JST abandons newbuild bulker

Jinhui Shipping and Transportation (JST) has abandoned a bulk carrier newbuild ordered at Oshima Shipbuilding, citing the benefit of reducing future capital expenditure during an extremely challenging operating environment.
Zanzibar Naviera will take over the newbuild, a 60,000 dwt bulk carrier, a
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JES appoints new non-executive chairman

Singapore-listed shipbuilder JES International Holdings (JES) has appointed Chu Caixia as its non-executive chairman.
JES cited in its filing to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that Chu is the mother of the incumbent CEO of JES, Jin Yu.
Prior to Chu’s appointment, the company had announced that its
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Remi Eriksen: Proud and Confident

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-28 18:57:45

After 22 years of service with DNV GL, Remi Eriksen has been appointed Group President and CEO.

“I’m really proud to work for this company, and why am I so proud? First of all, I’m proud of its history and its purpose. What can be better to work for than a company with a really strong purpose. For more than 150 years, DNV GL has lived its purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, and built through this purpose very strong positions in many different industries.”

Eriksen also voiced his pride in the people of DNV GL. “I’ve lived in the west and I’ve lived in the east, and the feedback that I get from our customers is that our competence, our expertise and our people is highly relevant and sought after. But, of course, past success is not guaranteeing future success.”

Talking of the market, he says the outlook is weak, with the potential exception of some sectors such as tankers, the cruise market, mid-size LPG and some container segments. “It will be around 2017 before DNV GL’s own activity will increase again.”

There are challenging market developments in both the maritime and oil and gas industries. “DNV GL will not remain unaffected, but I have strong confidence in our ability to constantly improve and develop our services. Even in tough markets, there will be a need for expert advice and services that can help improve efficiency, qualify new cost-effective technologies, and that can help drive standardization of specifications and work processes – just to mention a few examples. In the energy sector and the business assurance market, I expect positive development in the next few years,” says Eriksen.

“The oil and gas industry is really at a crossroads,” he says, due to low oil prices and cost increases. “For more than 100 years, the industry has provided the fundamentals for keeping electricity and transportation for society, and they have been doing that to meet the expectations of operating safely and responsibly and also managing the environmental impact of these activities.

“Now the industry is facing a different order of challenge – it is to manage the global consequences of the very use of hydrocarbons. For many in the oil and gas industry it will be worse before it gets better. I’m afraid we will see the latter part of 2016 before things are trending in the right direction again. For rigs, I think it will take even longer. We will see 2018 at the earliest,” says Eriksen.

“I believe the future will be characterized by a very complex and fast-changing world and a period of slower global growth. However, the world economy is still on track to more than double in size over the next 40 years. I see a future where trusted independent parties are increasingly needed to enable safe and responsible business performance and sustainable value chains.

“In this context, DNV GL’s innovation capabilities, as well as our role as a standard setter and driver of joint industry collaborations, will be an increasingly relevant strength. It will be important for me that we continue our investments in people, R&D and innovation to develop new thinking, insights and solutions to the benefit of our customers and society,” Eriksen says.

Eriksen is a Norwegian citizen and has a Masters degree in Electronics and Computer Science from the Norwegian Institute of Technology and has had executive education at Rice University, IMD and INSEAD. In the course of his career he has published many professional papers and articles.

He brings wide experience from the oil, gas and maritime industry in Norway, Brazil, the U.S., Middle East and Asia Pacific to the role and has extensive experience in leading change in a global, multi-cultural environment to capture growth opportunities.

Eriksen’s technical expertise lies within maritime and offshore technology as well as gas value chains. He has initiated and managed several joint industry projects in the offshore and marine domain to develop new technology and risk based decision models for design of complex systems.

During the period 2006-2010 Eriksen was a member of the OG21 Board of Norway – a board appointed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy tasked with the responsibility to develop and implement a common national technology strategy for Norway.

“I am very humble and thankful for the opportunity to lead this company I have worked for the past 22 years,” says Eriksen.

“These have been fantastic years, giving me opportunities to develop,” he says. “This variety of challenges is a great feature of the company. Since I joined in January 1993, the company has grown exceptionally.”

Leif-Arne Langøy, Chairman of the Board of DNV GL Group says; “In addition to his strong performance in managing the integration of DNV and GL, Eriksen has deep knowledge of our core markets and key industry technologies. Not least, he has displayed an acknowledged ability to foresee industry challenges and drive responsive solutions.”

Eriksen is succeeding Henrik O. Madsen, who is retiring on August 1.

“As Henrik O. Madsen is retiring after more than 30 years of service with us, the last nine years as Group President and CEO, I want to sincerely thank him for his commitment and extraordinary achievements in heading the company towards the world-leading positions we are in today,” says Langøy.

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Australia’s MH370 Search Technology Questioned

By Reuters 2015-05-28 19:24:52

Nearly a year after embarking on a multi-million dollar quest to solve one of aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries, authorities and search teams are being criticized over their approach to finding Flight MH370 in the remote southern Indian Ocean.

The Australian-led search, already the most expensive in aviation history, has found no trace of the Malaysia Airlines jet or its 239 passengers and crew, prompting calls for a rethink into the way the mission is conducted.

Experts involved in past deep water searches say the search to find MH370 could easily miss the plane as Dutch company Fugro, the firm at the forefront of the mission, is using inappropriate technology for some terrain and inexperienced personnel for the highly specialized task of hunting man-made objects.

Heightening concerns, Australian authorities said on Wednesday that another search vessel, the Go Phoenix, which is using the world’s best deep sea search equipment and crew provided by U.S. firm Phoenix International Holdings, would pull out within weeks. No reason was given for withdrawing the vessel from the quest.

“Fugro is a big company but they don’t have any experience in this kind of search and it’s really a very specialized job,” said Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a former French naval officer who was hired by France’s air accident investigation agency BEA to co-ordinate the search and recovery of Air France Flight AF447 in 2009.

“This is a big job,” Nargeolet told Reuters. “I’m not an Australian taxpayer, but if I was, I would be very mad to see money being spent like that.”

Fugro, which was contracted by the Australian government to operate three ships pulling sonar across the vast 60,000-km search zone, has rejected claims it is using the wrong equipment, saying its gear is rigorously tested.

Still, Nargeolet’s concerns are echoed by others in the tightly held deepsea search and rescue industry, who are worried that unless the search ships pass right over any wreckage the sonar scanning either side of the vessels won’t pick it up.

Experts also question the lack of data released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on the activities of the Fugro ships.

Three of the bidders rejected for the MH370 contract, U.S. firm Williamson & Associates, France’s ixBlue SAS and Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search, have taken the unusual step of detailing their concerns – months down the track – directly to Australian authorities in correspondence viewed by Reuters.

Several other experts are also critical, including some who requested anonymity, citing the close knit nature of the industry which has just a few companies and militaries capable of conducting deepwater searches.

“I have serious concerns that the MH370 search operation may not be able to convincingly demonstrate that 100 percent seafloor coverage is being achieved,” Mike Williamson, founder and president of Williamson & Associates told Reuters.

DIVING INTO THE UNKNOWN

Australia took over the search for the missing plane from Malaysia in late March last year, three weeks after MH370 disappeared off the radar during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The search area was determined by satellite data that revealed the plane turned back sharply over the Malaysian Peninsula and flew undetected for another six hours before crashing into the inhospitable southern Indian Ocean.

The unchartered waters, buffeted by the Roaring Forties winds, stretch as deep as six km, hiding old volcanoes and cliffs in their depths. Australia, Malaysia and China earlier this month agreed to double the search area to 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles).

Whether Phoenix International, which has U.S. navy contracts and found the recorders of AF447, will be part of that extended search area is unclear after the ATSB said that Go Phoenix, owned by Australian firm Go Marine, will cease operating on June 19. Phoenix International, which was contracted separately by the Malaysian government, did not immediately return calls about its position. The Malaysian government also did not reply to requests for comment.

Two of the Fugro ships traverse up and down 2.4 km-wide (860 yard) strips of the sea floor, pulling via a cable a towfish that contains sonar equipment, in a technique often called “mowing the lawn”.

The towfish coasts around 100 meters (110 yards) above the sea floor, sending out sound waves diagonally across a swath, or broad strip, to produce a flattened image of the seabed.

The Fugro ships are using sonar provided by EdgeTech, the same U.S. company whose sonar was used successfully to find Air France AF447 after it crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.

However, experts say while the type of sonar equipment being used by Fugro gives good results in flat surfaces, it is less well-suited to rugged underwater terrain, a world of confusing shadows.

The ATSB has routinely released detailed data from Go Phoenix, but has not done so for the Fugro ships. Experts have cobbled together an analysis from glimpses of the sonar use and data in videos and images posted to the ATSB website. From that, they’ve gauged the EdgeTech sonars are operating at swathes beyond their optimum capabilities, resulting in poor quality images and leaving side gaps in coverage.

“It makes no sense to be using fine scale tools to cover a massive area; it is like mowing an entire wheat field with a household lawnmower,” said Rob McCallum, a vice-president at Williamson & Associates.

Fugro deputy managing director Paul Kennedy said the sonar is running within its capabilities, noting the system identified five “debris-like” objects in 700-meter (765 yards) deep water at a test range off the West Australian coast.

“The test range gives us full confidence the sonars will see the debris field when we cross it,” he said.

WILD WEATHER

Fugro is known for its expertise in high-quality low-resolution mapping of sea floors but has far less experience than some of the rejected bidders in deepwater aircraft searches. It has been involved in 17 search and recovery efforts for aircraft or ships over 15 years, compared with some of the bidders who search for 4-5 aircraft every year.

Kennedy pointed to the find earlier this month of a previously uncharted shipwreck as evidence Fugro was capable of finding the plane.

Concerning experts further is the fact that the third Fugro vessel, which was being used to scan the gaps between the other two ships with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), was this month taken out of action because of encroaching wild winter weather.

That leaves the daily search without an AUV, a much more nimble piece of equipment that was vital in successful search for AF447.

“We are continuously reviewing the search data as it comes in and we are satisfied that the coverage and detection standards we have specified are being met or exceeded,” ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said in an email.

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