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

By Mersey Maritime

Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group combine to deliver Holyhead port project

Two Mersey Maritime members Royal HaskoningDHV & The Beech Group have worked together on a major upgrade project at the port of Holyhead .

Owned and operated by Stena Line Ports, Holyhead handles a significant RoRo and passenger traffic trade route between Ireland and the UK and Continental Europe.

Stena appointed Royal HaskoningDHV to design and manage an upgrade of the port’s infrastructure including a new lower deck vehicle linkspan and passenger walkway from the terminal building to the Irish Ferries berth at Terminal 3.

The vehicle linkspan has recently been installed and is fully operational and the focus is now on the new passenger walkway and boarding bridge. In order for this project to move forward the existing series of ‘over water high level’ walkways installed in the 1990’s needed to be demolished.

Through a tender process, Beech Group was appointed to undertake the work.

Using the floating crane barge Lara 1, Beech successfully took down three walkways along with a gantry frame and boarding tunnel with each item weighing between 25 to 40 tonnes.

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.

Stena Line Ports was impressed by Beech success in executing a complex and difficult series of lifts in limited time slots without disrupting the use of either of the major ferry berths.

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool Seafarers Centre to offer support to crews at cruise terminal

Maritime charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre (LSC) has struck a deal to provide support to thousands of cruise ship crew for the third successive year at a special base at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

LSC chief executive John Wilson said it has reached agreement with Liverpool City Council, and the cruise terminal, to operate a support centre from a converted shipping container.

The container has been donated by the Maersk shipping line and is positioned on the terminal near Princes Parade.

Mr Wilson was speaking as he welcomed crew from the first cruise ship of the season to arrive in Liverpool, the Fred Olsen liner the MS Black Watch. The cruise season runs from April to November and 58 ships are due in Liverpool this year each with between 120 and 1,346 crew.

He explained that with most crew only permitted off ship for up to two hours it is vital to have an LSC base at the terminal itself to complement its headquarters in Crosby.

“Liverpool has a reputation for being one of the friendliest and most welcoming cities in the world to seafarers,” added Mr Wilson. “We are one of the few port cities to have a seafarer welfare centre in a cruise terminal.

“This makes all the difference to the crew, who would otherwise struggle to find the time to travel to outreach centres. Liverpool is leading the way in offering support to cruise ship crew.

“The seafarers are mostly from poor third world countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. They are breadwinners and spend their lives working away from their families just to send money home.

“With such a tough life it is vital they have a friendly person they can turn to, to offer confidential support, in case they have difficulties either on ship or at home.”

Corporate supporters of LSC include Mersey Maritime, of which it is a member, Essar’s Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, Peel Ports, the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, the Mersey River Pilots, the Voluntary Aid Club and The Phoebe Wortley Charitable Trust.

By Mersey Maritime

Liverpool law firm Brabners announces two senior hires

Law firm Brabners has appointed a new director of marketing & business development and head of commercial finance and project management to its senior management team.

The Mersey Maritime member, which has major bases in Liverpool and Manchester has hired marketing and communications professional Lisa Robinson-Behnejad, who has more than 20 years’ experience, from rival firm DWF.

And qualified accountant, Ruj Dev, joins from another rival, Hill Dickinson. In a 15-year career she has held senior financial management positions at companies such as PwC and Merseyside Police.

At DWF, Ms Robinson-Behnejad was director of corporate communications she was part of the senior team that helped to redefine the firm as it transitioned from a regional law firm to a global business.

At Brabners, Lisa will take responsibility for all aspects of the firm’s marketing strategy and lead its business development, communications, CRM, digital, brand and product teams.

She said: “In an increasingly digitised market where customers interact with brands through a number of different platforms, it’s more important than ever for firms to communicate in a way that cuts through the noise.”

Ms Dev added: “Brabners is an entrepreneurial firm with a clear growth strategy and it’s an exciting time to be joining the business. Our lawyers are known for their technical expertise, business acumen and collegiate approach and it’s this focus that sees the firm continue to work with the best clients.”

By Mersey Maritime

How Merseyside’s maritime community helped rescue six British heroes from their Indian prison hell

Pictured: Nick Dunn 

It was a four-year ordeal for six British former soldiers – a saga that shames the UK Government and is a tribute to the determination and resilience of so many people, including Merseyside’s maritime community.

The story began in October 2013 when the six – Billy Irving, Nick Dunn, Ray Tindall, Paul Towers, John Armstrong and Nicholas Simpson were working as security guards on the US-owned anti-piracy vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio in the Indian Ocean.

They were part of a 35-strong security team that also included three Ukrainians, 14 Estonians and 12 Indians. Indian police boarded the vessel and discovered 35 automatic weapons and almost 5,700 rounds of ammunition.

It was later confirmed the men had been granted permits by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to possess the weapons. However, they were all charged by the Indian authorities with carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

They were initially cleared of any wrongdoing by the Indian High Court but were unable to leave India until the charges were formally dropped, Then, a lower magistrates court did not accept they were on anti-piracy duties and in January 2016 they were sentenced to five years in prison.

Campaign begins
And so began a campaign started by their families and supported by people from all walks of life from the UK and around the world. The campaign finally achieved its goal in November 2017 when the conviction was overturned by the Indian High Court and the men were finally able to come home.

It was no thanks to the UK Government whose inertia had left the six languishing without any support. On his arrival back in the UK Billy Irving said he felt “disgusted and betrayed” by the lack of help from Britain.

His then fiancee, Yvonne MacHugh, now his wife who had been at the forefront of the campaign to secure the mens’ freedom, described the former Foreign Secretary and now Chancellor, Phillip Hammond as “next to useless” and said she had written to the now foreign secretary Boris Johnson several times and had not had a reply.

Family time
Billy and Yvonne were in Liverpool on Friday along with another of the six, Nick Dunn, and Nick’s sister Lisa Dunn, another leading light in the campaign, to attend the annual lunch of the Liverpool branch of the global maritime network, the Propeller Club.

The club had played an instrumental role in the Chennai Six campaign and, speaking to LBN at the lunch, Billy paid tribute to them and everyone who had given their support. He said: “The top priority when I got home was to spend time with my family (he had missed their birth of his and Yvonne’s son, William, while he was incarcerated).

Pictured: Billy Irving 

“Four-and-a-half years is a hell of a long time to be away from your family and I wanted to get used to us being back together again. I did think that might take a long time. But it took about an hour!

“When the extra help starting coming in to the campaign that made a massive difference to our families and took so much pressure off them. The money they raised for us was incredible and people were sending us food parcels.

“There are so many people who helped us immensely and I have not even gone through all the emails yet.”

Billy repeated his sense of being let-down badly by his own Government, adding: “It says on British passports that wherever you go in the world as a British citizen, if you find yourself in trouble then the Government will help you. They were supposed to ensure our welfare – but they did not.

“There is no proper structure or system in place to help people and that has to change.”

Lunch event
People from Merseyside’s maritime community who had supported the campaign packed into Liverpool’s Racquets Club for the lunch.

Addressing those present, Mick Dunn described the support from Propeller Club as “phenomenal”. He added: “At first the British people did not know much about us and thought we were just mercenaries.

“But our job was actually to protect people from pirates and when people realised that they got right behind us. We could not have got through it without all those people who supported us – we needed that support.”

Former serviceman and now maritime security consultant, Jordan Wylie, played a key role in the Chennai Six campaign. He said: “This was a clear miscarriage of justice and in the end justice was served.

“A lot of people at the senior levels of the UK Government simply ignored their plight. These men have spent their whole careers protecting people and they were protecting people against pirates and they were doing an incredible job.”

Huge support
A diverse range of people had backed the Chennai Six campaign. They had included well known TV actors John Bowe (most recently in Emmerdale) and Charlie Lawson, famous for playing Jim McDonald in Coronation Street. Both men were at the Liverpool lunch.

Mick Dunn’s sister Lisa Dunn made an emotional speech at the event and spoke of her gratitude to all who had supported their battle, paying particular tribute to Canon Ken Peters of the Mission for Seafarers.

She said: “It was so hard for the families to keep it together. We were having so many doors slammed in our faces and at times we were so low. The input, dedication and time put into the campaign by so many people meant the world to us.

“And I would really like to thank the Propellor Club. They hold a special place in my heart and they always will.”

By Mersey Maritime

New rail freight route will link the Port of Liverpool to Scotland

A new rail link from the Port of Liverpool will provide a “seamless” route to carry freight from vessels docking in the Mersey up to Scotland.

Port owner Peel Ports says the new service will begin on May 8 with goods loaded in Liverpool and transferred to Mossend terminal in Glasgow, before onward delivery to destinations across Scotland.

Peel has teamed up with the UK’s largest rail freight company, DB Cargo UK, to provide the new service aimed at shipping lines, freight forwarders, tank operators and cargo owners.

The returning service to Liverpool will carry Scottish goods for export, with a large portion destined for America.

Biscuit run
Scottish family-run company Walkers Shortbread, which produces 40,000 tons of biscuits every year, will be one of the first customers to use the new service, exporting 700 containers a year to America.

The new service will comprise of up to 30 wagons and is expected to carry more than 40 containers per trip. The service will initially run three days a week with DB Cargo UK providing the rail haulage.

Major milestone
Jouke Schaap, container director at Peel Ports, said: “This is an important milestone event for us and our partners, DB Cargo.

“We know that cargo owners are looking for more efficient ways of getting their goods from A to B, and this rail freight service provides them with a simpler, more cost effective and environmentally friendly way of doing that.”

Peel has spent £400m on its new Liverpool2 container terminal, equipped to handle 95% of the world’s biggest container vessels. It is keen to grab a big slice of the import market which is currently concentrated on Ports in the South of England.

A significant percentage of the freight unloaded at Southern Ports has to be transported by road to the north of the UK. Unloading at Liverpool can slash both costs and emissions.

‘Sustainable solution’
Hans-Georg Werner, chief executive of DB Cargo UK, added: “Introducing express rail services between Liverpool and Mossend is a really sustainable solution, significantly reducing the need for HGVs to travel thousands of miles on our roads each week.

“Peel Ports’ vision to offer customers a seamless end-to-end service resonates with our own drive for higher standards of service and flexibility for our customers.”

The available train path capacity directly to and from the Port of Liverpool is currently amongst the highest of all major ports within the UK, providing expansion options for importers and exporters that also minimise cost, congestion and carbon emissions.

By Mersey Maritime

Seatruck CEO takes on Lake District cycling challenge for charity

Seatruck chief executive Alistair Eagles will attempt the ‘Fred Whitton’ challenge – a single day endurance cycling event held annually in the Lake District – to raise money for two good causes.

The route includes 113 miles  of cycling and around 12,500 ft of ascent as it summits all the major Lake District passes.

Alistair said: “The ‘Fred’ is widely regarding as one of the more punishing events of this type and my training is therefore in full swing.

“So much so that I am already taking on many of the physical attributes of Chris Froome, that is apart from being overweight and not a very good cyclist.”

You can support Alistair’s fundraising efforts by clicking on the following two links:

Lancaster and District Homeless Action Group

MacMillan Cancer Support

By Mersey Maritime

Mersey Maritime to support the International Maritime Forum at the International Business Festival

Mersey Maritime is to support and take part in the International Maritime Forum, taking place in Liverpool this summer as part of the International Business Festival.

The forum is a global maritime and supply chain conference and will take place on Thursday, June 21, at Exhibition Centre Liverpool on the city’s waterfront.

Titled: The Northern Maritime Powerhouse: Driving global trade post-Brexit, the event will look at how digitalisation and increased connectivity can enhance port processes and drive innovation to boost global trade.

It will discuss blockchain technologies and ‘big data’ in the context of streamlining shipping and port operations to the lasting benefit of the end-users as well as the importers and exporters.

Organised by Shipping Innovation, creator of London International Shipping Week, this high-level forum is designed to spark lively debate among key ports, shippers and supply chain leaders.

Sean Moloney, director of Shipping Innovation, welcomed Mersey Maritime involvement in the forum and praised its work in highlighting the excellent work shipping and the supply chain undertakes in this important part of the world.

“We look forward to working with our friends at Mersey Maritime during this exciting event. IBF is all about promoting the UK and the North-West’s strength in delivering growth in global trade, post-Brexit. I look forward to meeting key decision makers from the UK, and in particular, this region, during this important event,” he said.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, added: “It is going to be a great opportunity for our members to network at the highest level. We will bring over a delegation from the port of Rotterdam and we look forward to the fantastic networking opportunities at this event.”

Further information about the International Maritime Forum can be found on the dedicated event website:

Anyone interested in sponsoring the event can contact Corinne McGinty at Mersey Maritime via email – – or by phone on 0151 231 2958.

By Mersey Maritime

Member of the Month: Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust

Businesses are being urged to support a brilliant initiative in May that will see young people gain fantastic experience working on a tall ship in the Irish Sea.

And the charity behind the Apprenticeship Cup project, Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST), also still has places left for young people aged 16-plus who would like to take part.

The International Tall Ships Regatta 2018 will see a fleet of more than 20 ships set sail from LIverpool on May 26, on the weekend of the Mersey River Festival, and head for Dublin and there they will sail on to Bordeaux in France.

Sea voyage

MAST’s three vessels will join the Liverpool to Dublin leg crewed by dozens of youngsters. They will then sail from Dublin to Greenock in Scotland and then return to Liverpool three weeks later.

MAST chair Jim Graves said: “We are appealing for businesses in Merseyside to get involved in this event. They can either sponsor a young person through helping us fund the bursaries or they can hire one of the tall ships for a corporate event when it is in port.

“We also still have places left for young people who would like to make the trip. The only criteria is that they are aged over 16.”


MAST, a member of Mersey Maritime, was launched in 2009 and enables young people  to achieve growth and personal development through sail training and embarking on life-changing adventures. It takes approximately 1,000 young people to sea each year.

Mr Graves added: “We started MAST because we wanted to create a positive environment in which we could help young people across Merseyside. We wanted to link in with business to help young people develop and get the right career advice and support.”

Those taking part in the MAST programmes can get support to boost their self-confidence, acquire team working skills, learn respect for themselves and others, pick up problem-solving, communication and social and life skills as well as learning a range of sailing and navigation skills in a real maritime environment.

Award winners

In March, MAST scooped the Positive Impact Award at the Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2018 held at Liverpool FC in March.

If you are a business wanting to support the Apprenticeship Cup or hire a vessel for an event, or if you are a young person wanted to take part contact MAST at

By Mersey Maritime

Join the 190 Club to help people in need and have a chance to win cash prizes

Mersey Maritime members are being urged to join the 190 Club which raises much-needed funds for people in Wirral struggling to buy food and offers monthly cash prizes.

The club is a private lottery launched by member Chris Wainwright, managing director of Beech Group. It aims to raise £24,000 for the charity Feeding Britain by asking businesses to pay £190 a year to join and be in with a chance of winning monthly cash prizes of £500, £300 and £200.

So far 100 companies have signed up, 20 of them members of Mersey Maritime, and Chris is launching a new push to recruit more and reach the 190 target. This would raise £36,100 which, after deducting the prize money, would leave Feeding Britain with £24,100 per year.

The name for the club came about after a Mersey Maritime networking event which saw a speech by Cammell Laird chief executive John Syvret. The shipyard and engineering firm is 190 years old this year.

Also speaking at the event was Birkenhead Labour MP Frank Field who gave an impassioned talk on his attempts to raise money for Feeding Britain, which was established in 2015 to combat the growing issue of people in deprived communities not having enough to eat and having to rely on food banks.

Both Cammell Laird and Mersey Maritime have given their full backing to the 190 Club.

Anyone who wishes to join the 190 Club can contact Chris at

By Mersey Maritime

Forum to offer insight into opportunities for UK firms in India’s maritime sector

Maritime UK is working with the Department for International Trade and the UK-India Business Council to organise a forum to increase awareness of the Indian maritime opportunities to British companies.

India and the UK are two great maritime nations. With a vast coastline of 7,500 km and navigable waterways of more than 14,000 km, India boasts a rich maritime heritage.

The maritime sector has the potential to be a hugely significant driver of Indian growth, and the Indian Government has rightly recognised the scale of the opportunity.

The forum, to be held on Wednesday, May 2, following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, will inform British businesses of the opportunities across India. Attendees will learn about projects and initiatives including Sagar Mala, the Ganges River project, Assam Ferry Project and a number of other defence opportunities.

Britain is confident in its maritime offer: cutting-edge technology, high-quality design and manufacturing, unparalleled services expertise and major investment opportunities. By applying UK expertise and specialism, the UK can help India realise its maritime ambitions.

As the UK leaves the EU, it must look to strengthen relationships with countries across the world, and India must be front and centre in that mission.

As one of the fastest-growing economies, India’s maritime ambition, coupled with UK expertise and renewed focus on global trade, offers a powerful vehicle for mutual economic growth.

For more information on the programme and to register click here.

By Mersey Maritime

Heightsafe wins top accolade for its commitment to health and safety

Wirral-based Heightsafe Systems has been given a top award for ‘Outstanding Health and Safety Practices’.

The ‘working-at-height’ specialist has a “keen eye for compliance” and provides its staff, clients, and contractors with the tools to get home safely at the end of the working day.

That commitment has now been recognised in the the internationally acclaimed, and longest running industry awards scheme in the UK – RoSPA Health and Awards.

The RoSPA awards scheme receives entries from organisations around the world, recognises achievement in health and safety management systems and practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Marion Diable, client director and owner of Heightsafe, said “Winning this RoSPA award is a milestone moment for Heightsafe and all of our dedicated staff. This is a benchmark which reinforces our absolute focus on health and safety in all that we do, and with robust procedures that are critical to our work.

“Keeping our staff and clients ahead of health and safety legislation, and constant demand for the highest standard of excellence in our working practices, has been recognised yet again by our peers.”

Julia Small, head of qualifications, awards and events at RoSPA, added “The RoSPA Awards are the most highly-respected in the health and safety arena, with almost 2,000 entrants every year, allowing organisations to prove excellence in the workplace, demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of not only employees but all those who interact with it.”

Heightsafe’s team will attend at ceremony on Thursday, July 5, to accept the award.

For more information please visit 

By Mersey Maritime

Denholm Logistics unveils merger of its transport and handling businesses

Liverpool-based logistics specialist Denholm Logistics is to merge two of its businesses Denholm Transport and Denholm Handling – to create Denholm UK Logistics.

Following a period of growth for both businesses the management team at Denholm Logistics recognised the value to its customers of combining its warehousing, terminal management and distribution services, with its container and general cargo transportation business.

Denholm UK Logistics will be led by managing director Martin Hall, who said: “Denholm Transport is one of the UK’s major carriers of container and general cargo, while Denholm Handling provides flexible and innovative warehousing and handling.

“Both are established businesses with strong track records of working sustainably with retail and industrial brands.

“Following engagement with our customers, we plan to combine our transportation and handling businesses to create a complete UK logistics solution for our customers.”

Mr Hall is currently managing director of Denholm UK Logistics, which was renamed in April from Denholm Handling in anticipation of the merger. The business now operates 1.4m sq ft of port-centric warehousing throughout the UK.

Denholm Logistics is a member of Mersey Maritime and its managing director, Niall Denholm, added: “We have also been investing in our transportation business. We have expanded our owned vehicle fleet and installed the latest transport management technology and we now complete over 120,000 UK container transport moves for our customers each year.

“As a result of the investment in our transport and warehousing infrastructures and the synergies between them, it is the right time to combine both businesses.”
The proposed merger is scheduled to be completed by July 1.

Royal HaskoningDHV and Beech Group combine to deliver Holyhead port project
Liverpool Seafarers Centre to offer support to crews at cruise terminal
Liverpool law firm Brabners announces two senior hires
How Merseyside’s maritime community helped rescue six British heroes from their Indian prison hell
New rail freight route will link the Port of Liverpool to Scotland
Seatruck CEO takes on Lake District cycling challenge for charity
Mersey Maritime to support the International Maritime Forum at the International Business Festival
Member of the Month: Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust
Join the 190 Club to help people in need and have a chance to win cash prizes
Forum to offer insight into opportunities for UK firms in India’s maritime sector
Heightsafe wins top accolade for its commitment to health and safety
Denholm Logistics unveils merger of its transport and handling businesses