10 Years of X-BOW Ships

By MarEx 2015-07-16 17:10:15

In 2005, Bourbon became the first offshore operator to adopt an inverted bow vessel, the Bourbon Orca.

In 2006, the Bourbon Orca joined the Bourbon fleet, the very first inverted-bow AHTS designed by the Norwegian ship designer Ulstein. The main feature of this vessel: a slender hull water line and a smoother volume distribution in the foreship, particularly suited to the navigational conditions in the North Sea. The payoff: better handling and reduced pitching in rough seas.

“While a traditional bow vessel rises on the waves and then drops violently onto the surface of the water, an X-BOW vessel, less subject to the vertical motions induced by the waves, continues on course more smoothly, while maintaining its speed. And because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also helps to save energy,” says Tore Ulstein, Deputy CEO and Chief Market & Innovation Officer in Ulstein Group.

This type of vessel also offers more comfortable working conditions for the crew. “Less shaking, it also means less vibration, less noise and less splashing,” says Arnkjell Brandal, who was the first officer to command the vessel, until May, 2015. This seafarer, used to traditional bows, tells us of his first impressions on board. “It was like a shock, paradoxically. This vessel was nothing like what I had experienced before. But I soon felt the difference, especially in traction situations: fluidity, strength and stability!”

The Bourbon X-BOW story started in 2004, when Ulstein was working with Bourbon and several industry players on a project to improve the safety of anchor handling operations.

“Trond Myklebust, who at the time was Marketing Director of Bourbon Offshore Norway, challenged us: to rethink the design of parts of the vessel, including the bow,” explains Ulstein. For the Norwegian designer and shipbuilder, all the ingredients required to design tomorrow’s offshore vessel were assembled: the encouragement of a customer who is a leader in its market, a constant search for innovation, and a strong partnership with leading players. “Bourbon asked us to dare… and together we did it.”

The advantages of the X-BOW design were revealed late in 2004 and the start of 2005, when tested in a towing tank. As Ulstein explains: “We conducted these tests with scale models, but in real situations, with waves from different directions to analyze the vessel’s behavior. The very positive results encouraged us in this direction.”

In April 2005, Bourbon would go on to acquire its first X-BOW vessel.The Bourbon fleet now has one AHTS and six PSVs with the design.

The Bourbon Orca

The Bourbon Rainbow and the Bourbon Calm

The Bourbon Rainbow, the Bourbon Calm and the Bourbon Clear

The Bourbon Orca in operation


U.S. Files to Recover $12.5 Million from Philippines NGO

By MarEx 2015-07-16 16:17:29

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil forfeiture complaint in an effort to recover about $12.5 million in assets found in the United States from bribery and kickbacks in the Philippines by an NGO.

From 2004 to 2012, Philippine businesswoman Janet Napoles, 51, paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to Philippine politicians and other government officials in exchange for over $200 million in funding for development assistance and disaster relief. Napoles’ non-governmental organizations (NGOs), failed to provide and under-delivered on the promised support. She instead diverted the NGO funds for her own personal use and benefit, often draining accounts within days of government disbursements. The Philippines’ Office of the Ombudsman charged Napoles and two of her children along with current and former Philippine politicians and other government officials in connection with what has been nicknamed the “pork barrel scam.”

Napoles transferred over $12 million in Philippine government-awarded funds to bank accounts in the United States in the names of her family members. According to the DOJ, Napoles used the money to purchase numerous assets including a condominium at the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles for her 21-year-old daughter. The complaint seeks to forfeit the proceeds from the sale of the Los Angeles condominium, along with several other assets, including a motel near Disneyland in Anaheim, California; properties in Covina and Irvine, California; a 19 percent stake in a California-based consulting company; and a Porsche Boxster that was purchased for another daughter.

“Over nearly a decade, Janet Napoles allegedly stole millions of dollars in funds entrusted to her for development assistance and disaster relief for the people of the Philippines,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “In an effort to disguise and enjoy her ill-gotten gains, Napoles purchased properties and other assets in the United States for herself and her family members, including a condominium at the Ritz and a Porsche. The Justice Department will not allow the United States to become a playground for the corrupt or a place to hide and invest stolen riches.”

Napoles is currently serving a sentence of life in prison in the Philippines for her role in the kidnapping and detention of her cousin, Benhur Luy, who served as Napoles’s finance officer and tracked her schemes.