Nicola was quite literally ‘born into Maritime’! She tells us about her career so far, her interests and about her role within Njord Offshore.
“My first sailing trip across the Atlantic was when I was 2 years old”
- Who are Njord Offshore?
Njord Offshore manages 21 Crew Transfer Vessels for the Offshore Windfarm Sector. Our head office is based in Tendring, UK and our operations extend throughout Northern Europe. We are focused on bringing our clients an industry leading service with efficient and well maintained vessels, qualified and trained crew and backed up by a hardworking, experienced shore-side team. All of our crew transfer vessels are fully classed with an IACS member and purpose built for the Offshore Wind Industry. Our vessels are built for a wide range of duties however passenger comfort & offshore transfer capability remain our key focus.
- What is role at Njord Offshore and how long have you been part of the organisation?
I joined Njord Offshore as an Operations Manager in August 2020. The operations team are allocated their vessels geographically, I live close to the channel tunnel, due to this I look after the non-UK vessels along with my colleague Tim who resides in Germany. My responsibilities are wide reaching, day to day I will look after many aspects of the vessels including the vessel certification, client liaison, investigating accidents and incidents, maintenance, recruitment and crewing. I also look after the companies crew covid requirements; we have up to 70 crew changing shift each week and I make sure they have the correct documentation, testing and vaccines to travel to and from site, along with ensuring they complete any necessary site paperwork before arrival on shift.
- What is your career background?
After graduating from Cardiff University in 2008 with a degree in environmental science, I decided to complete my RYA Yachtmaster before joining the MCA as a Watch Officer at Dover MRCC in 2009. Whilst there I started studying for my Master 200 CoC and shortly after passing my oral exam in December 2012 I started working as a Master for CWind. Along with my now husband and brother in law, we purchased two crew transfer vessels of our own and worked on various UK windfarms within the CWind fleet. In 2016 we sold our vessels and moved within CWind to management roles, looking after the maintenance, crewing and certification of 13 of their vessels.
In 2020 me and my husband Stuart both moved to Njord Offshore and have thoroughly enjoyed our first year with them.
- How did you first get an interest in Maritime?
I was born into a sailing family and actually lived on a yacht until I was 5 years old. My first sailing trip across the Atlantic was when I was 2 years old and after settling in the UK to start school I continued to sail each summer as my Dad ran a sailing school in Gibraltar. When I moved to Dover to start working for the MCA I also joined the Dover RNLI Lifeboat where I volunteered as a crew and navigator, and since relocating to Dungeness I now volunteer as a Deputy Launch Authority for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat. Maritime has always been a large part of my life.
- What do you get up to in your spare time?
Besides RNLI volunteering and my daily work at Njord Offshore, I spend the rest of my time with my family. Juggling these with motherhood is more than enough to keep me occupied and entertained!
- Last month you attended a Parliamentary round-table representing the Workboat Association, can you tell us a bit about that?
During London International Shipping Week I proudly represented the Workboat Association together with Maritime UK at a ministerial round table hosted at Durbar Court in the Foreign Office. Along with other industry representatives I was invited to speak in front of the Secretary of State for Transport, the Maritime Minister, the Minister for Trade Policy and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, along with officials from the Department of Transport. To say I was out of my comfort zone would be an understatement! But, I actually really enjoyed it. It was fascinating to hear from industry representatives on the issue of decarbonisation, the progress so far, as well as the challengers still faced. It is something I would definitely be keen to support again.
- What are Njord Offshore’s main concerns about reaching Net 0% Carbon emissions in the future?
Our Charterers, (the windfarm owners and turbine manufacturers), have ambitious emission targets, as a key part of their supply chain we’re acutely aware of the need to drive the decarbonisation and sustainability of our business, this goes hand-in-hand with Njord’s own concern for the environment and our company objectives.
Like the vast majority of the workboats in our industry, all Njord Offshore’s vessels are all currently fitted with large diesel engines so there is a huge challenge on our hands.
Today, we are able to operate on HVO fuel, something that we’re encouraging our clients to consider, and we are actively looking at Electric and Hydrogen as alternative power sources but there is a significant investment required, both in the vessels but more importantly in the port infrastructure in order to ‘bunker’ these alternative fuels in the ports we operate.
Hopefully, in the near future, we will have more clarity on port infrastructure investments in alternative fuels which will help develop a clearer pathway to the Net 0 carbon emissions that our sector and, ultimately, our planet needs!