OSV reuse better than scrapping?

More and more OSVs find a new role when no longer wanted in the Offshore Oil & Gas industry.
Mostly this applies to newer PSVs, but even old “Mud boats” can fine a new life somewhere:

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If I were going to start a business similar to what the 47 yr old M/V Midnight Coast does I would go with an older OSV & not a modern DP2, SOLAS class technological monstrosity of today. Those old gulf stack, <200ft OSV’s ran themselves & didn’t need constant updating & rebooting of hard/software. A crescent wrench, a case of grease with grease gun, some filters & lube & diesel was all it took to run those boats. Once the rust was beat off of them they would stay looking good if you kept them dry & rinsed with fresh water. Maybe change a bulb or battery ever so often? The designers & shipyard workers from back then who are still around today should be proud.


Not all surplus OSVs can find a new life carrying container in the Caribbean, or anywhere else for that matter.

In some cases it is the diesel/electric propulsion and DP2 ability that makes newer PSV attractive conversion object. Here is one example.
From this:

To this:

What is this?? It is a Fish Feed Carrier that deliver feed directly to fish farms around the Norwegian coast.

Several PSVs have been converted to Service Vessels for the Aquaculture industry. Especially popular for conversion to delousing vessels:
They have to operate closed to floating pens without any moorings:

Years past it was hard to travel in the Caribbean or Central America without seeing an ex mud boat backed up to a dock with an add on ramp. They were easily adaptable to hauling mattresses, bicycles or what ever paid for the fuel and minimal crew. The newer ones that were built to spec for OSD market? It would be hard to find crew to maintain them at a wage that the cargo supports.


You are correct that older diesel electric, DP2 class OSV’s can find work in other industries that require DP2 capabilities. But I would suspect most other non oil related maritime industries don’t have the budgets, shore support & skill set to keep the higher tech vessels operating like oil companies do. It’s the oil companies & government agencies what are terrified of pollution but want to keep up product that requires all the additional oilfield related gadgets & safeguards. Also, I was very familiar with the former World Wide Supply PSV company at one time before the '15 crunch. I would even call some of the Norwegian mariners who worked on 4 of their vessels friends. I spent many evenings drinking, talking, arguing & partying with them when their boats didn’t have a job in '13 or '14. I wouldn’t call the World Opal a good example of a common successful conversion that could be expected from most modern OSV’s. Those guys from the Yellow Boats (& 1 red) said they were very simple boats to run. I took a short tour on one of them & agreed it looked pretty simple. The out sides were painted completely 1 color & the inside was bland as well. If what your countrymen told me was true, a few doctors & business men who had zero-to very little maritime experience formed the company to make the 4-5 boats & they were very spartan with the color scheme, design & construction. Those simple 4-5 Norwegians built boats should last a long time under the right conditions. Glad they repainted her, it hurt my brain to see a boat painted completely one color.

That looks to be an old Trico boat.

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The former M/V Black River.

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In Honduras I saw old crewboats (passenger ferries) and a Graham utility boat being used.

A drug cartel had a Caribbean tramper that used to belong to Tidewater captured in Miami in the early 2000’s. Tidewater didn’t cut their signature anchor T’s off the stacks when they sold her & apparently some of the new crew painted the T the same dark blue. The captured vessel was in the newspapers & it looked like a Tidewater vessel was trafficking drugs. I think TW got a sheet put over the gulf stacks after a day or 2.

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The World Opal and her sisters were designed and built by Damen, a Dutch company. The Opal was also converted at Damen in Amsterdam.

“it hurt my brain to see a boat painted completely one color”
You obviously don’t like the Navy then?

PS> The used to be a drilling contractor called Key Drill. Their rigs were all painted parrot green. Said to soot the nerves of the people that worked there.

Grey is one thing, maybe even all white? But the 3 solid Yellow Boats (& 1 red) were blatant eye sores. I only seen them ballasted at anchorage so I didn’t know their undercoating was a different color. No sugar coating it even for their proud Norwegians crews. Those things were ugly & no one defended the color schemes. And it doesn’t surprise me that they were really Dutch built & it was just the crew playing it off like it was a Norwegian thing.

I was invited on board an ex Tidewater boat in the Dominican Republic to look around several years ago. Tidewater never maintained their boats on the best of days, except the cosmetics, so I was curious as to how things looked below deck. It was surprising. It looked like crap but they had managed to keep it running. No covers on motor controls or any of that nonsense in case a lug fell off and a C clamp was needed ASAP. Bilges were pretty full but the engineer said they pumped them out at sea so no problem. They even went so far as to collect the air box blow off, decant the water and pour the oil back in. I actually admired their inventiveness. They were doing the best they could to keep things running while making 400USD/month and no support from the “office” except for fuel, a little oil and some rice.


Some were happy with fatback and possum bottoms. Was offered a job there many moons ago. Glad I didn’t take it. Had an incident with a Tidewater captain many moons ago in an Orange Texas bar while shooting pool. He asked what my AB’s made for salary. It was more than his ,and was offended… Motto of story, don’t discuss salary in a Texas bar while shooting pool. He was a big fuck, I was quicker with the back end of a pool cue. Got out of there in a hurry. Lone Star beer played a role in that debacle.


I grew up around guys like the Tidewater captain. They could be a bit testy, Give them a position of authority and they get a bad case of big fish, small pond syndrome. I got invited to various bars to shoot pool when in port in the USA and other countries where they catered to the US mariners. I didn’t go often. Two good reasons. Where I grew up shooting pool was a sin so I never got to practice and didn’t want to look foolish. Other reason is there seemed to be an even chance of an argument when you combined alcohol, pool sticks, balls and Americans for some reason.

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Former PSV Bourbon Liberty 108 has been converted and is now the delousing vessel Sea Liberty 1:

As Bourbon Liberty 108:

As Sea Liberty 1 at work on a floating cage fish farm:

You are correct sir.

1978-1980 I could sometimes be found in some of the old school bars of Morgan City. Incident free! I remember this one place on Hwy 90 that had $0.50 cans for “Blue Monday”. Which was then followed by crew change Tuesday.


Not sure if this was a repurposed OSV or not. My former room mate in the 70’s worked on a vessel with his father called the “Rio Hannah” or “Rio Hania” that carried containers and cars to Bermuda ,Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. Anyone on here recall that vessel whether it was purpose built or a converted OSV?? Around that time I was working on my time off towing old “Repurposed” LST’s with trailers between Norfolk, Baltimore, and occasionally Philly.

The World Wide Supply PSVs were built in Romania.

Companies from North West Europe build their ships in Romania then fit them out in yards in North West Europe, then lots of people get confused and think they were built in North West Europe when they were actually built in Romania.

One of the reasons they have the yards in Romania is that the wages there are low compared to North West Europe, but as they are EU members Romania has free movement of people with the EU, lots of Romanian welders have moved to North West Europe and work in the shipyards there.

Romania has had to bring in welders from Vietnam to work in the shipyards because the Romanian welders are now working in the Netherlands, Germany, UK and Norway etc. There must be restrictions that the Vietnamese can only work in Romania otherwise what would stop them also also moving to North West Europe for the high wages.