Editor Martyn Wingrove highlights how falling salvage costs means the sector may not be prepared to tackle the next major maritime casualty
Can salvage companies tackle a major marine casualty? Do they have enough trained personnel, specialist equipment and tugs?
It is worrying to hear that revenues have significantly dropped despite a dramatic increase in the number of salvage jobs.
The International Salvage Union tells us that gross revenues for its members has dived 47 per cent year-on-year.
Yet the number of completed salvage services rose by 45 per cent to more than 300 last year. Revenues from wreck removal have sunk an incredible 57 per cent since 2015.
This cannot be sustainable for the salvage sector.
Some less well-financed salvage companies have gone to the wall, and others may be following.
There are no incentives for tug operators or salvage specialists to invest in new equipment if their margins are under pressure, while being asked to work harder.
The shipping industry needs the salvors. It needs to pay enough to keep salvage companies in business and able to invest.
It will only be a matter of time before there is another serious maritime casualty. Let’s hope that salvors are prepared and not underfunded to a point where they could not deal with such a casualty.
It is up to the shipping industry to pay its dues to ensure salvors continue to invest in equipment and personnel.