Standby market at full stretch

News - June 10, 2005

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Broking sources report that all sectors of the support vessel market are at full stretch and none more so than the standby vessel market or Emergency Rescue and Response Vessel market.

A lack of UK based tonnage has seen Norwegian, Danish and Dutch stand-by vessels being awarded short term contracts in the UK sector.

Dutch operator Vroon has obtained dual certification (NL + UK) for one vessel it purchased from UK owners, the VOS Northwind ex Swallow and is in the process of doing likewise with the VOS Westwind ex Gulf Pride.

In addition, Sartor's Siggbas (which has UK compliance) obtained a month's work for Shell UK in the southern sector.

With high activity levels in drilling, maintenance and construction envisaged for the remainder of this year the standby vessel shortage is set to persist.

Brokers say they are aware of one owner who intends to withdraw four older vessels from service which will only exacerbate the situation. Newbuilds are on the way but the earliest, two fromNorth Star, are not due until the last quarter.

Other operators are openly talking about newbuilds and it looks likely orders will be placedsoon.

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