V.Group Buys Bibby Ship Management

A Pioneer Marine bulker; fleet under management by V.Group (courtesy Pioneer Marine)

By MarEx 2016-03-08 21:03:14

V.Group, the largest provider of ship management services, has bought Bibby Ship Management, a subsidiary of Bibby Line Group.

Bibby Ship Management's 300-plus employees provide crew management, technical support services, marine travel, marine surveying, training and recruitment to all segments, with a strong presence in offshore. The firm maintains offices in the UK, Isle of Man, Sweden, Ukraine, India, the Philippines and Singapore.

The move extends V.Group's considerable reach in the offshore market. The firm already describes itself as the market leader in the segment.

“With the extensive expertise of the Bibby Ship Management team, our ability to offer comprehensive management and support services to offshore oil and gas assets and specialised project vessels is second to none,” said Clive Richardson, V.Group's CEO.

The move increases V.Group's head count to more than 2,800 personnel worldwide in over 70 offices around the world, supporting in excess of 40,000 seafarers and other marine staff. It comfortably increases V.Group's lead over Anglo-Eastern Univan Group, the result of a merger last year with a combined 24,000 seafarers and 600 vessels under management.

The price V.Group paid for Bibby Ship Management was not disclosed.

The market for OSVs and other offshore vessels has contracted sharply over the past year, and some industry insiders estimate that as much as half of the global fleet is currently idle as low oil prices put a damper on offshore drilling operations. For owners facing down the tough times, V.Group's advertized services include lay-up management.

Even without lay-up, cost savings are key given current pricing pressure from oil companies, and Bibby Ship Management announced last year that it had seen a 20 percent increase in inquiries from shipowners looking to save costs on crewing, supplies and shoreside overhead. “Support vessel owners are operating in very high cost areas, such as Aberdeen and Oslo, and many are now looking to see if they can introduce cost savings without jeopardising the level of service. They are looking carefully at the operating expenses of their vessels . . . The oil majors are all trying to reduce costs with the consequence that this has a knock-on effect on industries they work with,” said Andrew Rodden, regional managing director for the UK and Isle of Man, speaking to the Liverpool Echo.