Mike Meade, chief executive of specialist offshore broker M3 Marine Group, told Singapore Solutions: “Our broking activity has reduced due to the poor offshore market. We have reduced our broker team from 12 to six to reflect the size of the market. When the offshore market picks up there will be big vessel re-sale opportunities, especially for vessels currently idle at Chinese yards, which will effectively be new vessels. Owners will be looking at acquiring these vessels rather than re-activating older vessels that will have been laid up for some time, and spending money on them for re-activation and re-classification.”
He said that M3 is now doing more work in vessel valuations. “We are working with VesselsValue in terms of using their tool for valuations of standard OSVs. But M3 is also doing more sophisticated valuations of specialist offshore vessels and equipment, such as for pipelay vessels. We have introduced the use of mapping tools for shipboard systems and equipment.”
Despite the downturn M3 is involved in new specialist OSVs, for example a deepsea mining vessel under construction at Mawei Yard Offshore Base in Fuzhou, China. Capt Meade said that delivery has been postponed from the third quarter of 2017 until mid-2018.
A new diving support vessel, Southern Star, was launched on 30 May 2016 at Fujian Mawei Shipyard’s Culu Island facility. It began sea trials in November 2016 and was delivered in January 2017. The vessel was designed by Focal Marine & Offshore, while Capt Meade was involved in the design of subsea equipment. The vessel is 112m long with DP3 capability. It is powered by Rolls-Royce and Voith propulsion systems. It features two moon pools with a 300m rated 15-person saturation diving system, and a 150-tonnes capacity active heave compensated crane. The remote operated vehicle hangar can house two deepwater vehicles. Southern Star is owned by Tasik Subsea and employed on a five-year bareboat charter with Furtrans Tanker & Ship Management.