Logo Partnership
March 2020


At the heart of our ambitions


Less is more!

First of all, allow me to dedicate this edition of PartnerShip to the seafarers who disappeared during the sinking of the Bourbon Rhode but also, more generally, to all our seafarers who passionately exercise a difficult profession on all the seas of the globe. I thank them for their commitment.

The beginning of this year has seen BOURBON taking a decisive step forward marked by the finalization of our financial restructuring and the evolution of the group’s governance. This evolution will ensure the sustainability of the company by preserving the group and its assets in their entirety in order to deliver the #BOURBONINMOTION strategic action plan, which is more vital today than ever. I am confident in the future of the group and in the capacity of BOURBON teams to meet the challenges.

We have clearly identified these challenges. First of all, to build on our fundamentals, which have made BOURBON a leader in marine services, which we call "Back to Basics"! This means confirming safety and compliance as absolute priorities that we place before any other consideration, investing in the technical availability of our vessels and delivering BOURBON's high level of operational excellence to our clients around the globe. However, although the offshore marine services sector is progressively recovering, this new BOURBON must also reinvent itself and set a bold, ambitious and pragmatic course, fully aware of the constraints of today's market, which remains uncertain in the light of the international events that we have witnessed these past few weeks.

Our commitment to developing our operational model toward more services can be seen today in integrated logistics services, “on behalf” shipmanagement and "Airport to Rig" passenger solutions - which you will discover in this edition of PartnerShip.

Tomorrow's offshore service, the one that will be sustainable over time, will be the one that does the best with the least, the one that deeply challenges its processes both onshore and offshore. Because "Less is more", let's deliver more and better services while rationalizing our organization and our investments. It is by finding the right balance, the right quality of service / price ratio that our clients will be ready to pay a fair price that is sustainable over time.

Gaël Bodénès, Chairman of BOURBON Maritime

Expert insight

Safety: Learning from past experience

Safety is an absolute priority for BOURBON, in the same way as Compliance. The first among the 4 pillars of operational excellence defined by the group, it is an unconditional commitment toward the health of the women and men who operate every day for the benefit of our clients. After a year marked by the Bourbon Rhode tragedy, Rodolphe Bouchet, CCO and Corporate HSES & Standard Officer, and Cyrille Le Bris, Vice President Fleet Management Bourbon Marine & Logistics tell us about BOURBON's ambitions in terms of safety and the measures taken to learn the lessons of past experience and to act effectively for the prevention of incidents. Joint interview.

PartnerShip: While the sinking of the Bourbon Rhode is still in everybody's memory, what is your state of mind today? How has BOURBON's safety policy been impacted by this tragic event?

Cyrille Le Bris: Before answering this question, allow me to pay tribute to the surviving and missing seafarers of the Bourbon Rhode, and to extend my sincere condolences to their families. All the employees of the group have been deeply marked by this event. That is why we work together with the office of “Administration des Enquêtes Techniques” (Technical Surveys Administration) of the Luxembourg flag to analyze the causes of this loss and do everything to avoid such a drama from reoccurring. In terms of safety, our commitment must be permanent and concern each of us, at every level of the company. We know that if we drop our guard, the consequences can be immediate. We are therefore ceaselessly working to reach our "zero incident" objective. One of the levers of achieving this is to learn from our incidents and act with transparency so that all our employees return home in good health, as we state in our Safety Takes Me Home campaign. 

PShip: According to you, what are the main levers of action to reach this ultimate goal of zero incidents?

Rodolphe Bouchet: Safety is managed at several levels: the personnel, the safety management system, the mastery of fundamentals, which we call "Back to Basics", the lessons drawn from our past incidents and control through our internal audits and reporting. These are 5 key levers. First of all, the personnel, because they are the first concerned and above all the daily actors of the implementation of safety at work. In this context, the notion of leadership is primordial. Our managers have the obligation to go into the field, visiting our bases and going aboard our vessels. These visits have a real impact on the number of incidents. I really believe that we can only manage safety by remaining close to our crews. But leadership does not only mean that the example must come from above! Aboard a vessel, for example, each seafarer must be responsible for their own safety and for their colleague's. That's true leadership, being responsible for yourself and for others.

" Personnel [...] are the first concerned and above all the daily actors of the implementation of safety at work. In this context, the notion of leadership is primordial. " objective ."


PShip: And after the personnel comes the safety management system?

C.L.B.: System is both the OSM (Operational Safety Management), which is our standard, the "law" which we base ourselves on to establish our procedures, and the procedures guide, the SMS (Safety Management System), on shore and on board our vessels, which meets the requirements of the OSM. This system enables us to operate in a normalized way according to BOURBON standards around the globe. It is fundamental because it secures our operational models and also simplifies our training models. This simplification is a guarantee of operational excellence and effectiveness for our clients. But to be effective, this system must be understood, applied, and regularly assessed. It is what we call Back to Basics, the mastery of fundamentals. Indeed, a management system must be alive and requires continuous training of the teams. In the same way, we must not avoid questioning ourselves continuously, and in particular on the major incidents that the group has encountered in the past. We assume these incidents with full awareness and transparency. All feedback and corrective actions should not be omitted. One remark: most of these incidents concern basics. It is just additional proof as to why the Back to Basics approach is essential!

PShip: What are these major incidents of the past?

R. B.: I am first thinking of the sinking of the Bourbon Dolphin in 2007 in a towing operation in the North Sea, which led us to improve our anchor-handling procedures, in particular stability software and regular testing of the emergency release of the winch brake. Or, more recently, the collision of the UTAI 5 with a safety vessel in Nigeria, which reminds us of the dangers of high-speed navigation. Other serious incidents entailing death or serious injuries among our employees have been systematically followed by action plans with immediate application in the field. Today, more than ever before, it is our duty to remember these dramatic events to avoid forgetting them, of course, but also, I repeat, to keep in mind that in the fight for safety, we must never drop our guard!

Expert insight
Their stories

Door-to-rig : a new step in logistics services

Bourbon Mobility's new "Door-to-Rig" service is part of the #BOURBONINMOTION strategic action plan, which aims to place BOURBON more in a position of service provider than shipowner. This integrated passenger logistics offer takes care of clients from their homes or the airport to the rig, with greater flexibility. The explanations of François Leslé, CEO of Bourbon Mobility.

The concept: to ensure the logistics of passengers from their homes to their final destinations: "What we offer is much more than a simple logistics service," explains François Leslé. "This global solution offers a real opportunity for our clients to have the guarantee that their staff transport, which can be long, complex and costly, is ensured by a single service provider that takes care of their employees throughout their entire trip. It also offers the client a double advantage: the decision maker has a single and unique point of contact and can remain focused on their specific operations, while the passenger is cared for under the best conditions of comfort, safety and security."

The passenger is at the center of attention throughout the trip, ensuring that it takes place under the best possible conditions: personalized welcome, awareness of safety measures, films and video games during transfer aboard Surfers and, in the future, a catering service and internet connections.

"The principle of this type of service is also based on what we call 'Flexible chartering', which enables us to offer clients flexibility and optimizes Surfer seat occupation. Clients thus choose the days of the week they want for crew changes - set days for the contract period - leaving the vessel free for other clients during the rest of the week. This new organization enables the clients to reduce their costs and allows Bourbon Mobility to rationalize the use of its Crew boats."

The keen interest demonstrated by several clients, oil majors or contractors, for these new integrated passenger logistics offers is an incentive for Bourbon Mobility to continue along this path. In the long term, this contract model is only a first step towards the Pay/Trip and Pay/Seat solutions that Bourbon Mobility is evolving towards.

Airport-to-Rig service offer


Their stories
Successful together

Shipman-on-behalf: a model validated by our clients

Even though crises can cripple organizations, for those companies that are able to question their mode of operation they can also generate real opportunities for development. BOURBON has proven this with a new type of service that the group now offers its clients: the shipmanagement of their vessels. The explanations of Yannick Beley, Managing Director of Bourbon Offshore Surf, the first shipmanager of the group.

In the summer of 2018, BOURBON decided to offer a new shipmanagement service to its clients that own vessels. In other words, it means manning their fleet and managing all operational activity, including safety, maintenance, etc.: "At the start of the project, after a market study that encouraged us to go further with this approach, we decided to test our commercial offer on our own in-house client, Bourbon Marine & Logistics, in order to validate our business model, which is based on a flat rate," explains Yannick Beley. "Once the foundations were established, we rapidly signed a first contract for the Capo Cinto cement carrier in the Mediterranean. There were a few unknowns. It was a first contract and moreover for a cement carrier, which is very different from an offshore supply vessel, so it was more prudent to limit crew management to a 6-month period, before signing a more global shipmanagement contract."

It was a trial that would above all remove any final doubts: "The crew selected were experienced and versatile. They immediately adapted to the vessel and met this challenge enthusiastically!" he highlighted. "For a seaman, it is always more exciting to discover a new environment, new operations... "

One objective: maintain operational excellence

This initial success has been validated today by the signature of a long-term contract with a new client for the shipmanagement of 2 AHTS vessels, in a first phase, before extending this contract to new vessels being acquired by this same company. It is a win-win deal: "Sharing our know-how as a service provider perfectly meets the strategy of our client, which is acquiring a fleet of supply vessels to secure its charter rates and thus sees in our new offer a means of operating its vessels with total confidence." Bourbon Offshore Surf has therefore set up a dedicated cell - consisting of a Project Manager, an HSE Supervisor and a Changeover Officer - capable of ensuring BOURBON's standards and optimal management of operational processes. "In my opinion, this new service illustrates the behavior to adapt in a period of crisis: to show initiative and innovation, grasp every opportunity and be ambitious" concludes Yannick Beley.  

Successful together
In pictures

Floating wind turbine installation


The floating wind turbines are anchored to the seabed at a depth of about 100 m by drag anchors up to a weight of 15 t each.


Connection by the deck crew – deck hands and boatswain - of 2 sections of chain during the deployment of the wind turbine anchor line.


Every morning, a review of the operations carried out the previous day and those planned for the next day takes place at the bridge, in the presence of the client, the surveyor, the Master of the vessel, the ROV Superintendent and the BOURBON project team


The Tool Box Talk is a group meeting focused on safety that reminds everyone the potential risks of the operation to be carried out as well as the associated safety measures.

In pictures
Shared views

Integrated logistics: BOURBON takes a stance

For the second time in less than a year, BOURBON is preparing to launch a new integrated logistics operation. After operating for Shell in Bulgaria last March, it is now in Namibia that the group will provide support for a deepwater exploration campaign for Total which will start next summer 2020.

From March to November 2020, Bourbon Marine & Logistics will ensure most of the logistics operations necessary for Total's new exploration campaign in Namibia. The base will be operational from April. On the agenda: equipment shipping and customs clearance, equipment storage and warehousing, handling and lifting, vessel support, product tank cleaning, etc. Up to 40 persons will work between Lüderitz and Walvis Bay, in the south of Namibia. A partnership has been set up with Logistics Support Service LSS, a Namibian company that is very well-established in the region, because local rooting remains a pillar of Bourbon's strategy.

"Shell and Total have chosen our integrated logistics solution for several reasons. First of all, it simplifies the interfaces: the oil companies no longer need to establish numerous separate contracts because everything is handled by BOURBON under a unique safety management system. Moreover, this solution enables them to reduce their presence in the country. Finally, they trust the extended services we offer. These major players have extremely high standards that we know how to meet," points out Nicolas Chateau, Logistics Services Manager.

This turnkey offer now attracts the major oil companies and several integrated projects are taking shape for the months to come in Africa, but also in Central America. "We know how to meet all the constraints of the field. The Lüderitz base is very remote, with very few infrastructures. It is by allying the right partnerships with BOURBON's capacity for innovation, it competitiveness and internal technical robustness that we can face such difficulties around the world. This initial success clearly validates the group's #BOURBONINMOTION strategic action plan, which aims to offer our clients more services in addition to the means that are already operational," he concludes.

Shared views

Les Abeilles, salvage & assistance company