At a time of political and economic uncertainty, the 21st annual Seawork exhibition was a clear demonstration that the UK and European commercial marine sector is open for business. With deals being struck, exhibitors showing confidence and visitor numbers up, Seawork was again successful at bringing together businesses, trading opportunities and new ideas.
The commercial marine sector is a vital facilitator to trade, security and maintenance of the world’s coastlines.
The UK Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani, opened the 21st edition of Seawork International on Tuesday 3 July with her speech focusing on the importance of the maritime sector, seafarer training, women in maritime, and Maritime 2050; the long-term strategy for the future of the UK maritime industries. As the engine of British trade, the maritime sector supports nearly 1 million jobs, contributes tens of billions to the UK GDP and drives exports as well as inward investment. Half a trillion pounds worth of goods passes through UK ports each year.
Companies announcing and exchanging contracts at Seawork 2018 included Kort Propulsion who announced several contracts including a full set of propulsion equipment for Shipbuilding Asia UK, plus contracts with two of the most important shipyards in Romania. Goodchild Marine Services received an order for two further ORC pilot vessels for Briggs Marine, in addition to three that are already in service at the Port of Liverpool. UK based Southampton Marine Services announced its partnership with WorkBoatSales.com to market its proven range of BULLDOG workboats internationally.
Vessels handed over at Seawork 2018 saw Goodchild’s latest build of crew transfer vessel go to Commercial RIB Charters (CRC). High Speed Transfers (HST) received their first vessel from Damen Shipyard’s Group – the FCS 2710 for the offshore energy sector.
Launched at Seawork, the Cummins X15 engine, designed to withstand high hour, continuous duty operation with long life in mind, made its European market debut. The New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK, the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, welcomed everyone to Hamilton Jets’ two product launch of the HTX30 Waterjet and the Advanced Vessel Control (AVX) system. Volvo Penta unveiled its hybrid marine propulsion concept and offered seatrials of its IMO Tier III solution. Keeping the industry running smoothly, GreenOil Standard ApS new environmentally friendly series of offline oil filtration systems promised to prolong systems lifetimes by 5-10 times and also treat EAL bio-oils.
Adventurer ‘Bear’ Grylls trialled Rafnar’s latest Leiftur 1100 RIB, originally developed with the Icelandic Coastguard.
The European Commercial Marine Awards (ECMAs), held on the first evening of Seawork, saw the Lifetime Achievement award go to Stavros Lalizas of Lalizas, celebrating 36 years of manufacturing lifejackets and growing a small local company into a 129-country organisation. Maritime Best Project went to Red7 for its work on supporting the Thames Tideway Tunnel project. Torqeedo’s ECOCAT Zero Emission Solar Electric Passenger ferry took the Maritime Sustainability award. The Innovation Showcase overall ‘Spirit of Innovation’ award went to Landau UK for the Lifecord – the only ‘smart’ kill cord that incorporates detection technology designed to trigger an audible and visual warning alarm should Lifecord be connected to the boat’s kill switch but not the pilot.
The ECMA judging panel commented, “A large part of Seawork has always been about saving lives at sea, and because of that and the genuine innovative nature of this product, the judging panel has selected the Life Cord from Landau UK for its overall Spirit of Innovation Award.”
Delegates from the US, India, New Zealand and the UK attended the Seawork Commercial Marine Conference – focussing on USVs and Hybrid Propulsion. Delegates had the opportunity to ask the challenging questions that will help them make an actual difference to their business. Evidence from real-life projects was shared prior to publication elsewhere, a real coup for the audience. Concerns about these industries were aired and many put to rest by the high-level presenters on hand.