AD Ports Group’s shipping arm Safeen — through directly owned Safeen Offshore and Subsea, and Offshore International (OFCO), its joint venture with Dubai’s Allianz Marine & Logistics Services — experienced a very good year in the offshore sector in 2022.

Driven mainly by organic growth, it doubled its offshore fleet by purchasing good quality assets before the market recovery.

According to VesselsValue data, Safeen bought 12 offshore vessels in the first half of 2022.

Including OFCO, Safeen now operates more than 50 offshore vessels ranging from pipelayers and subsea vessels to more run-of-the-mill anchor-handling tug supply units, platform supply vessels, dive support vessels, tugs, crew boats and barges.

This mix comprises of directly owned, chartered and managed vessels, with the majority operating under the OFCO banner.

Friedrich Portner, chief commercial officer of AD Ports Group’s maritime cluster, the grouping under which Safeen falls, describes the offshore division as “not your typical narrow focus offshore player looking at anchor handlers and platform supply vessels”.

“We have AHTSs but we are much wider than that. We have a subsea division that allows us to offer full solutions to our clients. The advantage we bring is an even broader broad portfolio that includes port, logistics and digital clusters. That creates a competitive edge,” he said.

Portner, whose background is in offshore, expects that the sector will continue to grow and offer good opportunities over the next decade as high oil prices motivate further exploration work worldwide, especially in the Middle East.

However, he notes that while many offshore vessels have been reactivated, the industry is lacking capital. This, in turn, has led to a lack of ordering in recent years, which could lead to an imbalance between vessel supply and demand in the future.

Scouting for assets

“This is where we come in,” he said.

As demand increases, Safeen is getting short on assets. It wants more.

“We are scouting for assets, mainly driven by organic growth and winning a number of contracts,” Portner said, adding that while Safeen is in a position to order new ships, it is favouring second-hand acquisitions for now.

“When that becomes more difficult, we can always find good companies,” he concluded.