The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Fletcher increases fleet
Portlethen operator’ s £4.9m outlay signals confidence in sector
Vessel management, platform supply and logistics company Fletcher Group has invested £4.9 million in two more ships in anticipation of a “rising market” in the North Sea.
The addition of the FS Crathes and FS Carrick takes the Aberdeen shire based company’ s fleet size to 15, with the original 13 all currently working on contracts.
Work has still to be found for the latest two vessels but the firm is “confident” they will receive contracts in the coming months.
Managing director Keith Fletcher said: “It’s in anticipation of a rising market. The vessels are being mobilised.
“They are now British flagged and all of the vessels are working in the North Sea market.
“The last two, we don’t have contracts for them but we’re confident that we will find work for them in the coming months.
“We’re seeing contracts for rigs and for drilling and as soon as you get that, you need ships to support them. I don’t know how long that will continue through the winter months but we expect more activity in 2019 and 2020.”
The vessels were bought from Norwegian company Northern Marine. They were both built and designed in Norway and are about eight years old.
Fletcher Group is based in Portlethen and was created from the restructuring of FS Shipping, which went into administration in 2017.
FS Shipping was itself formed to buy Fletcher Shipping, which had previously gone into administration as a result of the oil and gas downturn.
Fletcher Group now employs more than 300 people, both offshore and onshore, including 15 at a new corporate office in Dundee.
Mr Fletcher said business had been difficult since the oil price crash.
He added: “It’s been one hell of a journey the last three years – the market fell off a cliff.
“We survived that downturn and are now in a very strong position to take advantage of a rising market. We have emerged as a more resilient company.”
The group traces its roots back to 2000, when Fletcher Shipping acquired its first platform supply vessel.