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    North Sea spot market "a test of nerves" says broker

    News // October 11, 2005

    Broker Offshore Shipbrokers Ltd (OSL) says the spot market in the North Sea in the last two months has "once again been a test of owners' nerves" with AHTS
    rates fluctuating dramatically from circa £10,000 up to around the £47,500 levels.

    "PSV owners have also seen a similar situation with rates peaking not far behind at around the £32,500 level. August got off to a reasonably quiet start due to a distinct lull in the market with both AHTS and PSV rates remaining steady at around the £10,000 level. By the end of the first week however this situation had changed dramatically with an upturn in rig move activity causing rates to reach circa
    £30,000 for AHTS with PSVs around the £22,000-£25,000 levels. Things then continued to tighten further and by the middle of the month AHTS rates had reached £45,000. This was short lived, however, and rates once again began to drop off. By the end of the August AHTS were back to fixing at around the £15,000-£18,000 levels with cargo runs fetching around £10,000," OSL explained in its latest monthly report.

    "By the end of the first week in September there was once again a slight improvement with AHTS rates rising to around the £25,000 level, by the middle of the month however activity had taken a dramatic upturn with AHTS rates reaching £47,500 and PSV’s fixing at around the £30,000 level," OSL explained, noting that this situation continued for several days due to a busy period of rig moves after which rates began
    to drop slightly again, and by the end of the month however AHTS were still fixing at around the £25,000 level with PSVs at around the £15,000 level.

    "Looking ahead as we approach the winter months the signs still look positive for a buoyant spot market. Over the coming weeks we expect to see a number of vessels beginning to return from summer project work, however given that many operations will begin to suffer weather delays we don’t anticipate a dramatic softening in rates," said OSL, noting that there also also remains a steady stream of vessels leaving the spot market bound for term and international work, which should further help to keep
    availability reasonably tight.

    "Once again since our last market report a large number of additional newbuild orders have also been placed, many of which have already secured work upon delivery. Given the number of units due to deliver throughout 2006/2007 however, and with further orders expected to be placed, we can only wonder whether activity levels can support this influx of new tonnage," OSL concluded.

    The fourth quarter of 2006 will undoubtedly be a nervous time for owners with a large number of these vessels having been delivered and further units beginning to return from summer project work.


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