Gulf Marine Services

Issue 08 2010

A modern approach

Gulf Marine Services (GMS) was originally established in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 1977 and has an offshore base and head office in Mussaffah, Abu Dhabi.

Since 2007 the company has been owned by private equity group Gulf Capital, which has brought with it a multinational team of top managers who have been charged with implementing best-in-class management procedures and systems to reach the organisation’s goal of realising capital gains through premier trade sales or flotation. The company is the largest privately owned marine service company in the UAE, having gained recognition as a leading specialist in accommodation rigs.

Mark Preston, commercial director outlines the company’s ultimate operational philosophy: “Our objective is to grow the business as an accommodation rig provider and building our own units is a means to an end. We can build more cost-effectively than other regional yards whilst, at the same time, we can control quality. We don’t build jack-ups for others, but we do work for third parties at our shipyard and have recently completed projects involving barge and seismic vessel upgrades.”

The vessels and barges available from GMS provide a wide range of services to the offshore community worldwide. They are engaged in various activities including anchor handling, rig supply, seismic operations and safety stand-by duties, while the self-propelled, self-elevating barges provide a range of work opportunities including tower and platform maintenance, well service work including coil tubing and well killing, and offshore accommodation.

GMS constructs and maintains its vessels on-site and to uphold its position, is undertaking an extensive new build programme.

Two new self-elevating, self-propelled jack-ups, each capable of accommodating 150 people, mark another important step in the corporate development of GMS. One of the two units, the GMS Endurance, built by the company itself at it modern construction facility in the Mussafah industrial district, has already been delivered and her sister, the GMS Endeavour, will be commissioned in November 2010. The rigs join an existing fleet comprising of six accommodation jack-ups on charter to various regional and international blue chip names in the offshore sector including ASNOC, McDermott, Occidental, Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Statoil and Total. GMS also owns two modern anchor handlers and a floating barge. As a vertically-integrated offshore contractor, the company undertakes a plethora of marine services and aims to become the number one provider of mobile offshore units.

GMS’ new barges are capable of operating in water depths of up to 65 metres. Designed to be state-of-the-art, the barges will be fitted with a Kongsberg DPII fully redundant dynamic positioning system controlling four azimuth propulsion units, a complete Wartsila diesel electric package including four 1520 kilowatt marine diesel generator sets, a 280-tonne American Crane and a 24-tonne Hydrolift unit. A working deck area of 1000 square metres and a variable deck load of 1200 metres make this the ideal platform for well intervention and topside maintenance/construction activities. Accommodation for 150 people is provided along with office suites for client personnel.

The construction team is keenly focused on the construction and commissioning of the most modern and innovative vessels – indeed it is GMS’ stated intention to: ‘Build the region’s most modern and effective fleet of self-propelled jack-up barges and provide the most efficient service to the offshore sector oil and gas industry available.’

Backing up this ambitious aim is a site ideally located in the heart of the Mussaffah industrial area with open access from the sea. The facilities available include quay space of 120 metres with six metre water depth alongside, secure yard space of 12,000 square metres, warehouse space of 1420 square metres, and a variety of cranes, welding equipment and machine tools. Importantly, all this technology is supported by a skilled team of professional engineers and project managers who are capable of undertaking various types of projects including vessel construction, conversion, mobilisation and demobilisation, as well as the fabrication and fit out of accommodation modules.

The key skills available on-site in the core management team at GMS include project management, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and supervision (steel, electrical and carpentry). In addition, the supervision of the construction and operation of the whole GMS fleet is undertaken in-house by the seasoned senior management team, which, benefits from generations of experience from the worldwide, as well as local market.

GMS is unusual in the Gulf shipping context. While vertical integration is not unique, the company’s focus on management systems throughout its facilities is unusual and progressive for this part of the world. Its systems comply with OHSAS:2007 and ISO14001:2004 and the company has recently completed a key initiative on health safety and environment. Results of this move include no lost time injuries in 2009, no spills on- or offshore over that same period and a new waste management and recycling programme established with the assistance of a leading UAE-based recycling company. The goal of this initiative is to recycle as much paper, aluminium cans, glass and steel from all of the company’s facilities as possible. In conjunction with this health and environmental focus, GMS also identifies all legislation applicable to the business and ensures that it, as a responsible company, is in compliance, while every year the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency will conduct a site audit of its premises to ensure the same.

It is clear from the dedication of its management and staff that GSM has the attitude required to take it to the very heights of success. The company’s comprehensive website,, provides clients with not only all the information they need, but also an assurance that they will receive the best vessels and crew possible, as well as services that will fully meet their expectations. While constantly looking to improve the quality of its services year-on-year, GMS hopes to expand to become the global jack-up operator of choice for oilfield clients focusing on offshore well maintenance, construction and accommodation. Mark concludes: “Though there are a wide range of opportunities in the Middle East accommodation rig sector, the development of energy resources further offshore is inevitable and we anticipate that new opportunities will open up in other parts of the world including the North Sea and West Africa. We also have our eye on the embryonic renewables sector, which will require its own fleet of specialist accommodation and support craft – watch this space!”

Gulf Marine Services
Services: Offshore contractor

Gulf Marine Services