January 30 - Eight near-term contracts with a total value of USD42 million have been awarded to Dockwise Shipping for the transportation of jack-up drilling rigs, dredging equipment and various other cargoes.

Dockwise Shipping, in association with industry partners, is to transport the drilling rigs Great Drill Chetna, Seajacks Kraken, Ocean Quest, and Offshore Intrepid to their new assignments in India, Halifax, Brazil and the Middle East Gulf respectively.

On behalf of various other clients, Dockwise Shipping has been contracted to transport dredging equipment to Japan, accommodation jack-ups to Rotterdam, derrick and jack-up barges to Angola and Rotterdam as well as patrol boats to Italy. Almost all projects are for execution in the first half of 2009.

André Goedée, Chief Executive, Dockwise, said: "This is encouraging news and proof of continuing good market conditions in the first half of 2009 with no discernible change from the fourth quarter of 2008. We see the market for drilling rig transportation in good health, and also the market for other maritime and industrial equipment. This good start to the year will help Dockwise sustain the generation of free cash flows to reduce our net debt level - a priority for the current year."