Wellboats earning USD150,000 a day

Aslak Berge

Wellboats earning more than tankers

The last years have seen a varitable order-boom for wellboats. Shrunken shipyard orderbooks have been filled up fast-growing wellboat orders.

The battle against lice has especially increased demand for tools, and large, increasingly longer wellboats are well-equipped for it. A significant bit of corporate aquaculture’s billion-dollar budgets for battling lice end up in the pockets of wellboat owners.

“I understand why (billionaire ship owner John) Fredriksen invests in wellboats, to put it plainly,” said fish-farmer Gerhard Alsaker to SalmonBusiness.

He’s noted that Fredriksen, via his business DESS Aquaculture — which is owned 50/50 by Marine Harvest and (offshore) supply boat owner, DESS — builds boats using his own cash. Wellboat rates do not lag behind the day rates of the big tankers, where Fredriksen is heavily exposed via his company Frontline, said Alsaker.

“It costs 150,000 dollars a day to hire a well-boat to de-lice (salmon) using warm water, Thermolicer or Optilicer,” he said. Asked to expand, he offers a calculation, “It costs 5 pence per kilogram. Five pence per kilo for fish in four pens — 2,000 tonnes (every 24 hours). That’s 150,000.”

For comparison, exchange-listed Frontline informed investors its VLCCs (very large crude carriers) earned USD21,000 per day on average for the first half of 2017.


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