The offshore oil downturn has been taking its toll around the North Sea amongst many rig boat operators and also those research and survey companies linked to the oil and gas business often employing vessels of great character that would fi nd few alternative uses.
One of my favourite vessels was the Irish Lights Granuaile which Gardline has used since her sale in 2000. Replaced at Irish Lights by a well respected versatile ship of the same name, the recent Granuaile will never have the grace of her predecessor which surplus to Gardline’s requirements has sadly been scrapped at the favoured yard for North Sea ship dismantling, Fornaes Ship Recycling of Grenaa Denmark.
Fornaes founded in 1993 and has since scrapped well over 1,000 ships but they have lost the precise number: fishing vessels, small freighters, supply vessels, ferries and the occasional navy ship, from Scandinavia, UK, Germany and The Netherlands. As well as Ocean Seeker they have recently broken up several of Boston Putford’s standby and safety vessels, which mainly worked out of Lowestoft and Yarmouth as well as Aberdeen, including Putford vessels Puffin, Apollo and Artemis. Several of Craig Group of Aberdeen standby and supply ‘Grampian’ vessels have recently ended their days there too: Grampian Hunter, Otter, Osprey, Haven and Venture.
However their recent investment in many new ships often from Spanish yards has renewed two thirds of the fleet which now is around 30 strong including state of the art standby, support and supply vessels. A family owned and managed business they are one of Scotland’s most successful businesses and I knew their fishing fleet well when I was in Aberdeen in the ‘60s.
Now Craig’s North Star Shipping owns and operates the largest British wholly-owned fleet engaged in the UK offshore industry, providing support to over 50 offshore installations. They have also saved more than 70 lives in the North Sea, and were recent winners of the Scottish Offshore Achievement Award for Safety, being recipients of 12 consecutive British Safety Council awards, holding one of the best safety records in the North Sea. They retain over 1,000 seagoing staff and train in excess of 80 Deck and Engineering Cadets each year via their cadet programme.