Mersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseysideMersey Maritime - A driving force for the maritime industry on merseyside

By Mersey Maritime

Birkenhead firm to help put blaze-hit iconic Windermere ferry back on the water

Wirral maritime engineering firm and Mersey Maritime member SeaKing Electrical has been tasked with getting a famous Lake District ferry back on the water after a crippling blaze on the vessel.

Mallard, which operates as a car ferry on Lake Windermere, suffered a fire in its engine room in March following a hydraulic leak, causing the evacuation of 80 passengers and crew.

Now Birkenhead-based SeaKing has secured a tender with the vessel’s owner, Cumbria County Council, to repair the electrics so it can be put back into operation. Mallard has capacity for 100 passengers and 18 cars and is a vital transport route on the lake.

New engine

SeaKing Electrical managing director Dave Gillam said following a damage inspection of the vessel it was clear a complete rewiring job was required together with the installation of a new engine.

He added: “SeaKing understands what a vital role the ferry plays, and our team is working now to fix the electrics so it can get back to sailing and supporting the local community as soon as possible.”

Mr Gillam explained the electrical works required are extensive and a whole new electrical system has been designed to meet inland waterways regulations and an inspection by the Maritime Coastguard Agency.

Global experience

“SeaKing has considerable experience of repairing fire damage on ships worldwide ranging from Royal Fleet Auxiliary naval vessels to large commercial vessels in the Mediterranean,” he said.

“On this job we are undertaking afloat repairs removing all existing cabling and installing new electrics through-out the ship including the switchboard, control room, wheel-house, propulsion systems, lighting and the engine room.

“A new fire detection system will be installed to protect the wheel-house, engine room, secure room and passenger accommodation.”

Mr Gillam also said a PA system is being put in place to allow messages and safety announcements to be broadcast in the passenger accommodation and car deck.

Local community

Karl Melville, senior manager at Cumbria County Council’s highways and transport service said: “The Windermere ferry is an iconic and important part of the local community and a ferry has served the Lake District for centuries.”

This latest job marks a busy year for SeaKing Electrical. The company has worked across the UK and Europe on naval ships, superyachts and ferries. SeaKing presently employs more than 100 engineers, including a vibrant apprenticeship programme and has a turnover of more than £8m.

By Mersey Maritime

New report shows LJMU’s role as a business and economic powerhouse

A new report has revealed Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) to be a hotbed of business creation working with 2,000 student and graduate entrepreneurs every year.

Thanks to its dedicated Centre for Entrepreneurship, LJMU is ranked among the top 20 universities in the the UK for graduate start-ups – helping to create and grow new enterprises.

Six boroughs

The university, a member of Mersey Maritime, commissioned accountancy firm RSM to evaluate its economic impact across the six Liverpool city region boroughs of Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton.

Researchers also sought the views of staff and students via one-to-one consultations and surveys securing 370 and 1,500 responses respectively.

LJMU’s student and graduate entrepreneurs gain access to all of the university’s resources, including business advice, mentorship opportunities with academic experts and alumni, access to research labs plus introductions to companies and organisations already working with LJMU or interested in the work it does.

Seed funding

Other notable data uncovered by the report, included:

LJMU scholarships worth £2,000 and £3,000 plus £250 seed funding awarded annually to help turn viable business ideas into successful ventures
200+ LJMU graduate start-up firms are active in the region, employing 431 people and generating £17.1m in annual turnover
1,200 firms are members of its start-up network, with more than 40 new ideas and businesses supported on average each year
In 2015/16, over 10,000 students across LJMU took a module involving an enterprise and entrepreneurship session
The university itself is already a major contributor to the city region economy. Its total annual income is £208.6m with a total expenditure of £206.8m. It’s total annual economic output, including supply chain contribution and employment, is £607m.

Around 85% of LJMU’s output, or £517m, is across the North West and 73%, or £441m is in the city region. It spends £56m on goods and services with 540 companies and organisations.

Long-term prosperity

The report also revealed that the university’s staff and students contributed more than 1m hours of voluntary support to communities across the city region and in the wider North West.

Professor Nigel Weatherill, vice-chancellor and chief executive of LJMU, said: “It is perhaps not surprising that the outcomes of this assessment confirm that LJMU delivers signifiant contribution to the regional economy.

“What is striking, however, is the central part LJMU, its staff and students, play in driving long-term prosperity, inclusivity and community cohesion within the Liverpool city region.”

By Mersey Maritime

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth returns to her ‘spiritual home’

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth made her seventh visit to Liverpool on July 23 and her latest call marked the 80th  anniversary of the launch of Cunard’s second Mauretania at Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead in July 1938.

To mark the occasion a special sail away show took place on the Cruise Berth, at Princes Dock. The show featured a variety of musical performances including award-winning opera singer Joanne Dennis, followed by a confetti show.

A Cunard visit always plays a highly significant role in Liverpool’s cruise season, as Cunard was founded in Liverpool in 1839 and the city was home to its head office for almost 130 years.

The second Mauretania was the first ship to be built for the newly formed Cunard White Star Line and was laid down on May 24, 1937. She was the largest ship ever to be built in an English shipyard at the time.

Also during Queen Elizabeth’s latest call, there was a special service at Liverpool Parrish Church led by the Rector of Liverpool the Revd Dr Crispin Pailing. In the congregation were be civic dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, the Master of Queen Elizabeth Captain Aseem Hashmi and other Cunard representatives.

Head of cruise & maritime operations at Cruise Liverpool, Peter Murney said: “To have Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth visiting us on the anniversary of the Second Mauritania launching at Cammell Laird shipyard is extremely special for us.

“We’re incredibly proud of our maritime heritage and our strong connection to Cunard. This Cruise season is in full swing and we couldn’t be happier to be able to welcome thousands of passengers and crew to our beautiful city.”

Vice President of marketing at Cunard, Angus Struthers, said: “ We are immensely proud that her return to Liverpool gave us the opportunity to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the launch of our second Mauretania from Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead.”

By Mersey Maritime

Revenues at law firm Brabners rise 8% to more than £31m

Pictured: Robert White, CEO and Nik White, Managing Partner, Brabners LLP

Law firm Brabners has grown annual revenues 8% to £31.4m. The practice, with offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston, said profits were also up but did not release a figure.

Brabners says the improved turnover figure for the year to April 30, 2018 came about following “significant investment in its business and people’ and strong growth came in areas such as corporate and commercial, dispute resolution and housing and regeneration.

Earlier this year Brabners, a member of Mersey Maritime, announced the appointment of a new senior management team. Nik White was elected as the firm’s new managing partner, succeeding Mark Brandwood, and Robert White, a business executive with more than 25 years’ experience, was appointed chief executive officer.

The pair, who are not related, are now leading the implementation of Brabners’ three-year business plan. Nik White said: “The new strategy we’re implementing, which builds on our approach of placing clients at the heart of everything we do, is bearing fruit.

“Over the past year we’ve invested significantly in our business, helping to make us more efficient and cementing our reputation as an outstanding place to work.

“The impact of these changes is evident in our top and bottom line growth. We are sending a clear signal to the market that we will always invest so we can continue to provide best-in-class service and solutions to our clients.”

Robert White added: “By investing in our business, making Brabners one of the best places to work and by executing our three-year growth plan, we can continue to help our clients to make sense of the rapidly-changing business environment.”

By Mersey Maritime

Maritime UK welcomes ‘clarity’ of Brexit White Paper

Pictured: David Dingle, Chairman Maritime UK 

Industry body Maritime UK says has called on both the Government and the EU to work together on Brexit, adding: “The time for political games is over.”

Responding to the Brexit White Paper, Maritime UK chairman David Dingle said the maritime sector now welcomed the “clarity” that was now emerging from the UK Government.

However, he added that further clarity was needed in areas such as EU VAT and services.

Mr Dingle said: “Our greatest concern in leaving the EU has been disruption to the flow of trade at ports. This white paper, if realised, would preserve frictionless trade at our borders.

“Industry on both sides of the channel has been calling for frictionless trade, and shared rules would remove many of the barriers to achieving frictionless trade.

“Shared rules will also support the export of the UK’s marine equipment. We equally welcome the ambition to achieve mutual recognition of professional qualifications, including certificates of competency), free movement of staff to ensure our companies have access to the best talent, and continued participation in European initiatives such as the European Maritime Safety Agency.

“This is, clearly, however, a negotiation. So whilst we welcome this renewed pragmatism from the UK government, we call on the European Union to urgently realise their mutual interest and make these proposals work.

“We need to be able to continue serving customers in the EU. The UK is the world’s premier centre for maritime services, and we’ve long called for mutual recognition as part of the UK’s future relationship.”

By Mersey Maritime

Essar grows revenues at Stanlow oil refinery to more than £4bn

Stanlow’s huge oil refinery on the banks of the River Mersey saw annual soar 10.2% to more than £4bn – despite a three-month shutdown for upgrade work.

Owner Essar Oil UK, a member of Mersey Maritime, said the facility, which supplies more than 16% of the UK’s road fuel and employs almost 1,000 people, also generated a profit after tax of £123m in the year to March31, slightly down from £128m in 2017.

The global Essar Group acquired the then loss-making Stanlow in 2011 from Shell and has since invested £650m turning it into a sustainable and profitable business.

It is a huge operation which every year produces 4.4bn litres of diesel, 3bn litres of petrol and 2bn litres of jet fuel. More than 9m tonnes of crude oil and feed-stock processed each year, making it one of the biggest refineries in the country.

For the first time, the company leased storage in Rotterdam, together with blending and jetty infrastructure, in order to cater to gasoline export markets directly.

A key priority is increasing share of the market for the direct supply of aviation fuel to leading airlines, with agreements now in place with airlines at a number of UK airports. Essar also remains a major player in the wholesale supply of Jet A-1 to UK airports.

The Essar petrol station network has grown to more than 50 locations since entering the UK retail market. The first company-owned flagship site will open opposite the Stanlow Refinery later this year.

Essar Oil UK chairman, Prashant Ruia, said: “Stanlow has emerged as a top tier refinery in Europe, with 16% market share in the UK and a growing presence in the retail and aviation sectors.

“We will continue to make proactive investments in technology to build a sustainable business that remains competitive in the rapidly changing global energy market.”

By Mersey Maritime

Sir David Attenborough sends £200m polar expedition vessel sliding into the Mersey

Veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has launched the vessel that shares his name into the Mersey – the £200m polar expedition vessel that was almost called Boaty McBoatface.

With a 10,000-tonne hull, Sir David Attenborough went sliding down the slipway at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead and into the river. The riverbed had been dredged ahead of the launch in case the hull hit the bottom.

With the help of tugs the vessel made its way into the middle of the river before returning to a wet dock at Cammell Laird where, over the next few months, the upper decks and the internal fixtures and fittings will be installed.

Sea trials

Towards the end of the year Sir David Attenborough will be handed over to the British Antarctic Survey when it will undergo sea trials before doing what it was built for – exploring the North and South Poles.

Before pressing the button to send the vessel down the slipway, Sir David said: “Our future will be affected by what people working on this ship will be discovering in years to come… it is the greatest possible honour to be its namesake.

“When 100 years ago this country sent people down to the South Pole, we were the pioneers in exploring the Antarctic. When we did so, I expect the reason we did was the South Pole seemed as far away as it could possibly get to be on this planet.

“Now, 100 years later, we realise that remote place is, in fact, key to the whole understanding of the planet. What goes on down there effects the whole of the Earth in which we live.”

‘Airfix model’

Cammell Laird was chosen to build Sir David Attenborough in 2015 and began work the following year. Described as being like a “giant Airfix model” she was constructed using one million pieces of steel, 30km of piping, 5,000 valves, and 450km of cabling.

She is 125 metres long with a beam of about 24 metres. Her draught will be about 7 metres . Her cruising speed will be 13 knots with a range of 19,000 nautical miles at that speed.

The vessel will also be equipped to carry a helicopter will have a capacity for approximately 900 cubic metres of cargo. Accommodation will be provided for 30 crew and 60 research staff. It will replace existing vessels RRS James Clark and RRS Ernest Shackleton.

Public choice

An online poll to suggest a name for the ship resulted in the name Boaty McBoatface being the overwhelming choice of the public. It was rejected as the name however, one of the vessels remote controlled submersible crafts will bear the name.

Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey, told BBC News: “We’ve now got a real state-of-the-art ship and so we’ll be able to do a lot more science. We’ll be able to go into more remote areas.

“We’ll be able to do bigger projects; we’ll be able to do a lot more science. We really will be able to do frontier science that we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool’s Pullman Hotel supporting World Boccia Championships

Liverpool’s four-star Pullman Hotel has been appointed Official VIP and Team Hotel for the BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships in August.

Located in Kings Dock, the Pullman is part of the ACC Liverpool complex, which includes the Echo Arena, BT Convention Centre, as well as Exhibition Centre Liverpool, which will be the venue for World Boccia Championships from August 12 to 18.

The event will see more than 180 athletes from around the world battling it out for world titles. Britain will field a team of ten which includes Paralympic gold medallist David Smith and defending champion Stephen McGuire who are both vying for podium positions.

Pullman Liverpool, a member of Mersey Maritime, will accommodate more than 200 athletes, event staff, organisers as well as a host of Championship VIPs. General Manager Neil Brailsford says: “We are really looking forward to welcoming the teams, staff and dignitaries to Pullman Liverpool Hotel especially in the year that the city celebrates its tenth anniversary as Capital of Culture.”

John Dowson, chair of Boccia UK, added: “We chose Pullman Liverpool for a number of reasons. Obviously its excellent location near the Exhibition Centre was a major factor. The design and layout of the rooms makes them very accessible for our athletes who are in wheelchairs.

“Furthermore, the staff and management at the hotel have listened and supported the Event Management team every step of the way to ensure a world class environment for the teams coming from right around the world.”

The fact that the hotel is on site has also removed the huge logistical challenge for transport to and from the venue.

The BISFed 2018 World Boccia Championships has been made possible thanks to UK Sport’s National Lottery funding through its Major Events Programme.

Tickets are on sale now and are available to buy online at

By Mersey Maritime

Use LIBOR fines to help fund Battle of the Atlantic memorial in Liverpool, charity says

Money from the LIBOR bank fines fund could be used to help fund a national Battle of the Atlantic memorial on Liverpool’s waterfront.

The Battle of the Atlantic Memorial (BOAM) campaign began fundraising in January. It hopes to secure £2.5m to create a monument at the Pier Head, dedicated to the estimated 100,000 people who lost their lives during the World War Two battle, as well as those who served and survived.

BOAM chairman Vice-Admiral Mike Gretton has written to Chancellor Philip Hammond, appealing for support via the LIBOR Charity Funding scheme.

‘Very deserving’

Established in 2012, the fund has handed out £773m to armed forces and emergency services charities, including £20m for a memorial commemorating British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the D-Day landings and in the Normandy Campaign.

In his letter to the Mr Hammond, Vice-Admiral Gretton said: “The planned D-Day Memorial has received £20m from the LIBOR bank fines fund to help pay for its construction. While the D-Day Memorial is very deserving, there  is another national World War Two memorial – to the Battle of the Atlantic – being planned at a considerably lower cost of around £2.5m.

“You will be aware of the colossal loss of life in the Battle of the Atlantic of more than 100,000. The battle was the longest of World War Two beginning on 3 September 1939 and lasting until VE Day on 8 May in 1945.

“Without the lionhearted efforts of thousands of men and women from Britain and our allies during the Battle of the Atlantic we would not have been able to fight or feed ourselves – and there would have been no D-Day.

“As chairman of the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial campaign I would like to appeal for your help to secure funding from LIBOR or other fine funds to help construct our memorial.”

Naval support

BOAM has raised £100,000 since the start of the year and received the full support of the First Sea Lord. It’s working with both the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy, and has the backing of a number of international bodies, including US-based organisations American Merchant Marine Veterans and Project Liberty Ship.

For more information on the campaign, sponsorship packages and to make donations visit:  email: call 01243 545939

By Mersey Maritime

2M switches Transatlantic cargo route from Felixstowe to Liverpool

Liverpool2 will welcome its biggest vessels so far from next week when the port welcomes a new new transatlantic container service.

An alliance between Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company, known as 2M, will switch its TA2 service from Felixstowe to Liverpool on a temporary basis from July 22. Felixstowe is struggling with problems with a new terminal operating system.

At the same time, Maersk Line’s South American service, Colombia Express, will also start calling at the port of Liverpool, exporting UK goods to Newark.

The TA2 and Colombia Express routes will use a range of vessels up to 8,500 TEU. The larger vessels will call at Liverpool2 with smaller vessels using Royal Seaforth Container Terminal.

Liverpool will be the final port of call for both weekly services as they head westbound across the Atlantic. The ships will load UK export cargo such as Scotch whisky, food products and trade machinery.

The new services will also see the Port of Liverpool open up direct links with the US ports of Charleston and Savannah.

Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said: “This news demonstrates the impact which our investment in Liverpool2 has had in re-shaping UK logistics, and disrupting traditional approaches to shipping.

“It is also testament to the progress we’ve made at Liverpool and the efforts we’ve made to strengthen our relationships with major lines.

“Our objective is now to secure these or similar services in the long-term by delivering the cost, congestion and carbon emission benefits that Liverpool2 in particular will offer shipping lines and cargo owners.”

Asbjorn Kops, trade and marketing director of Maersk, added: “After resuming a service in Liverpool two years ago, via a feeder connection, we have been able to offer flexibility to our customers in the North West region.

“Switching our Transatlantic service temporarily to Liverpool allows us to maintain our comprehensive UK offering with a wide range of connections to our global network.”

By Mersey Maritime

Meticulous planning key to success of Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group collaboration

A collaboration combing the expertise of two Mersey Maritime members which saw a complex project delivered in time and on budget was the subject of a fascinating presentation at the July Face2Face networking breakfast.

Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group came together to manage the demolition of a set of passenger walkways, built more than 20 years ago, at the Port of Holyhead to make way for a new structure.

Owned and operated by Stena Line Ports, Holyhead handles a significant ro-ro and passenger traffic trade route between Ireland and the UK and Continental Europe. The work was focused on the demolition of the walkways linking terminal 3 with the terminal building.

Terminal 3 is where the Irish Ferries vessels berth and there are fours sailings a day 365 days a year. At the breakfast event, Jamie Gray from Royal HaskoningDHV told Mersey Maritime members that working around the sailings presented a huge logistical challenge.

“Any delays to the sailings either on the way in or on the way out would incur a cost of around 75,000 euros – so it is an expensive mistake if we can’t work within specific windows,” said Jamie.

Beech Group’s Chris Wainwright added: “When each boat left we would have a four-hour window to do what we needed to do. Key to the success of this project was sitting down with the clients to go over every detail.

“Everything had to be timed and every day we would have meetings on site to plan everything down to the last detail. It was a complicated job – not just because of the sailings but also because of potential disruption from changing weather conditions.”

The final lift was undertaken using a land based 750-tonne capacity crane reaching over 40 metres to lift a 34 metre span section of walkway weighing 35 tonnes.

Jamie added: “This operation was a great example of collaboration between Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group and this was an excellent operation.”

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime – July 2018 Ezine

The E-Zine is our monthly round-up of the big stories from across our industry and most importantly our members.

This month, we took to the stage to fly the flag for Clusters at the International Maritime Forum, while Liverpool Cruise Terminal prepared to welcome a record number of vessels over the summer months.

Read the full newsletter:

Mersey Maritime July 2018 E-zine

Birkenhead firm to help put blaze-hit iconic Windermere ferry back on the water
New report shows LJMU’s role as a business and economic powerhouse
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth returns to her ‘spiritual home’
Revenues at law firm Brabners rise 8% to more than £31m
Maritime UK welcomes ‘clarity’ of Brexit White Paper
Essar grows revenues at Stanlow oil refinery to more than £4bn
Sir David Attenborough sends £200m polar expedition vessel sliding into the Mersey
Liverpool’s Pullman Hotel supporting World Boccia Championships
Use LIBOR fines to help fund Battle of the Atlantic memorial in Liverpool, charity says
2M switches Transatlantic cargo route from Felixstowe to Liverpool
Meticulous planning key to success of Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group collaboration
Mersey Maritime – July 2018 Ezine