Review Of The Year 2019
Review of the Year
For the Solis Marine Consultants Group, 2019 has been a busy year, and a year that has seen us make significant progress as we continue to grow the business and to expand our range of services while maintaining our reputation for our traditional activities.
During the year we have received an increased number of instructions from our clients, won important contracts, participated in numerous industry events, continued with our programme of recruitment, expanded our freelancer data base and made preparations to introduce new service lines. As we head towards 2020, a year which will see some key changes for the shipping industry, we thought we’d reflect on the year just ending.
Throughout much of the year APL Vancouver has been a feature for Solis Marine. On 31st January the 9,200teu container ship suffered a fire in a cargo hold whilst off Vietnam and soon afterwards Ros Blazejczyk, Solis Marine Managing Partner, joined the vessel as salvor’s Consultant Naval Architect as it made its way to Singapore. Once the ship reached Singapore our local office was appointed by North of England to manage the handling of the containers and in the process dealt with the disposal of more than 650 damaged containers over the course of several months.
Baby on Board
We think Solis Marine can justly claim to have flown a flag for women in shipping during the year, given that Ros was six months pregnant when she joined the vessel and remained on board for five weeks. We also went on to sign the Women in Maritime Pledge later in the year. Ros gave birth to a daughter in May, one of two babies born within the Solis “family” in the year.
2019 in Rapid Replay
For many years, Solis Marine has been using AIS data and “Rapid Replay”, its proprietorial incident reconstruction system, to support casualty investigations.
During 2019 we have seen an increase in requests from clients to provide them with Rapid Replay reconstructions of incidents which in some cases date back several years. Our expertise in the use and application of AIS data has naturally led us to become involved in the growing debate around autonomous shipping.
In May we co-hosted with leading maritime lawyers Reed Smith a half day seminar on future developments in the use and application of Marine Data Technology. Held in London, the event was supported by Maritime London. Then in June it was confirmed that we had won an important contract with the MCA to project manage an initiative to look at how a range of maritime data sets held by the MCA could be made available to support the development of autonomous shipping in the UK. We look forward to further opportunities to contribute to this dynamic topic as we head into the New Year.
Viola: Let’s Bring Her Home
An ongoing project that has seen significant involvement by Solis Marine during the year is the planned salvage and repatriation of The Viola. A British built steam trawler, the vessel saw active service in WWI and she currently lies rusting in South Georgia. A Trust has been formed to return her to Hull and to then carry out restoration. Solis is a sponsor of the Trust and an active participant in the project.
A Tight Ship
Solis Marine partners and staff are always ready to support industry events by speaking, making presentations, exhibiting, or joining a panel of experts. We have been especially active throughout 2019, speaking at or otherwise supporting a large number of shipping events around the world. There have been too many to mention them all, so here is just a selection;
In June, Richard Meikle, Partner and UK General Manager, was a panellist at The 5th Greek British Shipping Forum, and in September we were participants at three separate events at the London International Shipping Week. In Singapore, Partner Ken Elam was a part of the team that set up the Singapore Nautical Institute conference held in May, and in August Ken spoke at the Maritime Law Association of South Africa annual conference in Cape Town. In September, our Shanghai Manager Roland Orange gave a presentation at The East Asia Seaport Alliance conference in Qingdao, whilst back in Singapore Sjoerd Blomsma presented to Lloyds Asia on developments in the heavy lift industry. Ros Blazejczyk spoke on container fires at ICIC 2019, and in November she addressed WISTA on autonomous vessels and has been a regular speaker and panellist throughout the year. Similarly, Senior Partner John Simpson has spoken at a number of events, giving a keynote at the Marine Data Technology conference in May and presentations and updates on The Viola project.
All Shipshape for 2020
During the year we have been preparing to launch new services to complement our traditional salvage and wreck removal consultancy, naval architecture consultancy and expert witness services. We have already introduced our heavy lift and project cargo warranty services and have begun to receive enquiries for our technical due diligence services.
Further new areas of work will be introduced in the early part of 2020. We are also planning to open a new Solis Marine office within January in a major European shipping hub, whilst another office in The Far East is under review. More news to follow!
Our three principle offices in London, Singapore and Shanghai have each been busy during the year and we continue to look for suitably qualified and experienced staff to join each one and to support our plans for further growth. We are also increasing the number of Partners within the Group while our sister company Solis Marine Engineering has also enjoyed a busy year, increasing its own headcount accordingly.
Thanks to the support of our clients and the hard work of our Partners and staff, 2019 has been a successful year for the Solis Marine Group and we look forward to this continuing into 2020.