Norwegian shipping received a boost when shipping tycoon Kristian Siem decided to transfer the Siem Offshore fleet of 25 offshore vessels back into the Norwegian taxation scheme.
Norwegian shipping received a boost when shipping tycoon Kristian Siem decided to transfer the Siem Offshore fleet of 25 offshore vessels back into the Norwegian taxation scheme from the Cayman Islands.
The move represents a turnaround for Norway, following the outflow of shipping tonnage in the last few years, including fleets that were owned by Oslo-listed companies.
Siem Offshore started the transfer after behind-the-scenes discussions with the Norwegian government and Mr Siem.
?We have 25 ships, including 10 under construction in Norway, which is the anchor handling fleet. We are moving the fleet into the Norwegian shipping taxation scheme starting this quarter and we should have 15 ships there before the end of this year,? Siem Offshore director Terje Løvoll told.
?Our newbuilding programme will finish in 2011, so from then all of our vessels will operate under the Norwegian taxation scheme.?
The move will involve 100,000 dwt of vessels, which includes platform supply ships and multi-role support vessels.
Siem Offshore is one of the top investors in Norwegian ships this decade. It has invested in a NKr11bn ($1.8bn) 25-vessel newbuilding programme at Norwegian yards, including 14 already delivered.
The other anchor handlers are under construction at Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik, south of Ålesund.
Siem Offshore"s transfer of its tonnage is a positive move for Norwegian shipping.
?This illustrates that Norway has in place internationally competitive taxation for shipping,? Norwegian Shipowners" Association managing director Sturla Hendriksen said.
Siem Offshore will operate its fleet from its Kristiansand base, but some of the crews will have to include non-Norwegians due to local contract issues.
The company has started discussions with Norwegian unions to iron out a deal to ensure it can continue crewing its vessels with non-Norwegians when the ships are on international duties, Mr Løvoll said.
?We have good cooperation with the unions but they want to secure a Norwegain workforce,? he said. ?They and us want to ensure the crews are competent with operations and the technology.?
Mr Siem, who is also associated with subsea vessel operator Subsea 7 and Norwegian food shippers Star Reefers, said: ?We consider the Norwegian rules and conditions to be competitive, and have decided to move the ownership of the Siem Offshore vessels to Norway. We trust that both the operation and ownership in Norway will give the company long term predictability and competitiveness.?
Siem Offshore originates from Det Søndenfjeldske Norske Dampskibsselskap, which was founded in 1854 as the oldest shipping company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Norway controls 465 offshore vessels, which represents the second largest offshore fleet after the US.