The International Salvage Union (ISU) warns that economic conditions are challenging for the salvage industry, with activity and income for this sector being volatile year-on-year. 

Publishing the salvage industry statistics for 2022, ISU notes that the general trend towards a smaller number of larger and more complex cases enhances that annual variability.

According to the statistics, gross revenue for ISU members in 2022 was US$241 million, a significant decrease compared to US$391 million in 2021.

149 services were provided last year (189 services in 2021), while wreck removal income was US$55 million from 32 services, another decrease compared to US$108 million from 56 services in 2021.

The 2022 ISU statistics also show a historic low level of Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) cases – 26 for ISU members – generating income of US$ 66 million. Revenue from LOF cases amounted to 40% of all emergency response revenue and LOF cases accounted for 21% of emergency response cases in 2022.

ISU President, Captain Nicholas Sloane, said: ”The 2022 ISU statistics show a 38 per cent decrease in the income received by our members compared with the previous year. Wreck removal income has nearly halved, dropping from US$108 to US$55 million”.

”The numbers in this survey reflect the period when the world was still fully contending with the Covid pandemic which made operations and logistics more challenging. Throughout those difficult times, ISU members showed time and again their problem solving and willingness to overcome obstacles to provide services to their clients, the shipowners, and their insurers”, Sloane added.

Captain Sloane noted that ”professional salvors protect the environment, reduce risk and mitigate loss. They also keep trade moving – which is demonstrated so clearly when there are large containership cases.”

The ISU statistics are collected from all ISU members by a professional third party, which aggregates and analyses them. The statistics do not include the revenues of non-ISU members but are the only formal measure of the state of the marine salvage industry.

In accordance with ISU, the statistics are for income received in the relevant year but that can include revenue relating to services provided in previous years and there can be an element of “time lag”.