AP Moller-Maersk is contracting out the full crew management of six Maersk Line containerships to Norwegian shipmanager OSM Ship Management.
It is a significant move by the Danish owner, which traditionally manages most of its owned vessels in-house.
OSM is taking over management of three ships flagged in the UK and three Danish International Register vessels.
The six ships are between eight and 11 years old and have previously been fully managed by Maersk. It is OSM’s first such contract with Maersk.
Management of the first ship, the UK flagged, 2002-built, 4,318 teu Maersk Gateshead , was transferred to OSM last month in Singapore under the contract between the two companies, which was signed in May. The vessel operates on Maersk’s service between Asia and Australia.
OSM is due to take over management of the second vessel the UK-registered, 4,300 teu Maersk Gairloch in Singapore this Sunday, 3 July.
This will be followed later in July by the 2,840 teu Denmark flagged Johannes Maersk in Rotterdam and the UK flagged 4,338 teu Grasmere Maersk in Singapore.
The crew management transfer will be completed in August with the 2,840 teu Jeppesen Maersk and 2,853 teu Josephine Maersk , both Denmark-registered and operating on Maersk’s service from northern Europe to Central and South America.
OSM Crew Management managing director Bjorn Simonsen said that Maersk generally did all the management itself, but had decided to outsource crew management.
“It is not the first time Maersk has outsourced crew management, but before it was mainly when they have taken over vessels from other parties,” Mr Simonsen told Lloyd’s List.
Under the standard BIMCO Shipman contract with OSM, the six Maersk ships will be crewed with a total of 180 Ukrainian and Filipino seafarers.
Mr Simonsen confirmed that OSM had agreed with Maersk to retain Maersk-employed masters for several months’ transition period.
“The rest of the crew will be OSM from day one, apart from a few days’ overlap of key positions,” he said.
He said that OSM hoped to secure crew management contracts for further Maersk vessels if the new arrangement proves successful.
He added that the move by Maersk was more than just a benchmarking exercise and that with Maersk taking delivery of a lot of new containerships in the near future, there could be further opportunities.
“Maersk told us during the signing ceremony that we were chosen mainly due to our values and reputation in the market,” Mr Simonsen told Lloyd’s List.
Lloyd’s List understands that there are no job losses of Maersk seafarers as a result of this change, because seafarers being displaced will be redeployed on existing or new vessels.
Under Maersk management the ships have various nationalities of crew on board, including western and eastern Europeans and seafarers from several Asian countries.
Maersk previously indicated that it wanted to limit the recruitment of western European officers to reduce crewing costs. It has switched some shipmanagement functions from Rotterdam to Singapore .