In our final ‘Member Profile’ of 2017, we catch up with Dave McNaughtan, General Manager at Delta Marine, for his view on where opportunities lie for growth in the marine energy sector.
Tell us about Delta Marine. What is your background as a business, and in which core areas do you currently operate?
Delta Marine has grown from a one-vessel firm to become an operator of modern, high-spec anchor handling tugs and workboats, deployed worldwide.
We support a range of offshore services, from dredging to offshore wind construction, but an increasing proportion of the business is dedicated to supporting the aquaculture (fish farming) industry. Around 75% of our business is currently in aquaculture, with the remaining 25% encompassing offshore development work including cable laying and operating dive platforms for surveying.
How has the business evolved since it was established in 1985? Have there been any major changes in focus?
Since 1985, the business has grown into a number of different areas, supporting a number of innovative marine industries in various markets internationally.
We have been involved in offshore wind from the very start, having worked on the first offshore wind project in Copenhagen, and have subsequently supported large-scale UK projects including Robin Rigg, Burbo Bank and Rampion.
We’ve also had a hand in supporting in the some of the early wave and tidal energy projects, working for firms such as Pelamis and Nova Innovation, for whom we’ve helped to install the first devices.
Recently Delta has supported BP in the Caspian Sea, and completed a range of international charters from Australia to the Mediterranean.
What is your career background, and how did you come to work in your current role at the business?
I started out working as a yacht rigger, before moving on to workboats, where I’ve worked my way up through the ranks from deckhand, to master, to vessel management. I’ve worked for a number of firms in the market, including Holyhead Towing, and joined Delta in 1994, where I’m now a General Manager.
What’s the latest news at Delta Marine? Which markets are you currently targeting?
As both industries expand, we are continuing to target the offshore wind and wave & tidal energy markets. We recently launched Voe Vanguard, a Damen-built DP2 Renewables Service Vessel, designed specifically for the purpose of supporting marine energy projects.
As a Multicat, she is suited to a range of work scopes, and is currently working on rock bag deployment at a pipeline, before she moves on to a contract at Walney offshore wind farm.
What effect are current market trends having on the commercial strategy of the business?
2017 was a better year than expected, but the prior three years had been difficult for the workboat market. With a steady period of offshore wind construction in the coming years, the ambition for Delta with Voe Vanguard will be to secure long-term contracts and maintain occupancy.
Do you see any challenges on the horizon for the UK workboat sector?
Recent German domestic rulings have posed a challenge, but this has been shared industry-wide. Likewise, Brexit naturally creates some uncertainty, but the lack of clarity on any future effects makes it hard to assess what the associated challenges might be. Offshore wind work is cyclical by nature, but fortunately seems to be on the verge of another upward trend, which should hopefully keep us all busy.
How, and why, did Delta Marine come to be a member of the NWA, and what do you value the most about your membership?
Delta has been involved in the NWA since the start. What we value most is the ability it affords us to ask almost any maritime question and get an answer. The organisation continues to evolve and is going in a good direction, giving all members the opportunity to have their say.