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Orkney tugs in major Shetland project

The three Orkney Towage tugs in Shetland.
© Ian Leask

Three Orkney-based tugs are in Shetland to assist with a major marine engineering project.

The Einar, Erlend and Harald, operated by Orkney Towage, steamed north from Orkney on Monday, arriving in Lerwick later the same day.

They are due to take part in a commercial charter, playing a key role in an operation involving a large steel oil storage tank.

This has arrived in Shetland onboard the heavy-transport vessel Xiang Yun Kou, which is now at Holmsgarth  in Lerwick.

Local engineering and logistics companies have been engaged to prepare the tank prior to it being taken for installation west of Shetland as part of Premier Oil’s development of the Solan field.

Later this week, the Xiang Yun Kou is due move to an anchorage in the port and ballast down for the tank to be floated off the deck of the vessel. The three Orkney tugs will assist with this complex part of the operation.

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Rough Seas

Some dramatic footage of the French frigate D-646 Latouche-Tréville. Part of the video is alos usin the movie "Oceans" by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud.

Latouche-Tréville is a F70 type anti-submarine frigate of the French Marine Nationale. She is the third French vessel named after the 18-19th century politician and admiral Louis-René Levassor de Latouche Tréville.

Note: The French navy does not use the term "destroyer" for its ships. Thus, some large ships, referred to as "frigates", are registered as destroyers.

Launched: 19 March 1988
Commissioned: 16 July 1990
Displacement:  3,550 t (3,494 long tons)
4,500 t (4,429 long tons) full load
Length:  139 m (456 ft 0 in)
Beam:  14 m (45 ft 11 in)
Height:  39.36 m (129 ft 2 in)
Draught:  5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)


China Set to Follow EU in Approving Giant Global Shipping Alliance

Chinese regulators are poised to give the green light to a giant shipping alliance between the world's three biggest container operators this month, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would allow the alliance to start operating as early as the Fall.

Earlier Wednesday, European regulators said they wouldn't raise antitrust issues with the deal, leaving Chinese approval as the only remaining, major regulatory hurdle. U.S. regulators said they wouldn't object to the tie-up a few months ago.

A spokesman for European Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said the watchdog wouldn't open antitrust proceedings against the so-called P3 alliance, a tie-up proposed by Denmark's A.P. Moeller Maersk's, France's CMA CGM and Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. The three companies have agreed to share ships, routes and logistics in a deal that would concentrate their control over some of the world's busiest trade routes. The trio are already the world's three largest container shippers by capacity.

Chinese regulators are expected to give the thumbs up later this month, according to two people familiar with Beijing's thinking. The Chinese haven't yet ruled on a shipping tie-up of this size and complexity and waited to see how the U.S. and Europe would respond, said one of the people familiar with the matter. Now, that they both have agreed, it is expected the Chinese will too by the end of the month, this person said.

Maersk Chief Executive Nils Andersen told The Wall Street Journal late last month the company hadn't received any negative feedback in its talks with Chinese regulators, suggesting to the company that the review was going smoothly.

If the tie-up is completed, the three partners will move up to 40% of all cargo transported from Asia to Europe and across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission approved the P3 in March.

Akin to a code-sharing deal between airlines, the alliance will allow the three to cut billions of dollars in annual costs by using each others' ships and port facilities. It will also play on each shipper's geographic strengths to move cargo faster and more cheaply. Stopping short of a full-blown merger, the shippers have agreed to jointly deploy 255 vessels between the three of them, sharing capacity of 2.6 million containers along the busiest sea routes.

Though such alliances aren't new, smaller shipping companies, cargo forwarders and fuel suppliers have pressed regulators to rule against this much larger combination, worried they will lose leverage when negotiating their rates.

source: The Wall Street Journal