Category: Member Profile

Members Profile: Alec Laing, ACL Shipbrokers

Meet Alec, a UK based Workboat Shipbroker. Alec began his Shipbrokers career following service in the Parachute Regiment, today he is a well-known name in the sector.

 

When and why did you start ACL Shipbrokers?

I started ACL Shipbrokers five years ago, with the objective of offering owners and operators a more bespoke shipbroking service, particularly in the workboat and port tug sectors.

 

What was your career before this?

After growing up and studying in Scotland, I served as an Officer in the Parachute Regiment for eight years. A large part of this service was on operations overseas. This gave me a lot of hands-on experience working under pressure which taught me to think on my feet and be adaptable. It also gave me an insight into geopolitics and the importance of world trade.

I had developed an interest in shipbroking and when an opportunity presented itself to work with DSB Offshore, a very well-respected broking house in London, I jumped at it. This was a great introduction to the industry, during which time I passed my Chartered Shipbroking exams and built the foundations of my career over the following seven years.

 

Can you remember your first experience with boats?

I have always had a passion for the sea taking every opportunity to get onboard vessels of any size, whether sailing as a youngster or volunteering for waterborne operations in the military. Today, whenever possible, I attend all vessel inspections to increase my knowledge of the way they operate. I still get a thrill being out on the water.

 

What are your specialisms?

As a company, Sale & Purchase of workboats, new and second hand, is our bread and butter. These range from marine construction and aquaculture boats to diving support vessels, both in the UK and on a worldwide basis. We also have a thriving Charter business where we assist owners in finding work for their vessels, both time charter and bareboat, and provide charter solutions to end clients on a project-by-project basis.

With discretion and integrity at the core of our approach, we are increasingly acting for clients as a trusted member of their team; assisting with organising independent surveys, deliveries and towage, amongst other services, often in far-flung parts of the world. This flexible and economic service is proving a real differentiator for us.

 

Where do you operate from and where have you worked?

We have our registered office in London, but I have been operating from a home office in Edinburgh for many years; efficient use of technology allows me to keep an eye on the business whilst being out and about gathering market intelligence and being of more value to my clients. I am happiest out on the road inspecting vessels and visiting clients anywhere I am required.

 

Have there been any ‘stand-out’ projects?

We were asked last year by a close Canadian client to search for a specific size and type of multipurpose workboat. After conducting very thorough research, I inspected a vessel with them in the Caribbean. Having priced up all delivery options, however, and based on our deep knowledge of the market, we ended up securing a very competitive newbuild vessel out of Europe. Our innovative approach resulted in the client getting exactly what he sought with an extremely attractive delivery cost – he was so pleased he also bought a sister vessel!

In another memorable engagement, we assisted the owners in selling a flattop barge from the South Coast of the UK to a Buyer on the Thames. We arranged the pre-purchase survey for buyers, the tow from the South Coast to the mouth of the Thames, and the taking over of the tow by a Thames-based tug. I also joined the crew for the tow up the Thames to the barge’s new home, which was a real highlight, as I was involved in every step of the process.

Our aim is to make our clients’ lives easier, not just offering them exactly what they are looking for based on our extensive market knowledge, but facilitating the whole transaction smoothly.

 

How do you see the global environmental and decarbonisation objectives affecting vessel markets over the next few years?

These will undoubtedly have a big impact on our sector. Managing vessels with a 30 to 40-year lifespan against such a rapidly changing regulatory and technological backdrop is a huge challenge. This is especially true in vessels such as workboats which can lack space in the engine room to retrofit mitigating solutions. Consequentially, residual values are likely to suffer.

As such we are doing a lot of work with clients to review their fleets’ efficiency and structure, helping them to future proof their businesses.

 

Do you see the European shipbuilding and manufacturing market remaining competitive against lower prices coming from distant competitors?

The global pandemic has made us pause and think about how and where we source goods from, including vessels. Home grown solutions are coming to the fore, with local production increasingly as prized as the lowest cost supply from abroad.

ESG considerations are also going to be more important in the supply of newbuild vessels over the coming years which may well play a more significant role than pure price alone.

Members Profile: Dan Zamai, S. Walsh and Sons

Dan recently started with S. Walsh and Sons, bringing to them both Thames experience and experience from the workboat sector in his homeland – Australia!

 

Who are S. Walsh and Sons and what are your specialisms?

S Walsh and Sons is a leading provider in rail, road, and river freight transport solutions in London, UK. We have a versatile fleet which operates in muck-away, aggregate delivery and civil construction operations.

 

When did you start with S. Walsh and What is your role?

My current role at S. Walsh is Marine Fleet Engineer. In broad terms, this involves the upkeep of all vessels whether it be certification, maintenance, dry docking, and reparations. I started the role in January 2021 having moved over from another barge and tug company in London.

 

Where did your interest with boating begin?
Growing up on the coast of Australia, I have always had a strong connection to the sea with many days spent surfing, fishing, or diving. Our family always had boats so my induction into boating began from a young age and I became particularly interested in work boats and their capabilities from early on. Over the years, my passion for the work boat industry has only grown and I am still as interested now as I was as a kid.

 

Where has your career taken you so far?
I started my first job on the water at age 13 working in the commercial fishing industry as a mate in New South Wales, Australia. At 22 I moved up to the Far North Queensland working as Relief Master and Chief Engineer on a multipurpose workboat. This involved various commercial projects including repairing weather stations 600nm offshore in the Coral Sea. After meeting my British partner on one of these projects, I moved to London where I started my UK career as Deputy Fleet Superintendent for a similar company working on the Tideway Tunnel Project. Our role was the towing and pushing of craft along the Thames delivering aggregate and transporting muck on the western sector.

 

Many people who work on the Thames say it is an extremely special place to work, can you support this?
The Thames can be such a busy place and there is so much variety. With a tidal range of 7m and tugs pushing and towing 1600t barges through navigational nightmares, such as bridges, piers, traffic, and varying tidal streams. It is a testament to the skills and knowledge acquired that the lighterman of the river have honed over 507 years. If you aren’t watching your air draft, you are watching your under keel clearance with 7 knots of tide. There is also a strong wildlife presence from a variety of water birds, seals and even the stray pilot whale.

 

Do you have a favourite vessel from the fleet?
This is a hard decision between the SWS Endurance (Damen Multicat) and the SWS Endeavour (Concordia Damen pusher tug CS874). However, I think the winner must be the SWS Endeavour which was launched at the end of 2020 to the highest standard. It has two Caterpillar C18 engines which operate two Twin Disc Veth Azimuth stern Drives. This is the first pusher tug on the river to have ASD propulsion. The ASD system has shown 100% control during difficult maneuvers with barges up to 2600t. The finish of the accommodation is akin to a modern hotel room with superior amenities to maximise comfort for long voyages on the vessel. The vessel also has an elevator wheelhouse which has an eye height limit of 13m.

 

What projects are you working on today?
S. Walsh are currently working on three main projects on the Thames, this includes muck away from Silvertown to East tilbury operating 2x1500t barges with another one of our pusher tugs (13.3m/elevating wheel house). The second contract is delivering aggregate from Dagenham to Fulham with 500t barges and a 1203 Damen stan tug 1205.

The last project is one that I believe has shown London how the river can supply a much more efficient way of aggregates and muck away with large volumes. Currently the project has moved 4 million tonnes of aggregate and taken 250,000 trucks off the road. Walsh have a number of sections on the project which use a small Damen pushy Cat, Damen Multi cat 1908 (2019) and a brand-new Concordia Damen pusher tug with the first ASD operated pusher vessel on the river Thames.

 

How do you think the Thames Maritime Community will change over the next few years to meet the UK’s Clean Maritime targets?

S. Walsh is now looking into a new renewable fuel source known as HVO which will replace the 10ppm low sulphur diesel. We also like to keep out fleet to a modern level with more efficient main engines and generators as they are built to highest emission standards. I know there has been hype into hybrid or fully electric engines and propulsion system on the Thames so we hope to see the technology be adequate for the everyday activities the river provides.

 

Do you see new opportunities on the Thames for helping reduce (greater) London’s emissions?
I see the Thames playing a critical part in the reduction of emissions throughout greater London. Already The tideway Tunnel project has shown how many trucks can be taken off the road. With already existing waste removal contracts by Cory Energy, parcel delivery for DHL and soon to be Sainsbury deliveries all by river. The Thames can be the key link to keeping one of the worlds most connected city, environmentally friendly.

Members Profile: Mel Lewis, Mainstay Marine

Mel Lewis is the Sales and Marketing Director at Mainstay Marine shipyard, a <40m vessel facility based in Pembroke Dock, West Wales.

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“My most memorable projects are perhaps topped off by having the pleasure of showing Sir Michael Palin aboard the small survey workboat we designed and built for British Antarctic Survey and sits in a davit aboard RSS Sir David Attenborough. Named Erebus, Sir Michael was impressed with the capabilities of such a small vessel and signed my copy of his book ‘Erebus’.”

Who are Mainstay Marine?

Mainstay operates from Pembroke Dock in West Wales and offers services in three key areas:

1) Bespoke design, build, maintenance, refit and repair of workboats up to 40m, mainly in steel and aluminium;

2) Specialist marine engineering, fabrication and refurbishment services to the defence and renewable energy sector; and

3) Maintenance and repair of quay-side infrastructure.

How long have you been working for Mainstay Marine and what does your role include?

I have been with the company since January 2012, having previously worked for 23 years testing and evaluating military aircraft. I joined as Technical Director responsible for the in-house design and technical solutions department, using my knowledge and experience in the aircraft industry to enhance our offerings. In reality, it was more about listening and understanding the complex challenges the marine world presents and working with each customer to deliver solutions to meet their requirements. In 2019 I moved into the role of Sales and Marketing Director, seeking opportunities aligned to our company strategy and vision for the future. I work with an excellent team in the preparation of bids for all new build vessels and renewable energy device fabrications projects, as well as supporting vessel maintenance and repair services bid work. Attendance at Seawork, Aquaculture and numerous other sector events is, of course, a mandatory pleasure, being able to meet up with potential clients and visit our suppliers to catch up on the year past.

What are your hobbies and interests?

With a background in electronics and programming, I am very interested in exploitation of new technology developments. I am a keen photographer, although these days mostly on the iPhone rather than an SLR, and more recently capturing life from the air using my new drone, so keep an eye out for some aerial shots appearing on Mainstay’s social media shortly! Lockdown has, of course, affected us all in one way or another but mostly working from home these days and seeing my camper van wasting away on the drive reminds me of the emerging opportunities of getting away to music festivals again.

When did your Maritime Career start and how?

I recall a few fishing expeditions during my teens, long-lining in Cardigan Bay with my brothers, but feeling somewhat seasick from the excitement! I chose to stay on firm ground and pursue a career in electronics as an apprentice with the MoD, at about the same time my brothers started their own company – Mustang Marine. My MoD career led me down a route that favoured life in the air, testing aircraft electronics systems etc., my only involvement with boats was to see the vessels during build when visiting my family during holidays. My wife and I had always talked about moving back home (Pembrokeshire) and in 2012 I secured the job here as Technical Director, which is when I really started my maritime career.

What are the strengths of Mainstay Marine?

Simply put, it is about people and processes! Yes, we have great facilities, but they are nothing without the robust processes by which our day-to-day operations are conducted, which is endorsed by our continued re-certification to ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 standards. We have an exceptional workforce covering all disciplines necessary for the successful build, maintenance and repair of vessels and structures, with strong project management. Having an integrated design team enables us to offer our own solutions to client needs and to conduct the detailed design of vessel systems where structural design is procured externally. Our design capability covers all systems, including hydraulic and electrical aspects of the vessel and the associated electronics for control, monitoring and remote reporting.

What are the memorable projects you have been involved in?

We specialise in addressing the bespoke requirements of our clients and in doing so have been involved in the creation of many projects all with their unique features. The fabrication of the aluminium communications masts for the Type 26 frigates have demanded very high levels of precision, alignment and repeatability for which we have received excellent feedback on our abilities. The design and build of two sophisticated Fisheries Patrol Vessels for the Welsh Government, the abilities of our Marine Services team to turn-around vessels in a timely, professional and effective manner, such as the work carried out on CTV ‘Malltraeth Bay’ following severe damage suffered in Holyhead during storm Emma of 2018, and the building of the first tidal energy device to supply grid power all contribute to memorable achievements. Perhaps topped off by having the pleasure of showing Sir Michael Palin aboard the small survey workboat we designed and built for British Antarctic Survey and sits in a davit aboard RSS Sir David Attenborough. Named Erebus, Sir Michael was impressed with the capabilities of such a small vessel and signed my copy of his book ‘Erebus’. We are currently finalising fabrication of the main structure and PTO module of Bombora’s mWave wave energy converter and will be assembling the 75m x 20m, 850t device over the coming months ready for launch from our Ro-Ro slipway.

Are there any particular Ship Building considerations that need greater support in order to meet the Clean Maritime Plan: 2050 and the needs of the industry?

We believe we have the technology and capability to contribute to a reduced carbon footprint in the marine industry and welcome the opportunity to work with anyone wanting to explore our technology in the conversion of existing vessels or the design and build of new ones.

What are the future plans for Mainstay Marine?

Continuing to deliver excellent service for our customers and contributing to the successful transition to a carbon zero future for the maritime sector whilst securing long-term future employment for Mainstay employees. We have a collaboration agreement with a company specialising in the design and manufacture of electric propulsion systems utilising battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies and are able to offer suitable solutions to reconfigure existing vessels and build new ones that are carbon zero from the propulsion perspective.

L-R: Welsh Fisheries vessel ‘Lady Megan’,
Sir Michael Palin and the BAS survey workboat ‘Erebus’.

Members Profile: Nick Price, Century Marine Services

Nick introduces himself to us and explains more about small vessel brokerage.

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Can you introduce yourself and Century Marine Services

I was born in Kent, UK before spending my early life travelling to follow my Father’s career in ship management to warmer climates! I returned to the UK to attend University, studying law and now once more reside back in Ashford, Kent. Aside from my maritime interest, I am a keen portrait photographer and through this I also give instruction on photography. On the other end of the adrenaline spectrum, I am also a keen Skydiver and have completed approximately 350 solo jumps in the UK and abroad. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and have been working at Century Marine Services for the last 7 years.

Century Marine Services are shipbrokers specialising in Workboats, Tugs, Barges and all commercial vessels up to and including Offshore Industry vessel size. Established by Steve Dougal in 2001 and based in Hythe, Kent; we provide vessel chartering, new-build and second-hand sales and valuation services. Hythe has an important and foundational history in shipping as the home to Sir Francis Pettit Smith who was one of the inventors of the screw propeller. He was the driving force behind the construction of the world’s first screw-propelled steamship, SS Archimedes.

What is your speciality?

Before joining Century Marine Services I worked as a Towage and Salvage broker. Through this and my experience with Century Marine, Tugs, Workboats and Small Commercial Vessels have become my expertise, although my particular area of interest is workboats. Sale and Purchase is our core business but we also specialise in Chartering , Towage and Valuation services.

Has there been any stand-out moments in your career so far?

As a salvage Broker, I was one of the first to get a call regarding the capsizing of Costa Concordia moments after it happened. This is an event that will stick with me forever, the ultimate result of which is well known to everyone.  On a more celebratory note, selling my first new-build vessel was a special moment, It was a really fantastic process to be a part of and to see the vessel go from enquiry and concept to a delivered vessel.

What does a day in your life look like?

Normally it would be at our HQ in Hythe, which is roughly a 25 minute commute for me, though as with many at the moment I am working from home! My day is very communication based, speaking with active clients, colleagues and project stakeholders, also responding to interest from potential new clients. I really enjoy the networking and seeing the sheer variety that the nature of this business puts on the table. Through Covid, most networking is online and by phone, so face to face networking opportunities are impossible.   The announcement of the UK’s new strategy to return to normality and overcoming coronavirus leaves me feeling optimistic and enthusiastic, looking forward to when I can have those face to face meetings again. Ultimately we are assisting clients with activities that we do on a daily basis but they only do infrequently, helping them through this complex process is something I enjoy doing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to have grown our Workboat and small commercial vessel services to a healthy global level, hopefully furthering the already high sector speciality of Century Marine Services Ltd.

Member Profile: Jimmy Duggan, Tidal Transit

Having joined Tidal Transit in 2020, Jimmy tells us about transitioning into Maritime Industry as a secondary career and the latest news from Tidal Transit.

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Who are Tidal Transit and what is their history?

Tidal Transit is a Norfolk based CTV operator established in 2011 with a fleet of 6 x CTVs operating in the UK and overseas. We are very proud of our >88% operational fleet utilisation rate since new and a 98.7% fleet technical availability since its beginning.

What is your role within the company and when did you start?

I am the Operations and QHSE Manager,  I started my current appointment on 2 November 2020.

What does a day in life look like?

No two days are alike, however my days are kept incredibly busy managing the Quality, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems within the organisation – reporting any non-conformance found to the Directors.

What is your background?

I have recently retired from the British Army after serving 37 years.  I joined the 1st Battalion Irish Guards as a 17 year old and have served all over the world, with many highlights including operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.  I was also lucky enough to be serving in Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down; that was an overwhelming experience and filled with mixed emotions for the German population on both side of the  wall. 

What skills do you bring from your Military Career to Tidal Transit?

Whilst in the Army, I gained a vast amount of experience in Training, Logistics, HR and Management up to a Senior level, all of which do and will prove invaluable in my new position. 

Do you have any advice for potential secondary career movers?

Be clear about why you want to leave your current job so that you don’t ‘jump out of the frying pan and into the fire’. Don’t under sell yourself and have a strong CV that is supported by a well written covering letter.  Know your transferable skills and how they can benefit your new employer.  Don’t be afraid to look outside your comfort zone, I have no Seafarer of Offshore Industry experience, however I was looking for new and different opportunities and challenges – Tidal Transit and the Offshore Contracting Industry offers both

Are there any developments or new focuses for Tidal Transit?

Tidal Transit has recently formed a new joint venture with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs called ‘LD Tide’ to own and operate CTVs in France, LD Tide has ordered 3 x hybrid CTVs due for delivery in 2022. In addition to this Tidal Transit is working on several innovative access solutions focused on the Offshore Wind sector, news on this will circulate closer to the time!

Leo Hambro [Commercial Director] has mentioned before that “Tidal Transit would like to be the operator of the world’s first fully electric CTV”, can you tell us more about this?

Leo’s vision for a greener maritime future is rubbing off on all of Team Tidal, current plans are for retrofitting CTVs with full electric propulsion for nearshore windfarms. The distance is limited by current battery technology range but our involvement in projects such as ‘Ørsted’s offshore charging buoy’ may allow further offshore locations to be serviced sooner rather than later.

Where do you see Tidal Transit in 5 years?

In 2020 the company increased its fleet by 50%. In 2021 the company adds a further 3 x new builds to the fleet through its JV with LDA. In another 5 years we will hopefully see not only an increase in fleet size – but a diversifying fleet offering, via different vessel sizes and propulsion types, including full electric!

Member profile: David McGuire and Chris Dunn, Malin Marine Services

This month David and Chris tell us about their roles at Clyde based Malin Marine Services and the business’s ambitions to take the 200+ year old routes sailing into the future.

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“…we look to utilise the established expertise within the team, coupled with cutting edge technology and techniques….”

Who are Malin Marine Services, Where are they based and when did they start?

The Malin Group represents a family of marine focused business units, each built on our core values of integrity, excellence, creativity and impartiality. We can trace our roots as far back as the mid -18th century with involvement in shipping and ship delivery through the successful years of ship construction and trade on the River Clyde in Glasgow.

More recently, we have grown and diversified – and over the last 15 years we have given life to a number of additional, specialist companies, cementing our place as one of the most comprehensive providers of end to end marine solutions in the world. These range from Malin Abram, heavy lift specialists, Malin Marine Equipment and Malin Marine Services, to Malin Newbuild who specialise in the fabrication and outfit of complex marine equipment, structures and vessels including a full range of pontoons and workboats (16, 17, 18, 18.3m and multicat variants), as well as a hydrogen bunker and transport ship. We also have Malin Augustea, a joint venture with an internationally renowned tug and barge owner; this partnership will bring a converted semi-submersible barge, one of the largest in Europe, to Glasgow later this year. That’s not to mention our vision for the Scottish Marine Technology Park (SMTP), which once complete will include a large fabrication facility and a deep-water jetty with a 1,100 tonne ship hoist – the largest of its kind in Europe. The Group represents an innovative, vibrant company, but one based on a solid heritage and understanding of the history and needs of the market.

What are your roles within the company?

Chris is a Principal Naval Architect, with David a Sales Engineer.

Chris provides technical guidance to many of the projects across the group, in particular acting as a link between the business units. This critical role is to ensure, as an organisation, we best utilise the diverse technical talent found across our colleagues. He is spearheading company efforts to develop expertise in high efficiency, low emission marine vessel systems and as a result Malin has launched a range of concept designs for hybrid, full electric and hydrogen powered workboats over the last few months.  Chris is project lead on several of the disruptive innovation projects currently underway at Malin, in particular the conversion of one of the largest semi-submersible barges in Europe that will be mobilising to its new home on the River Clyde later in the year.

David works across Malin Newbuild, Marine Services and Marine Equipment, acting as a central point of contact for current and potential clients. This role sees him responsible for cultivating new client relationships as well as servicing the needs of current clients.  He also acts as a crucial bridge between clients and our technical team, communicating client requirements and ensuring projects are delivered to spec, on time and within budget. This service continues throughout the client relationship, form enquiry, to project completion and to aftercare.

When did you start with Malin?

Chris joined Malin in early 2020, with David more recently moved to cover the new business units in Autumn 2020, having previously worked for one of our sister companies.

What are your backgrounds?

Chris – A Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, he has over 25 years’ experience in the Shipbuilding and Offshore Wind sectors in the West of Scotland, gaining experience in many of the technical departments within the Upper Clyde shipyards during his 17 years with BAE Systems.

In 2011 he moved from his position as Technical Project Manager at BAE to the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa Offshore Wind where he helped develop the turbine manufacture, transportation, assembly and logistics strategies for their offshore installations. He returned to shipbuilding as Chief Naval Architect at Ferguson Marine in 2014, leading the design department & drawing office and responsible for providing technical leadership and naval architectural support to the design, construction and repair of their marine vessels.

David – David entered the Strathclyde Academy and after obtaining his HNC, he moved into the studies of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at Strathclyde University. While studying at Strathclyde, he participated in a Summer school programme at Harbin Institute of Technology in Weihai. Before achieving his BEng, David worked at the Malin group in back-to-back Summer Internships before being offered a full position in the sales team of Malin Newbuild.

What are the key focuses of the Malin Group?

As noted above, the Group spans a number of specialisms, providing end to end solutions for the market. As such, we can assist clients in developing designs, verifying or modifying extant designs, fabrication, delivery, finishing – really anything that is required to meet the objectives of the project.

Our key focuses however flow from our values – a commitment to expertise and excellence, combined with impartiality, ensuring that our clients’ needs are at the forefront of all that we do. We are passionate about providing innovative, yet effective solutions and in harnessing the latest technologies to progress practice but also have a positive impact from a sustainability perspective. A great example of this is the recent fleet of vessels developed to challenge existent designs, with a view to offer more efficient and sustainable models. The range, covering hybrid, electric and hydrogen solutions – we look to utilise the established expertise within the team, coupled with cutting edge technology and techniques.

Are there any growth predictions for the company?

The company have already significantly grown and will continue to do so, as we strive to develop our areas of specialism and offering. A key element of this will be the delivery of the SMTP, which not only offers the opportunity to create significant numbers of employment opportunities but also to redefine what it means to work in this industry for this and future generations. It will also be the home to our new barge offering, as well as providing a hub from which to design, fabrication and launch new vessels.

What will be benefit to the Workboat Industry to these changes?

Malin is successfully working across the marine sector, spanning sustainable vessel design, semi-and fully automated fabrication techniques, advanced mechanical handling systems and emission reduction solutions.  This wealth of expertise and experience – combined with the vision to create a new, state-of-the-art fabrication facility on the banks of the Clyde will deliver the expertise necessary to develop a high-quality workboat factory; and one that will be capable of producing the next generation of green, affordable, efficient and effective workboats.

How can the Workboat Association help Malin Marine Services with its future?

The Workboat Association is a cornerstone of the marine sector, and membership enables us to keep in touch with industry colleagues.  The newsletters and publications not only give us invaluable insight into the main issues of the day but will also provide a fantastic platform for us to communicate results of our case studies, demonstrator projects and technological developments.  Most importantly however, the association will hopefully provide us with the opportunity to establish and develop meaningful partnerships going forward, ones which will enable us together to continually develop practice, alongside new greener, more efficient solutions.

Will you invite us to visit the new Technology Park once it is completed (and COVID allows?!)

Of course! This innovative facility will offer a common marine facility, with opportunities across marine manufacture, ship repair, renewables, marine electrical and marine service provision, teamed with an impressive infrastructure and variety of amenities. Together, this will form an impressive cluster, enabling like-minded, complimentary companies to thrive on a common, innovative space – so all visitors and collaborators will be welcomed!

Innovation will be welcomed at the park – our open approach to the development of the space, combined with a commitment to creativity, opens up an array of opportunities to create a research and development hub, with the appropriate infrastructure to nurture and develop technological innovation. Scotland has a strong heritage as a maritime leader, and the SMTP aims to continue this trusted tradition through the creation of an innovation culture and community. And we can’t wait to show this off, get others involved and share the opportunities it delivers.

Member Profile: Euan Carruthers, You & Sea

With an international water based training career covering the UK, Australia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Tenerife and Nigeria, Euan tells us more about himself and his business – You and Sea.

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Our company ambition is simple: “Provide a reliable, trustworthy training centre that provides high quality training that both commercial and leisure users need and can rely on. “

Who are You & Sea and where are you based?

We are an RYA & SQA Training centre providing motorboat and powerboat training to commercial companies and leisure boaters. We are based in Rhu Marina on the Clyde and attract students from all over the world. In addition, we regularly run courses all over Scotland and the North of England.

When did the company start?

The company was formed in early 2014, with the objective to fill a gap in the commercial motorboat training sector in Scotland.

Where did your interest for boating start?

From an early age, I have spent most of my life around boats in some form or other whether providing safety boat cover for the local sailing club, crewing on the family yachts, or instructing on RYA courses across most of the RYA Schemes. I developed a real interest around the year 2000 when I was actively involved with local regattas and at that point I decided that being an instructor was the career for me.

What has your career been up to now?

I qualified as a Dinghy instructor in 2003 and haven’t looked back. From 2004 to 2011 I worked overseas as a Watersports instructor, with the last 2 years of that time running RYA Centres as Chief Instructor. After I met Nathalie, now my wife, I decided that ‘living out of a suitcase’ in the Mediterranean was over and it was time to settle down back in Scotland. I fell into commercial motorboat instructing almost by chance, but I very glad I did, it’s an incredibly rewarding job and one of the main reasons that I set up You & Sea. Since 2011, I have been working solidly as a commercial instructor running all levels of courses in Motor, Radar, Navigation, Sea Survival, Power and Sail – and since 2017 also Instructor training.

What courses do you offer?

You & Sea offer all levels of RYA Shorebased, Motor Cruising, Powerboating, and instructor training. Early in 2020 we took over MCA Boatmaster training from another company, this was one area that we had identified a few years ago that was missing from the commercial training courses available to Scottish based companies. We are now actively running 5 & 6 day prep courses all over Scotland for Tier 1 & Tier 2 Boatmaster Candidates followed by top up training which is carried out through Zoom. The most recent addition to our course portfolio is that we have recently become an SQA Approved Centre for the 5 Day Radar and Electronic Chartplotter course, which will become a requirement shortly for skippers and crew operating under Workboat Code 2.

What is your favourite course to teach?

That is a tricky question to answer but my favourite course is probably a 50/50 tie between Yachtmaster Theory and Radar. I enjoy the challenges of the Yachtmaster Theory course because although it’s a tough course to pick-up from a student’s perspective, it is very rewarding when they do get it. I really enjoy Radar training whether it’s teaching the 1 day RYA course or the 5 Day SQA course because I think people have an opinion that being a good radar operator is incredibly difficult or realistically unachievable, again it is very rewarding when candidates realise they can do it and that operating a radar with the multi-function displays on the vessels nowadays is a much more user-friendly operation than previous systems.

What can we expect from You & See in the future?

It is my plan to continue to build on the solid foundation of commercial training that we offer already and develop our Boatmaster, Master 200gt and SQA training further. We already have lots of customers outside Scotland, from the UK & overseas and we will continue to develop this audience. Aided by the increasing emphasis on video conferencing and blended learning, now that people have got used to this concept – we will continue to develop more online courses. We will also continue and promote the development of personalised courses for independent commercial operators.

Do you see any challenges for the Workboat industry in regard to training?

One area that I have always believed is a problem is that there a lack of training centers offering high quality courses for commercial companies in the north of England and Scotland. As someone working towards Master 200gt myself, I found it really hard to locate a company who would run the required courses for smaller student numbers. This is one of the main reasons why I set up my own training company and built the company up to be able to offer these courses.

 If You & Sea has a motto, what is it / would it be?

Yes we do, it’s another clear one: “Experienced, Expert, Approachable.”

Our entire company ethos would fall flat if we did not have good experience of the courses that we are running, because of that I am very fussy about who I employ as Instructors. For example for our commercial students; I like to think that we, as a company, are experts in the sense that we understand the commercial market, know the courses inside out and know what its like to be a commercial Seafarer. Lastly, we are approachable – I have always tried to employ instructors who have empathy with their students and are happy to go the extra mile to help them and their companies.

Member Profile: George Moore – Specialist Marine Consultants

We talk to George Moore, Business Development Manager at corporate member’s Specialist Marine Consultants;

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Who are Specialist Marine Consultants and how did they originate?

SMC, or Specialist Marine Consultants, are a specialist service provider to the marine and offshore energy sectors. We began by delivering Vessel Inspections and QHSE services to Oil & Gas Clients back in 2006, however we now primarily operate within the offshore wind sector. We operate globally, providing a range of niche services across all project phases.

How many people are working for SMC today?

At SMC we operate a 15-person head office team, with a further 180 personnel located on projects all around the world.

When did you join the company and what was your previous experience?

Ive been with the company almost 4-years now, joining in early 2017.

Unlike our project teams, who all hold marine backgrounds, I was brought in from a different sector, having previously worked in finance and marketing roles.

At SMC we maintain a diverse management team as we feel that this approach can lead to innovations and new ways of thinking, ultimately providing a stronger and broader support structure for our projects. Of course, the core of our business is built up of experienced specialists, but we have also taken great care in recent years to train and develop people – I suppose I am a current example of this.

What is your role within the company today?

I work as Business Development Manager at SMC. I have responsibility for all Sales & Marketing functions within the business, and primarily I am tasked with engaging  with client’s operational and procurement teams, managing the bidding process as we compete for work in both emerging and established markets. 

What services do SMC offer?

We offer a range of services and pride ourselves on the quality of service that we deliver. We are proud to have established ourselves as a renowned and proven provider of safe, quality turnkey solutions. Our primary services include:

  • Marine Consultancy
  • Vessel Inspection (eCMID, OVID, MISW, On/Off-Hire Suitability Survey, Bespoke Inspections, etc.)
  • Marine Coordination
  • Statutory Inspection
  • Structural Inspection and Maintenance Above Water (inc. a range of solutions)
  • Temporary Staff Services

Where are the main areas of work location?

We have operational offices in the UK, the EU and South-East Asia, but we deliver services globally. The UK, Germany and Taiwan remain our most significant sources of revenue, which is understandable due to their leading commitments to offshore wind.

As a company, we intend to continue to operate in both established and emerging markets. We recently won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category, which was a great achievement for SMC and really emphasised our success in overseas trading. There are a lot of exciting works planned for the coming years and we’re really looking forward to the continued growth of the offshore wind industry on a global scale.

Do you offer any services outside of Offshore Wind?

Yes – absolutely!

Although the bulk of our work is in offshore wind, we continue to provide support to a range of sectors, including marine, nuclear, oil & gas and utilities.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Definitely the variety.

At SMC I have been given exposure to a range of industries all over the world. As I am relatively new to the industry, there has been so much to learn, which has been a real treat. I have also been tasked with establishing our business in new markets, and early phase missions to the likes of Taiwan and the United States have been a brilliant experience.

In my role I have to maintain knowledge of SMC operations, client operations and industry direction – which in this relatively green and exciting industry is rarely a chore.

Do you have any frequent challenges related to the Workboat industry?

2020, and in particular the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, has brought about a number of challenges which we have all had to adapt to over course of the year – we hope that these aren’t so much a frequent challenge, but that they become an anomaly by the time we leave 2021 and move into 2022. Time will tell.

Less unforeseeable challenges do still remain, however. We see plenty of opportunity for improvement and optimisations.

To give a specific example, fuelling logistics within some offshore wind projects could be improved. We see the use of road trucks for fuelling somewhat an inhibitor to efficiency. The loss of time as boats queue to refuel could be mitigated by investing in fuelling infrastructure.

Do you have any advice for Workboat Operators?

At SMC, we sit in a somewhat privileged position, in that we have such a broad exposure to the industry, with our services sitting across the supply chain and through to project developers and owners.

There would be benefit in the facilitation of workshops that invite workboat operators, their clients and any other relevant parties to discuss project mechanisms and operations in their entirety. I think sometimes it is easy to act within a bubble, and that a greater visibility of “the bigger picture” could lead to optimisations, or at least the easing of any frictions that may exist. Communication is one of the greatest tools in ensuring that projects are delivered safely and on time – it could only be a positive thing in my view, supporting the development of productive working relationships.

Member Profile: Neil Brockman – Cormorant Cruises

Neil informs us about his career and his new business as owner of Cormorant Cruises, based in Cornwall.

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What is your background?

I grew up within a family committed to the RNLI in a small town in Cornwall, when I was old enough I followed my family’s footsteps and became a volunteer myself. At the age of 26 I became the fulltime Coxswain of our local lifeboat having previously spent some time as the Skipper of a fishing trawler. After 30 years’ service in the RNLI I made a move into the Workboat sector as a Master to have a change and embrace a new sector within the maritime industry.

What services do you currently offer?

I am a freelance Workboat Master and Fishing vessel Skipper, I also have a small commercial workboat of my own in my hometown of Mousehole in Cornwall which I operate in Summer as a local tour vessel including sights and stories on local wildlife, geology and history for both residents and holiday makers.

What has been the main driver for you to join the Workboat Association?

I have many friends who are members of the WA and I am fully supportive of industry collaborating to join efforts together, especially when it comes to training and safety. As I haven’t owned my company/vessel for long I find it is extremely valuable to have the support of others with experience around me.

Can you name a few highlights from your career?

In 2007 the RNLI took me to Shanghai with two other Coxswains to train employees of the Chinese Government on operating, handling and maintaining high-speed rescue craft; as they redeveloped their own Marine Rescue service. I spent over a month there, learning lots myself about the local culture and a different perspective on small vessel operations, I met some really great people – it’s a time I will never forget.

What are the current projects/vessels you are working on?

Now my own vessel is laid-up for winter, when I return home she will be taken out of the water where she will stay until next season. Currently I am working in the Netherlands for Acta Marine on board a vessel working on the Fryslân Wind Farm construction project. I enjoy the flexibility of my work and the changes in scenery and work scopes.

Do you have any advice to other self-employed workboat Masters or single vessel owners?

My father always told me “Look after your boat, [whoever’s boat you are working on] and your boat will look after you”. Keep enthused about training on board, I have first-hand witnessed many times the outcomes of when emergency preparedness is not taken seriously; You have to expect the unexpected when working at sea.

How has your background in the RNLI affected your work today?

Working for the RNLI gave me a professional and serious understanding about the risks of working and enjoying recreation at sea. You cannot be complacent as conditions and situations vary everyday and they can also change with the ‘click of a switch’. Although my ties with the RNLI are no longer operationally active, I remain dutiful to the cause and hold the highest respect for all those volunteering their time and risking their lives in the effort to save others. I, to this day believe that all mariners could learn a great deal from the eyes of someone who has served in a Marine Rescue Service, of which the RNLI is one of the best.

Member Profile: Ernst-Jan Kouveld, ORCA Crew Services

Ernst-Jan, Area Manager at South-Netherlands based Crew Services provider (and sponsors of the Workboat Association’s 25th Anniversary Drinks Reception) – ORCA Crew Services – tells us a little more about the ORCA team, their offering and objectives in this month’s Member Profile.

(Pictured here on the left with two of his colleagues. Attendees of the 2020 AGM may well recognise Rob Vermeulen, centre)

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What is the history of ORCA Crew Services BV.?

ORCA Crew Services BV was founded in September 2017 by a group of like-minded professionals with large experience in Maritime and Offshore recruitment services.

With 3 x branch offices and several dedicated agencies ORCA can provide bespoke turnkey recruitment solutions to their clients worldwide.

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When did you join the company?

I personally joined ORCA on January 1st 2018, recently after the company was established and have enjoyed everyday since – we have a great team and I really like the interaction with our clients.

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What is your background?

It has been varied, but always in Maritime Industry Services, for over 15 years now. I have experience as a Ships Agent, working for Shipowners and Ship Management Companies and of course; Crewing Agencies.

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What services do ORCA currently offer and what is your specialism?

We provide a range of Crewing related services to our customers, these include (but are not limited to);

  • Crew Management / Organisation
  • Recruitment, placement and research
  • Payroll Solutions
  • Ship Delivery Solutions
  • Permanent and temporary Staffing
  • Training Solutions
  • Logistical Services

I am the Manager of the Netherlands so I have a good oversight of many of these services in my sector, key to my role would be client engagement and working to provide them with high quality and professional solutions.

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What are the objectives of ORCA?

ORCA’s objectives quite simply are; maintaining the high-level of services we deliver to our clients and gaining market share with innovative solutions.

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Has there been any significant highlights since the conception of ORCA Crew Services?

A major milestone has been the signing of some large framework agreements within the more well-known Offshore Wind Contractors, we are glad to supply the entire project spread from Hopper dredgers to Multicats and from Offshore Construction Vessels to Crew Transfer Vessels.

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What was the main driver for ORCA to join the Workboat Association in 2019?

Amongst our clients many are Workboat Association members, so it is always beneficial hearing the challenges and best practices they are experiencing in the market. By being a member it is actually mutually-beneficial, we learn at the same time as our clients so we can continue to remain current with expectations and best practice whilst also giving back to the industry with help from our membership and sponsorship of the Association.

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What are the greatest crewing challenges that you experience in the Workboat industry currently?

At moment, despite any ‘normally’ perceived challenges (which we are experienced to manage and advise on), it has to be “How the COVID-19 crisis restricts travelling” especially from and to the Middle East in order to carry out crew changes, we see Shipping Companies unable to relieve crew on board >6 months.

How do you think Brexit may affect your business?

It is our motto to turn challenges into opportunities, we have a broad range of payroll facilities – we anticipate that their will be hurdles regarding the forthcoming Brexit but due to our wide offering we believe we are suited to be able to offer continuity with little disruption.

We do realize that obvious routine will become more bureaucratic once the Brexit enters into effect but until the final exit negotiations are complete it is not fully known the exact details that will affect UK Crewing, we continue to keep a close eye on this and we are ready to assist once the decision is made.

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