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Category : Members News & Events

By Mersey Maritime

Woodside Ferry Village ‘just the start’ of a new chapter for Birkenhead

Wirral’s newest attraction for foodies is already proving a hit and one of the people behind the concept says it is “just the start”

Woodside Ferry Village is located within the Woodside ferry terminal building in Birkenhead, offering spectacular views of Liverpool waterfront across the River Mersey.

Invited guests packed out the location for its launch event last Friday evening and enjoyed delicious food samples from well-known local food brands, including Bacaro, Caffe Cream, Sukhothai, Cowfish Smokehouse, EastZEast and the Refreshment Rooms.

The ferry village is the latest example of the food hall to open in Merseyside with Duke Street Food & Drink Market opening in Liverpool city centre just days earlier.

Woodside Area Community Interest Company is behind Woodside Ferry Village and its interim managing director, Sharon Stanton, told LBN the facility will be a catalyst for the start of a wider regeneration of that area of Birkenhead.

“The food hall is just the start – our aim is to get the wider community involved and make this a real place where people come to meet and eat and take part in other activities,” she said.

“Question we have been asking is ‘how do we get people back into Birkenhead?’. The Ferry Village is a starting point and we are looking at more space in Birkenhead. We are part of Woodside Business Park so we are talking to them about what we can do.”

One plan is to bring shipping containers on to the site which would be used for community activities. The CIC is being supported in its efforts by Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

“We did lots of research before we opened the food market, looking at other similar projects elsewhere in the UK and once we started the project it took us just six weeks to get it up and running,” added Sharon.

“We have kept the design very sympathetic to the ferry terminal and the old ticket hall and the views across the river to Liverpool waterfront are just amazing. We really want to give a new lease of life to this part of Birkenhead.”

By Mersey Maritime

Pension fund backs Liverpool Waters’ low carbon heat network

Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF) is providing a £13m loan to support a project to supply low carbon energy and hot water to homes and businesses on Liverpool’s waterfront.

Planned for Peel Group’s £5bn Liverpool Waters project, the Heat Network will be delivered by Peel Energy part of Peel Land & Property, and will use underground pipes to transfer heat energy at the Princes and Central Docks, and northern areas of the scheme.

District heat networks are more common in Scandinavia than the UK and operate on a straightforward principle: hot water is generated by a central source and sent through pipes around a district to provide heating and hot water. The process can also generate electricity.

First phase

Peel Energy has established a dedicated energy supply company which will build, own and operate the Heat Network. Completion is expected in 2023 and once complete, the first phase will provide up to 19 gigawatt hours of heat energy every year to consumers at Liverpool Waters and the wider waterfront area.

Liverpool Waters is an ongoing project that is seeing the creation of thousands of homes, commercial space, new cruise terminal and hotel and a new stadium for Everton Football Club.

CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors, arranged a £13m senior loan facility on behalf of MPF which will   facilitate the development of two temporary energy centres as well as initial underground pipes to transfer the heat energy.

The funding marks the third investment backed by the Penson Fund’s Catalyst Vehicle since its establishment in 2017 and meets the ‘Catalyst’ criteria of supporting projects that support the economy in the Liverpool city region.

Muir Miller, managing director of Peel Energy, said: “So far, the UK has made great progress in de-carbonising the electricity sector but more needs to be done on heating and transport emissions.

“This is the first phase of a 10-year project, which we hope will eventually supply around 9,000 homes and numerous businesses along Liverpool’s waterfront. The scheme clearly demonstrates Peel L&P’s intent to play a significant part in tackling carbon dioxide emissions.”

Lower emissions

The UK Government supports deployment of this combined heat and power technology as part of the UK’s drive to reduce carbon emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, encouraging its use where possible in new and existing buildings.

Cllr Pat Cleary, chair of MPF, added: “Catalyst Fund represents MPF’s commitment to local development and regeneration making a positive impact on the communities its stakeholders live, work and retire into while seeking commercial return for its members. We are pleased to have made our third Catalyst Fund investment which will provide cost effective heat and power solution to up to 9,000 homes and 4m sq ft of commercial space with cleaner CHP technology.”

By Mersey Maritime

Cammell Laird to open its doors to girls seeking careers in engineering

Pictured: Claire Biggar, Assistant Ship Manager

Cammell Laird is inviting teenage girls from across the Liverpool city region interested in a career in engineering to come into its famous shipyard on the banks of the Mersey.

The shipbuilder, ship repairer and engineering services firm is teaming up with Birkenhead’s The Engineering College to mark International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on Friday, June 28.

It will open its doors to young women currently studying at sixth form to showcase the wide range of work undertaken at the yard.

The guests will embark on a tour of polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough, currently being built at the shipyard, as well as hearing about life at Cammell Laird from several of its top staff.

Recruitment drive

The event comes as Cammell Laird prepares to launch a recruitment drive for apprentices and aims to demonstrate the world of opportunities available in engineering. Cammell Laird chief operating officer Tony Graham urged local female sixth formers interested in learning more about engineering careers to register for the event.

“Cammell Laird has always had a strong female presence across departments of the company,” he said. “However, we do want to encourage more young women to think of engineering as a career and this event will give a real insight into what it is like to work here.

“Engineering is now more open than it has ever been to women and we have a number of female engineers who are flourishing in their jobs who will be giving presentations. Engineering offers a varied, rewarding career for women with an opportunity to grow and stretch themselves undertaking fascinating work.

“Cammell Laird is one of the most exciting places to work in our region and our female engineers play an important role bringing a different outlook as well as skills. Women engineers and female workers make Cammell Laird a better business and we very much look forward to showcasing what we have to offer.”

College tour

The day will begin with a tour of the neighbouring Engineering College, where Cammell Laird apprentices carry out their training. Attendees will get to grips with welding tasks using virtual reality sets as well as experiencing activities using computer-aided design.

Terry Weston, chief executive of the Engineering College, said it has teamed up with Cammell Laird to stage the event to ensure a more diverse group of people would consider engineering in the future.

He said: “We want to send out the message that engineering isn’t gender specific and that there are endless opportunities for anyone within our industry. The college offers training in the heavy side of engineering but also in clean engineering – more office-based roles – as well.

“There’s a massive misconception that engineering is all carried out outdoors or in a workshop, with heavy machinery, so we’re trying to highlight the other routes an engineering career can take you down.

“We look for people interested in maths and science, but also those who are good at communicating and problem solving, and this day is about changing perceptions by saying that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s all about how you are in those areas.”

Career paths

Claire Biggar, assistant ship manager, joined Cammell Laird 18 months ago and will be speaking at the event. Claire spent six years in the Royal Navy. She said: “Shipbuilding and ship repair is an industry many people don’t know a lot about and engineers, generally, are declining.

“We want to open our doors to young women to let them into our world and highlight the career paths available at Cammell Laird.”

Having travelled the world with the navy, Claire, a mum of one, finished her forces career aboard the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier as a weapons engineer, having started on an electrical engineering apprenticeship.

Her role, which is six days a week, currently involves the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, mainly overseeing the painting of the vessel.

She added: “I love being in the shipyard, it’s a great environment to be in, and I can see a long career for me with Cammell Laird. I work in overalls and a hard hat and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but I have my nails and hair done too and when I go home at night, I’m a mum again.”

New skills

Colleague Kirsten Blood will also be presenting at the event. Kirsten was 17 when she joined the business as an apprentice mechanical fitter nine years ago, having decided the university route wasn’t for her.

“After working in the tooling department, she is now a quality inspector overseeing that area of the business. She said: “Every ship that comes in is different, with new steelwork, welds and pipework for me to learn about before I have to write written reports, which means I’m increasing my skills all the time.

“When a ship comes in for a refit we rip everything out and replace it, so it’s a proud moment when we watch that vessel go back into the water.”


By Mersey Maritime

Member of the Month: Beegrip

Beegrip is a small company with a big heritage. Operations began in January 2018 after a management buy-out of the Bimagrip anti-skid coating business from RS Clare.

Originally developed in the late 1980s, over three decades Bimagrip has become globally recognised as a leading brand in both the marine and civil engineering industries. In fact, Bimagrip is the only high performance, anti-skid coating system with a 30-year track record, in the marine environment.

Established applications include the ramps and decks of pure car truck carriers, roll-on roll-off vessels, link-spans and bridges. Founded by Steve Greathead, (former divisional manager at RS Clare), the business (including manufacturing) is based in the North West.

Headquartered in Manchester and with a liaison office in Ulsan, South Korea, Beegrip maintains a global presence through a network of agents, distributors and application partners.


Explaining the steps taken in year one to establish Beegrip, Steve said: “Currently the majority of our business is marine new build in the Far East. We believe it makes sense to have a presence in our most important region.

“So we opened the office in South Korea and recruited a highly experienced quality control manager. In Q1 we achieved approved supplier status from Hyundai and exported to China, South Korea and Japan.”

To better serve the marine repair market, Thortech Bridges & Marine was appointed as a stock-keeping distributor. Steve adds: “Thortech’s proven application expertise combined with stock-keeping capability allows a rapid-response service for our European customers.”

In June Beegrip and Thortech jointly released a presentation documenting the restoration of a link-span at Rodby, Denmark. The presentation has a strong environmental theme ending with a quote from Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia Inc: “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use for longer.”

Steve added: “While the majority of our business is in the marine industry, Bimagrip is also used in civil engineering applications. In October we announced a collaboration with Trough Tech System for the use of Bimagrip on its anti-slip walkway system.”

Manufactured from a 100% recycled polymer, each TTS 300 Green Trough unit weighs 27kg making them easy to handle. Network Rail’s Manual Handling Assessment Chart has given the unit’s green status, conforming to the Health & Safety Executive manual handling guidelines.


In year one Beegrip established itself, exported to 12 countries (so far in 2019, it has added Ireland, Norway and Spain), hit its financial targets and built the foundations for future sustainable growth.

Steve said: “Our commitment to improve customer service, consistency and cost-effectiveness continues. We’ll deliver on our commitment by building a culture where our employees can thrive – grow, develop and be successful.

“We’ve had a strong start to 2019 and in further local interest, we’ve secured the contract to supply the Stena E-Flexer series of new vessels, two of which will operate on the Liverpool to Belfast route. Early indications are that we’ll deliver a future worthy of our heritage.”

By Mersey Maritime

Essar Oil UK opens two more North of England forecourts

Mersey oil firm Essar Oil UK is further growing its UK retail network with two new outlets in the North of England.

Essar, which produces 16% the UK’s road transport fuels from its Stanlow refinery on the banks of the Mersey, has agreed a deal with MPK Garages to rebrand the outlets in Stoke-on-Trent and Cheadle as Essar sites. Previously they carried the Texaco brand.

Both sites were unveiled with official openings featuring ‘Lucky Pump’ promotions.  During this period, ten customers at each site were chosen at random to win £10 off the cost of their fuel. The new openings take the total number of Essar forecourts to 71.

Essar territory manager, Aaron Moore, said: “We are confident motorists will love the bright and modern appearance of the award winning Essar brand, and our opening promotions are very popular.

“We are a growing brand and although relatively new to the retail sector, our Stanlow manufacturing complex has been producing high quality fuels for over 60 years. We currently produce 16% of the UK’s road transport fuels and supply many of the major oil companies in the UK, together with leading hypermarkets.”

Essar entered the UK retail market with the opening of its first branded forecourt in November 2015 at Coalville in Leicestershire. The company plans to open its first company owned flagship site opposite the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port in 2019.

Wayne Harrand, head of retail at MPK, said: “As a UK manufacturer, Essar is well placed to service the changing energy needs of those people visiting our forecourts. We have been delighted with the customer reaction at Essar branded sites and this, together with our rollout of Morrisons Daily and Safeway Daily across the portfolio, are driving footfall, growing basket size and changing the demographic of our consumer base.”

By Mersey Maritime

SeaKing completes ‘sensitive’ upgrade of Lake District vessel

Birkenhead marine engineering specialist SeaKing Electrical has completed a sensitive upgrade project involving historic Lake District steamer MV Teal.

The contract with Windermere Lake Cruises involved wide-ranging repairs and upgrades to the three-deck passenger ferry during its winter layup period. SeaKing business development manager Neil Mellenchip said the 31-day project required careful planning around a broader asbestos removal process.

MV Teal was built in 1936 by Vickers of Barrow. It carries up to 533 passengers operating alongside sister steamers MV Swan and MV Tern on Lake Windermere.

“We began by disconnecting the 440V switchboard and removing all deckhead and bulkhead fittings to prepare the engine room for specialists to carry out the asbestos removal,” said Mr Mellenchip.

“New insulation was then reinstated by one of our regular supply chain partners and fellow Merseyside marine specialist IPS Marine Fabrication. Following this process SeaKing’s own installation team began to repair and contain cabling which was damaged during the asbestos removal process. The vessel’s switchboards were then reconnected and tested.

“With work taking place during the winter layup period, the vessel’s anti-condensation heaters were turned off. It was therefore necessary to test the insulation of the generators. During this process we discovered the megger readers were low before applying heaters to raise the insulation readings.

“We also identified a damaged connector block on the main generator cable which was later replaced.”

SeaKing engineers delivered a series of other small works including the installation of new battery boxes for the port and starboard generators and main engines. They further installed 14 LED fittings and two emergency light units to the engine room.

New optical smoke detector heads were also installed while the fire detection panel was reconfigured to accommodate the new smoke detection heads. We phased engineers in throughout the project depending on requirements using up to five specialists at the busiest points.”

MV Teal is 142ft long weighing 251 tonnes. It is manned by seven crew and can reach a speed of 10 knots with its two 6-cylinder Kelvin diesel engines and two auxiliary generators. It offers passengers scenic views across England’s longest lake combining with other attractions.

Mr Mellenchip said the recent contract comes hot on the heels of a separate deal secured with Cumbria County Council to repair electrics on the Mallard car ferry following a fire in 2018. This vessel required a new engine and complete rewire.

By Mersey Maritime

Archbishop of Westminster pays special visit to Liverpool Seafarers Centre

The Archbishop of Westminster paid a special visit to ecumenical charity Liverpool Seafarers Centre encouraging local communities to support the plight of seafarers ahead of Sea Sunday.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols visited the charity headquarters in Crosby to learn about the widescale support it delivers to 50,000 seafarers passing through the Port of Liverpool each year.

Cardinal Nichols, who grew up in Crosby, said the global Sea Sunday celebration on July 14 presented a terrific opportunity to recognise the role of seafarers. The annual event sees Christian churches of all denominations remembering and praying for seafarers, giving thanks to their lives and work.

Charities including the national Apostleship of the Sea, The Mission to Seafarers and the Sailors’ Society as well as non-denominational groups such as Sea Cadets carry out fundraisers, hold parades, and run awareness campaigns about life at sea.

Cardinal Nichols said: “This is a timely visit to Liverpool Seafarers Centre ahead Sea Sunday. It is wonderful to know that the centre is there to respond to the needs of seafarers, with practical and spiritual support, and I really do want to thank them.

“Seafarers have long been synonymous with the city of Liverpool being part of the fabric and identity of the city. But more importantly they play a fundamental role in each of our lives, with 95% of British imports and exports transported by sea.

“When I visited Tilbury Docks a few years ago where I saw first-hand the confined quarters in which seafarers live. all the dangerous edges they negotiate, with huge amounts of heavy equipment and other machinery.

“I was surprised to learn about the speed with which ships turn around and the limited opportunities crew members have to get off the ships and to do the things you can’t do on ships, such as go to church, shop, get medical attention and contact their families.

“There are many ways local communities can support the work of organisations like Liverpool Seafarers Centre.”

Liverpool Seafarers Centre chief executive John Wilson said: “It’s been a privilege to open our doors to Cardinal Nichols. While having a global profile in the Catholic community he is also very well known locally having spent almost 15 years in the Liverpool archdiocese including vocations in Wigan and Edge Hill.”

Liverpool Seafarers Centre is a partnership between the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea (Liverpool) and the Anglican Mersey Mission to Seafarers. Its history dates back to the 19th century. The charity provides ‘a lifeline’ to seafarers both active and retired.

By Mersey Maritime

MAST honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Leading charity Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST) has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award which a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

MAST enables young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, to develop key life skills, such as self-confidence, teamwork, leadership and communication, through the unique and challenging experience of crewing tall ships on the high seas, over the last 10 years.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced annually on June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Jim Graves, founder and chair of MAST, which has trained 1,432 young people aboard tall ships, said: “I am deeply honoured to accept this magnificent award on behalf of MAST and everyone involved with the charity.

“This is our tenth anniversary since starting in 2009 and to achieve such national recognition for what MAST does is beyond my wildest dreams. This award is about recognising all the hard work of our volunteers, ambassadors, supporters and the success of our trainees.

“Without the dedication, commitment and time of these 60 or more individuals working for MAST over the last 10 years, contributing their many diverse skills to create our unique opportunities for local youngsters, there would simply be no MAST, never mind this fantastic accolade of receiving a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.”

MAST’s main event is its annual Apprentice Ship Cup, a tall ship regatta, in which competing teams each summer sail in a set of races around the Irish Sea and Western Scotland. The long-term aim is to make Liverpool the tall ship centre for the northern UK and to increase the number of young people aged 16-30 years taking part.

By Mersey Maritime

Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird has handled 25 vessels so far in 2019

Cammell Laird saw 25 vessels come into its Birkenhead shipyard for drydocking and repairs in the first four months of 2019.

The iconic shipbuilder, ship repairer and engineering services company said it handled 11 ferries and 14 other vessels in the January to April period, carrying out work for 13 separate clients.

RFA contract

This year has seen the arrival of the 39,000-tonne Tide-class tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Tidespring marking the start of two Through Life Support , worth £619m, that will see Cammell Laird maintain nine vessels of the RFA over the next 10 years.

The successful re-tender of the RFA contract will also shortly see the arrival of RFA Tiderace, another of the new Tide class tankers as well as the RFA Fort Victoria which completed a £44m refit at Cammell Laird at the end of 2018 and will return for a drydocking period.

Cammell Laird is also putting the finishing touches to Sir David Attenborough, the £200m polar exploration vessel it has been building at the yard.

Its customers during the period included Seatruck, Irish Ferries, Svitzer, Calmac, Merseytravel, the RFA, Red Funnel, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Smit Kotug, P&O, PetroFac, Geoquip, Stena and the National Environmental Research Council (NERC).

High standard

Tony Graham, chief operating officer at Cammell Laird, said the workload was similar to the strong start the business made to 2018 in terms of vessel movements for customers. He added: “We have experienced a good start to the year thanks to the high standard of facilities and skills Cammell Laird can offer customers.

“Notable pieces of work have included the building of the £10m freight ferry the Red Kestrel, which sailed away in April following a nine-month build programme and came after we saw off international competitors to win the contract.

“We have also completed moon pool installations on the offshore supply ship Toisa Vigilant and retractable thruster installations on the Dublin Swift ferry.

“The scale and breadth of work Cammell Laird carries out demonstrates the reputation we have built with our customers who trust us to deliver only the best quality workmanship, on time at competitive prices.  We are keen to build on this and win more work from new and existing clients.”

Active period

Mr Graham said the coming months will see notable work on the offshore supply ship, Irish Sea Pioneer, which will undergo a refit, including upgrades to the accommodation and power management system, steel works and general drydock specifications.

“We have an active period coming up as we will also finish building RSS Sir David Attenborough polar ship, the biggest commercial shipbuilding project in Britain for 30 years which again we won against fierce international competition,” he added.

“This stellar project showcases the world-class skills and infrastructure we have at Cammell Laird. We have bold and ambitious plans to catapult the company further into the shipbuilding market building on the success for the SDA.

“This includes seeking to win the new £1.25bn contract to build five Type 31e warships for the UK MOD with our partner BAE Systems with a decision expected later this year.

“We are active with the TEAM UK consortium with the Government expected to announce the winning Fleet Solid Support bid in 2020. In addition, later this year we very much look forward to welcoming the first of six Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers as part of a £160m contract to upgrade and modernise the power propulsion systems.”

Cammell Laird can employ up to 1,500 workers directly and indirectly at peak times and has 300 suppliers including many local small businesses. The company has further invested £18m in 250 apprentices since 2008, making it one of the largest apprentice programmes in the region.

By Mersey Maritime

Weightmans unveils 96 promotions and new ‘expertise pathway’

Law firm Weightmans has unveiled 96 promotions – 30 of them at its Liverpool head office.

Creating what it calls a new ‘legal expertise pathway’, the Old Hall Street-based practice has 96 associates – six to the post of legal director and the rest as principal associates, a role looking at an individual’s wider business contribution and business development. Stephen Peacock, partner at Weightmans which also has offices in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, London and Manchester, said: “Employees and the skills they have will ultimately be the deciding factor in a firm’s success.

“Our people are integral to the future prosperity of Weightmans and we make the investment in their skills and development a priority, so we are excited to introduce a number of key changes and roles to our existing career structure.

“These changes provide an opportunity for progression and development by assessing people’s strengths and enabling us to be more focused when helping them to determine their future career direction.

“I would like to congratulate all of our associates who have seized this opportunity this year and look forward to working with them as we grow the business together.”

By Mersey Maritime

New lease of life for Royal Daffodil as £600,000 transformation begins

Image by Jay Chow

Mersey Maritime member Carmet Marine will play a key role in the transformation of the former abandoned Mersey Ferry MV Royal Daffodil into a thriving waterfront tourist attraction.

For the past six years the vessel had been left to decay in Birkenhead’s Duke Street Quayside but now a consortium of local entrepreneurs has come together with a plan to transform the vessel into a floating food and drink destination.

To be known simply as Daffodil, the vessel will be given permanent new home in Liverpool’s Canning Dock, next to one of Merseyside’s most popular tourists destinations, the Royal Albert Dock.

Having been moved off its mooring at Duke Street Quayside and winched out of the water, the vessel is undergoing extensive restoration and re-purposing, with an array of plans to secure her future.

Major engineering works are being project-managed by Bromborough-based Carmet Marine who have more than 40 years’ experience across three generations in their family-owned business.

Local entrepreneurs

The £600,000 Daffodil venture is being spearheaded by a number of local visitor economy entrepreneurs, including Philip Olivier, chief executive of Liverpool City Sights; managing director of Orb Events Agency, Joshua Boyd; and managing directors of popular Baltic Village businesses, Alfred McCaughran and Terence Stockton.

The project was initially pitched to Merseytravel in June 2018 before being assessed and eventually approved by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham and Merseytravel board members in April 2019.

Earlier in June, it was given a further stamp of approval by the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, 12 months on from its inception. Joshua Boyd said: “It has been amazing to see all our planning come to fruition and to watch the vessel rise out of the water for the first time.

“The pace of works has been astounding and we can’t thank our partners enough for their professionalism and dedication.

“For me, now the exciting part begins as the new-look Daffodil starts to take shape. Plans for the restoration and interiors are really top-notch and pay homage to its history while remaining contemporary and fresh. It’s going to be an amazing place to meet, drink, feast and celebrate.”

Image by James O’Hanlon.

Floating venue

Having been decommissioned and out of service since 2012 with gradually deteriorating condition, this much-loved vessel will be transformed through an investment worth more than £600,000.

It will re-launch as a static, floating venue which features a café, cocktail bar and 106-cover seafood & grill restaurant; alongside an al-fresco promenade deck and event space in the former engine room of the hull.  An official launch date is yet to be announced for the opening.

In addition, plans for 11 bedrooms of on-board guest accommodation are set to be developed in the near future to create the region’s largest floating hotel.

Key heritage aspects are also carefully preserved throughout, with plans to create a mini-museum exhibit to the history of the 800-year-old Mersey river crossing in the wheelhouse or bridge, offering visitors a first-hand look at navigation consoles and the original 19th century compass, among other exhibits.

Carmet Marine will head a broad range of contractors from the Liverpool city region and across the North West are being used for all other key refurbishments, furnishings and interior design work.

The venture will eventually result in the creation of over 16 new jobs and is expected to become a key feature in the ever-transforming waterfront zone, likely becoming a major tourist attraction.

Brett Metcalfe of Carmet, said: “Carmet is delighted to be involved with this very exciting project which will see this fine old vessel enter a new stage in her life. It is extremely important that these heritage craft are kept on the water in some shape or form.

“And although we will not see her cruising proudly on the River Mersey she will be close to the centre of Liverpool and able to be enjoyed by a great many people. It is a pleasure to be able to assist in bringing the perception of Phil and his team to life.”

Maiden voyage

Originally built at Cammell Laird ‘The Daff’ was given her maiden voyage in April 1962 where she went on to carry passengers across the River Mersey in service to the people of the Liverpool city region – right up until December 2012.

The ferry has a wealth of heritage as both a working cross-river vessel as well as being used for functions, parties and special cruises with famous local nightlife brands over the years.

Owners are now uncovering an exciting history of famous faces, personal stories and have been unravelling a swathe of legendary moments with the kind help of Mersey Ferries Heritage Society and local enthusiasts, which they hope to begin sharing with the public very soon.

Philip Olivier added: “Everybody has a story to tell about the Mersey Ferries. Whether its memories of trips over the river, to all those who’ve worked on or built and maintained the fleet over the generations, to stories of people meeting and marrying partners on the Daff herself.

“We’re all honoured as proud Liverpudlians to have been granted the opportunity to keep this vessel within the city region and the team is working hard to ensure that it can become a real destination for visitors and local people alike.”

By Mersey Maritime

‘We need Brexit certainty’, says maritime leader Sir Michael Bibby in plea to politicians

Sir Michael Bibby, President – UK Chamber of Shipping. Photo by Al Disley Images

One of Merseyside and the UK’s biggest maritime sector figures has urged UK politicians to offer “certainty” on the UK’s imminent departure from the EU.

Sir Michael Bibby, president of UK Chamber of Shipping and former chief executive of Liverpool maritime giant Bibby Group, was speaking at a major national industry conference held at Liverpool Town Hall.

Organised by and in association with industry body Mersey Maritime, the Maritime Exchange was developed in response to the Government’s Maritime 2050 report that sets out the long-term strategy for the UK maritime sector.

Deadline looms

Addressing an audience of some of the biggest players in the UK’s £37bn maritime sector, Sir Michael said UK business has made its feelings known to the Government over Brexit but, with next deadline of October 31 now approaching, it was now up to politicians to sort it out.

He said: “All the business lobbying that can be done has been done. It is now up to the politicians to make the decisions that will give us some certainty.”

Sir Michael also said the Maritime 2050 strategy gave the UK maritime sector “a serious opportunity to grow”, adding that his family’s Bibby Group had been through many periods of momentous change since it was founded more than 200 years ago.

He explained: “Change is really important. Bibby has been through a number of cycles in our history where we have struggled to survive. But we are still here today and we employ 4,000 people. Maritime 2050 has given us a clear direction on how we can change.”

Young people

He also talked about the importance to both retaining talent and experience and persuading young people to consider careers in maritime. Sir Michael added: “We need to work together to attract and retain people. We need great people from a diverse range of backgrounds coming into this industry.

“The average age of HGV drivers in the UK is 58 and I think that is similar for seafarers. There was a period of time when we weren’t recruiting people so we have to do that – but we also have to retain that experience.”

Sir Michael also talked about the importance of embracing the latest technology, particularly when it comes to meetings ambitious environmental targets. And he said the fact the Liverpool city region’s £4bn maritime cluster was now regarded as the most successful in Europe was “bloody fantastic”.

Industry figures

Helen Kelly, managing editor and head of communications at Nautilus and former editor-in-chief at Lloyds List, chaired the all-day conference, which comprised a number of sessions featuring a line-up of expert and high-profile maritime industry figures.

Laura Marquis, head of strategy and partnerships in the maritime policy division at the Department for Transport, and one of the authors of Maritime 2050, opened the session and the strategy document formed the basis for the panel discussions.

Technology and sustainability were big themes throughout the day with discussion around the use of autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence acknowledging that, while such innovations were transformative for the sector, more collaboration around development was essential to ensure technology could be utilised effectively.

Sarah Kenny, chief executive of BMT and vice-chair of Maritime UK said major technology projects could not succeed without “leadership and vision” and “dialogue and collaboration” and urged people to leave the legal and IP issues until last.

Alan Tinline, head of environment at ports operator ABP, said shifting the maritime sector towards a net zero carbon world would be a huge challenge. He explained: “What keeps me awake at night is air quality and greenhouse emissions.

“Net zero emissions will mean big changes for us in the UK. Previously we were only talking about 30% cuts so net zero is going to be a real game-changer.”

Jobs and growth

Closing the conferences, Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke vowed the event would return again next year and emphasised of collaboration between companies in the maritime and between the different regions across the UK.

“We are a competitive sector and sometimes we can be too competitive,” he said. “Within the regions it takes a not-for-profit honest broker, such as Mersey Maritime, to being people together.

“Ports are critical because we those tier one anchors to drive that spirit of collaboration. We need to look at how do we create more jobs and growth and how do we become more prosperous.”

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