In recent years, one of shipping’s more
specialised segments, namely service and offshore support vessels, has increased its importance exponentially. The sector includes, among others, ships laying or repairing undersea cables or pipelines, ships prospecting for oil, ships conducting oceanographic research and ships servicing offshore wind, gas and oil installations.
Between 2005 and 2014, the EU service and offshore fleet experienced the strongest growth compared to other segments of the industry. According to a recent ECSA-commissioned Oxford Economics study on the economic impact of EU shipping, the EU’s share of the world offshore fleet increased from 28 per cent in 2005 to 37 per cent in 2014 in gross tonnage terms.
In light of this meteoric rise, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations decided to set up the “ECSA Sectoral Contact Group on Service and Offshore Support Vessels”, which shall cover all EU policy issues relevant to this booming shipping sector, ranging from State aid and safety issues to social protection.
The aim of this Sectoral Contact Group is to monitor EU developments and policies that are relevant to the offshore industry with an aim at ensuring that the voice of offshore companies is heard and that their interests are duly taken into account by EU decision-makers. The work of the contact group will not be ex nihilo, as it will build on the already exensive and successful work that ECSA has conducted in previous years, particularly in the context of the EU’s Offshore Safety Directive.
“This sectoral contact group, which will primarily be composed of company representatives, is the first of its kind and is a proof of ECSA’s eagerness to also address sector-specific issues.” said ECSA Secretary-General Patrick Verhoeven and added that “the success of this contact group will determine whether ECSA ventures into similar initiatives in other specific secotrs of the industry.”
The kick-off meeting of the ECSA Sectoral Contact Group on Service and Offshore Support Vessels is scheduled for 8 July.