The order for the engines and thruster packages for Nautilus Minerals’ production support vessel has been awarded to Rolls Royce Marine of Norway. The order secures the main engines, azimuth and tunnel thrusters and is the first major package to be awarded by the shipyard, Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd.
Last year Nautilus announced it had entered into an agreement with Marine Assets Corporation (MAC), for the charter of a vessel to be first deployed for use at the Solwara 1 Project and that MAC had entered into a contract with Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding to design and construct the vessel in accordance with Nautilus’ specifications.
Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston says, “We are excited to see the first order being placed for this high specification machinery as we work towards the completion of our first vessel.”
The vessel will first serve as the operational base to extract and to transport high grade copper and gold material from the project site, in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea. When completed, the vessel will measure 227 metres in length and 40 metres in width with accommodation for up to 180 people and generate approximately 31MW of power. All below deck mining equipment will be installed in the vessel during the build process to minimize the equipment integration to be completed following delivery of the vessel. The vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.
Nautilus also recently announced that it has pre-paid US$10 million of the US$18 million charterer’s guarantee that was to be provided to MAC on the commencement of the charter of the vessel, which is to be first deployed for use at the company’s Solwara 1 project.
Under the terms of the vessel charter agreement with MAC, the company agreed to pay MAC a US$10 million deposit after the contract for the construction of the vessel between MAC and Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding became effective by the payment of the first instalment in late November 2014.
In December 2014, it was discovered that the company and MAC had been victims of a cyber-attack by an unknown third party and as a result, the company paid the deposit to a bank account which it believed to be MAC’s, but which MAC has advised was not its account.
The matter was promptly referred to the police authorities in the relevant jurisdictions and an investigation is under way. The company has also engaged a cyber-security firm to ensure the ongoing security of its and MAC’s networks and to investigate the source of the cyber-attack. MAC and the company are co-operating with each other and the authorities to facilitate the timely resolution of the investigations.
In the circumstances, the company has agreed to pre-pay US$10 million of the charterer’s guarantee on the basis that: (i) the remaining US$8 million of the guarantee will be provided to MAC by the company on the commencement of the charter of the vessel; and (ii) the parties have agreed to determine how to proceed in relation to the deposit following the conclusion of the investigations, which may take some months.