Following the article “Dunberry goes bust” in last week’s The Shetland Times we would wish to make clear that the National Workboat Association is a trade association for owners and operators of workboats.
It was set up principally to ensure effective standards of construction, manning and operation were put in place for UK workboats through discussion and negotiation with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Over the years this has led to the development of the “Workboat Code” and more recently specific Certificates of Competency for Workboat Masters, all of which has led to the UK workboat industry becoming the leading contender in this maritime sector in Europe.
The NWA has never sought to act as a “cartel” to control crew wages – nor would it be allowed to do so. All our members are aware that there is a limited pool of experienced seafarers and they have to pay realistic wages to retain good quality crews. However, it was the recognition of this limited supply of quality crews that led to the NWA working with the MCA, training providers and the Maritime Skills Alliance to develop more relevant courses and qualifications for our sector. This is starting to bear fruit with workboat specific qualificatons and training courses better aligned to the working rotas of the crews.
Likewise, the NWA has never had any influence over the commercial rates agreed between member companies and their contractors or clients, although very recently we were invited to be involved in drawing up a more suitable charter party framework for windfarm service vessel contracts, along with other stakeholders and have been keen to participate in this execise.
While Dunberry Marine going into liquidation is a loss to the workboat industry and to the Shetland economy in particular, we should point out that the NWA’s membership is increasing as more companies have entered the workboat sector and there is every likelihood that Dunberry Marine’s former employees should find similar employment elsewhere in the industry.
National Workboat Association