What is an Offshore Support Vessel? | Types of Offshore Support Vessels

Maritime industries have posed great importance in the economic growth and functions of many countries around the globe. It is undeniably one of the backbones of various technological advances as well as local and international trade of goods and many others. Thus, numerous maritime services exist to provide and maintain the smooth flow of varying projects and operations happening offshore.

Maritime services support and assist maritime industries in integrating navigation, exploration, logistics, marine engineering functions, etc. Given this, offshore support vessels are operators that help continue these operations safely with organized, advanced, and innovative services.

But what exactly is an offshore support vessel? Here, we will provide information about offshore support vessels, types, and functions.

Offshore Support Vessel

An offshore Support Vessel, or OSV, is a specialty vessel that provides multiple services and functions related to transportation, supply, support, maintenance, repair, storage, crew accommodation, and many other offshore-related operations.

Offshore Support Vessel

OSVs are also responsible for other specific operations and projects like inspecting and locating areas for oil and gas and many other maritime industries, like wind energy, research, and development. With their varying types of vessels and services, OSVs can provide specific functions depending on the operation needed and the industry.

The global offshore support vessel market has shown growing shares in various countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.

Particularly in America, the growth in the supply vessel market is massively influenced by different marine activities related to explorations and developments, as well as construction and maintenance operations offshore.

Moreover, in Australia, the maritime sector has contributed to over 98% of the trade operations inside and outside the country. The maritime services have created ways to enhance operations, especially in the oil and gas, fishing, and supply industries of Australia.

As such, Offshore Services are in high availability in metropolitan cities such as Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, and others, to help maritime companies with varying safe, the latest, and most practical service features to achieve successful sea operations.

OSV Types and Functions

Over the years, offshore support vessels have evolved and developed different types, providing specialized functions, features, and services to support various maritime industries.

The offshore support vessels have the following types:

1) Platform Supply Vessels

Platform Supply Vessels (PSV) are commonly used in drilling functions, mainly to bring out the necessary equipment and other supplies to oil and gas platforms and other operations on high seas. Moreover, it can accomplish various tasks like transporting materials, goods, and personnel needed to complete offshore projects like construction, maintenance, and others.

Simply put, platform supply vessels can cater services from bringing out heavy to smaller structural equipment and components. Not only that, but they also serve an important role in terms of basic supplies and necessities for working crews, like food and facilities.

2) Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels

Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS) provide and support multiple functions in drilling operations and anchor mooring systems to provide adequate supply duties for offshore construction activities. The primary purpose of AHTS vessels is to secure rigs to the seafloor with mooring lines and anchors designed to overcome different sea conditions and achieve stability.

As these offshore support vessels are designed to provide different functions in one, AHSVs also have necessary tools for rescue in case unforeseen circumstances and emergencies occur during operations.

3) Construction Support Vessels

Construction Support Vessels (CSV), also known as Offshore Construction Vessels, are a type of OSV with a lot of space to accommodate various larger projects. Its open deck area is commonly used for heavy crane lift operations and other functions like inspections, maintenance, and needed repairs.

CSV commonly supports and provides services to maintain offshore structures like oil and gas and substations for renewable marine energy. As mentioned, its huge deck spaces allow flexibility in the integrations of offshore systems and functions related to station or seakeeping, as well as improved safe working areas for offshore workers.

4) ROV Support Vessels

ROV or Remotely Operated Vehicles Support Vessels use advanced technology and are computer-operated, equipped to provide efficient support services to maintain and secure underwater machines. These machines are vital in ocean-depth explorations to achieve sample collections offshore. ROV support vessels commonly support marine industries in testing and underwater pipeline inspections.

Other than industrial functions, ocean explorations and expeditions using ROVs are used for scientific purposes to provide valuable marine information. ROV support vessels can come in different size ranges depending on the operations being conducted. Moreover, this OSV type has features like specialized cabins and facilities for crews and others.


Offshore support vessels play a significant role in different marine operations. The abovementioned OSV vessel types provide adequate support and services for maritime industries to successfully conduct specific projects and operations in no time. Of course, the types mentioned above are just some of the hundreds still available to accommodate a vast number of functions and activities offshore.

Leave a Comment