Torch Says the Midnight Express is Gulf of Mexico Bound

Torch Offshore reports that the Midnight Express departed Huisman's yard at Schiedam, The Netherlands on the evening of July 27, 2004, headed to the Gulf of Mexico. The trip to U.S. waters is expected to take approximately 20 days with an estimated arrival of August 16, 2004 in the Gulf of Mexico.

While the Midnight Express was in The Netherlands, the Company's patented pipelay system was installed onboard the vessel including the two reels, lay ramp and aligner wheel. Huisman performed all installation of the pipelay system equipment. In addition, a partial installation of the Company's 500-ton crane was completed aboard the vessel while in The Netherlands.

The Midnight Express will travel directly to port in Mobile, Alabama where the pipe handling system, the automatic welding system, and the gantry crane rails and racks will be installed and final rig-up of the vessel will take place. The vessel is expected to commence sea trials towards the end of September 2004 and should be ready to enter the active fleet at the start of the fourth quarter of 2004.

Lyle G. Stockstill, Torch Offshore, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Everything scheduled to take place in The Netherlands did so without any problems and on time. In fact, Huisman exceeded our expectations and managed to complete an expanded scope of work in the original time frame. Our internal engineering staff in conjunction with Huisman did a great job of installing the pipelay system in an efficient manner. We are looking forward to having the vessel in the Gulf of Mexico so that we can directly market the vessel to our domestic customers before the vessel is ready for work at the start of the fourth quarter."