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

By Mersey Maritime

Young trainees honoured at Birkenhead’s Engineering College awards

Young engineering trainees in Merseyside have been recognised for their outstanding efforts at an awards ceremony.

Birkenhead’s Engineering College celebrated the region’s young talent in the 2017 Apprentice Awards in Monk’s Ferry.

Located next door to the famous Cammell Laird shipyard, the college was formerly known as the Maritime & Engineering College and has 330 apprentices on its books from around 70 firms.

A big winner on the night was Jennifer Corkill, from Stadler, who secured two awards – The Engineering College Development Stage Apprentice and The ‘Ian Yates’ contribution to Engineering Award for her outstanding progression. Michael Dodd, of Teledyne CML, received The Jim Teasdale Apprentice of the Year award. It came just weeks after being named as a ‘runner up’ in the national Composites UK 2017 Industry Awards. The TWI Welder of the Year award was handed to Thomas Jones, from Cammell Laird, with the ECITB Apprentice of the Year award presented to Kurtis Kearns, of Studley Engineering.

A total of 11 awards were handed out on the night with headline sponsors including Cammell Laird, ECITB (Engineering Construction Industry Training Board) and The Welding Institute (TWI) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Engineering College chief executive Terry Weston said: “The college has seen an exceptional intake of young engineers and strong progression with existing students this year.

“This awards evening provides an opportunity to recognise the commitment and dedication shown by a range of students. The 2017 format included 11 awards in a bid to recognise each stage of an apprenticeship, as many of our student are with us for a number of years.’

Below is the full list of winners:

Pre- Apprenticeship Student of the Year – Andrew Casey, Brimark Signs
The Engineering College Foundation Stage Award – Jack Bendrey, National Marine
The Engineering College Development Stage Apprentice – Jennifer Corkill, Stadler
The Engineering College Further Development Stage Apprentice – Steven Butler, Balfour Beatty
Cammell Laird Development Stage Apprentice – Dean Scaife
Cammell Laird Apprentice of the Year – James Bowler
ECITB Apprentice of the Year – Kurtis Kearns, Studley Engineering
The Welding Institute Welder of the Year – Thomas Jones, Cammell Laird
IMECHE ‘Most Improved’ Apprentice – Zack Kirkman, AMF Engineering
The ‘Ian Yates’ contribution to Engineering Award – Jennifer Corkill
The ‘Jim Teasdale’ Apprentice of the Year – Michael Dodd, Teledyne CML



By Mersey Maritime

Heightsafe wins three-year contract with Premier Inn and Costa owner Whitbread

Wirral based safety specialist, Heightsafe has secured a three-year national contract with the UKs largest hotel and restaurant chain, Whitbread.

The hospitality giant operates some of best known names on the high street including Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, Beefeater and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread has appointed Mersey Maritime member Heightsafe to undertake statutory inspection and testing compliance for work at height and lightning protection assets, focusing on the cyclical certification of equipment and, general work at height compliance.

By utilising Heightsafe’s client portal, Whitbread will have instant access to all critical health and safety documents along with critical data relating to the location of assets on site, certificates and renewal test dates.

Marion Diable, commercial director of Heightsafe, said: “The award of this contract follows a very competitive tender process.

“From discussions held with the Whitbread procurement team, it is clear that our businesses are aligned by work ethic, and our mutual goals of providing clarity and true visibility of these important safety assets.”

Heightsafe, which employs 50 people, will also be taking on the testing of all personal protective equipment at Whitbread’s chains, making recommendations of any installation requirements for furthering their health & safety standards.

To find out more about Heightsafe Systems Ltd please visit  or call them on 020 3819 7199.

By Mersey Maritime

Global shipping group BSM meets with Mersey Maritime members with view to possible investments

Top executives from global maritime giant Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) came to Birkenhead to meet members of Mersey Maritime.

BSM offers comprehensive ship management and maritime services across the world, managing a fleet of 600 vessels and employing 20,000 people.

It also operates a network of a network of 10 ship management, 26 crew service and five wholly-owned maritime training centres  all over the globe.

Renewed confidence

The Mersey has also been a key location on the global maritime map and the local maritime sector is now experiencing renewed growth and confidence.

Giles A Heimann, corporate director, fleet personnel, at BSM came to Birkenhead with his colleagues Mauritz Brons and Niklas Koerner as they were keen to meet with members of Mersey Maritime to find out more.

After addressing members at Mersey Maritime’s monthly Face-2-Face breakfast networking event, Mr Heimann then conducted a number of one-to-one meetings with Mersey businesses to find out more about what they could offer.

Technology challenges

BSM is very focused on technological change, acknowledging the history and heritage of the maritime sector but also saying clearly that maritime firms needed to ready for the future.

One of the themes of the session in Birkenhead was “Where are we heading and what will the future of the industry be?”.

‘Major coup’

Speaking after the session, Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling Rooke, said: “This visit was major coup for our members. BSM is one of the biggest maritime companies in the world and these guys flew in from Germany and Cyprus to take part in this session.

“They have a large pot of money and they are prepared to invest in the right businesses. It shows the impact Mersey Maritime is now having on the global stage.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for our members to get the chance to meet BSM and it was also a great opportunity for BSM to see how they can access the skills and know-how of the world class maritime sector we have here in Merseyside.”

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 (MMIA18) Applications Live!

Applications & Ticket Sales for the prestigious Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 are now live!  

As we enter our fourth year, we are delighted to welcome back our four Diamond Sponsors, Beech Group, Liverpool John Moores University, Peel Ports Group & Stream Marine Training (SMT). In addition to this we are also extremely proud to have all of our award categories fully sponsored and very grateful to our many reinstated sponsors for their continued support.

The Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 will be held at the world famous Anfield Stadium on 8th March 2018, and will be our biggest and best yet. ‘Making Waves Globally’ has been chosen as the underlying theme because Liverpool is trading on a global scale and leading the way in terms of infrastructure investment, innovation, and connectivity both nationally and with the rest of the world. The level of interest in the awards has already been outstanding, and we are expecting the number of nominations to be larger than ever.

There are now 12 Awards you may wish to apply for, with the exciting addition of the National Impact Award for 2018! As always, the Judges will be considering who could be the potential candidate for this year’s Maritime Ambassador, taking our award total up to 13.

To book your tickets please click here and return the attached form to

To download an application pack please click here
The closing date for applications will be Friday 5th January 2018.

Award Categories:
Business of the Year– Sponsored by Stream Marine Training
SME of the Year – Sponsored be Royal HaskoningDHV
Micro Business of the Year – Sponsored by MTC
National Impact Award – Sponsored by Maritime UK
Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Liverpool John Moores University
Engineering Company of the Year – Sponsored by RSM
Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Stellamar
Innovation Award – Sponsored by Peel Ports Group
Freight & Logistics Award – Sponsored by Seatruck
Global Reach Award – Sponsored by NatWest
Maritime Professional Services Award – Sponsored by Tilney
Positive Impact Award – Sponsored by Associated British Ports (ABP)
Maritime Ambassador of the Year** – Sponsored by Beech Group

We wish you the best of luck with your applications!


By Mersey Maritime

Get on your Soap Box – Unilever Packaging Challenge

Unilever have invested in a state of the art Advanced Manufacturing Centre at their Port Sunlight base on the Wirral. The centre houses a pilot plant for the testing of new product and packaging developments and the consumer giant is now appealing to the sensor community for novel approaches to optimise their use of the facility.

Sensor City are calling for interested companies, entrepreneurs and academics to participate in a two day Hack and Pitch event facilitated by InnovateUK, to propose potential solutions to three key challenges raised by Unilever.

The event will run over two days and participants will hear from members of the Unilever Personal Care team about the following challenges, before spending time creating a solution pitch to be delivered to a Unilever panel on the second day.


  1. Measuring packaging resilience throughout the supply chain

As new packs are created and tested, new ways are sought to quantify how well optimised the pack is, how smoothly it runs in the supply chain, the forces it is exposed to and opportunities to enhance and improve it further. Unilever want to work with partners who can help develop a way of measuring the impact on packaging as it is transported, sorted, labelled, filled and capped.

  1. Development of robust in-line measurement techniques to track microstructure evolution during processing of personal care liquids (shampoo, bodywash, conditioners)

Due to the speed of innovation projects, there is usually little time to fully assess the effect of process tolerances to raw materials quality, dose accuracy, to name a few factors. Consequently, it can take several production batches to fully qualify a new product. Unilever has an interest in sensing innovations capable of measuring physical properties of materials in-line, so that corrective actions can be taken during production and with minimum wastage.

  1. Packaging life-cycle tracking and instant re-order

Recent trends have indicated that consumers are becoming increasingly more interested in the where and how their products are being made. Technology approaches to monitoring and tracking the entire life cycle of pack, from purchase through to disposal, and mechanisms for instant re-order, are sought.

You are invited to respond to one, two or all three challenges.

To find out more or register for this event please click here. 

By Mersey Maritime

Geo Data Systems Limited: Upcoming Open Days

On behalf of John Bean, Managing Director of Geo Data Systems Limited (GDSL), we would like to extend an exciting offer to attend one of their upcoming open days.  Industry leaders are invited to come and see their secure facility in Southport, and view their full range of services.

GDSL is a Global Mobility Service Provider and System Integrator, committed to delivering High-Quality Voice and Data Services to customers anywhere in the world, regardless of their location on Land in the Air and at Sea.

During the next 12 months GDSL will be delivering FULL FIBRE BROADBAND at speeds up to 10Gbps! These services will be deliverable to all and any of the business areas and industrial estates anywhere within the LCR, providing businesses with not only FULL FIBRE BROADBAND but DIRECT PRIVATE ACCESS to their Secure Tier 3 Data Centre Facility which is located in Southport Business Park.

These services are initially being offered anywhere in the LCR, however may be extended to any other location that you have an operation subject to further discussion, survey and investigation.


21st November 2017        09:00 to 17:00

28th November 2017       09:00 to 17:00

5th December 2017          09:00 to 17:00

12th December 2017        09:00 to 17:00

To find out more or book your place please email John directly at Other dates can be arranged if these prove inconvenient.



CLS Datasheet

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey firms collaborate to offer expert assistance to European armed forces

Merseyside marine welding and fabrication specialist has manufactured a series of specialist boat cradles to store and transport high-speed military workboats.

Wren Engineering secured the project with Liverpool business Marine Specialised Technology (MST). The cradles will be used to handle ribs and inflatables deployed by European armed forces.

Wren Engineering, founded in 1990, was recently bought by Wirral entrepreneur and former armed forces member Jonathan Willoughby.

He said Wren had developed a long-standing relationship with MST – renowned as a world-leading rigid Inflatable and workboat supplier for military and professional use.

“Our team of engineers designed and manufactured a series of boat carrying cradles and engine mounts to transport ribs used by armed forces across Europe,” said Mr Willoughby.

“They were constructed for easy loading, storage and manoeuvrability.

“While the ribs and inflatables are robust, durable and expertly made, our job was to ensure they could be safely protected while out of the water for stowage and transported between locations.

“The cradles and mounts have been designed using high grade aluminium steel providing strong reinforcement and an ideal protective skeleton for the workboats to lay in.”

Mr Willoughby said the scale of Wren’s operation, with a 6,000 sq ft workshop and wide range of plant equipment, enables it to deliver a broad range of services to clients such as MST.

“We are hugely appreciative of the close relationship we have developed in the local Merseyside maritime cluster with other world-leading firms such as MST,” he said.

“This enables us to support each other for mutual benefit and work in collaboration on specialist projects.”


Tony McDonough
Consultant at YBNews
Mobile: 07931 964948
Twitter: tonymc39

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime to host major UK summit on maritime and global trade

Mersey Maritime is to host a high-level summit for UK maritime industry leaders and senior Government trade officials in the next few weeks.

They will converge on the Mersey Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead on Monday, December 4, with the aim of providing the industry with the latest information on export and investment support.

Brexit looms

With the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union now less than two years away it is vital the maritime sector gears itself for a seismic change in the way Britain trades with the rest of the world.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) Maritime UK are behind the idea for the Maritime Export & Investment Forum which they will hold three times a year at different locations around the country.

Each one will be chaired Russell Gould, chairman of the Society of Maritime Industries, and its aims are:

  • For industry to learn about the export and investment support provided by government and engage in 1-2-1 discussion with those providers of support
  • For the Government to hear feedback on its plans and priorities in the export and investment arena
  • To inform all of relevant activity and provide catalyst for engagement
  • To bring together the breadth of the UK maritime sector and government departments with an interest in maritime exports and investment.

A core team comprising DIT, Maritime UK and its trade association members will continue to engage in strategic discussions. These strategic discussions will be informed and shaped by the forum.

Trading relationships

High on the agenda at the December event in Birkenhead will be future trade with China, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, ASEAN, India.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, said: “Liverpool city region is one of the most important strategic locations in the UK for the maritime and international trade sectors and the decision to hold the December forum here reflects that.

“In 2019 Britain will leave the European Union and that departure, in whatever form it takes. will be one of the biggest economic events in decades.

“We know through dialogue with our own members that they are keen to maximise the opportunities the post-Brexit world will offer. These forums will provide a vital link with Government and offer invaluable information in what will be an historic period.”


Tony McDonough
Consultant at YBNews
Mobile: 07931 964948
Twitter: tonymc39

By Mersey Maritime

Engineering College sets up new training facility for welders to meet growing demand

One of Merseyside’s leading industrial training facilities is launching a new commercial welding training centre.

In a push to meet the skills demand for Liverpool city region’s fast-growing maritime and engineering sector, Birkenhead’s Engineering College has secured accreditation to offer recognised welding qualifications.

The college, which rebranded in October 2016, currently trains 330 apprentices. It works with more than 70 clients operating across sectors including construction, nuclear, petrochemical, renewables, oil and gas, health and maritime.

College chief executive Terry Weston said the new welding training facility has been set up specifically in response to industry demand.

It also forms part of the college’s broader expansion plan to double in size in the next five years.
Located in Monks Ferry, Birkenhead, the new training facility includes eight top specification welding bays with state-of-the-art extraction systems.

Further investment has been pumped into classrooms with new IT facilities to deliver technical training and testing.

“Since re-branding in late 2016 our commercial welding team has been working tirelessly alongside The Welding Institute to set up a certified commercial welding training and testing centre,” said Mr Weston.

“Feedback from a number of companies we work in partnership with highlighted the lack of certified welding test centres in the local area.

“Collectively we saw the opportunity to tackle the training gap. However, we are not only here to undertake welder qualification testing, we are also here to train and develop welders to meet the skills shortage in an ever-growing industry.”

Tony McDonough
Consultant at YBNews
Mobile: 07931 964948
Twitter: tonymc39

By Mersey Maritime

Sherrington secures new senior manager for Liverpool-based global security firm

Executive recruitment firm Sherrington Associates has facilitated the hiring of a new general manager on behalf of global security and risk management consultancy MIRIS International.

John McKiernan joins MIRIS this month and will lead the firm’s global operations and logistics from its head office in Liverpool.

Mr McKiernan brings with him a wealth of relevant experience from a previous career in the military and in commercial operational management roles with organisations including Capita and Saab.

MIRIS was founded by managing director Mike Williams in 2011 to provide risk management services to the maritime industry, as well as providing a range of security services to non-maritime clients in industries such as aviation and leisure.

Managing director Mike Williams said: “John’s appointment further strengthens the MIRIS team and its operational capabilities and we’re very pleased with Sherrington Associate’s involvement in the recruitment process”.

Sherrington managing director Rob McKay added: “We are delighted to have supported such an exciting company as MIRIS and look forward to seeing the business grow with John in the team.”

By Mersey Maritime


Jonathan Willoughby is establishing himself as one of Liverpool city region’s most dynamic maritime and energy entrepreneurs.

Mr Willoughby, 46, has 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas sector also runs welding and fabrication company Yorkwall Engineering in Ellesmere Port.

And the former member of the armed forces has recently added Liverpool marine fabrication firm and Mersey Maritime member, Wren Industrial, to his business portfolio.

He is aiming to double turnover at Wren in the next 12 months and the purchase forms part of a broader ‘build and buy’ strategy which will see the addition of more complementary engineering companies, eventually merging all into one new brand name.

Ferry contract

Wren Industrial has just delivered the manufacture and installation of a collection of new water-tight and fire-rated doors for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The welding and fabrication specialist has a long-standing relationship with the famous ferry firm, which is renowned as the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world – founded in 1830.

The latest work involved ‘through-night’ door maintenance onboard freight, passenger and vehicle ferries the Manannan, which operates between Liverpool and the Isle of Man, and Ben-my-Chree.
Wren engineers travelled to the Port of Heysham in Lancashire to carry out the installation work while sailing overnight to avoid disruption to service.

“The installation of new doors on the Manannan and Ben-my-Chree involved full removal and replacement of a number of doors,” said Mr Willoughby.

“This included all the fixtures and fittings from handles and locks to seals and latches.

“The new doors were designed and fabricated with mild-steel which we treated at our manufacturing hall in Liverpool, before being transported and welded into position.

“They will be used by passengers and crew and are made to a high grade, water-tight and fire-rated specification.

“Wren Industrial has been working in the commercial maritime market for close to 30 years and specifically with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for more than 20 years.”

Wider ambitions

Mr Willoughby says the commercial maritime sector will remain “pivotal’ to Wren’s growth but he also has wider ambitions for the business.

He explained: “We are also targeting military, leisure, offshore oil and gas, as well as renewable markets.

“We have a number of heavyweight projects in the pipeline which we are looking to land towards the back end of autumn, including a high-level military contract.

“On land, we are also aiming to ramp up work in the industrial market building on excellent work we have delivered for the likes of Lloyd & Jones industrial supplies and Kirby pump maker Selwood.”

Track record

Wren benefits greatly from a robust track record, developed of decades, working for the likes of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The firm is well-known for its high-quality engineering capability and excellent customer service standards.

“Wren Industrial is a problem solver and the deep knowledge of our 20-strong engineering team is massively important to the success of our business,” Mr Willoughby added.

“This level of expertise allows us to undertake virtually any welding and fabrication job on any type of vessel.

“The scale of our operation with a 6,000 sq ft workshop and wide range of plant equipment further enables us to work with many materials including carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium and plastics.”


Tony McDonough, Consultant at YB News

By Mersey Maritime


Established in 2003 to represent the interests of the maritime and mercantile Sector across the Liverpool city region, Mersey Maritime creates the right conditions for business growth and help raise awareness of maritime industries.

The sea remains the lifeblood of modern world trade and for centuries the UK has been the home of all forms of maritime and mercantile business, supporting almost 1m jobs and directly supporting just over £40bn in business turnover.

Considered to be one of the best examples of a maritime membership organisation in Europe, we work with close to 1,300 businesses.We understand the key issues and their commonality among the maritime industry and we can act as an independent facilitator.

Mersey Maritime has consistently supported business growth, helping to build strong, local supply chains and considered to be one of the best examples of a maritime cluster across Europe.

We also deliver a unique business support programme to maritime sector specific SMEs as part of the New Markets 2 programme and have already helped to create more than 60 jobs in the past 12 months.

You are invited to join us, there’s strength in numbers Together we are stronger.

For more information on either membership of Mersey Maritime or to access the ERDF New Markets 2 programme, please visit our website:

Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO

Young trainees honoured at Birkenhead’s Engineering College awards
Heightsafe wins three-year contract with Premier Inn and Costa owner Whitbread
Global shipping group BSM meets with Mersey Maritime members with view to possible investments
Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 (MMIA18) Applications Live!
Get on your Soap Box – Unilever Packaging Challenge
Geo Data Systems Limited: Upcoming Open Days
Mersey firms collaborate to offer expert assistance to European armed forces
Mersey Maritime to host major UK summit on maritime and global trade
Engineering College sets up new training facility for welders to meet growing demand