The Craig Group to Build New Offshore Support Vessel

Global shipping and energy services firm, The Craig Group, says that it is to build its ninth new offshore support vessel and has signed a long-term charter with Chevron Texaco.

This brings the number of new vessels commissioned by the group to nine since 2005 and the total investment to a staggering £100 million.

Craig Group division - North Star Shipping - is a leading provider of offshore support, ROV survey and emergency response and rescue vessels. It has signed a deal with Chevron and Britannia that will see the new vessel on a long-term charter to the Alba and Britannia fields in the North Sea.

The £12 million IMT 960 designed vessel, due for delivery in 2010, will be an emergency response and rescue vessel with tanker assist capabilities. At 60 meters long with a 16-meter beam, she will be equipped with two daughter craft and one fast rescue craft. She will have a 20 ton towing winch and a bollard pull of 95 tons and be classed Fire Fighting 1.

North Star managing director, Callum Bruce, says: "We are very pleased to have secured this long-term contract. This is a multi-role vessel with the ability to provide emergency response and rescue for more than one installation as well as having daughter craft; fire fighting and tanker assist capabilities. With ten years’ experience of operating this type of vessel for other major operators in the North Sea, we are delighted to be able to offer this service to Chevron and Britannia."

In 2005, after building two multi-purpose ROV survey vessels, The Craig Group embarked on a £40 million investment program to modernize its North Sea fleet with the speculative build of seven new emergency response and rescue vessels. To date five of the new vessels have been delivered and all seven have secured long-term charters.

The Grampian Talisman and a sister vessel, the biggest vessels built by the Craig Group, were added to the new-build program in 2006. The Grampian Talisman has already been delivered and is working on a long-term charter with her sister still to be delivered in 2009.

Craig Group managing director, Douglas Craig, concludes: "In 2001, we took the bold step of speculatively building two multi-purpose supply and ROV survey vessels the Grampian Surveyor and Grampian Explorer initially for international waters. Since then our confidence in the market and our ability to secure long-term charters for our new-builds has grown and our investment now exceeds £100 million. This investment illustrates our commitment to the offshore sector both at home and internationally and secures our position of market leader in the provision of safe, modern, high quality vessels that meet our customers’ expectations."