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    Torch Offshore to purchase Midnight Express

    News // January 18, 2002
    Torch Offshore, the offshore construction and pipelay company, has announced that it has entered into an agreement for the purchase of the Smit Express from Smit International for $9.75 million. The vessel will be converted to a DP2 offshore constructionvessel and renamed the Midnight Express.

    Delivery of the Midnight Express to the US Gulf of Mexico is expected within the next three months, with the conversion to begin shortly thereafter.

    Concurrent with the purchase and conversion of the Midnight Express, Torch Offshore continues to negotiate contracts for the fabrication of its patented lay system as well as for the purchase of other necessary installation equipment. Full integration ofthe equipment, the lay system and the vessel, followed by sea trials, is scheduled for mid-2003.

    In the light of the company's decision to acquire the secondhand vessel, construction of the Midnight Warrior, which was contracted to Bender Shipbuilding in the US, is being deferred.

    Torch says that although the Midnight Warrior remains an economically viable option, deferring the Midnight Warrior, a new build DP2 vessel, in favour of converting an existing vessel to DP2 with greater pipe lay capabilities will result in significant capital cost savings, and save a year on the delivery timetable.

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