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    September worst month since 1999, says Seabrokers

    Contracts, Tenders and Rates // October 10, 2003
    Seabrokers says North Sea owners "were left shaking their heads again" in September as to how and why things haven't got better before the widely anticipated winter downturn.

    In the latest issue of its monthly report Seabreeze, Seabrokers said that looking back over the records, this September was the weakest since 1999.

    "High levels of availability spawned from days of virtually no market activity left some owners struggling to find work for their vessels; if not for days then weeks," said Seabrokers.

    "Charterers on the other hand, have been able to preserve their cargo run and rig move budgets throughout 2003, but have seen the relatively high bunker prices develop into an increasing percentage of total expenditure."

    "Where does all this leave shipowners," asked Seabrokers? "Some owners are already taking action by removing vessels from the North Sea arena whilst others are keen to follow suit. Some owners in the short term have just repositioned vessels to Norway totake advantage of the current higher levels of market activity. Some of this manoeuvering has meant the market has seen a 30 per cent drop in the number of vessels trading out of Aberdeen since mid-August."

    "With talk of up to 25 rigs stacking over winter, the next couple of months owners will probably have to continue to take further steps to reduce their risk here in the North Sea; unless market conditions can take an unexpected turn for the better," concluded Seabrokers.

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