Marine Salvage Market Size, Growth, Forecast 2023–2030

8 min readFeb 13, 2024
Marine Salvage Market

Marine Salvage Industry Prospective:

The global marine salvage market size was worth around USD 430.65 million in 2022 and is predicted to grow to around USD 763.49 million by 2030 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 7.42% between 2023 and 2030.

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Marine Salvage Market: Overview

Marine salvage refers to the process of ship and cargo recovery after a shipwreck or any other form of accident while the ship is offshore. The procedures involved in marine salvage include vessel lifting, towing, and performing ship repair processes. Another key motivator for marine salvage is the need to protect marine ecosystems from the damages caused due to shipwrecks, especially marine units carrying environmentally harmful substances such as radioactive materials or oil. The modern marine salvage industry is led by companies and businesses with expertise in marine recovery with the help of skilled professionals and modern tools.

The marine salvage processes are significantly different from other forms of partnerships between a service provider and a consumer. For instance, all vessels offshore are allowed or have an international duty to provide assistance to a ship or marine vessel in distress. However, the assistance is not mandatory and can be refused by a steady ship. If both parties agree to partner, it automatically gives rise to a contract resulting in the successful salvor becoming eligible for some form of compensation under the 1989 International Salvage Convention.

Key Insights:

  • As per the analysis shared by our research analyst, the global marine salvage market is estimated to grow annually at a CAGR of around 7.42% over the forecast period (2023–2030)
  • In terms of revenue, the global marine salvage market size was valued at around USD 430.65 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 763.49 million by 2030.
  • The marine salvage market is projected to grow at a significant rate due to the increasing efforts to protect environmental damage due to shipwrecks
  • Based on application segmentation, deepwater non-cargo operators were predicted to show maximum market share in the year 2022
  • Based on type segmentation, undertaking minor repairs on vessels was the leading segment in 2022
  • On the basis of region, Europe was the leading revenue generator in 2022

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Marine Salvage Market: Growth Drivers

Increasing efforts to protect against environmental damage due to shipwrecks may deliver a high growth rate

The global marine salvage market is projected to grow owing to the increasing efforts of regional governments and international environmental organizations to prevent any damage to marine ecosystems. The maritime trade industry is one of the leading segments causing monumental damage to marine life. In recent times, there have been several accelerated attempts to either reduce or prevent further damage caused due to maritime trade. Shipwrecks and cargo spills are the leading reasons for environmental impact including water pollution and damage to the seabed or coral reefs.

For instance, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in extreme damages to the marine ecosystem. It also caused the deaths of 11 people onboard the ship. The oil spill resulted in the killing of 82,000 birds as per the Centre for Biological Diversity. It also killed 25,900 marine animals. Maritime trade has intensified in the last few decades. The majority of the essential international trade occurs through waterways. Around 90% of global trade is carried through water, as per official data. As the number of ships participating in international trade grows rapidly, the probability of encountering distress is higher leading to increased demand for marine salvage.

Increasing water-based conflict in international waters may result in a higher demand for marine salvage

The rising political and social tension across the globe has resulted in increased threat of naval warfare. For instance, the recent ongoing Red Sea Crisis in which the Houthi movement has launched

several attacks on ships present in the Red Sea area. In January 2024, the United States attacked three vessels armed with Yemeni ammunition and Houthi Fighters. Such events are expected to drive the demand in the global marine salvage market.

Marine Salvage Market: Restraints

High cost of marine salvage projects may limit industry growth

The global marine salvage industry is projected to be restricted due to the high costs and expenses associated with marine salvage projects. These processes cannot be carried out without the help of immensely large water vehicles, expensive technologies, and systems.

In addition to this, people and vessels participating in marine salvage are also at the risk of undergoing distress leading to a limited number of players operating in the industry. The job faces added restrictions due to the extremely turbulent sea conditions that participating stakeholders are exposed to.

Marine Salvage Market: Opportunities

Rising construction of offshore facilities and investments in deep-sea mining may create growth opportunities

The global marine salvage market will come across more growth opportunities due to the growing number of projects investing in offshore facilities. Some of the most common types of facilities include offshore drilling rings, oil platforms, floating production storage & offloading (FPSO) units, and wind farms. In May 2023, China announced the completion of a 12,000-tonne offshore oil and gas drilling platform. The structure is the central component of the Bozhong 19–6 gas field with proven records of 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

On the other hand, the surging interest in harnessing renewable energy with the help of wind farms may contribute to marine salvage requirements since these facilities are built deep in the ocean thus being subject to risk associated with marine-based activities. Deep-sea mining activities have peaked in the last few years. As per the Oregon Group, deep-sea mining can meet almost 45% of the global energy demand by 2065.

Growing research & development in marine salvage technologies may generate higher revenue

The global marine salvage industry may benefit from the increasing research and innovation to improve technologies, processes, and systems used during salvage. The use of heavy-duty tugging machines and aerial drones for data collection or interpretation are the leading areas of technological growth. The 3-dimensional technology is being excessively reviewed for application in marine salvage projects.

Marine Salvage Market: Challenges

Strict regulatory requirements on a global scale challenge market growth rate

The global marine salvage market is anticipated to be challenged due to the presence of strict regulatory requirements when operating in new markets. Additionally, laws related to activities in international waters are complicated and non-compliance can lead to severe consequences. Other constraints are related to logistic complexities and lack of access to essential resources in remote locations.

Marine Salvage Market: Segmentation

The global marine salvage market is segmented based on application, type, and region.

Based on application, the global market is segmented as inland water transportation operators, government customers, deepwater non-cargo operators, and others. In 2022, the highest growth was witnessed in the deepwater non-cargo operators segment. It deals with salvaging non-cargo ships involved in the oil & gas sector. The urgent need to protect environmental damage caused by oil spills is one of the leading reasons for higher segmental growth. The Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) responded to 12 new water-based incidents in June 2023 out of which 10 included oil spills/

Based on type, the global market is divided into undertaking minor repairs on vessels, towing services, pollution control services, and refloating grounded vessels. The highest growth rate was registered in undertaking minor repairs on the vessels segment in 2023. Ships and marine vessels are subject to regular wear and tear due to the intense environment they are subject to. This leads to higher use of regular maintenance and repair work thus driving segmental demand. As per official data, the odds of ships sinking is around 1 in 68,200.

Marine Salvage Market: Regional Analysis

Europe to witness the highest growth rate during the projection period

The global marine salvage market is dominated by Europe. During the projection period, it will continue to lead the global market. The region is home to some of the world’s leading marine salvage companies. It enjoys a robust and thriving ecosystem that supports several maritime activities. Netherlands-based Smit International is one of the leading providers of marine salvage services. The company operates in over 90 countries. In February 2023, Smit-owned Boskalis was involved in managing two marine salvage operations near Corfu Island in Greece and another vessel at the Azores. In 2021, it was also one of the leading contributors in managing the Suez Canal traffic caused due to Ever Given, a 20,000 TEU container vessel, that was grounded in the canal. The region has several other players operating in the regional market.

North America holds significant regional revenue. The US has one of the strongest naval presences across the globe. In addition to this, the country is heavily involved in international trade through water means. The country owns around 470 ships. Asia-Pacific is growing at a rapid rate. More than 40% of the global shipping industry is managed by China. Additionally, the last few years have witnessed increased maritime activities by private and state-owned regional companies operating in the shipping industry.

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Marine Salvage Market: Competitive Analysis

The global marine salvage market is led by players like:

  • Ardent Global
  • Resolve Marine Group
  • Mammoet Salvage
  • Smit Salvage
  • Donjon-SMIT LLC
  • Titan Salvage
  • Multraship Towage & Salvage
  • Donjon Marine Co. Inc.
  • Resolve Salvage & Fire (Asia) Pte Ltd
  • Svitzer
  • Five Oceans Salvage
  • Shanghai Salvage Company

The global marine salvage market is segmented as follows:

By Application

  • Inland Water Transportation Operators
  • Government Customers
  • Deepwater Non-Cargo Operators
  • Others

By Type

  • Undertaking Minor Repairs on Vessels
  • Towing Services
  • Pollution Control Services
  • Refloating Grounded Vessels

By Region

  • North AmericaThe U.S.Canada
  • EuropeFrance The UKSpainGermanyItalyRest of Europe
  • Asia PacificChinaJapanIndiaSouth KoreaSoutheast AsiaRest of Asia Pacific
  • Latin AmericaBrazilMexicoRest of Latin America
  • Middle East & AfricaGCCSouth AfricaRest of Middle East & Africa

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