Maritime Services lands its largest ship contract

Maritime Services Corporation's Southampton-based marine outfitting company, MSC (Europe) Ltd., landed a 13 million pound Sterling ($19 million) contract to convert the Dronning Ingrid rail ferry into a state-of-the-art hospital ship for the charitable group Mercy Ships.

MSC acts as the general contractor for all phases of the conversion, and its Hood River operation will handle interior design and space planning, cabin mockups, furniture fabrication and a portion of the project management. Portland resident Mel Berg will travel to the U.K. on Jan. 7 to serve as manager for the 18-month project.

"This came at a good time," said Maritime CEO George Selfridge. "Markets have been soft for the last year and we're seeing some recovery now."

In fact, the contract is the largest in the company's history.

"The largest contract we handled up until this one was $10 million, and our largest ones average around $3 or $4 million," said Selfridge.

In spite of its size, the Mercy Ships contract will not have much impact on the Hood River area.

"It won't mean a lot for the local economy," said Selfridge. "The contract is with our U.K. subsidiary. They will take the lead."

Mercy Ships is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to bring medical treatment to the poor and needy around the world. The Africa Mercy will join two other vessels, the MV Anastasis and MV Caribbean Mercy. The goal of Mercy Ships after completing the Africa Mercy is to serve one million people annually by 2004.

Work commences immediately on the project both in the U.K. and in Hood River, though Maritime is concentrating on other projects simultaneously.

Jim Paterson, vice president of marine operations for Mercy Ships, said, "We have been impressed by the ability of MSC to pull all of the diverse elements of this complex project together into a single contract and offer a very competitive price."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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