There is no escaping that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the maritime industry, posing significant challenges for the sector. For vessels in operation, arranging inspections and crew changes is preoccupying the minds of chief engineers and captains, while for those shipowners forced to wait at port or anchorage, or lay-up completely, there are other tests.

With lay-ups in particular on the rise, most starkly seen in the oil and gas sector, finding the right location to benefit the vessel and crew is not always straight-forward; being mindful that the time required to reactivate the vessel, if required at short notice, is not prohibitive. For that reason, it’s also essential to ensure the vessel remains at a high standard throughout lay-up.

Hunterston Parc, a deep-water port near Glasgow, has capacity for a number of layed-up cold or warm stacked oil and gas vessels – providing deep-water berths, extensive storage and working areas. With water depth at the jetty up to 37m and in the channel of up to 50m, this is a prime UK location for cold of warm lay-ups; negating the need to sail to Norway or Las Palmas.

Finding the right location has many benefits. Vessels in lay-up require critical equipment being serviced and delays in the servicing and inspections of vessels and emergency equipment can result in problems remaining undetected. Supply chain disruption also means oils and consumables can take longer to arrive, which can result in machinery damage if incorrect alternatives are used.

Rupert Hare, CEO, Houlder, comments: “Hunterston terminal offers access to a deep-water jetty serving vessels up to 36m draught, which is unparalleled in the UK. It also provides importers and exporters opportunities to deploy the biggest carriers, a new alternative for operators looking to bring in large-scale vessels for inspection, repair and maintenance.”

“It is great to see a UK location which offers 700m of available quayside, workshops with lifting gear, extensive storage space, and office and welfare facilities. In addition, its connections to national motorways and rail network ensure vessels can be maintained and serviced so they are ready to get back to being operational as soon as possible.”

Houlder provides a flexible consultancy service and can help owners prepare vessels for lay-up and maintain them in a safe and cost-effective condition. In these unprecedented times, locations for lay-up can be costly and it is essential to find locations that offer a variety of services. The UK remains a valuable option, with expert maintenance crews, and specialist ports for the oil and gas market in this turbulent time. Now, more than ever, shipowners must make safe and informed decisions. Wise choices now will benefit shipowners and vessels later as operations revive and recovery ensues.

More information on Hunterston can be found here.

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“Charting a ‘solo’ course through this swirl of uncertainty is close to impossible. That’s why we’re often asked by clients to build their knowledge, evaluate their challenges and assess their options. We work closely with research funds and clean-tech providers by bringing decades of industry experience to bear. Our position is independent, technical ‘client friend’ for the decarbonising decades ahead.”


Rupert Hare, Chief Executive Officer