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REVIEW | ON THE OCEAN: PART ONE


which was intended to form an integrated part of Clipper’s multipurpose fleet. Te pool initially comprised 14 vessels. Te following year in June, it was announced that Clipper Projects was to merge with another Danish operator established in 2003, Torco Shipping. Ten ceo of Clipper Group, Kristian Morch, told HLPFI that the merger with Torco was the “best way to ensure a profitable business and future growth in the current multipurpose market”. In 2015, however, Morch stepped down from the board of Torco Shipping, quoting differing views about the strategic direction of the company. In 2016 Torco and United Heavy Lift (UHL) made the


decision to combine their respective fleets and expertise to create Torco Projects. UHL had been set up in April 2015 by former SAL Heavy Lift executive, Lars Rolner, and immediately joined forces with Arkon Shipping & Projects, although that stopped following the tie-up with Torco. Arkon has since worked closely with Intermarine. Another industry player that has navigated these stormy waters is Singapore-based AAL, which has taken delivery of a new fleet of ships over the decade. Te line also tried its hand at an alliance with Peter Doehle in 2015, before that was ended two years later.


Rise and fall A company we have seen the rise and fall of over the past decade is Maersk-owned SafmarineMPV, which took delivery of its first multipurpose vessel in 2010. We witnessed the growth of SafmarineMPV in the early


part of its history, but by December 2015 it had sold its fleet of five multipurpose ships to Torco Shipping and was


planning to only operate chartered tonnage. Its plans for recovery were short-lived and the line ceased


all but its Europe-West Africa service in 2016, and subsequently sold that service to NileDutch.


Heavy marine transport Tere are relatively few players in shipping’s heavy marine transport arena, but the operators of semi-submersible and heavy transport vessels have faced their own market uncertainties. Perhaps the most iconic development over the decade was the bitter takeover of Fairstar by rival Dockwise in 2012. Following a surprise bid in April 2012, Fairstar struggled to repel its assailant. Te then ceo of Fairstar, Philip Adkins, said that the bid


was completely “out of the blue” and “a very poorly advised, opportunistic attempt to buy our ships and our orderbook at the lowest possible price”, but the deal went ahead and Dockwise finally completed the acquisition in July 2012. Just a year later, Dockwise was itself acquired by Royal Boskalis Westminster.


Boskalis said that its offshore energy division, in which its


Dockwise subsidiary is situated, has struggled in the low oil price environment. At the beginning of July 2016, Boskalis announced a fleet rationalisation programme that would result in 24 unspecified vessels being taken out of service over a two-year period. However, demanding market conditions failed to dissuade


Singaporean investor, Kenny Kai, from entering the semi- submersible heavy transport sector. GPO Heavylift’s first 65,000 dwt semi-submersible newbuilding, GPO Grace, was launched in December 2016. Tree sisterships are scheduled


HLPFI10 | 25


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