Denmark’s Maersk Supply Service (MSS) has sent three elderly offshore ships for green recycling.

The company, part of AP Moller-Maersk, said the trio is being towed to Fornaes Ship Recycling in Grenaa, eastern Denmark.

The move is part of a strategy to optimise the fleet as employment opportunities remain limited for older units.

The three are the very large 17,500-bhp anchor-handling tug supply unit Maersk Helper (built 2002), 90-loa multipurpose support ship Maersk Attender (built 2000) and 90-loa maintenance and support ship Maersk Winner (built 2003).

They had previously been laid up in Fredericia.

The sales price was not disclosed, but offshore vessels usually have low steel content and do not fetch the same amounts as cargo vessels.

These are the first ships to be scrapped by MSS since 2017.

VesselsValue assesses the vessels as worth about $14m combined for further trading, but only about $7m for scrap.

MSS said it regularly evaluates its fleet composition and the future deployment of ships.

The aim is to prioritise capital allocation, and MSS sees many more attractive investment opportunities that deserve a better focus.

Ship supply needs to be reduced

The demolitions will also help the owner reduce the supply side of the offshore shipping equation, which is necessary for a sustainable recovery, it believes.

MSS will retain 38 ships after the recycling sales.

In March, the company said it was planning to build a “pioneering” wind turbine installation vessel for Norwegian and UK energy majors Equinor and BP to operate in the US market.

The company said it has been working on the concept since 2019.

The ship will be 30% more efficient than using conventional jack-up units due to its “unique feeder capabilities”, it added.

The order is backed by a firm contract with Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and BP, for the installation of the Empire 1 and 2 wind farms in New York State.