Torch Offshore reports that the Midnight Express has substantially completed its DP-2 sea trials in the North Atlantic Ocean without any major complications. The vessel has returned to the shipyard at Davie Maritime, Inc. for final rig-up and certification before heading to Rotterdam for installation of the patented pipelay system at the manufacturer's operation and the special-built crane. The vessel is expected to leave the shipyard during the first week of June to begin the 12- to 14-day trip to Rotterdam based on the expected travel speed of 11 to 12 knots. It is still the Company's intention to complete final outfitting and installation of the pipe handling system in the Gulf of Mexico before the vessel enters the active fleet in the latter portion of the third quarter of 2004.
The vessel is scheduled to be delivered approximately two weeks after the negotiated final delivery date of May 21, 2004. The Company does not expect this minor delay to impact the timing of the Midnight Express entering the active fleet in 2004.
Lyle G. Stockstill, Torch Offshore, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased that the vessel has almost completed its first round of sea trials and will be leaving the shipyard in the coming days. In addition, the pipelay system and crane are ready for installation in Rotterdam. Our timing is on track for the vessel to begin work in late 2004."