Lyle G. Stockstill, Torch Offshore, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "The first quarter of 2003 continued to be very competitive in the shallow water pipelay market as our fleet maintained only a 61% utilization rate. Despite the challenges of our market and uncertainties in the world's economies, we were able to maintain a positive bottom line and move forward with our strategy towards the future."
"As for the future of Torch Offshore, we continue to take the appropriate steps toward our strategic goal of entering the deepwater markets of the world. In March 2003, we completed the acquisition of the Midnight Wrangler, a 341-foot DP-2 cable-laying vessel, and currently expect the vessel to enter our fleet in the second quarter of 2003. In addition, the conversion of the Midnight Express, a 520-foot DP-2 offshore construction vessel equipped with our patented pipelay system, continues to progress and should be completed in time for the vessel to enter our active fleet in early 2004."
Today, the Company announced that, on April 29, 2003, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued to the Company, as assignee, United States patent number 6,554,538 entitled "Reel Type Pipeline Laying Ship and Method." The pipelay system will be installed on the Midnight Express.
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