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In Honor of 2021

DLS survey of windmill blades

“Don’t we all have the right to be wrong now and then?”  

Roger Miller (1936-1992)

“Well I don’t worry bout a thing. Cause I know nothing’s gonna be alright”  

Mose Allison (1927-2016)

As we begin a new year, I’d like to do a recap on the topics I discussed in 2021. Just about every subject matter has shifted, some like a glacier and others at, for the marine industry, flank speed.

Last January, I wrote a blog that discussed whether appraisal methods meet acceptable standards. This topic would fall into the glacier category, with very few, if any, shifts as banks continue to rely on asset appraisals that are not compliant with International Valuation Standards (IVS). Of course, many deals are not asset based, but vessel appraisals are made a part of the deal documentation and can play into deal covenants. Also, compliance with USPAP/IVS can arise when asset values are reviewed by regulators and accountants in M&A deals, taxation, or filings of publicly traded entities.

In February, I wrote the blog LNG is here- How is it Impacting the Industry? about the variety of fuels that will/may be available for powering vessels in a future controlled by regulations to reduce production of greenhouse gases (GHG). While the horse race analogy I used then is still relevant, the details of the competition are getting clearer – along with the difficulties. Next month’s blog will go into detail on how the markets are looking at the various fuel alternatives.

In March, I wrote the blog Will the U.S. Join the Green Wave? about the U.S. move of the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020 (OBCSA) and the U.S. walking away from the Paris Accords. Individual countries may no longer have as much leverage over global warming issues as international opinion has made world economics a factor in the move to reduce air pollution.

The regulators, mainly the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union, have produced regulations that will be coming into effect in the next few years that will force reduction in marine GHG emissions and force changes in how ships are powered, and even built. This has already begun with over 1000 ships over 5000 Gross Tons that are now operating or are to be built in 2022/2023 to comply with these new regulations. But it is also the customer base of ship operators who are pressing the operators to build greener ships. More on this later.

That blog also had a comment on how the decision to install scrubbers on vessels looked like a poor choice as the cost of low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) dropped and the recovery of scrubber installation cost would take a while.

Over the past, year the cost differential between low and high sulfur fuel has varied and, depending on the market, scrubbers look like a reasonable gamble. I have read one comment stating that there appears to be no penalty in resale costs of scrubber equipped ships. Part of this might be that the purchasers find a plus in being able to operate such a ship without concern about the availability of LSFO or its possible high cost.

My May blog was a primer on wind farms. Since then, the only new information has been the confirmation of more being built around the world, with larger wattage capabilities, and at lower per mega watt costs. There have also been announcements of various designs of floating wind farm installations for waters that are too deep for foundation-based structures.

DLS and its allied drone group, DroneUp, have participated in trial inspection flights of the preliminary Duke wind farm installations off the Virginia coast. This is in addition to the DLS use of drones for inspection of vessels, including for ABS, and for inspections related to cargo and cargo damage as DLS is a regional Lloyd’s Agent.

June’s blog Do Green Ships Have a Nuclear Future? gave information on molten chloride fast reactors (MCFR), i.e., nuclear power for ships and other purposes. Since then, there has been more information on experimentation with other designs involving molten chloride and several new investors. There is a great deal of interest and study, but most commentators agree that it could be at least 20 years before this power source would be practical for commercial use.

I also revisited the money side of the greening of the industry and will be doing that again. As noted above, the ship owners’ customer base, manufacturers, shippers, charterers, as well as lenders, are pressing for “green” ships as part of their Environmental-Social-Governmental (ESG) compliance and marketing. Businesses are marketing their cradle to grave zero-emissions as part of their ESG credentials in domestic and international business. There will be more detail on this in the future.

After some delay due to general chaos and Hurricane Ida, my September blog White Oil covered the basics on the mineral lithium, and on the batteries constructed with the mineral. Not much has changed since, as experimentation continues toward building a better battery with more easily obtainable materials and a longer life. And the recycling of batteries and battery materials becomes more important.

The last blog of the year The US and Short Sea Shipping was about the American Marine Highway System and American ports and containerization. Since then, the Maritime Administration published a list of their 2021 grants for port improvements. You can find the full list here.

You will note that some grants are for port improvements or equipment that will help container movements, including water routes.

Future blogs will not just be about the future fuel battle but also about how efficiency and pollution will be measured. Most players are on board with the need to reduce pollution but measuring gains on a per vessel/per fleet basis is becoming very important. Money and some companies’ futures depend on them being a green leader, or at least in the middle of the scrum. Poor performers will not be welcome at the door of lenders, charterers, or shippers so how efficiency can be truly and transparently measured will be a battle.

Stay tuned.

-Norman Laskay

If you’d like to keep this conversation going, please email me at nlaskay@DLSmarine.com

DLS survey of windmill blades

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Additional articles

MY GREEN IS BETTER THAN YOUR GREEN

I’ve been writing a lot about the ecological movement and the greening of merchant ships. DLS Marine is deeply involved in the appraisal side of the marine survey business and a good number of the readers of this blog are involved in maritime lending or insurance. The greening of the world’s fleet involves huge amounts of money.

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The Fuel on the Hill

Petroleum is still here and will be prominent, although fading, for a few more decades. Due to an interesting combination of world events and reactions to these events, the oil industry has new life. Oil is closing in on $100 a barrel in some areas.

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Matt McDaniel DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Matt McDaniel

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Damage Assessment and Repairs
  • Condition
  • Inspections
  • Project Management

Memberships / Professional Certification:

  • NAMS-CMS

Background:

Matt began marine surveying in 2014 and has experience with damage causation, reviewing transit plans, new construction, cargo transfers, salvage operations, on/off charters, and general condition surveys. He joined the Hull & Machinery department at DLS in 2019.

mmcdaniel@dlsmarine.com
Jessie Page DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Jessie Page

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Diesel Technician
  • Marine Repair and Fabrication
  • Engine Causation Analysis
  • Equipment Damage
  • Vessel Conditions and Safety

Professional Certifications:

  • NAMS-CMS

Certified Specialist in Caterpillar diesel engines to include:

  • Small Engine Fuel Systems
  • Medium Engine Fuel Systems
  • Engine Diagnostics
  • Electronic Sensors and Control Logics
  • Electric and Electronic Troubleshooting
  • 3500 A/B/C Diesel Engine Master Mechanic I MUI/MEUI

Background:

Jessie joined DLS in 2021 with extensive experience in the marine industry. Jessie began his career as a shipfitter, machinist, and propulsion machinery installer at a shipyard. He then spent ten years as a diesel technician doing everything from routine mechanical repairs to complete engine overhauls and dynamometer testing. Jessie specializes in engine failure analysis and recognizing improper maintenance and installation. He is able to make recommendations regarding failure causation and potential imminent failures. Jessie transitioned to marine surveying in 2016 and is now a part of the DLS Hull & Machinery department.

jpage@dlsmarine.com

Ave P. Boudreaux

Marine Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Project Management Supervisor (QC) – overseen numerous construction and delivery schedules for vessels
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. Coast Guard and ABS rules and regulations for vessel construction and repair

Education:

  • Rolls-Royce Z-Drive Failure Analysis Seminar
  • Flex-Core and Aluminum Welding Course
  • Extensive training in engine, gear, and shaft alignment
  • Extensive training in vessel repair and new construction

Memberships / Professional Certification:

  • NAMS-CMS

Background:

Mr. Boudreaux has 15 years experience with offshore supply vessels, crewboats, and anchor handling tugs. During this time, he served 8 years in vessel repair and new construction, 3 years in vessel operation and logistics, and 4 years as a vessel port captain.

Mr. Boudreaux served over 3 years as a marine surveyor performing numerous types of surveys in the marine industry prior to joining DLS.

 aboudreaux@dlsmarine.com

Norm Laskay - DLS Marine Valuation

Norman F. Laskay

Of Counsel

Mr. Laskay joined Stickney, Dufour & Associates, Inc. in 1988 as a partner. He is now of Counsel. He became a Marine Surveyor in 1974, having gained prior experience in steamship agency, bulk cargo handling and vessel operations. He has been involved in many aspects of marine surveying including hull, machinery and cargo, both inland and ocean. Since becoming an Accredited Senior Appraiser of commercial marine equipment, he has been active with the American Society of Appraisers’ International Machinery and Technical Specialties Committee. He has written a comprehensive exam for the Commercial Marine Appraisal specialty and has written a 30-hour course for the American Society of Appraisers on appraising commercial marine vessels and yachts and is the lead instructor.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Commercial Marine Appraisal
  • Hull Damage and Repair
  • Cargo Loading, Securing and Trip in Tow Preparation

Education:

  • Maine Maritime Academy Graduate
    B.S. in Marine Transportation
  • Continuing education credits in Law, Appraisal, Marine Survey, and Diesel Repair.

Professional Certification/Memberships:

  • NAMS Regional Board of Directors Member 1989-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter Treasurer 1991-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter President 1994-1995
  • Mark Twain Club (Charter Member)
  • Machinery and Technical Specialties International Committee 1995-Present

Publications

  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “TUGBOAT DESIGN 101” Vol 13 No. 2 Fall 1996
  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR MARINE ASSET” Vol 13 No. 3 Winter 1996
  • Marine Money, The Ship Finance Publication of Record “ASSET BASED APPRAISAL:, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 2006 Wrote the chapter on Marine Asset Appraisal for the American Society of Appraisers text book: “VALUING MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF APPRAISING MACHINERY AND TECHNICAL ASSETS” Second Edition. In 2008, revised the chapter for the future Third Edition and wrote an accompanying Work Book section.

Email: nlaskay@dlsmarine.com

  

Harry Ward President DLS Marine

Harry Ward

President

Harry Ward is the President of Dufour, Laskay & Strouse, Inc. Harry is a US Navy veteran and has spent much of the past decade in the maritime industry in sales, finance and general management. He has extensive experience in asset and business valuation and is working to maintain DLS leadership in marine appraisal and survey for another 50 years. Harry is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as a helicopter pilot and survival instructor through multiple tours of duty. He has an MBA from San Diego State University.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Fleet and Vessel Appraisals
  • Marine Business Valuation
  • Transaction Support – Due Diligence
  • Transaction Support – Marine M&A Advisory
  • Digital Inspection – Marine and Offshore Wind

Education:

  • U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD – 1991, Bachelor of Science
  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA – 1999, MBA with emphasis in Finance

Licenses and Professional Associations

  • FINRA Licenses, Series 63 and 79 (Investment Banking)
  • American Society of Appraisers, AM
  • Certified Exit Planning Advisor, CEPA (Business value assessment and strategy development