With vessels being utilised all over the world for a multitude of business, commercial and pleasure activities, there is an ever present need for high quality ship management services, which take into consideration today’s safety and environmental emphasis, whilst remaining cost-effective and efficient. It is this type of service that Vestland Marine aims to offer its increasingly diverse client base.
The company was incorporated in Norway in 1997 under the name Vestland Rederi, followed by the purchase of three vessels – one chemical tanker and two general cargo ships, in the same year. In 2002 it moved to its current location in Gdynia, Poland, and at the same time changed its name to Vestland Marine. Up until 2008 Vestland Marine focused mainly on chemical and product tankers, with a peak fleet of 14 tankers in 2006. After this date the business gradually began to reduce the size of the tanker fleet, and just before the economic downturn struck in October 2008 sold its last vessel.
Around the same time Vestland Marine purchased its first offshore vessel, a small anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS) named Ramco Express, in March 2007. Having secured a long-term contract with RXT in Norway for a cabling handling vessel for work in Nigeria, the Ramco Express was completely rebuilt by Vestland Marine’s daughter company Ramco Marine. A similar arrangement was struck over the next year for the rebuilding of two platform supply vessels (PSV) into a seismic support vessel, and SPS/DP 2 seismic research vessel respectively.
Since this time Vestland Marine has focused its efforts more on the offshore sector, but continues to look for other opportunities in the shipping market suited to its fleet, which includes seismic support vessels, an oceanographic survey vessel, AHTS vessels and PSVs. “Vestland Marine has been present in the offshore market for more than five years now, beginning with seismic vessels, and has proven over that time our capability as a reliable ship manager,” begins Marco Coppola, director of ship management.
“Our business is led by a group of individuals that each have a long experience working in the field and a good understanding of the services required. Additionally we have developed a daughter company, Ramco Marine, which mostly handles all ship repair and conversion works, and at the same time assists in technical issues. As far as is reasonable we make all repairs at our premise at Gdansk, which is the centre of shipbuilding and repairs in Poland, and where our connections with several yards and contractors is an important aspect in achieving best quality and service,” he adds.
The company has also built up a fully integrated scope of ship management services such as technical, quality, HSE, crewing, purchasing and accounting. Through its relationship with Ramco Marine, Vestland Marine offers full consultancy from design packages, electrical and automation, DP installation, DP annual test, FMEA, and other aspects of technical advice.
A look through Vestland Marine’s current contract portfolio indicates the depth of its offering, on both a geographical and service level. At present Vikland, the company’s seismic recovery vessel, is contracted by RXT carrying out ocean-bottom cable seismic service in offshore West Africa. The vessel is destined to enter the North Sea market in the summer, and after completing work there, will head on to the Middle East. Elsewhere, Vestland Marine’s seismic support vessel is working for Dolphin Geophysical as a standby support to the mother vessels, as well as transportation for crew and well material between the shore and the field. The company is then working with a Nigerian client where it has an AHTS carrying out support work to shuttle tankers approaching the field FPSO for loading. Recently Vestland Marine also took on the management of a 2006 built PSV for the same owner, which will serve on the fields of Nigeria on contract with Shell.
“We’re also working in Brazil with two vessels chartered to Petrobras – one AHTS and the other as an oil recovery vessel. This latter ship has recently been fitted out with the latest and highest quality oil recovery equipment at our premises, and thereafter entered into a long-term contract with Petrobras to work on their oilfields in Brazil. A major milestone was when we were informed that this vessel, the Ramco Crusader, has been awarded the accolade of one of the best vessels within the Petrobras fleet of ORVS. We are very happy at this recognition of all the continuous effort carried out by our onshore team and the onboard crew. Also in this market we are managing a vessel on behalf of Brazilian company Georadar, which is mainly operating as an oceanographic survey vessel,” highlights Marco.
Today there is a lot of investment and focus within offshore Brazil, and with Vestland Marine already operating three vessels in the area, it’s clear that the company recognises the importance of this region going forwards. In addition the business is paying close attention to activity in West Africa, and the North Sea, as well as at a general level in other global offshore areas. Elaborating upon such a strategy, Marco concludes: “Vestland Marine is the ideal partner for ship owners who are looking to focus their investment in Brazil, as our presence and experience in South America can be considered as of notable added value. We are considering, together with some partners, to open a branch office in Brazil in order to better and more closely follow our vessels in the area.”