Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia
Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia (OSSA) was formed in late 2017 when due to the downturn in the offshore shipping industry there was considerable fallout. Farstad Shipping an early pioneer in the Australian Industry (having acquired Australian Offshore Services in 2003) undertook a major restructure amalgamating with two other Norwegian shipowners as a minority partner. Resulting from this their Melbourne office was closed. A group of enthusiastic ex seafarers and office staff that had all worked in the industry were dismayed to see a lot of the history and memorabilia disappearing. Consequently, they banded together to try and capture as much of it as possible before it was too late. This was successful and so Offshore & Specialist Ships Australia came into being.
Initially a number of ships models, photos, videos and numerous documents were secured from Farstad and P&O Maritime which formed the early backbone of the collection. Other shipping and oil companies are also providing further material to add to the collection. OSSA has been very fortunate in forming an excellent relationship with the Mission to Seafarers in Melbourne. The growing collection is housed in their building at 717 Flinders Street in Melbourne and is available for public display.
The relationship with the Mission to Seafarers is very significant. First it is a continuing active part of the shipping industry and secondly most of the OSSA members had visited the Mission at some time during their working lives. This relationship provides the opportunity for OSSA members to give something back to the industry and to the Mission itself.
- OSSA is registered as a Charitable Organisation. There is a board of 9 and a current membership of around 110 people which we hope to grow as OSSA becomes better known. Membership costs $50.00 per annum. Going forward we will be actively seeking Corporate sponsorship.
- Our website is up and running (www.offshorespecialistships.com ) and will continue to be developed and expanded as we go forward. Through the website there will be regular updates of events and information. Members will have a login section for their use. The website will provide greater access for international members and visitors.
- We have been fortunate to have very good support from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) who have provided some initial administrative support. They have also donated an anchor from the “Tycoon” which sank off Christmas Island in 2012.
- OSSA will be the co-ordinating body for the “Anchor Clankers”. This is an association of sea and shore staff that have been involved in the offshore industry. They meet annually and attract close to 100 to their dinner in Melbourne.
- OSSA (in collaboration with the Mission) had our first public display and talk at the Mission during the City of Melbourne Heritage Month in April. A bigger public show in July displayed our collection coupled with various presenters during the week.
- Whilst the emphasis to date has been on the offshore ships, other specialist ships will play an important role in the future. For example, P&O’s “Aurora Australis” which has been on charter to the Australian Antarctic Division for the last 27 years.
Our ambition is to have the public including schools and tourists made aware of the collection and the importance these ships and seafarers have been to the Australian economy.
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