The Annual General Meeting of the International Salvage Union was held today in Cape Town, South Africa. At the meeting, members of the ISU, the global trade association for marine salvage contractors, agreed a new vision for the ISU which must be more forward looking and be proud of the significant contribution its members make towards mitigating the impact of marine incidents, preventing loss and facilitating trade.

There is much pressure on the supply side of the salvage industry and ISU welcomes competition but it has led to the use of alternative contracts not intended for emergency situations requiring immediate response. While recognising this, ISU continues to promote unamended Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) which remains a central part of salvage provision. However, its use has diminished and is unlikely to return to historic levels. It is the view of ISU members that traditional salvage services provided on a “no-cure no-pay” basis using the LOF contract cannot, alone, properly sustain a salvage business in today’s market.

At the meeting, ISU members were briefed about a new suggestion, the so-called “LOFlight” contract, and agreed that ISU would not support it.

ISU believes that the shipping and insurance industries must – in their own interest – recognize the need to provide sufficient compensation to encourage investment in vessels, equipment, training and the development of highly qualified staff in order to continue to provide an essential global emergency response capability.

At the same time, ISU also recognises that there are pressures on the demand side of the industry. Shipowners have had difficult market conditions for many years and the property insurance sector – particularly the hull market – has suffered as well and ISU will continue to engage with the relevant parties.

President of the ISU, Ms Charo Coll said: “ISU knows well the reality in which its members operate. We don’t want to make radical change but we do want to make sure that the ISU continues to be respected and trusted and that its work reflects the market and modern salvage.

“ISU embraces a diverse approach to contracting and there is much to be positive about: it is just not possible to envisage the shipping business without some provision of salvage, wreck removal and associated activities. There is a need for ISU members’ services and that will continue.”

Many ISU members have diversified but their core services protect the environment; prevent disasters and mitigate risk and loss. They provide high quality project management delivering safe, helpful solutions which facilitate trade and economic growth.

Ms Coll concluded by saying: “We are positive about our contribution to shipping and the wider economy and environment. ISU members bring order to chaos and can be very proud of what they offer. It is our job as the leaders of the ISU to make sure that the increasingly diverse work of the traditional salvor is recognised and valued and that the rewards are sufficient to support the continued availability of professional salvage services in the future.”