ISU reveals a new vision for the salvage industry

The 'Kea Trader' casualty typifies the essential need for an efficient global salvage industry (Lomar Shipping) The 'Kea Trader' casualty typifies the essential need for an efficient global salvage industry (Lomar Shipping)

At the recent Annual General Meeting of the International Salvage Union (ISU) in Cape Town, a new, more forward-looking vision for the industry was announced with members agreeing not to support the suggestion for a new so-called ‘LOF-Light’ contract.

The ISU regularly highlights the importance of the salvage industry and as much as the safety record of shipping in general may improve, the risk of accidents and spills will always exist meaning there will similarly, always be the requirement for provision of professional salvage services.

The salvage industry is under pressure however, for example from the unintended consequences of a decline in the use of LOF which remains a central part of salvage provision but one the ISU believes is unlikely to return to historic levels. ISU members feel however that traditional salvage services provided on a ‘no-cure no-pay’ basis using the LOF contract cannot, alone, properly sustain a salvage industry in today’s market. On the supply side, while the ISU welcomes competition it has led to the use of alternative contracts not intended for emergency situations requiring immediate response.

ISU also recognises the pressure on the demand side with shipowners facing difficult market conditions and the property insurance sector, particularly the hull market, also suffering. ISU believes shipping and insurance industries must, in their own interest, recognise the need to provide sufficient compensation 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 and states it will continue to engage with relevant parties. Many ISU members have diversified but their core services protect the environment; prevent disasters and mitigate risk and loss.

ISU president, Ms Charo Coll said: “ISU knows well the reality in which its members operate. We don’t want to make radical change, but we do want to make sure that the ISU continues to be respected and trusted and that its work reflects the market and modern salvage.

“ISU embraces a diverse approach to contracting and there is much to be positive about: it is just not possible to envisage the shipping business without some provision of salvage, wreck removal and associated activities. There is a need for ISU members’ services and that will continue.”

By Peter Barker

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