Offshore energy, whether oil, gas or wind, faces a tightening regime of restrictions.
In Germany, for example, the German Federal Bureau of Maritime Traffic and Hydrography (BSH) recently updated its standards for offshore wind energy units, offshore converter and inverter stations, and subsea high-power transfer cables. But regardless of the unclear political environment, the offshore industry continues to expand, a fact reflected in the order books of shipyards. Some recent achievements include: The Norwegian Fjellstrand shipyard in Oma completed the construction of "Siem Moxie", a so-called "Infield Support Vessel". Maersk ordered a new cable-laying vessel from the Dutch Damen shipbuilding group. The ship will be a "Damen Offshore Carrier DOC 8500" type. Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) likewise received an order from the offshore segment: Two identical ships designed specifically for oil production installations will be built for the Norwegian company Siem Offshore. A ship expected to revolutionise the offshore market is the "High Glow Installation Vessel" (HF 4). This specialized construction vessel developed jointly by the British engineering firm Mojo Maritime and the Hamburg-based ship-owner Hammonia Reederei is designed for Dynamic Positioning (DP) operations in currents as strong as ten knots.
The offshore market is obviously in good health. But what does the industry need, and which shipyards are able to benefit? What does this mean for suppliers of marine equipment? Answering these and other questions will be the purpose of the Offshore Dialogue on 11 September, the designated "Offshore Day" of SMM 2014, the leading international maritime trade fair. More than 500 experts will discuss the synergies, development potential and challenges of the offshore segment. As in previous years, this year's SMM Offshore Dialogue will be supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy.
SMM is the foremost event of the maritime industry. This year it will take place from 9 to 12 September. For the first time, each day of the fair will be highlighting one specific topic. "This concept allows us to focus on the truly important issues of our industry, and cover them in-depth. In our conferences and workshops highly distinguished experts from around the world will introduce the audience to the most recent trends in each of the featured fields of expertise," says Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH. Apart from Offshore, the five featured topics at SMM will include Finance, Maritime Environmental Protection, Recruiting as well as Security and Defence.
The search for talent
Another urgent topic challenging the industry is the severe shortage of skilled staff for the shipbuilding and supply industries. According to a recent survey conducted by the German Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Association (VCSM), the German maritime industry needs around 140 new shipbuilding engineers per year. However, Germany's six maritime engineering schools produce no more than 90 graduates annually. Qualified engineers can count on successful careers at shipyards or in the shipbuilding supply chain, which includes classification societies, ship model testing facilities and ship-owning companies. Applicants not only need a solid technical and scientific background. Increasingly employers are looking for skills such as foreign languages, project management and logistics expertise, along with so-called soft skills, from communication and presentation skills through to mobility and an intercultural mindset. Therefore education and professional training programmes offered by universities and naval academies are high on the agenda.
SMM's Recruiting Day on 12 September will join trainers, employers and applicants, providing a job service platform to help human resources executives from the industry attract job seekers and provide information about industry-specific education and training programmes offered by employers. Companies and institutes will present themselves on the "Maritime Career Market". As a special service, secondary school and university-level students will be admitted to the fair free of charge on 12 September.