June 3 - Fairstar Heavy Transport has contracted Guangzhou Shipyards International to build two 50,000 DWT open stern, semi-submersible vessels at a fixed cost of just under USD102 million per ship.

The ships are based on a design approved by Det Norske Veritas (DNV). COSCO has already ordered two of these vessels from GSI in 2008, the first is on schedule to be delivered in December of this year. The second will be delivered in 2011. 

In summarising the advantages of the Fairstar expansion strategy, Willem Out, managing director Fleet, pointed out: "GSI is one of the most reliable and reputable shipbuilding companies in China. They have more experience building semi-submersible ships than anyone else in the world. GSI will have built two of these ships for COSCO before delivering our first vessel in April 2012. The advantages of using a design already approved by DNV as well as the benefits of the learning curve experienced by GSI as they build the first two ships for COSCO, gives us a lot of confidence that we can deliver these ships to the market on time and on budget. The size, speed and performance of these two vessels, (to be) named FORTE and FINESSE, are ideal for the widest range of high value, ultra-heavy cargoes. The Fairstar Team has a proven track record managing ship building projects. I look forward to seeing FORTE and FINESSE join FJORD and FJELL in the Fairstar fleet in 2012." 

Fairstar has appointed ABG Sundal Collier, Carnegie and SEB Enskilda to act as financial advisors to Fairstar. The financing will be a combination of equity and long term debt. A syndicate of Chinese banks supported by an export credit facility issued by Sinosure will provide an eight year term facility. 

Philip Adkins, CEO of Fairstar adds; "The current state of the global heavy transport fleet as well as the future demand for high value marine heavy transport have been carefully examined by Fairstar. There is a clear over-supply of very old, high maintenance, converted oil tankers that entered the market during the last three years. The day rates for this type of ship have collapsed. They now operate in the most unprofitable segment of our industry. Multi-billion dollar energy infrastructure projects will provide the most stable and profitable opportunity for the marine heavy transport industry in the next three to five years. We have concluded that there will be a shortage of purpose built, open stern, semi-submersible ships. We also believe that projects will increase in complexity, safety standards will rise, and accountability to clients to perform flawlessly will increase the barriers of entry into the most profitable segment of the marine heavy transport industry. Fairstar has validated the pricing power of our fleet strategy as well as the competitive strength of our Team by winning one of the largest heavy transport tenders in the history of our industry. We are fiercely determined to create genuine and sustainable value for our shareholders by operating the most modern and efficient fleet in the business, as well as making sure this fleet is properly positioned to serve the needs of a demanding client base as they invest in high value, complex energy infrastructure projects. Leadership in our industry will be determined by vision and performance, not by size."