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President of International Salvage Union re-states value of traditional salvors

Issued 07 September 2017

President of the International Salvage Union (ISU), John Witte, said today that ISU members represent the best way for ship owners and insurers to limit their losses from marine casualties. Mr Witte was speaking at the ISU’s 63rd Annual General Meeting in Singapore on 07 September 2017.

Mr Witte said: “It is no secret that the salvage industry is experiencing significant commercial pressures. ISU’s most recent industry statistics (2016) show a fall in revenues from all sources of nearly 50% on the previous year. Nevertheless it is absolutely clear to me from the discussions we have had here in Singapore that this remains a vibrant industry. Many of our members have substantial assets and experienced personnel at their disposal and are willing to take on the financial risk of providing services in dangerous and uncertain circumstances.”

The ISU has 58 full members from all around the world, many of them represented at the 2017 AGM. All ISU members have to demonstrate a track record in salvage as a lead contractor. ISU also has more than 80 Associate and Affiliate Members representing a range of supporting industries and professions.

Mr Witte continued: “We know our members are not only competing against each other but also against more opportunistic operators; the under-utilised offshore sector and so-called consultants who might assemble a team and gear on a case by case basis. However, ISU believes that ship owners and their insurers benefit in individual cases – and in general – by supporting a strong, professional salvage industry and members of the ISU.”

Mr Witte noted, for example, recent cases of giant containerships grounded in the approaches to both Hamburg and Antwerp and in which ISU members were able to use their experience and assets to re-float the casualties avoiding potentially huge interruptions to trade in those key ports.

In concluding, Mr Witte said: “There is a point of difference between our members and others offering salvage services and ISU will continue to work with shipowners and property and liability underwriters to ensure that the value of this vital industry is properly recognised.”