MARITIME BRIEFS

MARITIME BRIEFS

SIX HURT, TWO MISSING

IN EXPLOSION ON BULKER

BRASILIA, Brazil - An explosion aboard a Liberian freighter off Brazil seriously injured five crewmen and their captain, and two other crewmen were reported missing, a Brazilian navy spokesman said Wednesday.

The spokesman for the naval command in the port of Natal said the blast aboard the bulk carrier African Evergreen occurred Monday about 400 miles off northeastern Brazil.

"The ship is navigating normally and is being accompanied by a navy tug," he said.

The ship was expected to arrive in the northeastern port of Fortaleza Wednesday night, he said.

The cause of the explosion was unknown.

FIJI PROTEST SHIP

SAILS FOR MURUROA ATOLL

SUVA, Fiji - A Fijian ship, laden with tropical food donated by well- wishers and carrying traditional drums and conch shells, set sail for Mururoa Atoll Wednesday to sound its opposition to France's decision to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Several hundred people turned out to bid farewell to the inter-island trading vessel Kaunitoni on its journey to join an international protest flotilla of about 30 vessels near the atoll in French Polynesia.

Among the passengers, most of whom will join the ship at Rarotonga in the Cook Islands next week, will be politicians from Belgium and Germany.

The Kaunitoni won't try to breach the 12-nautical-mile exclusion zone around Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls, where France plans to carry out eight underground nuclear tests from next month.

NANJING PORT TO BUILD

TWO ROLL-ON BERTHS

BEIJING - Chinese maritime officials said Nanjing in Jiangsu province will build two roll-on, roll-off berths for commercial vehicles.

The berths, which will cost a total 72 million yuan ($8.6 million), are expected to handle 360,000 vehicles a year.

The project will make Nanjing the largest commercial vehicle transshipment port on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

RULES EASED ON MOVING

US EMPLOYEES' GOODS

WASHINGTON - The Federal Maritime Commission is exempting non-vessel- operating common carriers engaged in the waterborne transportation of federal civilian employees' used household goods for the General Services Administration from tariff-filing and bonding requirements.

The exemption becomes effective when notice of it appears in the Federal Register.

The consolidators already are subject to a GSA requirement that they post a performance bond in excess of the commission's bonding requirement, and rates are filed with the GSA.

The exemption will remove duplicative requirements and reduce costs, the

commission said.

CMB PROFIT DIP BLAMED

ON WEAKNESS OF DOLLAR

LONDON - The Belgian shipping company CMB NV, formerly Compagnie Maritime Belge, announced an after-tax profit Tuesday for the first half of the year of 610 million Belgian francs ($20 million), down from 634 million Belgian francs a year earlier.

A weak dollar was blamed for the small dip.

The liner shipping division, CMB Transport, in which Safmarine of South Africa has a 49 percent stake, traded profitably, the company said.

CMB and Safmarine have agreed to a further integration of their liner shipping activities in order to maximize efficiencies.

Hessenatie, CMB's terminal operator subsidiary, achieved a 6.5 percent increase in cargo volume.

This reflected higher container and roll-on, roll-off traffic.

Earlier this year, Antwerp-based Hessenatie concluded an agreement with the nearby port of Zeebrugge for a cargo-handling concession that should guarantee continued growth of container-handling activities.