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Aberdeen-based subsea installation contractor Bibby Offshore has announced it will increase staff numbers by a further 60 as it takes over ownership of the Dive Support Vessel (DSV) Toisa Polaris.

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Bibby Offshore Invests in Vessel to Support Increasing Work in North Sea
27 November 2012

The vessel came under the control of Bibby Offshore in January 2012 on a two-year time charter with options to extend. This also included a pre-agreed purchase option as part of the deal with Toisa Ltd. Bibby Offshore has now exercised its option to purchase the vessel and took delivery of Polaris in Stavanger Norway on 31 October 2012. The vessel was named DSV "Bibby Polaris" to recognise both the new owners and also to link to the vessel's impressive reputation as an accomplished and proven North Sea diving and subsea construction platform.

The vessel has been one of the North Sea's premier DSVs for a number of years and has an outstanding track record since its delivery in 1999.

The deal gives Bibby Offshore 100% ownership of one of a small number of high specification DPIII North Sea class DSVs. The vessel has an established track record for carrying out complex and varied projects, which is exactly the type of work secured by Bibby Offshore throughout the UKCS.

The purchase of the vessel also means that the marine crew will now be provided by Bibby subsidiary, Bibby Ship Management, meaning the creation of around 60 offshore positions.  

Bibby Polaris will join the company's international fleet which now consists of five subsea support vessels, including the most modern fleet of DSVs in the North Sea. The purchase of the vessel is being partially financed by a facility from Standard Chartered Bank which provides £53 million of funding to be deployed as part of this deal and the refinancing of part of the existing Bibby Offshore fleet.

Bibby Offshore currently has over 250 onshore staff and over 600 offshore. Further recruitment of staff is planned for throughout 2013.

Bibby Offshore's chief executive, Howard Woodcock said: "Purchasing the Bibby Polaris further underlines Bibby Offshore's long term commitment to the North Sea. We are forecasting an increasing level of work in the region over the next year, which is why we are actively recruiting to expand the size of the team further still. The vessel will primarily be working within the North Sea, but it is also ideally suited to operations internationally. Staff numbers are expected to continue increasing in line with growing demand for the company's offerings within the UK and globally."

The company recently announced a further £11million investment in its latest division, Bibby Remote Intervention Limited (BRIL), a dedicated Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) company supplying ROV support to the company's own vessels and also diverless intervention services to others.

Bibby Offshore is due to move into its new purpose-built HQ in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, in spring 2013 after outgrowing its current offices in Waterloo Quay, Aberdeen. The new 50,000sqft office facility at Prospect Park, Westhill, will be three storeys high and can accommodate more than 400 people. The 15-year lease agreement represents a multi-million pound investment by Bibby Offshore. Bibby Offshore operates from Aberdeen, Liverpool, Singapore and Trinidad.

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