Offshore support vessel owners continue to struggle in the North Sea, with persistent over-supply of vessels dominating the market.

Collectively, owners have been trying to improve trading conditions by laying up more vessels: according to broker Seabrokers, there are now more than 90 platform supply vessels (PSVs) and anchor handling tug/supply (AHTS) vessels out of action in northwest Europe.

“With winter approaching, and with offshore activity set to decrease further due to the deteriorating weather, it is inevitable that the layup figure for PSVs and AHTS vessels will be in triple figures by Christmas,” the broker said.“One might expect layup activity of this magnitude to move the market more in owners’ favour, but this has not proved to be the case so far,” Seabrokers said in its latest monthly report on the market. “The majority of PSV fixtures have been coming in at around the £3,000-4,000 range recently with most AHTS requirements resulting in fixtures around the £5,000-7,000 level. It is unlikely that conditions will improve much for owners over the winter period, with a healthy number of vessels still available on the spot market.”

From a charterers’ perspective, the biggest risk factor is the growing length of the layup list. If this list continues to grow, and if demand starts to rise again (most likely when weather conditions start to improve in spring), this could lead to an increase in rates.

Source : offshore support Journal