Offshore Support Vessel Market to Reach USD 20.4 Billion by 2023, Growing at a CAGR of 7.2%

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · Jul 10, 2024

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The Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) Market is projected to undergo substantial growth, with its value expected to increase from USD 20.4 billion in 2023 to approximately USD 40.9 billion by 2033, progressing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% during the forecast period.

This growth is underpinned by a surge in offshore oil and gas exploration activities, as companies expand their operations to meet global energy demands, thereby increasing the need for various support vessels to carry out operations like towing, supply, and anchor handling. For instance, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea are notable regions experiencing robust activity requiring extensive support services.

However, the market faces challenges such as high capital requirements for launching new vessels and the volatility of oil prices, which can impact investment in offshore projects. These factors could restrain market expansion as they affect the demand for offshore support vessels by influencing investment decisions in new projects. Additionally, stringent environmental regulations require investment in newer technologies to meet higher standards, reducing operational costs and impacting profitability.

Tidewater Inc. remains a prominent player in the offshore support vessel sector, primarily focusing on modernizing its fleet and expanding its market footprint. Although specific recent mergers, acquisitions, or expansions were not highlighted, the company is well-recognized for providing comprehensive marine support services for offshore operations.

Maersk Supply Service has been active in strategic growth and environmental sustainability. Notably, in June 2024, the company was acquired by DOF Group, a move that could potentially expand its capabilities and reach in the offshore support sector. Additionally, Maersk Supply Service has launched Maersk Offshore Wind to accelerate offshore wind deployment, marking a significant pivot towards renewable energy support services.

Bourbon Corporation continues to be a key player in the offshore vessel market. While specific recent transactions were not detailed, the company’s strategic focus has been on enhancing fleet capabilities and focusing on the growing demand for modern and efficient offshore support vessels.

Seacor Marine Holdings has maintained its operations without marked recent changes or developments in terms of mergers or acquisitions. The company’s focus remains on providing industry-leading marine and support transportation services, which are critical in the offshore oil and gas and wind energy sectors.

Solstad Offshore ASA has not disclosed any recent major mergers or acquisitions. The company continues to operate a significant fleet of offshore vessels, emphasizing its role in deep-water operations and its expansive geographical footprint in key offshore energy markets.

Offshore Support Vessel Market Size
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Key Takeaways

  • Market Growth: The Global Offshore Support Vessel Market size is expected to be worth around USD 40.9 Billion by 2033, From USD 20.4 Billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period from 2024 to 2033.
  • The North American Offshore Support Vessel Market holds a 36.5% share, valued at USD 7.4 billion.
  • By Vessel Type: AHTS vessels command a 30.5% share in the market.
  • By Operation: Deepwater operations dominate, holding a significant 60.2% market share.
  • By Fuel Type: Diesel-powered OSVs lead with a substantial 78.6% of the market.
  • By End-Use: The oil and gas sector utilizes 58.4% of the market’s offerings.

Offshore Support Vessel Market Statistics

  • These advanced vessels reach speeds over 38 knots ranging in length from 145 to 200 feet and deliver over 13,500 BHP.
  • The CREWZER vessel design provides approximately 30% more fuel efficiency, resulting in lower per-seat-mile costs when compared to conventional crew transport vessels.
  • Typically range from 50 to 100 meters (160 to 330 ft) in length and are distinguished by the large open deck area used to store supplies and house equipment and to allow for efficient loading and offloading.
  • Shallow water AHTS represent 80% of our fleet of anchor handlers. They include nearly 70 standardized Bourbon Liberty 200 and 300 vessels.
  • Our PSVs (Platform Supply Vessels) have the advantage of offering a large deck area, from 360 m² for the Bourbon Liberty 100 series up to 1,000 m² for the PX 105 series.
  • The vessel made several unplanned changes in speed and position, which resulted in an increase of 36% in fuel costs.
  • The UK shipbroking group’s offshore index, which tracks day rates for rigs, offshore support vessels, and subsea units, has risen by a further 27% to a multi-year high of 106 points, the best since 2008.
  • The contractor acquired two more vessels in 2021, six additional vessels last year and in 2023 to date has spent $3.15 million of this year’s projected $18 million capital expenditure on adding another vessel to its fleet.
  • Wintermar’s fleet utilization in the first quarter of 2023 was 67%, an increase from 61% one year before, but still below the 82% utilization rate of 82% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • The number of OSVs currently laid up has just dropped to its lowest point since 2016 and, as more offshore jack-ups and floating rigs are deployed, the global OSV fleet utilization rate looks set to continue up to 75% and beyond.
  • Sonihull also drops installation and lifecycle costs for box cooler antifouling systems by up to 95% compared to Impressed Current Anti-Fouling systems.
  • On propeller installations, our technology can target up to 30% of a vessel’s fuel efficiency,” adds Rowlands.
  • A coming explosion in offshore wind power globally will before the end of the decade see $26bn plowed into new vessels to serve the industry, the world’s largest shipbroker told Recharge.
  • The expected boom comes with spending on such vessels already at record levels and the number of global offshore wind projects set to jump by over 160% by 2030.
  • Clarksons calculates over $26bn will be spent on new offshore wind vessels between now and the close of 2028. This will span $21bn in 70 WTIVs and a further 90 C/SOVs which would cost $5bn.
  • Last year, global active offshore wind capacity grew by 15% to stand at 60GW.
  • In June, UK maritime intelligence house Clarkson’s Research optimistically forecast that offshore wind ship orders could hit $7.8bn this year.
  • With 77 vessels ordered representing an investment of $2.3bn, way short of last year’s record of $6.1bn.
  • As a result, Mitsui and MOL will hold 25% stakes in AKOFS, respectively. Mitsui’s total investment will amount to approximately 8 billion yen, in addition to the contribution in-kind of the vessel-owning and leasing company.
  • For PSV specifically, we have recorded an almost 30% increase in day rates so far this year, which comes on top of the 55% increase throughout 2022.

Emerging Trends

  • Greener Operations: As global attention on environmental impact intensifies, the OSV industry is moving towards more sustainable practices. This includes the adoption of vessels powered by alternative fuels like LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and even hybrid systems that combine diesel with electric power. These changes aim to reduce carbon emissions and meet stricter environmental regulations.
  • Advanced Automation and Digitalization: There’s a growing trend toward using more sophisticated technology on vessels to improve efficiency and safety. This includes the use of drones for inspections and the integration of AI and machine learning for better navigation and operations. Such technologies not only enhance operational capabilities but also reduce the need for heavy manual intervention.
  • Enhanced Safety Measures: Safety remains a paramount concern in the offshore industry. New technologies are being integrated into OSVs to enhance safety, including advanced monitoring systems that can detect and respond to hazards automatically. Improvements in communication technologies also allow for better coordination in emergency situations.
  • Versatile Vessel Designs: The demand for vessels that can perform multiple functions is increasing. This flexibility allows companies to use a single vessel for various purposes, such as towing, supply delivery, and emergency response. Such versatility is becoming crucial as companies look to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
  • Increased Operational Areas: OSVs are beginning to operate in more remote and harsher environments than ever before, driven by the expanding geographical scope of offshore drilling and renewable energy projects. This trend is pushing the development of more robust and high-performance vessels capable of operating under extreme conditions.

Use Cases

  • Platform Supply Vessels (PSVs): PSVs are essential for transporting necessary equipment, stores, and consumables to offshore drilling rigs and production platforms. They handle various cargoes including cement, baryte, bentonite, drill water, and specialized chemicals. PSVs often operate under challenging conditions, including high seas and strong currents.
  • Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS): These vessels are multifunctional, and involved in towing drilling rigs, handling anchors and mooring chains, and supplying platforms. Their design is influenced by the need for a powerful bollard pull to manage heavy moorings and anchors, requiring robust power and winch capacities.
  • Seismic Survey Ships: Specialized for mapping geological structures under the seabed, these ships use air guns to create sound waves that help in understanding sub-sea formations. They are equipped with advanced navigation and noise reduction technologies to avoid interference with sensitive survey equipment.
  • Diving Support Vessels (DSVs): DSVs provide support for underwater construction, maintenance, and inspection of marine infrastructures like pipelines and platforms. They are equipped with diving equipment and maintain precise positions over worksites using advanced dynamic positioning systems.
  • Construction Support Vessels: These are used for surface and subsea construction and installation projects. They feature large deck areas, heavy lift crane capabilities, and substantial accommodation facilities, enabling them to support complex and extensive marine projects.

Key Players Analysis

Tidewater Inc. established as a pioneer in the Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) sector, Tidewater Inc. operates the world’s most expansive OSV fleet, offering a vast array of marine support services globally. Their operations include the transportation of supplies and personnel, towing, and anchor handling of drilling rigs and other offshore equipment. Tidewater’s commitment to safety, environmental responsibility, and community engagement underscores its role as a leader in the industry.

Maersk Supply Service A/S a longstanding leader in the Offshore Support Vessel sector, Maersk Supply Service specializes in providing global marine services for the energy industry. Operating with over 36 vessels and employing more than 1,300 crew members, the company has recently emphasized its transition towards supporting the offshore wind sector. This focus reflects a strategic pivot to enhance service offerings for renewable energy operations, underscoring Maersk’s commitment to the green energy transition.

Bourbon Corporation SA is a prominent player in the offshore support vessel sector, focusing on providing a range of marine and logistics services. These include anchor handling, towage, and offshore positioning, as well as transport and supply operations for offshore structures. Bourbon is recognized for its fleet’s operational excellence and safety, catering primarily to the oil, gas, and wind sectors​​.

Seacor Marine Holdings Inc. is recognized in the offshore support vessel sector for its operation and management of a diverse and energy-efficient fleet. The company specializes in providing global marine and support transportation services primarily to offshore energy facilities. Their offerings include crew transportation, supply, maintenance, and emergency response services across significant offshore oil, gas, and wind sectors​​​​.

Solstad Offshore ASA is a key player in the offshore support vessel market, known for its comprehensive fleet that includes platform supply vessels and anchor-handling tug supply vessels. They focus on delivering complex maritime operations worldwide, particularly supporting offshore oil and gas production and exploration activities. Solstad Offshore ASA emphasizes operational excellence and fleet modernization to meet the evolving demands of the offshore energy industry.

Edison Chouest Offshore LLC (ECO) is a prominent entity in the offshore support vessel sector, especially known for its comprehensive services across the U.S. Gulf deepwater operations. ECO’s fleet includes highly specialized new-generation offshore service and supply vessels, which are primarily designed, engineered, and built within its own affiliated shipyards. This integration enhances their capability to manage complex offshore projects globally​​​​.

Swire Pacific Limited, through its subsidiary Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO), was a significant operator in the offshore support vessel sector. Swire Pacific Offshore owned a diverse fleet that provided various support services to offshore operations. However, as of April 2022, Swire Pacific Offshore was acquired by Tidewater Inc., making Tidewater the largest offshore support vessel operator globally. This acquisition included a fleet expansion that significantly increased Tidewater’s operational capacity and geographic reach​​​​​​.

Harvey Gulf International Marine LLC specializes in offshore support through its fleet of vessels including Platform Supply, Fast Supply, and Multi-Purpose Support Vessels. Harvey Gulf stands out for its commitment to environmental sustainability, being the first in North America to operate vessels powered by LNG, which significantly reduces emissions​​​​​​.

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. is a prominent provider of technologically advanced offshore supply vessels (OSVs), focusing on the energy sector primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and Latin America. The company is expanding its fleet to include service operation vessels (SOVs) to meet the needs of the U.S. offshore wind market, demonstrating its adaptability and commitment to growing environmental and industry demands.

PACC Offshore Services Holdings Ltd. (POSH) is a significant provider in the offshore support vessel sector, delivering a wide range of services including subsea support, offshore accommodation, and project logistics. The company operates a diversified fleet designed to meet the complex demands of the oil, gas, and renewable energy industries globally. POSH is recognized for its commitment to safety and environmental sustainability in its operations​​.

DOF Group is a prominent global provider in the offshore support vessel sector, known for its diversified fleet that includes Platform Supply Vessels, Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels, and sophisticated Subsea Vessels. The company specializes in various offshore operations including subsea construction, inspection, maintenance, and repair services across a wide range of water depths and environmental conditions. Recently, DOF Group has secured long-term contracts with Petrobras, enhancing its position in the Brazilian offshore market, which is a testament to its significant operational capabilities and strategic growth in the offshore energy sector​​​​​​.

Grupo CBO is a prominent maritime logistics provider in Brazil, focused on the support of offshore oil and gas operations. The company offers a comprehensive range of services including equipment transportation, anchor handling, fire fighting, and oil spill response. CBO has expanded its operations through strategic acquisitions, such as the purchase of Finarge Apoio Maritimo, which strengthened its fleet, especially in anchor handling tug supply vessels. This expansion supports Brazil’s growing deepwater exploration activities, particularly in the pre-salt fields​​.

Havila Shipping ASA, based in Norway, provides a wide range of offshore support vessel services, including subsea construction, anchor handling, and platform supply. The company operates a diverse fleet designed to support various offshore operations across the North Sea and Asia Pacific regions, with a strong focus on safety and environmental responsibility​​​​.

Nam Cheong Limited, based in Malaysia, is a significant player in the offshore support vessel (OSV) sector, specializing in constructing and chartering OSVs. The company has a strong focus on engineering sophisticated vessels designed to meet the complex needs of the offshore oil and gas industry. Nam Cheong’s activities include a mix of shipbuilding and vessel chartering, emphasizing environmentally friendly and high-performance vessels.

Vroon Group is a well-established provider in the offshore support vessel sector, particularly through its subsidiary Vroon Offshore Services (VOS). Based in Aberdeen, VOS operates a diverse fleet offering comprehensive maritime services including emergency response, field support, and subsea operations, primarily serving the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors. The company is recognized for its extensive experience and capacity to manage complex offshore projects, maintaining high safety and operational standards across its operations​​.


The Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) Market is integral to the operations of the marine and energy sectors. These vessels are designed to meet the diverse and challenging demands of offshore development, from supplying essential materials to drilling rigs and production platforms to conducting seismic surveys and supporting construction and maintenance of marine infrastructure.

As the offshore industry evolves, so too do the functionalities of OSVs, adapting through advancements in technology, safety, and environmental sustainability. The future of OSVs looks to be driven by innovations that enhance efficiency and reduce environmental impact, making these vessels more versatile and capable than ever in supporting the global demand for energy and marine resources.

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a tech blogger that frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and in raising a general awareness of technical know-how. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can be usually found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.