Keeping tugs on standby to respond to maritime emergencies is not sustainable due to commercial pressures and increasing use of alternative contracts for salvage.
Tug owners are adapting to the changing commercial environment and the widening remit of salvage and wreck removal.
In response to changing realities of shipping, the International Salvage Union (ISU) is rephrasing its vision and public stance by reducing its emphasis on promoting unamended Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) contracts.
ISU president Charo Coll used her Christmas address on 4 December to highlight the consequences of using less LOF contracts and more commercial contracts for salvage operations.
She emphasised the wider range of services that salvors, including tug owners, deliver to shipowners, insurers and port operators.
“We have to recognise publicly that the traditional model of tugs-on-station cannot properly sustain a salvage business any more,” Ms Coll said.
“We need to accept the realty of different ways of working and co-operate with owners and underwriters to provide services in mutually beneficial ways.”
Ms Coll explained that the ISU executive committee has changed its vision and public stance to provide “more emphasis on the wider work and benefits of a properly funded, innovative and motivated salvage industry”.
This came after analysing the position of the salvage industry in the context of the current market realities.
“Competitive pressure has led to the use of alternative contracts not intended for emergency situations that need immediate assistance,” Ms Coll said.
“But the shipping and insurance industries must, in their own interest, recognise the need to provide sufficient remuneration to encourage investment in vessels, equipment, training and the development of highly qualified staff in order to continue to provide an essential global emergency response capability.”