Key figures:

• Gross revenue for ISU members – US$ 241 million (2021, US$ 391 million)
• 149 services provided (2021, 189 services)
• Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) – 26 cases (2021, 29). LOF revenue down at US$ 66 million (2021, US$ 122 million)
• Wreck removal income – US$ 55 million from 32 services (2021, US$ 108 million from 56 services)

All numbers are gross income from which all the contractors’ costs must be paid. Numbers are for income in the year received not the year when the service was provided.

ISU President, Captain Nicholas Sloane, said: “The 2022 ISU statistics show a 38 per cent decrease in the income received by our members compared with the previous year. Emergency Response services generated US$ 166 million split between LOF, US$ 66 million and other contracts, $100 million.

“Wreck removal income has nearly halved, dropping from US$ 108 to US$ 55 million. Economic conditions are challenging and activity and income for our industry is volatile year-on-year. The general trend towards a smaller number of larger and more complex cases enhances that annual variability.

“The numbers in this survey reflect the period when the world was still fully contending with the Covid pandemic which made operations and logistics more challenging. Throughout those difficult times ISU members showed time and again their problem solving and willingness to overcome obstacles to provide services to their clients, the shipowners, and their insurers. And, taken alongside the ISU’s pollution prevention statistics, these numbers demonstrate a dynamic industry which, in most years, performs some 200 salvage services.

The 2022 ISU statistics show a historic low level of LOF cases – 26 for ISU members – generating income of US$ 66 million. Revenue from LOF cases amounted to 40 per cent of all emergency response revenue and LOF cases accounted for 21 per cent of emergency response cases in 2022. SCOPIC revenue at US$ 21 million in 2022 was down from US$ 42 million previously.

Revenue in 2022 from operations conducted under contracts other than LOF was US$ 100 million. The average revenue from each non-LOF contract was therefore US$ 813,000.

Wreck removal is an important source of income for members of the ISU and in 2022 there was US$ 55 million from 32 operations (23 per cent of the total income) which was dramatically down on 2021’s US$ 108 million from 56 operations (28 per cent of the total income) .

Captain Sloane added: “Professional salvors protect the environment, reduce risk and mitigate loss. They also keep trade moving – which is demonstrated so clearly when there are large containership cases. We continue to work closely with key stakeholders to ensure that there is continued global provision of professional salvage services.”

The ISU statistics are collected from all ISU members by a professional third party, which aggregates and analyses them. The statistics do not include the revenues of non-ISU members but are the only formal measure of the state of the marine salvage industry. The statistics are for income received in the relevant year but that can include revenue relating to services provided in previous years and there can be an element of “time lag”. The statistics are for gross revenues from which all of the salvors’ costs must be met.