QUEBEC CITY, June 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - During an update released today concerning the progress of the construction of the vessel Bella Desgagnés, that is to replace the Nordik Express for the Anticosti Island and Lower North Shore Maritime Supply Service, Desgagnés, on behalf of its subsidiaries Relais Nordik Inc. & Transport Desgagnés Inc., has reported having purchased the vessel as of Monday, June 11, 2012, and this, despite its current unfinished state.
Although the vessel was more than 92% complete, work had not progressed in several months as a result of major financial problems that the Croatian shipyard Brodogradiliste Kraljevica was experiencing, explaining why the vessel had not been delivered. Facing the shipyard's inability to finish the construction and its imminent bankruptcy, for which procedures commenced June 12, 2012, Desgagnés concluded an in extremis transaction with the Croatian government and the Shipyard, enabling immediate and unrestricted ownership of the vessel in its current state. This action prevents the vessel from being mired in administrative and legal red tape that would have resulted in the stalling of all work for a minimum of 18 to 24 months, aside from any subsequent deterioration that it would have suffered during that time.
To avoid such issues, the vessel was immediately towed to international waters and then to the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy to undergo a complete assessment of its current condition, the work needed to complete it and the time frame for doing so. The shipyard that will actually perform the work is yet to be determined and will be chosen based on the completed assessment and the quotes and timetables submitted by various shipyards. At present, the estimated time to complete construction, perform final sea trials and bring the vessel to Canada is about five months.
Company management deems the situation to be highly regrettable, particularly for those who depend on from the maritime supply service and are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the Bella Desgagnés. Despite the fact that these problems and delays were cases of force majeure and beyond its control, Desgagnés has invested considerable time and money to resolve this deadlock, for which the outcome could have been disastrous.
Mr. Louis-Marie Beaulieu, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer of Desgagnés, would like to sincerely apologize for the situation and reassure the clients, socio-economic environment and Desgagnés employees who work directly with the Lower North Shore marine service that the Company will continue to put forth every effort and take all necessary actions so that the vessel is completed in the shortest time possible, all the while giving priority to maintaining the highest possible standards of safety, quality of construction, capacity and comfort for the vessel's passengers. Mr. Beaulieu stressed that although the setback has created a very difficult situation, the fact that the Company has taken ownership of the vessel means that putting the Bella Desgagnés into service in the next few months is now a tangible reality.
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