Savvy Greek shipowners are increasingly moving into a hot offshore support vessel market.

But some compatriots have been there a while already, snapping up cheap assets that have seen astonishing rises in value in a sector some players believe is set fair for up to seven years.

Market talk has named Greek shipowner Evangelos Marinakis as the latest to enter an under-tonnage sector with a $72.2m deal to buy three large platform supply vessels from Norway’s Standard Supply.

And rumours are swirling of another big Greek name in talks to buy other vessels.

But are these ships still good value now?

Robert Day, managing director of M3 Marine (Offshore Brokers) UK, told TradeWinds: “It’s a fact; they are not as cheap as they once were.”

“Asset prices are increasing weekly, and the number of available S&P candidates is reducing. However, there are still some units on the market that represent good value, although they won’t be around for long,” he added.

The broker said owners and investors still have an appetite for OSVs.

Day explained that the notion of good value is tied to the replacement cost versus a similar specification newbuilding.

“Even though the current secondhand prices are at an all-time high for this cycle, they are still discounted compared to the newbuild price. However, the gap is getting narrower, especially on the modern assets,” he said.

The benefit of hindsight

Robert Day is managing director of M3 Marine (Offshore Brokers) UK. Photo: M3

“Away from price, building a new offshore vessel in this market comes with various hurdles that mean secondhand assets will continue to be favoured,” Day added.

The broker told TradeWinds hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Greece’s Laskaridis paid $11.5m for the 5,400-dwt PSV Havila Crusader (built 2010) in September 2021. This ship was sold in March to Pareto for $19m. It is now worth $24.8m, according to VesselsValue.

“If today I was offering a Norwegian-built 2010, 1,000-m2 PSV for $11.5m, I would have every owner, broker, investor and speculator banging my door down … it would be a stampede,” Day said.

The managing director described Greek owners as “seasoned deal-makers well-versed in timing cycles.”

“So I’m sure those entering the market recently have a plan, and when the time is right, we will see the fruits of their labour,” he said.

But the M3 executive points out that other Greek companies have been making well-timed investments since the market went into recession, long before Marinakis emerged on to the scene.

Assodivers amasses fleet

The Laskaridis group is just one that has shown its asset-play acumen.

Greek owner Assodivers timed the market perfectly following the general offshore downturn and the compounded effect of Covid shutdowns.

The company has acquired a series of high-specification construction vessels.

The 111-metre Polar King was bought from GC Rieber Shipping in 2020 for $31m and is now worth $58.5m as the Argo, according to VesselsValue.

Similarly, the 111-loa SBM Installer (built 2013) was acquired in 2022 from SBM Offshore for $35m. As the Athena, the ship is worth $66.6m already.

Norway’s Atlantica Shipping, part-owned by AM Nomikos, has also been busy.

Day said the company has been the “poster child for buying PSVs at a discount and flipping them for a profit”.

The Oslo owner has added five PSVs already this year.