ABS says that guides developed to date have been primarily based on experience from European coastal waters and claims that its guide is the first to specifically consider the conditions these structures may encounter in tropical storm prone waters. The Guide takes into account the well-established International Electrotechnical Commission(IEC) 61400 series of standards for wind turbines, the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed Offshore Platforms (API RP 2A), ABS’ offshore Rules and Guides and the unique environmental conditions on the US OCS.”The direct application of design criteria in existing standards, such as IEC 61400-3, is not sufficient for the offshore wind turbines in US waters,” explains ABS managing principal engineer, Qing Yu and the Guide’s principal author. “We incorporate additional requirements based on calibration studies that use regional and site-specific conditions of US waters,” he adds.The Guide incorporates refinements to the design environmental conditions and design load cases required by IEC 61400-3 to account for the effects of tropical hurricane conditions. Yu points out the principle of site-specific design are more directly addressed in the definition of the design load cases. “Omni-directional wind conditions are required for the design load case in the event an offshore wind turbine loses its connection to the electrical power grid during a tropical hurricane.”The Guide also specifies a unique set of strength design criteria for the steel support structure of an offshore wind turbine based on the commonly accepted working stress design (WSD) approach. “Allowable stresses are defined for a variety of design conditions including normal, abnormal, transport and installation, as well as earthquake and other rare conditions,” says Yu. “In addition, equivalent load and resistance factor design (LRFD) criteria are defined as an alternative to the WSD-based criteria.”ABS offers a class notation for those turbine support structures complying with the requirements and conditions of the Guide. The notation A1 Offshore Wind Turbine Installation will be listed in the ABS Record. Other optional class notations are S (years) for the return period of maximum design environmental conditions and FL (years) for the design fatigue life.The Guide includes the requirements for the survey during construction and installation and the survey after construction taking into consideration the uniqueness, such as serial fabrication and installation, of offshore wind turbines.Offshore wind energy is a fast growing alternative energy source. According to an assessment by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the potential of offshore wind power in the United States to generate electricity is at least four times as great as the nation’s total electric generating capacity from all sources in 2008. “With our decades of offshore experience we have a great existing body of knowledge and calibration studies in support of the design criteria specified in the Guide,” comments ABS vice president of offshore technology Bret Montaruli.
The dredger will be disassembled into 24 units for transport, including its main 138-tonne pontoon, several smaller pontoons, two spud holes, a cutter ladder with cutting unit and a number of 40 ft containers.The transport, which begins this month, will first see the units delivered from Nijkerk to Rotterdam using river vessels and Wagenborg Nedlift trucks. At the Dutch port, the components will be loaded onto a Wagenborg Shipping vessel for delivery to the Russian port of St Petersburg.From the Russian gateway, the dredger sections will be transported over 3,000 km by road to its final destination in Kazakhstan, where the dredger will be fully assembled.Wagenborg explained that although this transport route seems complicated, it turned out to be the quickest and most efficient method, due to the fact that the Caspian Sea cannot be reached directly by vessels at this time of year. www.wagenborg.com
A solicitor QC who acts for firms under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority has accused SRA investigators of a ‘Kafkaesque’ lack of proportionality in their dealings with small firms and individual solicitors. Andrew Hopper QC (pictured) told the annual conference of the Solicitor Sole Practitioners Group last weekend that SRA investigators should ‘self-audit’ their own processes to bring ‘fairness into play’. Hopper said firms are turning down legitimate business because of a fear of SRA action. He gave the example of a small black and minority ethnic firm that declined an instruction to handle the £10m purchase of a property off London’s Park Lane because it thought that the SRA would ‘swoop’. The firm left the profitable transaction to a larger firm that could carry it out without fear of challenge. In another firm, one partner of eight had contravened the rules and then moved on. Applying the principle of ‘vicarious liability’, the SRA took the seven remaining partners to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Hopper said: ‘One is left with a sense of Kafkaesque disbelief. This is not what outcomes-focused regulation is supposed to be about. ‘The black mark hanging over the firm disqualifies it in the earliest stage of tendering for any public contract, while the individuals affected will find it impossible to find a new position.’ When faced with poor decisions, the only option for firms is to judicially review the SRA – which most find ‘unattractive’, Hopper said. ‘The SRA should adopt a form of self-audit to examine whether the impact of its actions is proportionate.’ He also called upon the SRA to review the way it communicates with firms under investigation. Presently, he said, firms receive a letter requiring a response to a dozen or more questions within 14 days. Firms then endure months of silence before receiving another letter, requiring more answers within 14 days. Requests for progress reports or information such as the nature of charges against them are refused, Hopper said. ‘In the meantime, the firms will struggle to get professional indemnity insurance cover because the application form asks about SRA investigations and no top-notch lawyers will want to join a tainted firm. ‘It would help if the SRA was able to regulate itself, but it seems it is accountable to nobody.’ Invited to respond to Hopper’s address, SRA chief executive Antony Townsend said: ‘It is difficult to respond to anecdote-based evidence. Our aim is to get it proportionate and right.’
Judge (pictured) made the announcement in a four-page letter to Labour MP Keith Vaz, following proposals made by the Home Affairs Committee chaired by Vaz, into child sexual exploitation and concerns over how judges deal with child sex abuse cases.Judge said that treatment of vulnerable witnesses has been ‘the focus of a considerable amount of innovation’ over a significant number of years.As a result, he insisted that the arrangements operate ‘extremely well’ in the ‘vast majority of cases’, though he stressed that courts should not be complacent, and accepted that there have been ‘valid criticisms’ of the process in a ‘very few’ cases.All judges who try defendants accused of serious sexual offences already go through an approval and authorisation process, vetted by senior judges, and receive ‘comprehensive’ training, including dealing with child and vulnerable witnesses, and training on the use of intermediaries.Judge said: ‘I am confident that this training is well constructed and that it covers all of the main areas.’But, in light of the ‘rare instances’ relating to multi-defendant trials in which the process may have ‘operated imperfectly’, Judge said he had reviewed the position following the letter from Vaz.However, Judge rejected the committee’s recommendation for specialist courts to be introduced, suggesting that restricting the venues at which cases are heard would only increase waiting times and expense. Rules governing how serious sex cases and proceedings involving vulnerable witnesses are heard will be tightened up following an announcement by the lord chief justice Lord Judge today.A list of approved and specially trained judges will be drawn up to hear all serious sex cases that are likely to last more than 10 days, or involve one or more ‘significantly vulnerable’ witness.Those judges selected will undergo bespoke training from the Judicial College on how best to conduct these cases, and how to deal with difficulties posed by multi-defendant trials, to control multiple cross-examination and give better protection to witnesses.
An application for relief from sanctions has been rejected in the High Court after an error was made in typing an email address.In Cockell (trading as Cockell Building Services) v Holton counter-claimant Martin Holton had been given almost two months to make an amended counterclaim following a long-running dispute over building work costs with Cockell Building Services.Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart threatened to strike out the counterclaim, valued at around £1.6m, unless Holton, represented by Midlands firm Blythe Liggins, served the proposed pleading by 20 March.At 3.46pm on 20 March, the solicitors sent an amended defence and counterclaim to the claimant’s solicitors, as well as an email to court with the same attachments.However, the email address was mistyped and the message was returned marked undeliverable. This happened on a Friday and so the documents were not filed with the court until early the following week once the problem had come to light.Edwards-Stuart said as a result of the error in typing an email address, the counterclaim was automatically struck out.Considering an application for relief from sanctions, the judge, sitting in the Technology and Construction Court, said this mistake alone would be unlikely to have caused a strike out. But the error was the ‘culmination’ of a course of conduct that amounted to a continuing breach of an order made in December.Holton’s position was that the degree of non-compliance was trivial, particularly as the amended pleading had been served with the claimant on time.Edwards-Stuart said the non-compliance passed the Denton test of being both serious and significant.On the reasons behind the delay, Holton said he failed to provide his solicitors with the necessary information until 18 March after a misunderstanding between his insurers and the loss adjusters. Neither he nor his solicitors took any steps to chase up the missing information.‘This was a case where, for whatever reason, the provision of the necessary information for the re-pleading of the counterclaim was left until the 11th hour,’ said the judge. ‘Those who leave necessary steps until just before the deadline must take the risk of a last-minute slip up.’Edwards-Stuart did give the defendant permission to amend his defence, but anything new in the counterclaim will not be allowed. The matter will go to trial in July.
Accountants will soon be competing directly with solicitor firms ‘on every high street in the country’, according to a leading financial adviser to the legal sector.Ian Muirhead, chairman of Solicitors Independent Financial Advice, said he expects 750 accountancy firms – three times more than first envisaged – to move into probate work after securing an alternative business structure licence.The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales has accredited 113 entities as an ABS since last October, having been accepted as an approved regulator almost a year ago. A further 34 applications are being processed.Speaking at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum, Muirhead said too many solicitor firms are ‘in denial’ about the threat from the accountancy profession.‘Success will go to those who can manage businesses and I query whether that’s going to be the solicitors or whether solicitors are going to be the back-room boys,’ he said.Muirhead argued that law firms’ response so far has been focused on consolidation, mergers and acquisitions – but this risks playing into rivals’ hands.‘[The response is] safety in numbers, more of the same, not thinking outside the legal silo, and therefore missing the opportunity of which many new ABSs are availing themselves, of providing a more diversified and holistic client service,’ he added.Muirhead said law firms should invest in maintaining contact and good relations with existing contacts, rather than spend money on getting new clients in.They should also look to work with providers of complementary services such as accountancy, surveying and estate agents to ensure they can offer those clients a wider range.The ICAEW spent more than two years trying to become an approved regulator and last year estimated 250 firms would apply for an ABS.Executive director Vernon Soare said the development would ‘open up the marketplace’ for the consumer and make the sector more competitive.
PLANS TO invest US$2·5bn in expansion and modernisation of Iran’s rail network were announced in January by RAI President Mohammad Saeedi Nejad.The 2005-10 development plan envisages the acquisition of 180 new locomotives, 8800 freight wagons and 500 coaches, helping to lift the network’s annual capacity to 50 million tonnes of freight and 36 million passengers. Nejad said RAI had ordered 80 wagons from Wagon Pars of which 14 had been delivered and 12 more were expected this year.With construction of the Mashhad – Bafgh and Kerman – Zahedan lines nearing completion, RAI is expecting a significant increase in international business. On February 15 Nejad held talks with the Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Ravshanbek Fayzullayev, who indicated that UTY was looking to dispatch between 120 and 150 wagons a day to the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas via Serakhs and Bafgh. RAI’s five-year plan also covers construction of 511 km Astara – Rasht – Qazvin line linking Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, which is expected to be completed by 2010 at a cost of US$600m (RG 9.04 p511). Attending a trilateral planning meeting in Baku on February 10, RZD First Vice-President Khasyan Zyabirov reiterated Russia’s commitment to the North-South corridor. The legal, financial and technical proposals had now been drawn up, and it was now time to take a formal decision on implementation, he said. RZD was willing to fund a study by external consultants leading to a proper business plan, and Zyabirov also offered equipment and materials to help build the line.
CHAIRMAN of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Quoc Trieu officially launched the construction of the first modern light rail line in the Vietnamese capital at a groundbreaking ceremony on December 27.Work began at the site of the maintenance depot and operations control centre in Tu Liem district, west of the city centre. The depot is located near the outer terminus of the 14?5?km route. The 12?7?km first phase will run from Nh?n to Hanoi station via Cau Dien, Cau Giay, Kim Ma and Giang Vo streets (RG 7.04 p389). The second phase would add a short extension through the city centre to Bac C? on the Red River waterfront.The French government is contributing a soft loan worth ?200m towards the anticipated US$650m cost of the project, which was developed by French consultancy Systra after the city’s last traditional tram route closed in 1990. The light rail line is expected to open in October 2010, and to carry up to 9 000 passengers/h in each direction. Eight more routes are proposed for construction by 2020 in Hanoi’s long-term development plan.
Share Tweet Sharing is caring! 8 Views no discussions Share Share NewsRegional US court rules law targeting smugglers in Caribbean Sea is illegal by: – December 5, 2012 US federal prosecutors in Miami said they have intensified efforts to crack down on drug smuggling in the CaribbeanMIAMI, United States – A United States Federal Court of Appeals has ruled that a law targeting drug smugglers in foreign waters, including the Caribbean Sea, is illegal.In what has been described as a blow to the unrelenting war on drugs, the Appeals Court concluded that the 1986 law used to charge defendants is illegal.The court’s ruling came in a case in which, two years ago, the US Coast Guard spotted a wooden fishing boat without lights and a flag off the coast of Panama and reported the suspicious vessel to the Panamanian Navy.The Coast Guard said the Navy then pursued the boat until its occupants jumped out and fled. The Coast Guard said it then found 760 kilos of cocaine on board.US officials said Panamanian authorities later arrested the four occupants on the beach and turned them over to US law enforcement authorities for prosecution.But the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals here has now vacated the drug traffickers’ convictions after finding that the US Congress exceeded its constitutional power when it passed a portion of that law that was used to prosecute the smugglers.The appeals court found that the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act could not be used for prosecuting drug smugglers arrested within the 12-mile territorial waters of foreign countries.In the 35-page decision, the appeals court concluded that the US Congress lacked the authority to pass part of the maritime act under its constitutional power to “define and punish offenses against the Law of Nations.“Drug trafficking was not a violation of customary international law at the time of the Founding [of the United States], and drug trafficking is not a violation of customary international law today,” the appeals court ruled.In the Panama case, US authorities said three of the four defendants have already served their US prison terms and have been deported, but one defendant is still serving a seven and a half year sentence.But, despite the appeals court’s ruling, US authorities said the case is of “first impression” that is likely to be challenged by the US Justice Department because of its unique significance.Authorities said it does not apply to the US prosecution of drug smugglers arrested in international waters. Those prosecutions make up the majority of maritime drug cases filed in federal courts, officials said. Officials also said the ruling does not affect the US federal prosecution of traffickers charged with using “stateless” submersible or semi-submersible vessels to import drugs on the high seas.“If this decision stands, it’s not going to be a deadly blow to the war on drugs,” said Miami attorney David Weinstein, who once headed the narcotics section of the US attorney’s office in South Florida.“But it is going to increase the level and depth of communications between the United States and foreign countries as they battle drug-trafficking together,” he added.In the meantime, US federal prosecutors in Miami said they have intensified efforts to crack down on drug smuggling in the Caribbean.US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said he has launched an initiative to target narcotics shipments from Colombia through the Caribbean basin, stating that authorities have detected an increase in drug smuggling activity.In highlighting the Caribbean crackdown, Assistant US Attorney George Karavetsos and Ferrer attended for the first time the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police meeting in the Bahamas last May.“We are here because we recognize we share a common threat,” said Ferrer in his address, warning Caribbean police officials about the dramatic increase in drug trafficking in the region.Caribbean 360
Share Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Share LocalNews Firemen end protest over deplorable working conditions by: – August 11, 2014 27 Views no discussions Fire officers camped outside the station last weekFiremen stationed at the Portsmouth Police Station have ended protest action over deplorable working conditions and accommodation.The officers, who reported to work daily, camped outside of the fire station and refused to answer telephone calls from August 6, 2014, in protest of rat and termite infestation, poor ventilation and leaking toilets at the facility.The officers, through their union, the Dominica Public Service Union has announced that the protest action would continue until these issues are resolved.“That protest action has ended,” general secretary of the Dominica Public Service Union, Thomas Letang said on August 11.“We were protesting over the poor living conditions at the Portsmouth Fire Station and it reached a point where the officers were camping outside and were not taking calls”. According to Letang, as of Saturday, August 9, the officers were moved temporarily to the Youth Centre.It is expected that they will remain at the Youth Centre for the duration of this week, after which they will be relocated “at one of the buildings belonging to the Douglas’s in Portsmouth”. “We did indicate sometime before that the protest would have continued until a new site or some alternative location could have been identified, that was done and as a result, we have ended the protest action,” Letang added. Dominica Vibes News