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Optimism on offshore supply vessel market

Optimism on offshore supply vessel market

Abu Dhabi: Maritime companies expressed optimism about the future growth of the regional support vessel market due to continuing offshore projects and stabilisation of crude oil prices, at the opening today (Monday 5 October 2009) of Middle East Workboats at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

"The increased development in offshore activities in Abu Dhabi will keep us busy for some time...and I am upbeat about the future of offshore vessels in this part of the world due to mega offshore projects and the stabilising of crude oil prices," said Darwish Al Qubaisi, General Manager of Esnaad, Abu Dhabi.

Esnaad, which means "support" in Arabic and has a fleet of 32 vessels the majority of them chartered to domestic operating companies, is a principal sponsor of Middle East Workboats 2009, which runs until Wednesday 7 October.  The event was officially opened by HE Dr Hadaf Al Dhaher, UAE Minister of Justice  and is the region's premier maritime event for specialised vessels and has seen a 70% increase in the number of exhibitors and a 60% increase in exhibition space compared with last year, according organisers Seatrade.

Also at the event, the Sharjah-based international marine services provider Lamnalco announced the signing of a ten year contract with Caspian Pipeline Consortium linking the oilfields of West Kazakhstan with the Russian Black Sea cost. The contract, to start next year, will involve the deployment of 15 offshore support vessels.

The Middle East Workboats exhibition and conference - now in its second year - has more than 170 exhibitors, a 70% increase compared with 2008, Seatrade said. They are coming from 25 countries and have booked 60% more exhibition space than last year. There are also three country pavilions - China, Singapore and Spain.

The Chinese have turned out in force for this year's event seeking to enter the regional offshore supply vessel market. The China pavilion is dominated by ten companies from Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province, which has 10% of Chinese shipbuilding capacity. "We are exploring the international market and this region is very strong in the offshore supply support sector and that is why Middle East Workboats comes into the picture for us," said Ma Guohua, Vice Mayor Zhoushan Municipality.

In a welcome message to the Middle East Workboats conference running alongside, the chairman Captain James MacHardy said the industry was operating in challenging times of boom and bust cycles. "This year's event brings together the principal areas of challenge and concern in our industry and, at the same time, reflects on all aspects both good and bad in the present financial climate," he added.

Regional and international speakers are discussing crewing and manning for the workboat sector; safety and efficiency; contractual issues; offshore financing; pollution prevention and clean-up methods. Piracy, its threat to free trade and safe passage will be dealt with in an open panel session.

Workboats include tugs, ferries, supply vessels; police, fire, patrol, pilot, rescue and oil spill boats; along with, dredgers, barges and floating cranes. More than 2,000 such vessels are estimated to be docked or repaired in the Middle East.

Principal sponsors of Middle East Workboats 2009 are DNV; Esnaad; and Irshad. Other sponsors are ABS; DVB; Khalid Faraj Shipping; Lamnalco; Svitzer; Topaz Energy & Marine; Wartsila; ZMI; and Zhoushan Municipal People's Government, China. Supporting organisations are the International Marine Contractors Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.  [05/10/09]