The Covid-19 crisis has harmed demand for cargo-carrying capacity around the world, causing several global shipping companies to ‘cold lay-up,’ or temporarily stop operating some of their vessels. But what is the method and how long will it take to get these ships back on the water?

How many ships have been stranded in the frigid waters?

Ten ships from worldwide shipping companies have been berthed for the winter in Norway, with seven in Norway and three in Malaysia. We’re investigating the potential of laying up ten more ships.

What happens to a ship that gets moored in the frigid?

The ship is at anchor in a safe harbour with no crew on board, which saves money on personnel. The harbour community, which typically includes ex-seafarers, takes after the vessel, doing regular inspections and maintenance, as well as ensuring that rotating equipment and mooring lines and anchors are in good working order. It’s similar to having a car you don’t use: you don’t want the engine to go two years without being started.

A vessel arriving for cold lay up Malaysia is economically beneficial to these areas. It employs locals and ensures that the vessel is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why did you select the locations for your cold lay-ups?

They are not susceptible to bad weather, which is an important factor. The fjords where we are laying up vessels in Norway are protected by mountains and remote from storms, and we have chosen sites in Malaysia where we know there will be few typhoons. Bad weather could cause the vessel to drag its anchor or lose its mooring lines.

We’ve also selected sites where we expect trade will resume once things return to normal. Southeast Asia and Europe are our top choices because we are confident that cargo will resume on these routes, which go from Asia to Europe and Europe to Asia.

Is there anything else I should know about cold laying-up vessels?

Getting ships into cold lay-up can be tricky; it usually works on a first-come, first-served basis. Some countries will place a higher priority on their own ships.

How long does it take to get a ship back on the water?

A vessel that has been lay up in the cold for three to four weeks must be restarted. The ship must be readied for people to live on-board once more, so start by gathering supplies for the crew, such as food and water. It’s time to turn on the freezers, cold rooms, and lighting.

The equipment on the bridge, in the engine room, and in the cargo hold are then turned on. The specific stages depend on the type of vessel and how long it has been out of commission.

What are your thoughts on the current situation?

We’re still having problems as a result of the border closures. Our customers‘ supply networks have been affected because manufacturing is a global sector. However, things are improving day by day, and we hope to be able to return the vessels to duty in the near future.