The North Sea isn’t the most hospitable of oceans at the best of times but when winter hits it can be really difficult for many vessels to get anything done. Faced with the dilemma of carrying on through adverse conditions or just giving it a break over the colder months and starting again when things get easier, many shipping companies and owners take the pragmatic decision to lay up their vessels for the winter and leave them to be looked after by experts.
It’s actually extremely common in the oil and gas industry for ships to seek refuge in a port over the months of December and January, especially in the North Sea – and so laying up can be a cost-effective way of looking after your assets.
‘Laying up’ is a term that just means your vessel is neither being actively used nor repaired, and there are two types of lay-up – hot and cold.
A Hot Lay-up involves keeping the ship anchored and with a very small crew. If you keep your vessel in hot lay-up, you’ll also keep some of the generators or other machinery ticking over too, and this is one of the favoured ways to lay up a ship temporarily as it’s a short term measure which is easily reversed. Once you decide to get the ship back out onto the ocean again, it’s normally a fairly swift and easy procedure which means you don’t lose money from having it inactive any longer than necessary.
A Cold Lay-up is a full shut down of the vessel. You won’t leave a crew on board or any machinery running while it’s laid up in port, and you’ll need a secure place to lay it up as there’ll be nobody on board. If you choose to lay your ship up for a longer period of time, and/or shut it down completely, it can take a while to get the ship running again, but with help from experts you can get it operational as quickly as possible.
If you decide that you want to lay your vessel up over the winter, t.ward can offer a long or short term laying up service for any of its East Coast Scottish Ports -particularly Leith. We are more than happy to assist you and your crew with the process of dry docking to make the process go as smoothly and as efficiently as possible, and we would be delighted to advise you about any anchorage and layup services you require.