Rough weather in the North Sea made for a massively volatile anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel market in October, Hagland Shipbrokers said.
The broker said in its monthly report that the weather impacted rig movements so significantly last month that rates ranged from £18,000 ($21,967) per day all the way up to the year-to-date record of £111,000 per day that Equinor paid on a short-term charter.
“For the purpose of comparison, in September, the average fixing rates were £30,000 in the UK and a mere NOK 255,000” or $22,870 in Norway, Hagland said.
The average rate for the month was £44,700 per day, which it stressed to point out “does little to paint a full picture of the situation”.
A further injection of volatility came from Solstad Offshore’s movement of five AHTS vessels to West Africa, creating a vacuum in the market, Hagland said.
Hagland said last month that those ships — all on charter to Ocean Installer — helped hold down North Sea AHTS rates as they looked for their last work before heading south.
This month, the broker noted four of the five had already left, with the 21,457-bhp Normand Sigma (built 2014) still in the region and set to depart at some point in the next two months.
It said the weather also impacted the North Sea PSV market, with rates ranging from £10,000 per day to more than £35,000 per day.
Hagland said: “Notably, in Norway, there were relatively few fixtures, but nevertheless the rates held at very high levels, compared to previous years with the average fixing level for the month in Norway at NOK 325,000 [per day].”
But the broker did note that the Norwegian portion of the market was close to sold out, with the lack of activity coming from a lack of open vessels.
“The charterers on the Norwegian side seem to be well prepared for the situation as they have — to a large extent — avoided chartering spot vessels,” it said.
“The UK was as usual more multifaceted with a plethora of charterers fixing one or more PSVs during the month.”