Wellboat saturation approaching?
With 120 wellboats already operating across the global aquaculture industry, the sector is in danger of being flooded.
So believes Roger Halsebakk, CEO of wellboat operator , who told Kyst.no: “It goes without saying that it is quite possible to flood the market, as there are so few boats needed and the dumb money is being spent without expertise.”
Nevertheless, he believes that the expertise of the current operators, such as his own company, will stand them in good stead.
He also sees a similar problem emerging in the workboat sector – due, in part, to the diversification of several farming companies into shipping.
“This is a market that has been accumulating for the past 10 years, but really taken off the past 3-5. Today there are about 500 boats in this segment,” he points out.
Sølvtrans, which as 20 wellboats in operation, including 15 in Norway and five in the UK, has invested large sums in the industry in recent times. Indeed, the firm bought Bømlo Brønnbåtservice in late 2015, and more recently bought into Fosnavaag Ocean Academy (FOSAC). They also have three new vessels currently under construction, all of which should be ready in 2017.
Despite his concerns about the market, he is confident he will find enough work for his expanded fleet.
“When the three boats are completed next year we will have completed our plans for contracting and acquisitions,” he explains.
Sølvtrans latest vessel, which was delivered from Aas Mek in mid-November, was the AAS 1802 ST "Ronja Supporter", which includes a special system for freshwater treatments.