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Nautilus met with Danish offshore renewables company ESVAGT at the tail end of 2022 to discuss a potential expansion in the UK and explore union recognition.
The company operates in the Barents Sea and Norwegian, UK, Danish, Belgian and German sectors of the North Sea. Approximately 10% of its oil and gas operations are in the UK and it intends to expand further into the UK renewables sector.
ESVAGT operates 43 vessels, including 34 ERRV/Multirole and nine SOVs, and a dedicated crew change vessel that handles 25% of crew change every two weeks. It also has two SOVs under construction.
All ESVAGT vessels are flagged to the Danish register and crewed mainly with Danish seafarers. It hires approximately 150 -250 new colleagues annually, depending on new ships, contracts and staff turnover.
Currently, ESVAGT has 1,200 offshore employees, made up of 900 ESVAGT employees and 300 agency workers. Agency crew are treated as ESVAGT crew, according to the company, including significant investment in training and development.
ESVAGT has said it would like to hire a minimum of 40% UK seafarers employed on contracts on the UK continental shelf.
This represents a target of 120 UK seafarers by December 2024, including permanent crew, agency workers and cadets.
As of October 2022, ESVAGT had seven active UK cadets onboard its fleet and it expects to bring cadet intake to a total of 15 as the company expands its operations.
Masters and chief engineers are promoted from within the company and not recruited externally.
Deck departments consist of a captain, chief officer and two first officers plus one able seaman (AB).
Engine departments consist of a chief engineer, first engineer and either a junior engineer or a second engineer. There are no greasers/oilers/fitters or welders onboard because Danish officer education covers this.
ESVAGT says that connectivity onboard is good for OSVs, with Wi-Fi available at all windfarms and oil and gas vessels are connected to ‘industry standards’.
Nautilus is well placed to represent maritime professions in this developing market, and there is clearly going to be greater demand for labour and re-skilling. Members interested in working for and union recognition at the company can contact their industrial organiser: firstname.lastname@example.org