Marcon releases new OSV market report

Written by Nick Blenkey
offshore support vessel report

One place to look for early signs of market trends is the vessel S&P (sales & purchase) market and Coupeville, Washington, based shipbroker Marcon International has just published its data-packed March 2022 Offshore Support Vessel Market Report.

Specializing in the offshore petroleum, marine construction and towing industries, since its establishment in 1981, Marcon has sold/chartered 1,535 vessels and barges between companies located in the U.S. and worldwide.

Among the 13,480 vessels and 3,704 barges Marcon was tracking as of mid-March 2022, 2,995 were supply and tug supply boats, with 304 officially on the market for sale. Sales directly from owners accounted for 66.12% of the foreign and 76.86% of the U.S. flag vessels officially listed for sale. In addition to those for sale, Marcon has 103 straight supply and tug supply vessels listed for charter worldwide, but the firm says “there are many more in today’s market idle and hungry for employment.”

In the crew, fast supply and pilot boat sectors, of the 1,154 of the vessels tracked by Marcon as of mid-March, 225 were officially on the market for sale, with 40 boats available for charter worldwide.


The number of tug supply boats currently officially on the market for sale is 158, which 12 more than one year ago, and 17 more than five years ago.

In today’s market, says Marcon, many additional vessels, probably equal to or greater than the number “officially” listed can be developed on a private & confidential basis – just a phone call or e-mail away. “In general,” says Marcon, “serious buyers can pick up relatively newer vessels now than in the past.”

There’s much, much more granular detail in the full Marcon report, but in its concluding remarks the broker says that, overall, it has seen the number of offshore support vessels listed for sale shrink over the past year and especially when compared to five years ago.

“Dealing with the past two years of the world in a global pandemic that shut down commerce and economies, vessel owners reacted in a number of different ways,” says Marcon. “Some shut down operations, selling or scrapping their fleets. Some took advantage of the opportunity to expand, adding to their fleets. Other owners laid up their fleets to just hold on until we could get to the other side of the pandemic. While others scrapped newbuilding plans, including shipyards building on spec. Coming out of fourth quarter 2021 and into first quarter 2022, we finally saw resumption of commerce, reopening of ports and reactivation of fleets, with a corresponding increase in enquiries for supply and crew vessels. We have heard and experienced ourselves that seller’s price ideas have been higher than buyer’s price ideas, as well as that vessels are often in rougher than normal condition due to lack of supplies, mariners and money the past two years. Recently, we have seen sellers increase asking prices between our initial and follow-up enquiries.

“In our enquiries and in watching what is occurring around us, we have definitely seen an increase in vessels being sought out for wind and other non-oil programs. This seems to be gaining traction with the continuing war in Ukraine, which is said to be increasing the rate at which Europe will embrace clean energy.

“There are fewer offshore support vessels available for sale through Marcon and in general. While there has been a small uptick in the over 99GT worldwide fleet, this has been negated by lay ups and scrapping of older vessels.”

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