September 20 - Royal Boskalis Westminster (Boskalis) has confirmed that its Works Council has unanimously rendered a positive advice on its fleet rationalisation plan.

Boskalis announced in July that it had decided to take 24 vessels out of service over the next two years, resulting in the loss of approximately 650 jobs worldwide.

Boskalis attributed its decision to divest to deteriorating market conditions and an expected prolonged period of low energy and commodity prices.

Of the 24 vessels, 14 ships from the company's offshore energy division - including anchor-handling tugs, ocean-going tugs and heavy transport vessels - will be taken out of service.

The company said that its intention to crew two of five Fairmount vessels for the time being with Dutch employees was an important part of the Works Council's decision to support the plan.

Boskalis has also reached an agreement in principle with the Works Council on a social plan, which will see the workforce reduction absorbed through attrition and redeployment where possible, with affected employees able to make use of a social plan.