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    Broker reviews supply vessel market

    Contracts, Tenders and Rates // February 23, 2001
    Offshore Shipbrokers has released its latest review of the supply vessel market in the North Sea.

    The company says that whilst there was great optimism the market in 2000 started off slowly and was depressed whilst the second half of the year saw charter rates at the level experienced before the last downturn. January 2001 also started slowly.

    The brokers say that the optimism that exists in the market saw a rush by owners and yards to sign newbuilding contracts before the proposed EU ending of subsidies in December of last year.

    Although the oil price has dropped from its recent highs the optimism that exists backed by new projects, renewed drilling and construction operations will make 2001 an interesting year, says Offshore Shipbrokers.

    "We expect the coming year to be buoyant in all offshore theatres and it will not surprise us to see more modern North Sea tonnage leave for other areas. In the past the newbuildings have tended to push the older North Sea tonnage towards other areas butwe are now seeing them leapfrogged by the new vessels", said the company.

    In the last year new tonnage has left for areas such as Brazil, West Africa, Mediterranean and even Egypt. "Negotiations are ongoing for larger vessels to go to these other offshore theatres and we will see a healthy number of vessel departures in the coming months", said the company.

    The shipbrokers say December was good in the North Sea from owners point of view with rates at some of their highest for the year however as Christmas approached there were a large number of vessels in 'spot' positions - a situation which rolled over into January, highlighting the extremes experienced and demonstrating how finely balanced the market can be.

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