Hamburg-headquartered shipowner and ship manager E.R. Schiffahrt reports that it has cancelled orders placed with the Korean shipyard Sekwang for four anchor handling tug supply vessels "due to ongoing delays in completion and the resulting difficulties of safely securing charters for the vessels."
E.R. Schiffahrt noted the cancelations at Sekwang in a year-end round up in which it saiid that it ended 2010 with a new record of 17 new vessels delivered. This was the company's highest annual fleet growth since its foundation in 1998. Fourteen bulk carriers with a total cargo capacity of 2,024,000 tonnes joined the fleet. All are charted to large Far Eastern liner companies for between five and ten year terms. In 2011, E.R. Schiffahrt expects the delivery of six further bulk carriers and the first two of eight 13,100-TEU container vessels; 2012 will see the further six container giants joining the fleet.
In the offshore services sector, 2011 saw two anchor handling tugs and one platform supply vessel join the fleet. Despite the cancelations at Sekwang, E.R. Schiffahrt is still planning a further expansion of its offshore fleet.
"We are intensifying our offshore fleet operations in Brazil, a region in which better and longer charter conditions can be arranged', says CEO Albert Schumacher.
Mr. Schumaker expects the marine market to remain volatile.
"This is why we are extremely happy that all our bulk carriers are currently chartered long-term and also that upon delivery all eight of our 13,100 TEU container vessels will be on a 15-year time charter to one of the industry's top operators," he says.
The future plans of E.R. Schiffahrt foresee more ships operating in revenue pools."Our policy of integrating a part of our fleet into revenue pools has proven to have been a very effective strategy. Pools are particularly effective in safeguarding the revenue situations of individual vessels in times of uncertainty and volatile markets," notes Mr. Schumacher. Today, a third of the company's vessels operate in pools.
In the course of 2010, three container vessels operated by E.R. Schiffahrt were attacked by Somali pirates or chased by skiffs. Thanks to the size and speed of the containerships and the vigilance of their crews, the vessels were able to escape.
"We welcome all the measures taken by the German government so far with a view to the protection of our crews and ships, but we cannot ignore the fact that the security situation remains a constant threat," says Mr. Schumacher. "We, as ship owners, are of course prepared to make further contributions to the protection of our seafarers."