Camila Mendes Vianna and Antaq director Fernando Fonseca.Antaq and NBCC exchanged experiences during business seminar on November 13, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil’s national water transportation agency Antaq was created in 2001, and the government agency is responsible for implementing policies formulated by the transportation ministry, as well as regulating and overseeing water transportation services and the exploitation of port infrastructure.
«It is important for Antaq to keep in close contact with the industry and to maintain an open dialogue», Antaq Director Fernando Fonseca stated at the seminar, that attracted more than 50 people from the industry.
Mr. Fonseca and Chartering Manager Rômulo Castelo Branco Gomes de Araujo represented the Brazilian regulatory body at the event in the Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro ( ACRJ) on November 13, 2015.
The current crisis in the oil and gas industry and the extremely difficult situation that Petrobras is in, is also creating difficulties for Norwegian-Brazilian shipowners and operators of supply vessels, as no new contracts are being signed and a lot of vessels are simply out of work.
One of Antaq´s resolution states that Brazilian shipowners, or EBNs, have priority over foreign flag vessels in the chartering process of vessels. Only if no Brazilian flag vessels are available can a company charter a foreign flag vessels. Since February this year, Petrobras has not been renewing contracts with Brazilian flag vessels, the company is putting contracts on hold, and with vessels out of operation, foreign supply vessels are also blocked from entering into operation.
«The complicated situation Petrobras is in, is a challenge to the whole industry and we need to look for ways to mitigate the consequences of this situation. That being said, this is a sector with an enormous potential, due to pre-salt, and it will work out in the end. We have made progress, especially when it comes to our own system of chartering, called SAMA (Sistema de afretamento maritima e de apoio), but we want to improve our performance even more, and this is a priority to Antaq», Mr. Fonseca said.
Several meetings between Antaq and Petrobras have taken place the last months.
«This topic is on our radar. Antaq is actively trying to find solutions and alternatives, and I am personally optimistic. Antaq will not stand down», Mr. Fonseca said.
NBCC president Camila Mendes Vianna appreciated the attitude that the Antaq managers demonstrated in the meeting with NBCCs members, and called the meeting a chance «to blow out some steam».
Board member Rachid Felix, of Subsea 7, also expressed gratitude with the «open doors» and the understanding the sector meets in its dialogue with Antaq, but emphasized the urgency of the situation.
«This is why we are counting on your support», he said. This was something Ronaldo Lima, representing Abeam also highlighted in his address to the seminar. Abeam is the Brazilian Association of OSV shipowners.
NBCC board member José Roberto Neves, of Solstad Shipping, said that the OSV shipowners are sympathetic to the situation that Petrobras is in, but still stressed the need for keeping the vessels in operation, in position. He also called the supply vessel sector a dynamic market and warned that the market will react by reducing capacity if nothing happens.
«Foreign supply vessels are already being sent home», he said.
This is something that worries Mr. Fonseca and Antaq as well.
«We work to preserve the market and do not want to be shooting ourselves in the foot», he said. The Antaq representatives also asked for additional information on many of the difficult situations and specific cases that companies reported during the event.
«The more input from you, the better for us», Mr. Fonseca said.
By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist