Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Clearwater Seafood's Newest Vessel Capsizes Before Delivery

This is from the Globe and Mail.
I wonder if we will ever hear "the rest of the story"
The only good thing, I suppose, is that this happened before delivery and before manning.


Dockside capsizing sinks Clearwater's hopes
LORI MCLEOD

June 26, 2007

Clearwater Seafoods LP's fleet of clam fishing vessels suffered its second blow in seven months when the firm's new state-of-the-art ship capsized in Taiwan just prior to having its finishing touches added before delivery.

The $50-million Atlantic Sea Hunter was being towed to dry dock for final detailing before being transported to Clearwater when it sank in about 16 metres of water, said Colin MacDonald, chief executive of the Halifax-based seafood firm.

"It had just come out of the shipyard, it had done all its buoyancy tests and other tests. According to witness accounts, it was moving along at about two knots and it just tipped. It was shocking. There were quite a few people working on it at the time, and we are just very thankful that no one was hurt," Mr. MacDonald said.

It's the second time in recent months that Clearwater's clam fishing operations, which account for about 18 per cent of its revenue behind scallops, lobster and shrimp, have suffered an unexpected setback.

On Dec. 5, 2006, one of Clearwater's three older clam vessels, the Atlantic Pursuit, was struck by a large wave in the Southeastern Grand Banks.

The Pursuit suffered extensive damage. The vessel had been due for retirement, and was pulled from service a few months early as a result.

Clearwater's two other clam ships, the Atlantic Vigour and the Ocean Concord, are still out fishing. One of them is due to be replaced by the Atlantic Sea Hunter, slated to be the jewel of the fleet with an advanced power management system that reduces fuel costs and sophisticated tracking and ocean-bottom mapping equipment.

The older vessel will continue to fish while the new ship is repaired.

A crew including engineers and salvagers will raise and pump the ship, and then try to determine what went wrong, Mr. MacDonald said. While it's too early to say how long repairs will take, the setback is expected to delay growth in Clearwater's clam business for the next 12 to 18 months, he added.

It's an unfortunate setback for Clearwater, which has struggled with the high loonie because its costs are in Canadian dollars, but a large portion of its revenue is in U.S. currency.

Market watchers have also raised concerns about the capital-intensive nature of the trust's business, including the cost of building and maintaining ships. Of the three analysts that cover Clearwater, two rate it a "sell" and one a "hold."

Mr. MacDonald said Clearwater expects to continue to be able to meet demand for clams from its biggest customers, which are primarily located in China and Japan.

The trust's distributable cash in 2007 will not be hurt by the accident, and both Clearwater and the shipyard have insurance coverage for the vessel, he said.

"There's always a silver lining in every dark cloud. It will force us to innovate and rally the troops and work a little harder to come up with solutions. For 31 years, the people in this company have come up with solutions for a myriad of problems, and that's what we'll do now," Mr. MacDonald said.

CLEARWATER SEAFOODS

Close: $4.86, down 4 cents

Atlantic Sea Hunter

Cost: $50-million

Length: 80 metres

Top speed: 14 knots

Load weight: 2,700 tonnes

Shipbuilder: Ching Fu Shipbuilding, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Features: Vessel equipped with dual factory capable of processing clams in traditional manner, as well as with new high-pressure shucking technology. It has an advanced power management system, which measures the amount of energy boat needs at a given time and regulates the vessel's engines and generators, reducing fuel costs and pollution.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Secunda Marine

Secunda Marine located in Halifax NS, announced that it has been sold to a US company in the front page of the local paper.


Secunda Marine sold to U.S. firm in $260m deal


By TOM PETERS Business Reporter


Dartmouth-based Secunda International Ltd. has been sold to a major U.S. marine energy services firm.

J. Ray McDermott, S.A., a subsidiary of McDermott International Inc. of Houston will purchase Secunda for about US$260 million.

Secunda’s President Fred Smithers said Monday the transaction “was an opportunity for the company to go forward.”
The deal consists of all of Secunda’s assets including 14, multi-functional vessels with capabilities that include sub-sea construction, pipe laying, cable laying and dive support vessels as well as shore based operations.

McDermott works in the global oil and gas industry. Its parent, McDermott International, is an engineering and construction company with specialty manufacturing and service capabilities focused on energy infrastructure.

Mr. Smithers said his son Dwayne, now a senior vice-president, will manage the company for the new owners and he will remain for a period as a consultant.

Secunda is a Nova Scotia company which started with one vessel in 1983. It will continue to operate under its own name. It has about 400 employees who will keep their jobs.

Mr. Smithers, a company founder who said it was a difficult decision to sell, said he believes it is the best way for the company to grow.

“I think the opportunities for not just Secunda but for the province for employment, for people working on their projects worldwide, are unlimited,” he said.

“We would like to get some younger people, fresh ideas and more enthusiasm and energy and that is what it takes. We have an opportunity now I could never have provided for this company.”

Secunda had earnings of $56.6 million in 2005 with net income of $4.2 million, according to an online profile.

Mr. Smithers tried to take Secunda public last year but was unsuccessful. Robert Deason, McDermott’s President and COO, said Monday his company has been impressed with Secunda’s people and organization.

“People are hard to find, particularly people who understand the sea,” he said, adding Secunda “can really help grow our business. We think we can help grow their business.”

The two companies have worked periodically in the offshore for more than 20 years.

Mr. Deason said the relationship “fits like a glove.”