ABERDEEN -- Subsea construction group Bibby Offshore has acquired the dive support vessel Bibby Sapphire from current owner, Volstad Subsea AS. It secured a £34-million ($52-million) loan facility from Standard Chartered Bank to fund the entire acquisition.
Bibby Sapphire has been on time charter from Volstad to Bibby Offshore for the past five years. When first under Bibby’s control, it operated as a construction support vessel. However, in 2007 it was converted to a DP II, North Sea-class DSV.
Howard Woodcock, Bibby Offshore’s chief executive, says the formal purchase of this vessel would provide the company with a secure long-term asset base “allowing us to progress our growth strategy of expanding our services and capabilities in the North Sea, Trinidad, Southeast Asia, and beyond. Ownership of the vessel will transfer next week. As the majority of the existing marine crew are already Bibby Ship Management employees, continuity of personnel will be maintained.”
Recently, Bibby also announced that it had been fully certified by the International Marine Contractors Association to perform its own diving operations, having traditionally outsourced this activity, and has since started recruiting its own diving personnel. It plans to fill up to 240 positions by the end of this year.