late 2014, followed by its first cruise, to the Bahamas from Cape Liberty. It is the world’s third-largest cruise ship.

The new ship is regarded by many as a game-changer for the cruise industry, with a focus on cutting-edge technology including virtual balconies and robotic bartenders.

The ‘Quantum of the Seas’ can accommodate 4,180 guests and 1,500 crew, with innovative amenities including bumper cars and skydiving simulations and the ‘North Star’ capsule that ascends 300 ft above sea level.

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