Marcon releases new offshore support vessel report

Written by Nick Blenkey
Marcon report

Nothing is a better indicator of what’s going on in a given sector than what’s happening in the sale and purchase (S&P) market and Coupeville, Wash., shipbroker Marcon International has just released its latest report on the offshore support vessel market.

Marcon says that of the 13,293 vessels and 3,749 barges it trackedm as of mid-September 2023, 2,933 are supply and tug supply boats, with 207 officially on the market for sale. The brokerage notes that, 50.00% of foreign and 67.01% of U.S. flag supply / tug supply boats ithas officially listed for sale are direct from owners. In addition to those for sale, Marcon has 86 straight supply and tug supply vessels listed for charter worldwide.

As of mid-September, 1,152 of the vessels tracked by Marcon are crew, fast supply and pilot boats with 148 officially on the market for sale, plus 52 available for charter worldwide; 48.6% of the boats officially for sale are U.S. flag. Of the crew boats for sale worldwide 25 were built within the last 10 years, while 55 boats, or 37.16%, are 25 years of age or older. The oldest boat listed is a 40 foot, 240 BHP 1957 built vessel, located U.S. West Coast. This vessel is counterbalanced by a 170.6 foot LOA foreign 2022 built crew boat in Southeast Asia.


Tug supply boats officially on the market for sale listed with Marcon in total is 66, 10 fewer than September 2022 and 68 fewer than September 2018. Composition now versus five years ago has changed, with a drop 51 AHTSs in the 4,000 BHP to 8,000BHP ranges. The largest change compared to last year was losing six in the over 12,000 BHP category. September 2018, the average age of all AHTSs for sale was 15 years old, where U.S.-flag vessels averaged 29 years and foreign-flag AHTSs averaged 14 years. Today, the average age is 18 years old, with U.S.-flag AHTSs averaging 25 years and foreign-flag averaging 17 years old. At the time of this report, 14 tug supply boats officially for sale were either built within the last 10 years, including one newbuilding re-sale; 19.7%, or 13, of tug supply boats are 25 years of age, compared to five years ago, when 20.15% of AHTSs for sale were at least 25 years old; and one year ago, 10.67% were at least 25 years old. At September 2023, the oldest AHTS available from Marcon was a 1973-built, 191 foot, 4,600BHP foreign-flag AHTS located in Central America.

Of the 141 platform supply vessels listed for sale mid-September 2023, Marcon has 27 fewer PSVs listed for sale compared to one year ago and four less than listed five years ago. Looking at change in vessel size composition over the past year, the larger decreases were in the under 150’ LOA (down 7); 180’-190’ LOA (down 9); and 200’-220’ LOA ranges (down 8).

There’s much more in the statistic-packed full report (there’s a download link at the bottom of this story), but what’s Marcon’s take on what’s going on?


“GOM OSV Market: Current market conditions indicate that the summer season in the US Gulf for Plug & Abandonment (P&A) work is slowing down due to weather conditions – so the mini supply / DP1 vessel market should soften in the coming months. Rates remain high and availability is tight for bigger DP2 over 240’ supply vessels working long term deepwater projects. It is expected that demand for deepwater drilling projects will continue to rise assuming oil prices remain around current levels, given current geo-political conditions.

“Next year could see a big uptick in P&A work as the effects of the Cox Operating / Cox Oil LLC $560 million bankruptcy moves through the system. Cox operated 600 wells in more than 60 fields. The company would purchase aging wells that had been abandoned by the larger independent and major oil companies. These wells are now being “transferred” back to their legacy owners to essentially either operate or shut down. These legacy owners now want these “assets” back off their books – so will likely press forward next year with aggressive P&A plans. If this expectation firms up – then this is going to create a large demand for P&A tonnage, especially crewboats and smaller OSVs.

“Operating costs continue to rise across the board – from insurance to maintenance, parts through to incidentals like groceries. Labor shortages are a daily constant struggle in the market; as operators battle to retain their experienced seafarers.

“This year has seen owners and operators jockeying to gain a foothold in North East Coast windfarm work that’s beginning in earnest. Some GOM operators have sold operating and laid up vessels to specialist East Coast outfits – leading to vessel price increases and limited availability. Other owners have repositioned tonnage to this arena and have contracted directly with the wind farm operators.”

More broker’s comments, too, in the full report,

  • Download the full Marcon report HERE
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