Thursday, April 23, 2009


WASHINGTON, April 23 -- The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday warned that the global economy was in "a severe recession" and the world output is projected to decline 1.3 percent this year, the deepest global recession since the Great Depression in 1930s.

"The global economy is in a severe recession inflicted by a massive financial crisis and acute loss of confidence," said the IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook report. "All corners of the globe are being affected." According to the report, the world economy is projected to decline by 1.3 percent in 2009 as a whole and to recover only gradually in 2010, growing by 1.9 percent. The advanced economies experienced an unprecedented 7.5 percent decline in real GDP during the fourth quarter of 2008, and output is estimated to have continued to fall almost as fast during the first quarter of 2009, according to the report. In the latest World Economic Outlook report, the IMF warned that the current outlook is exceptionally uncertain, with risks weighed to the downside. The crisis has hurt international trade, with volume expected to plunge 11 percent this year before eking out 0.6 percent growth in 2010.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

VersaBuoy Platform System

An interesting concept called VersaBuoy Platform System could be used for a deepwater “fence” to protect future floating liquid natural gas terminals (FLNG) installations and other potential offshore targets all over the world. The key to the VersaBuoy system is the articulating connection between the supporting buoy hulls and the topside structure. The length and geometry of the buoy hull keeps heave to a minimum while the articulating joint decouples the pitch and roll motions of the buoys from the topsides keeping the topside structure stable and level. Multiple units could be linked together providing expandable offshore real estate.

The VersaBuoy System comprises of four spar-like, self-stable hulls supporting the platform topside through articulated redundant pin-in-pin connection. The unique application of the articulated joint between the columns and the topside allows the column rotation relative to the deck and consequently results in a dramatically reduced topside rotation. The VersaBuoy articulated joint is fixed between the top of each hull and the underside of the deck. This connection allows each hull to pitch and roll independently from the topsides. Each hull is sized and ballasted so it is stable and requires no other constraint or connection. Mooring is by either conventional catenary lines or a taut leg system attached to fairleads located on each hull.

According to the company, based on model tests, the VersaBuoy Platform System improves topside motions in harsh marine conditions by a factor of 5-10. The modal analysis of a single module showed a system deck heave period of 27 seconds and a deck pitch/roll motion period of 34 seconds. The model testing program considered a single module, two combined modules to form a single 250 by 500 ft (76.2 by 152.4m) module and a four-module combined to form a single 500 by 500 ft (152.4 by 152.4 m) module.

The application proposed by the company is for the protection of critical offshore assets such as FLNG. Protection is achieved through the use of a continuous ring-type structure located around the asset. The current rendition assumes mono-column buoys spaced at 250 ft centers with a clearance of 1,500 ft+ from the asset. The buoys support open truss bridge structures which in turn support a chain curtain lowered into the water to prevent small vessel passage. In addition, the bridge arrangement allows for continuous personnel access and monitoring around the perimeter. Supply and support vessel access is managed through the use of swing openings at several points around the perimeter. Supply and support vessel access is managed through the use of swing openings at several points around the perimeter. Buoy mooring is via a single tension leg to the seabed reducing mooring footprint and clashing with the asset mooring spread and riser and umbilical infrastructure.

Monday, April 6, 2009



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Moves on controlling ships' emissions

4 April 2009
The USA and Canada have asked the International Maritime Organisation to establish an emissions control area to reduce air pollution in North American port cities. The move is aimed at cutting the higher death rates and increased levels of respiratory illness for residents in these cities. Ships would be required to use lower-polluting fuels within 200 nautical miles of US and Canadian ports. Ships would need to start using very low sulphur fuel from 2015, and new ships must use advanced emission control technologies from 2016. JUST HOURS after a leading environmental panel urged stricter air pollution rules for ships, the US Environmental Protection Agency asked the IMO to ring the country with a buffer zone.
Emissions control areas were established under the IMO's International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL, Annex VI). There are currently emissions control areas in the Baltic and the North Sea, but these do not extend as far as the 200-mile reach of the North American proposal.
Meanwhile, the IMO has been continuing discussions on a new hazardous and noxious substances convention. An earlier convention was agreed in 1996 but has never come into force.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


MANILA, March 30 -- The effects of the global crisis on the employment of Filipino workers have bottomed out as displacements due to the crisis stood still with the return to their regular jobs of some 14,021 temporarily laid off workers and those under flexible work arrangements in 53 firms, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque cited data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) which showed that the biggest number of affected workers who have returned to their regular work are in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) totaling to 7,975 in 29 firms. Region 3 (Central Luzon) followed with 2,418 workers in 11 firms, Region 12 (Davao) with 1,712 workers in seven firms, and CAR with 1,588 workers in two firms. Roque said that some firms in economic zones affected by the crisis have started to recover as new orders started to come in. He said these firms are slowly returning to their normal operations and subsequently to normal work hours for their workers in flexible work arrangements, adding that workers who were laid off on a temporary basis due to the crisis were also called back to work. "The positive development is an indication that more affected workers would be returning to their regular jobs," the DOLE Chief said, noting that even as the crisis reels in many parts of the world, investors are coming to the Philippines to put up business and subsequently generate employment for the workers. He cited the new investors at the Cavite Economic Zone and projected investments in tourism, particularly in the establishment of new hotels and resorts in the country.

The country is also anticipating the operation of seven mining firms this year and the infusion of about 15 billion US dollars investments, which would create new jobs for engineers, mining laborers, and other related workers, Roque said. Overseas, the Labor and Employment Secretary said the displacement of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) also halted as the demand for OFWs continues. He noted that in Taiwan, where the biggest number of displaced OFWs came from, also started to rehire OFWs. Citing data from the Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO), Roque said that a total of 468 OFWs found jobs in Taiwan in March this year. Another 851 displaced OFWs were re-hired by their employers in Taiwan. The Labor Secretary said companies affected by the global crisis are keeping the OFWs to avoid losing their quotas and in anticipation of improvement in the economy of Taiwan in the fourth quarter. MECO data also indicated that displacements of foreign workers in Taiwan have been marginalized. During this same period, no OFW in this country was laid off due to the crisis. Roque also noted that no additional OFW dislocation was recorded, saying that the number of OFWs displaced by the global crisis remained at 6,000 and not 12,000 as alleged by reports. He said the situation in many countries with OFWs appear to have stabilized as the demand for Filipino manpower by foreign employers still continues. The Middle East (ME) countries, he said, remain the top countries of destination for OFWs. For the first quarter of 2009, Roque said the Philippine Labor Offices in ME have monitored 106,800 new job opportunities for OFWs excluding the job orders registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).


By He Ying

BEIJING, March 31 -- The G20 meeting in London has been increasingly in the spotlight amid hopes for finding solutions to the current world economic crisis.

Leaders of the G20, which includes both developed and developing countries, will meet to discuss how to fix the world economy at the meeting on April 2. The G20, which represents nearly 90 percent of the global GDP, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of the world's population, is racing to the front line in the fight against the global crisis as the Group of Seven (G7), the traditional team of big players, retreats due to its declining power in the global economy. "The G7 takes a 'back seat' as the crisis pushes G20 to the fore," was a Bloomberg headline in a February story prior to G7's finance ministers and central bank heads convening in Rome. While the G7 has realized it is unable to shore up the world economy on its own, it is definitely not an easy task for the G20 either. But it is a job that must be done and confidence restored.

Over the past a year or two, the world economy has been in a downward spiral, coupled with financial turmoil. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised downward its forecast for the world economy on a number of occasions, and the latest one was alarming: the world economy for 2009 is projected to shrink for the first time in 60 years.

Though the IMF said in its March 19 report that global growth is forecast to stage a modest recovery next year, the projection is conditional subject a list of factors. "Turning around global growth will depend critically on more concerted policy actions to stabilize financial conditions as well as sustained policy support to bolster demand," the IMF said. Prior to the London summit, there is wide consensus that concerted efforts are needed to pull the world economy out of the current slump since no country is immune to the crisis. According to the IMF, advanced economies will suffer deep recessions in 2009, and there will be spillovers affecting other economies. "In emerging and developing economies, as well as in low-income countries, growth will continue to be impeded by financing constraints, lower commodity prices, weak external demand, and associated spillovers to domestic demand," the IMF said in its report. "Activity is expected to expand only weakly in 2009 before recovering gradually in 2010. Some economies will suffer serious setbacks," it said.

Calls for international cooperation have intensified as the world is on the same economic boat of downturn. "The world can work together," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on March 23. He said the outcome of the recent meeting of the 27 member states of the European Union had shown that leaders were determined to "reshape the global financial and trading system" and do what was necessary to build economic recovery across the world. According to the official website of the London summit, the objective of the conference is to bring the world's biggest economies together to help restore global economic growth through enhanced international coordination. It has laid out three required commitments by world leaders to achieve this goal. The commitments include actions to stabilize financial markets, to reform and strengthen global financial and economic systems, to put the global economy on track for sustainable growth, high levels of employment, and poverty reduction.


TOKYO, March 31 -- Japan's unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent in February as big companies took pains to cut jobs to fight global recession.

The number of jobless people rose to 2.99 million people, up 330,000 from a year ago and marked four straight months of increase, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said. The result follows a decline in the rate in January to 4.1 percent. Separately, the government said household spending fell 3.5 percent in February year-on-year.