Maersk Supply Service to ditch up to 20 vessels, axe 400 jobs

Maersk Supply Service, a provider of marine services to the oil and gas industry, is divesting up to 20 vessels and reducing its crew pool by 400 offshore positions.

Maersk Supply Service said on Thursday the company is reducing its fleet by up to 20 vessels over the coming 18 months.

The divestment plan is a response to vessels in lay-up, limited trading opportunities and the global over-supply of offshore supply vessels in the industry, the company explained. The first ten vessels are expected to exit the fleet within 2016.

“One of Maersk Supply Service’s prime objectives is to attempt to restore the supply demand balance in the offshore supply market. This is why the vast majority of the divested vessels will be recycled or modified by their new owners to compete outside their present segments,” says CEO of Maersk Supply Service, Jørn Madsen.

Maersk Supply Service will flag its four ‘Stingray’ new-buildings to the Isle of Man registry. A commercial hub will be established in the United Kingdom consolidating ownership and operation of the company’s project vessels. This includes the ‘Stingray’ vessels and five existing project vessels that will also be flagged to the Isle of Man registry.

As a consequence of the fleet reduction and the flagging of existing project vessels to the Isle of Man registry, around 400 crew members will be made redundant.

“We are facing unprecedented market conditions, and regrettably we have to further adjust our crew pool. It is an unfortunate, but necessary step to safeguard the future of our company,” says Madsen.

The redundancy process will be covering all nationalities and is expected to be finalized by the end of September 2016.

Maersk Supply Service made a loss of $106 million in the second quarter of 2016, versus a profit of $64 million last year. The result was impacted by an impairment of $97 million. Revenue for the quarter decreased to $102 million, from $157 million in the second quarter of 2015, following lower rates and utilization as well as fewer vessels available for trading due to divestments and lay-ups.

UK union disappointed

UK workers’ union RMT expressed its disappointment on Thursday at the announcement that Maersk plans to reduce its current fleet of 56 by 20 vessels.

RMT National Secretary Steve Todd said: “Maersk’s announcement that it intends to get rid of more than a third of its fleet represents another bitter blow to an industry already decimated by too many job losses in the last 18 months.

“The industry appears to be in free fall with no government intervention to stop it or save it. This is going to lead to yet more job losses for British seafarers.

“RMT is seeking a very early meeting with the company to try and establish exactly how many jobs are at risk, with a view to minimizing the numbers. In this already hard-hit industry the union will be fighting to save every job it possibly can.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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