GAC looks for offshore demand beyond the Middle East

GAC is looking for growth opportunities in India and Egypt as GCC continues to suffer over-capacity of workboats
Gac, Offshore, Workboats, Oil and gas


Fleet utilisation in the offshore sector in the GCC is impacted by the large volume of laid-up vessels in the region, creating an oversupply issue for owners, and leading many to look overseas for demand.

“The market is challenging as demand and supply are not in balance,” GAC vice president for marine operations Erland Ebbersten tells Riviera. “There is considerable oversupply and the industry is talking about the cost of reactivating vessels if they are laid up too long.”

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GAC operates in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and occasionally in Qatar. It is working to extend its operations.

“We are looking to expand into Egypt where there are developments in the Red Sea, and on the Saudi Arabia side, for tug and barge operations,” says Ebbersten. “We are considering moving existing resources and perhaps new ones.”

GAC also operates anchor handling tugs in the Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan sectors of the Caspian Sea.

GAC operates its own shipyard in Abu Dhabi for drydockings and newbuilding projects. It is currently building an anchor handling tug that could have up to 150 tonnes of bollard pull and be deployed in west Africa from 2021.

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“We employ more people and resources where it is needed. They can work on the newbuilding,” says Ebbersten. “When one of our vessels comes into the shipyard for routine drydocking, workers will go on to that. When there is slack in drydocking work, these workers will return to the newbuilding.”

GAC also operates a fleet of supply and towage vessels in Sri Lanka. This includes six crew and supply vessels, and four workboats. “We have vessels there for different types of activity including supplying ships from Goa and in the winter season there are many distress calls, so there is salvage and emergency towage,” says Ebbersten.

GAC is looking to expand these operations into India. “We might add a vessel to the fleet to break into this market,” he explains. “It would be purchased on the secondhand market as there are vessels available at good prices. All it would need is a new coat of paint and it would be ready.”

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