The International Salvage Union has published is Annual Review for 2013 which formally sets out the governance and work of the ISU which is the global trade association representing the interests of its members who are marine salvors.
The ISU Annual Review includes a summary of the annual statistics collected from its members to provide an overview of the state of the salvage industry. The 2013 figures show a substantial industry with total revenues, not profit, of more than $700 million, up from just over $600 million in the previous year. The numbers are for salvage and wreck removal cases where revenue was received in 2013 which may be from contracts agreed in previous years.
ISU members provided 196 salvage services in 2013 which was exactly the same as the previous year. There are fluctuations year on year but the general trend, in line with improvements in ship and operational safety, is a reduction in the number of services provided each year. In 2013, ISU members also carried out 48 wreck removal operations compared with a five year average of 33 such operations each year.
In 2013 revenue from Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) cases and associated SCOPIC income combined with income from other salvage activity has risen slightly to $264 million from the previous year’s $237 million. Lloyd’s Open Form continues to be an important contract for salvors with 48 LOF services performed, up from 37 previously.
LOF revenues were $202 million in 2013 up from $186 million in 2012. In 2013, LOF revenue represented 76.6% of total salvage revenues, slightly down on the previous year’s 78.2% but slightly up on the five year average of 75.5%.
However the total salved value in LOF cases is down from US$1.65 billion to $1.23 billion with an average salved fund of $17.44 million. LOF revenues expressed as a percentage of the salved value are 16.3% in 2013 up from 11.23% previously. The five year average is 12.22%. These numbers are drawn from both settled cases and arbitrators’ awards.
The reason for the increase in LOF revenue as a percentage of the salved value in 2013 is that there has been a small increase in LOF cases and a very marked decrease in total salved funds. It indicates an increase in smaller value cases where it has been appropriate to reach a higher settlement or make a higher award to give the contractor a meaningful reward for their work.
Wreck removal income has increased significantly from some $300 million in 2012 to some $450 million in 2013. That is probably due to the impact of a small number of substantial, well-known cases. Wreck removal revenues have increased generally in the past decade and now account for a substantial portion of the industry’s annual income.
Commenting on the statistics, ISU President, Leendert Muller said, “We think that publication of this Annual Review demonstrates the ISU’s commitment to transparency and it will give our members and others in the shipping industry a sense of the work of the ISU over the past year. The ISU statistics show a vibrant industry providing valuable services to ship owners, property owners and their insurers. Total revenue from all sources has grown significantly in the past decade but there are still fluctuations in both the totals and within the sources of revenue each year. These are gross figures and, like most sectors of the shipping industry, our members’ costs have risen substantially.”
The statistics are returned anonymously by ISU members to an independent consultant for aggregation and analysis
The 2013 Annual Review can be viewed here: http://www.marine-salvage.com/pdfs/ISUAnnualReview2013.pdf
The 2013 statistics can be viewed here: http://www.marine-salvage.com/pdfs/ISUAnnualReviewandStatisticsJuly2014.pdf