Salvage giants agree to merge

Despite advances in safety there will always be a demand for salvage services (Svitzer Salvage) Despite advances in safety there will always be a demand for salvage services (Svitzer Salvage)

Two of the world’s leading marine service companies have agreed to merge their salvage divisions forming a new company operating under the name “Ardent” with operations commencing immediately.

There has been speculation in the media for a while about a possible merger and the rumours were confirmed recently when Svitzer and Crowley Maritime Corporation announced they were to merge their salvage divisions: Svitzer Salvage and Titan Salvage. The nature of marine salvage on a grand scale demands a global presence and the new arrangement will see this ideal enhanced, the two major players bases located in Europe and North America.

Svitzer Salvage are headquartered in Ijmuiden, the Netherlands and part of the Svitzer Group, in turn part of the giant Maersk organisation and with the Svitzer Towage division operating more than 430 tugs in over 100 locations worldwide the new set-up will have a notable armoury of assets at their disposal, when available of course.

Titan Salvage are based in Houston Texas and while their history is more recent (around 35 years compared to Svitzer’s 180 years) they have quickly grown into one of the world’s leading salvage, emergency response and wreck removal companies with over 450 projects under their belt. With offices and depots in the UK, Singapore and Australia they are strategically placed to respond to emergencies on a global basis and will be best known for their involvement in the biggest wreck removal in history, that of the cruise ship Costa Concordia.

Ardent will be headquartered in Houston and have operational offices in the Netherlands, UK and Singapore. They will also have supporting offices in: Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Greece and South Africa. An interesting detail in the announcement is where they speak of “… new expansion opportunities in complementary businesses such as underwater services and offshore decommissioning … [creating] new opportunities for the company and its employees.”

The new executive management team will be led by Peter Pietka (formerly CEO of Svitzer Salvage); with Jeff Andreini, chief financial officer; Paul van’t Hof, chief operations officer; and Chris Peterson, merger manager. The new company was scheduled to commence operations as one legal and financial entity under a singular management team on 1 May, after which there was to be a short transitional period in which the two companies were to fully integrate all operational systems including: IT, HSEQ, financial, commercial and operations. Existing lines of communication (with Svitzer and Titan) remain unchanged during the transitional period with clients immediately beginning to receive the benefits of the increased strength and broader support network associated with the merged companies.

Both companies commented on the benefits to the wider maritime community of the new set-up, Pieter Pietka (CEO of Ardent) saying: “The company will become an industry leader in wreck removal and emergency response, further, while remaining integral to our new company, emergency response and wreck removal will be part of a wider ecosystem of services. We have come together to build a more modern and effective offering for the maritime sector.” Adding: “The real power and benefit for the industry of our merged business will be its capacity and ability to adapt to the changing needs of our customers.”

Chris Peterson, vice president of Titan Salvage adds: “This merger brings together some of the most experienced, highly regarded salvage experts in the world. Our combined strength means we can provide a stronger network in key global locations, it means best practices shared globally and it means a broad range of proven marine capabilities that will best serve the maritime industry for a long time to come.”

By Peter Barker 

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