Category: Press Releases

The role of a thruster and thruster components on-board large seagoing vessels.

The role of a thruster and thruster components on-board large seagoing vessels

Large seagoing vessels are designed for crossing open water quickly and efficiently while carrying their cargo of goods or passengers. In an open water environment, very fine manoeuvrability is not necessarily a high priority in designing and specifying such vessels.

When entering or departing port however, particularly in more challenging weather conditions – fine control of a vessel is important to ensure no damage to either the vessel, dock, cargo or crew is caused.

If you spend a lot of time moving through open water, and have the option of support when performing more challenging docking manoeuvres, basic propulsion in the form of a propeller and a rudder is likely the simplest and most cost effective means of moving the vessel.

However – if a larger proportion of time is spent entering and leaving port, or the cost, time and availability of support from tugs is prohibitive, it makes sense to equip your vessel with the means to perform its own fine manoeuvres.

In the case of traditional propeller propulsion, simple fore or aft thrust alone is provided by running the shaft in opposite directions of rotation. While moving through the water, the rudder provides steering at the rear of the vessel, and while stationary some directional thrust if mounted behind the propeller.

Thruster Types

There are a number of alternative thruster configurations that can be fitted to vessels to improve upon manoeuvrability – primarily while the vessel is moving at low speed or at rest.

Tunnel Thrusters

Passing completely through the vessel hull, tunnel openings allow water to be pumped from one side of the vessel to the other, producing thrust. In the centre of the tunnel a propeller rotates on an axis perpendicular to the main propeller shaft, in a horizontal orientation. The tunnels can most often be found closest to the bow or stern of the vessel to deliver a maximum of rotational effort on the vessel when used in opposite directions.

The propeller and gearbox assembly mounted within the tunnel can usually be removed for maintenance or repair.

Steerable Thrusters

In this configuration, the thruster protrudes from the bottom of the vessel, looks something like a hairdryer and is free to be rotated – sometimes as much as 360°. These provide more flexibility than a tunnel thruster where the angle of thrust can be varied, rather than fixed in the orientation of the tunnel.

In some applications they can also be the main source of propulsion, replacing a traditional shaftline altogether.
Again, these can usually be removed for maintenance and repair.

Thruster Components and Maintenance

Whether tunnel mounted or steerable, most thrusters share similar operating principles and mechanical configurations.


This provides the container within which all of the operating components are located, protected from the sea and debris, and the means by which the thruster is mounted to the vessel. Generally, the housing will be made from a cast iron material which has a paint or similar coating to provide protection from corrosion and marine growth. The housing will have zinc or aluminium anodes to further protect itself from galvanic corrosion.

During maintenance the housing is checked for any damage, which can usually be repaired by welding subject to classification requirements. Any worn or excessively corroded interfacing surfaces can be renewed by machining to re-establish their flatness and surface finish.

In the most extreme cases where the housing is beyond repair, it is possible to replace it entirely, rebuilding the thruster with remaining or replacement components.


As thrusters are generally not aligned with the direction of rotating equipment within the vessel driving them, or at the same speed, they contain multiple shafts and gear arrangements. Some thrusters operate with purely mechanical power transmission, where others will contain a series of hydraulic or electric driveline components.

Supporting these drive components will be rolling and plain bearings, thrust pads and even brakes. All of which require lubrication and cooling. Most often the housing is filled with a lubricating oil which circulates around the system. In the case of a hydraulically driven thruster, a separate hydraulic fluid will be circulating to transmit power.

During overhaul, the drive components will be removed from the main housing and inspected for wear and any damage. Typical damage that may need to be addressed includes:

Worn or broken gear teeth, excessive bearing play, insufficient preload.

Bearings would usually be replaced with new items.


In order to prevent contamination of thruster oils and fluids with dirt, debris and water, static and dynamic seals are fitted throughout the thruster housing. These range from gaskets between different sections of housing, to O-cords and rotating lip or face seals around rotating components.

Wearing and elastomeric components of all rotating seals would all be replaced as part of a thruster overhaul. It may also be necessary to upgrade some components in order to operate on a different type of lubricant – such as a biodegradable oil.

All static seals, gaskets and O-cords would be replaced on reassembly.

Variable Pitch

In the case of a thruster with variable pitch propeller blades, additional components in the form of a yoke and sliding assembly would also feature in the equipment. The relative movement of these components within the thruster allow the pitch of the blades on the propeller to be continuously variable giving varying thrust and direction during operation.

These wearing components would be inspected as part of an overhaul and machined, or replaced as necessary to ensure correct operation.
As experts in marine engineering and official agents for Aegir-Marine, AtZ are able to assist with a range of Seal and Thruster parts and service. Ranging from onsite seal consultancy, servicing and leak prevention to specialist thruster overhaul and repair in dock or at Aegir’s custom built thruster workshop.

For further information on the full parts, service and consultancy portfolio offered by AtZ, please email or visit,

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Over three decades of reliability from Twin Disc Marine Gears

The engineering excellence of Twin Disc marine gears has again surpassed expectation with Shoreham Port Authority reporting over three decades of continuous use from their MG514 marine gears, which were installed on-board their vessel the ‘Aduri’ in 1984.

With 32 years on the sea, the Adurni, a category 3 workboat, owned by Shoreham Port Authority, has been operating out of Shoreham Port since its build by Delta Shipyard in 1984. The vessel provides vital towing and bed levelling services in the harbours and seas surrounding West Sussex, along with offering both surveying and equipment deployment assignments.

The diversity of services offered by the Adurni means that reliability is key – keeping her at sea and at work, whilst providing smooth and reliable operations for Shoreham Port Authority. Choosing the Twin Disc MG514 marine gearbox at build ensured longevity of service for the hard working vessel, with over 32 years to date use from the originally installed gears.

Adurni Technical Data:

Shipyard: Delta Shipyard
Owner: Shoreham Port Authority
Type of vessel: Workboat
Commissioned: 1984
Main Engines: 2 x 12V71N GM Detroit Diesel
Total Power: 720 bhp
Marine Gears: Twin Disc MG514
Ratio: 4.5:1
Overall length: 16M
Bollard Pull: 10 tonnes

The reliability Shoreham have seen from Twin Disc over the past three decades has made Twin Disc gears the obvious choice for their new tug which is due to join their fleet in July 2018. The new vessel is currently under construction with Macduff Shipyard and will feature 2 x MGX-516 Quick Shift gear boxes and two Doosan V158 engines.

Technical Data:

Type of vessel: Tug
Due for Commission: July 2018
Main Engines: 2 off Doosan V158 TIH 480hp @ 1800rpm
Marine Gears: Twin Disc MGX-516
LOA: 16M
Breadth: 5.40m
Depth: 2.90m

Looking to increase their overall horse power, The MGX-516 gears selected for the new vessel offer a maximum continuous duty of 447kW (600 hp) @1800 RPM along with smooth slow speed, precision shifting and faster, smoother clutch engagement. The Quick Shift gear box achieves this by utilising a sequenced engagement that operates automatically by design and does not need any adjustment. In the first stage of the engagement it makes up to 80% of the maximum oil pressure available to 20% of the clutch piston area, where conventional clutches have to get filled completely at four to five times lower pressure. This allows the clutch to fill much faster, thereby reducing the shift response
time dramatically.

On-board the new Shoreham vessel, the MGX-516 gears will be coupled with the Twin Disc EC300 Electronic controls which, together, provide unparalleled boat control in all conditions. The MGX-516 as standard is supplied with vertical offset, cast iron housing, SAE housing no.1, Electric GP-valve with manual override, EC050 profile module – interface for engagement signals and an oil strainer and filter. The reliability and engineering excellence of Twin Disc marine products allows our customers to be safe in the knowledge that they have only the best fitted on board their business.

Twin Disc have designed and built countless marine products all over the world for almost a century. This unparalleled history and knowledge affords them a unique understanding of the global marine industry. This global R&D perspective yields innovative marine products, which time and time again demonstrate their durability, delivering products that customers can entrust to ensure the operational
stability of their business long into the future.

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Ice & Spice at Ye Olde Maritime Christmas Market – Greenwich

A unique and memorable experience for the whole family.

Bringing a real festive feel to the Cutty Sark Gardens this Christmas, will be London based Urban Spirit. Being part of the MBH Group, the company has over 2 decades worth of experience in hosting events across the UK and Europe. Greenwich shall be home to the company’s Ice Bar this Christmas.

Urban Spirit will be presenting ‘Ice & Spice’ which will be in Greenwich from the 25th November through to the 4th December and will be selling tickets for our iconic ice bar which will be offering various drinks and cocktails. Next to the Ice Bar, will be fresh Indian cuisine hence the name ‘Ice & Spice.’ This will all be right beside the majestic views of the Cutty Sark.

Urban Spirit’s aim is to bring a fresh and more festive feel to the heart of Greenwich. It is a well known fact that Greenwich is an area favoured by many, including locals and tourists alike.

Ye Olde Maritime Christmas Market will feature a giant snow globe, main stage for performances, retail and craft stalls, street food stalls, fairground rides, reindeer, ice sculpture and much more meaning that there’s something for everyone. Ice and Spice are hoping to bring an individual and quirky experience to Ye Olde Maritime Christmas Market alongside these already amazing attractions.

Tickets for Ice & Spice are available at , the choice of tickets include entry and drink along with group tickets. With opening times of the ice bar experience being from 11am through to 8pm each day, the event is sure to be a success.

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SSA Members Invited to Knowledge & Networking Workshops in Southampton

SSA member Shock Mitigation are running 3 one day events at the Grand Harbour Hotel in the port of Southampton on 24 25 26 October. Providing both knowledge and networking, these NEXT GENERATION Workshops will be relevant to many SSA members.

Workshop Lead and Shock Mitigation MD, John Haynes, said, ‘In recent years less people are expected to do more work and time is becoming scarce for everyone in the marine industry. These focused one day Workshops are designed to deliver a unique mix of sessions that bring together end-user organisations and industry solution providers.’

The innovative Programme and outstanding group of Presenters blends key decision makers, commercial and military stakeholders plus maritime technology experts. The Workshops provide a unique forum with lively panel discussions that address challenges and opportunities for the sub IMO / sub 24m professional sector.

John Haynes added, ‘Feedback from recent NEXT GEN Workshops has highlighted hot topics for further discussion. In recent weeks I have personally asked a number of organisations what are their most current and burning issues. From this we have put together a cutting edge programme. You can attend for a single day and get some really relevant insight.’

On Tuesday 24 October the NEXT GEN Shock Mitigation Solutions Workshop focuses on: ‘Shock mitigation by all means.’ This is highly relevant to professional and military organisations, boat builders, equipment manufacturers, re-fit yards and service providers. Supporters include SKYDEX from the US, Scot Seats from the UK, SHOXS and Shockwave from Canada, Grammer Nautic from Germany.

On Wednesday 25 October the NEXT GEN RIB & High Speed Craft Workshop focuses on: ‘Boat and equipment procurement in a changing world.’ Topics are relevant to pilot boats, workboats, patrol boats, search & rescue, survey vessels, superyacht tenders and unmanned vessels.

Supporters include SSA, British Marine, UKMPA, University of Southampton, Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute.

On Thursday 26 October the NEXT GEN Systems Safety & Equipment Workshop focuses on: ‘Identifying and avoiding single points of failure at sea’. Topics include blending practical and traditional approaches to safety with digital solutions. As autonomous vessels arrive in our waters a session looks at what people, training and onshore support will be required. Supporters include Spinlock, 3Si, Ocean Safety, Dyena.

The standard attendee rate is £200 per day. The discount rate for members of SSA, British Marine, RINA, UKMPA, UKHMA is £150 per day.

Timing is 09.00 to 17.00 each day, with lunch and CPD certificate included. There are networking drinks receptions on Tues & Weds from 17.30 to 19.30.

Workshop Event Manager – Julie Arthur

Workshops Information


Jonathan Lewis Maritime Command, Border Force
‘The Challenges of Building Fleets for Evolving Maritime Roles’

Dr Tom Gunston ISO Seat Testing Working Group
‘Update on ISO Standards for Boat Seat Performance Testing and Next Steps’

Hans van der Molen Head of Technical Projects & Innovation, KNRM (NL Lifeboat)
‘Comparing Lateral and Vertical Accelerations between ‘Nh1816’ and ‘Arie Visser’ Class’

Dr Thomas Coe Senior Consultant, Frazer – Nash Consultancy / Naval Design Partnership
‘The Future of Shock Mitigation Testing – Getting from Anecdote to Evidence’

Professor Ajit Shenoi Director, University of Southampton Marine & Maritime Institute
‘GMTT 2030 – Global Marine Technology Trends for the next decade and beyond’

Tony Birr Director, Century Maritime
‘Selecting Effective Craft to Fulfil Multiple Maritime Functions in Port and at Sea’

James Fanshawe Chairman, Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group
‘Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) go from Concept to Service’

Alan Priddy British Global Powerboat Circumnavigation Record Team
‘Selecting Vessel and Equipment to Break 24,000 mile Circumnavigation Record of 61 days’

RNLI Design & Engineering Team
‘Designing Redundancy into Vessels for Critical Tasks’

Captain Andrew Moll Deputy Chief Inspector, Marine Accident Investigation Branch
‘How ALL Marine Sectors can learn from Accidents & Incidents – including Points Of Failure’

Captain Don Cockrill Secretary General, UK Maritime Pilots Association
‘Maritime Situational Awareness – Science Art or Myth?’

John Haynes Managing Director, Shock Mitigation
‘Why Fundamental Seamanship and Basic Navigation Methods still matter’

Editors Contact: John Haynes +44 (0)7813 208222

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London International Shipping Week 2017 has been hailed a resounding success with thousands of global shipping industry leaders attending more than 160 official events throughout the week.

Initial estimates place the number of UK and international visitors at over 15,000 but this figure could rise even further when the number of ‘unofficial’ events are considered.

Such was the international interest in the week that #LISW17; #LISW2017; and @LISW17Official trended on Twitter twice during the week, with an estimated 11.2 million user twitter reach.

Indeed, visitors from over 50 countries attended the week, including 15 ministers from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Ghana.

The UK government used the week to host bilateral meetings with politicians and senior industry figures to explore partnerships, future opportunities outside the European Union and examine how to help significantly boost maritime exports.

It really was a week of business with all event organisers reporting very strong attendances at their events. Such was the interest of the varied subject matter under discussion and the high quality of the venues, that the opinion was that London International Shipping Week had come of age and was truly a global must-attend event.

Reflecting on the successes of the past week, Jeremy Penn, Chairman of the LISW17 Steering Group, paid tribute to the strong cooperation that existed between Government and industry.

“LISW17 was bigger and stronger than the previous events in 2015 and 2013 and this reflects not only the importance of government and industry cooperation in helping to promote London and the UK’s prominent role in world shipping, but also the realisation by shipping that London is firmly at the heart of this global industry,” he said.

More than 550 people attended the official LISW17 flagship conference on Thursday September 14th, while just under 1,000 guests and VIPs attended the Gala Dinner in the evening. Both were held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane.

“The buy in to LISW17 by industry and government – not just in the UK but globally – has been astounding. While we were anticipating a very strong event, boosted by the attention surrounding Brexit as well as the green shoots of recovery in many key shipping sectors, it is true to say that the actual outcome far exceeds our expectations,” said Sean Moloney and Llewellyn Bankes-Hughes, Directors of the event organisers Shipping Innovation.

Further information about LISW17 can be found on the dedicated event website: or you can follow us on Twitter @LISW17.

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Partnership between maritime industry giants strengthens UK’s maritime cluster promising a bright future for members

National Maritime SSA makes its debut at LISW 2017

A major new force in the UK maritime industry has been created following an agreement announced today (5 September) between National Maritime and the Shipbuilders & Shiprepairers Association.

The deal is being heralded as a perfect marriage between National Maritime, the country’s fastest growing and most dynamic maritime network, and SSA, the UK’s oldest maritime trade association and widely regarded as the ‘voice of the marine industry’.

The partnership is called National Maritime SSA. It makes its debut at London International Shipping Week 2017, where two jointly organised events are planned.

The agreement will see both partners share resources and jointly develop their business growth strategies, strengthen their industry reach and influence, deliver additional benefits to members, and also attract more companies to join. Kent-based National Maritime has more than 600 members and SSA has nearly 70 and is based in Sunderland.

Peter Green, Chief Executive of National Maritime, has taken over the Chief Executive role at SSA. National Maritime is also responsible for providing a wide range of administration, business support and membership services to SSA.

Peter explained that National Maritime SSA will collaborate on everything from organising joint events to championing the UK’s diverse maritime industry on the national and international stage.

He said: “The partnership delivers real benefits to both organisations. SSA can tap into the drive, energy and momentum of the fastest growing maritime body in the country, while sharing in the membership benefits and first rate organisational skills that we can offer. National Maritime is excited to be working with a hugely-respected organisation which has great influence and presence in the corridors of power both at Westminster and across Europe and the world.

“With Brexit and all its complexities and business uncertainties around the corner, it’s more important than ever that companies working in our all-important maritime sector have a strong voice representing them at the top table,” added Peter.

SSA President Dr Richard Freeman said: “I’m hugely excited at this development. It is a bold and ambitious partnership which promises to deliver significant benefits to our members, who represent the backbone of the industry in Britain.”

While continuing his role as the SSA President, Richard will also take over as Chair of National Maritime to ensure there is a common forward looking strategy for this new organisation. He will also co-chair the Blue Council, the strategic working group of National Maritime that seeks to improve interaction with industry to help address issues and promote the interests that affect business and communities, to drive sector and economic growth.

National Maritime drives trade, productivity and growth for maritime industries from its maritime hub, Blue Space, organises an extensive array of maritime and business support events annually, manages the Jobs in Maritime service, and offers brokerages to expand its member’s maritime businesses. SSA represents an array of businesses in maritime working groups with UK government and industry and is involved in collaborative projects with European shipyards and maritime organisations.

The UK is home to the largest maritime sector in Europe and generates an estimated £56bn of UK GDP, employing 10% of the UK’s workforce.

For more details about National Maritime SSA contact Sezen Zeki at National Maritime on 02035 885175 or email

For details of the two events at LISW 2017 visit:

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OWS Technology in Focus Press Release

Please click here for the OWS Technology in Focus Press Release

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National Maritime, MIT Technical Talks, in conjunction with AtZ Marine Technologies visits London International Shipping Week 2017


National Maritime, MIT Technical Talks, in conjunction with AtZ Marine Technologies visits London International Shipping Week 2017

How compliant is International shipping? – Oil monitoring and elimination presented by industry experts

How the world’s leading experts are working with International Shipping to reduce the risk of oil pollution within the marine environment

For the first time ever AtZ Marine Technologies will deliver a MIT Technical Talks session at London International Shipping Week. The technical session, delivered in conjunction with National Maritime (NMDG) and supported by Greenwich Maritime Centre and the SAA (Ship Builders and Ship Repairers Association) will focus on reducing the environmental impact on our seas due oil pollution from the international shipping industry.

Recent events have shown that some crews continue to by-pass oily water separators and perform illegal overboard discharge from bilge tanks, which has resulted in fines into the millions and even the possibility of imprisonment. Operators must become more vigilant and ensure they adhere to industry environmental rules.

To ensure minimal environmental impact on our seas, bilge water on board ships must meet industry standards before discharge is permissible. Various environmental agencies globally (IMO, USCG and MCA) have issued regulations which ship operators must follow to reduce oil pollution and to protect our marine environment.

The National Maritime MIT Technical Talk’s session will partner with AtZ and industry experts, DECKMA Hamburg, Wave International and ACM Composite Bearings to discuss how technology has evolved to monitor and eliminate oil from ships bilge tanks, ensuring the future conservation of the environment and compliance by shipping operators.

Whilst exploring ways oil in water can be controlled within bilge tanks, the technical session will also look at water lubricated bearing technology, which eliminates the sea water to oil interface found in common stern tube seal arrangements, which overall, eliminates the possibility of oil pollution from the stern tube.

The session will be held on Tuesday 12th September 2017 at Hamilton House, University of Greenwich from 09.00am to 12.30pm, and whilst delivering a series of technical discussions it will also offer delegates the opportunity to network with other industry professionals.

To view the full agenda, list of speakers and to register, please click here.

About National Maritime MIT Technical Talks:
National Maritime MIT Technical Talks are a series of technical seminars that are delivered across the UK, focusing on regional sector developments, technical advancements, thought leadership and current issues facing the maritime industry. They are delivered in partnership with the MIT Group, suppliers and service providers of driveline systems.

About National Maritime (NMDG):
National Maritime (NMDG), is the maritime network for industries influenced by the sea and waterways. As the UK’s maritime cluster, its purpose is to serve and support its members to help them grow and increase business. They promote the UK as a world class location central to the country’s global maritime aspirations and work with those industries ambitious to drive trade, productivity and economic growth. The organisation defines the UK maritime sector as Shipping, Port Operations and Business Services, Marine Engineering, Renewables, Fisheries, Heritage, Recreational, Offshore Oil and Gas. It actively encourages cross sector collaboration between these industries, they call this the #maritimeconnection.

About AtZ Marine Technologies:
ATZ provide equipment sales, support and consultation services to the marine, power generation and petrochemical sectors and were established in 1998, becoming the sole UK agent for Deckma Hamburg, the oil-in-water monitoring specialists. The organisation then expanded its portfolio by becoming the sole UK agent for AEGIR-Marine and ACM Bearings, along with innovative brands such as, ABCON, Wavestream and Tribomar.

Media Enquiries
Louise Woolley – Marketing Manager
AtZ Marine Technologies
T: +44 (0) 2380 455 447

Peter Green – Chief Executive
National Maritime (NMDG)
T: +44 (0) 203 588 175

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Seafaring’s heart and soul

A still, calm River Thames, on a crisp spring morning. Then, just coming into view on the horizon are 30 tall ships in all their magnificent glory.

That was the sight that welcomed visitors to the nation’s capital during April, as Royal Greenwich played host to the start of the Rendez-Vous Tall Ships Regatta 2017, celebrating 150 years of the Canadian Confederation with its own Tall Ships Regatta.

The history of tall ships is a long and interesting one. Dating back to the 1500s – when international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing vessels – through the legendary story of the Bounty and on to the modern day, these magnifi cent vessels have captured the hearts and minds of seafarers and storytellers.

Now in the modern age, the ships are more for aesthetic pleasure than for function. Yet the sight of them on the water is still something that can turn even the coldest heart into a reminiscing romantic.

Gracing the Thames on those April mornings, the ships welcomed guests onto their decks for visits and tours before disembarking five days later for their round-trip. It’s a journey that saw them leave the UK and travel via Portugal and the Canary Islands to Bermuda. From there, it was onto the US coast before the Regatta made its way up to Canada and back across the ocean for its fi nal stop at Le Havre in France.

But before they did set sail, the ships gave London the opportunity to remind the world of its role in the sector and showcase how important Greenwich has been, over the years, to the UK’s long and proud maritime heritage.

‘Greenwich is the maritime heart of London and, at one time, the world,’ explained Laurens Winkel, the Amsterdam-born director of Sail Greenwich.

‘We started with a small group of tall ships coming to Greenwich in 2012 for the Olympics. We returned in 2014 and this year we’ve had 30 tall ships in London over the weekend. The biggest one – the Christian Radich from Norway – was almost 90m long, and we had the beautiful fourmast tall ship Santa Maria Manuela here. We also had several class C and D tall ships – which are basically big yachts – that can sail worldwide. Every now and again the tall ships circus – as I like to call it – comes into town, so it’s very special.

‘I think the romance of the faraway lands; seeing the horizon across the sea and the exploring is what makes tall ships so exciting. People come to see more than just the ships though,’ he added. ‘They are beautiful to look at, but in the past we’ve seen that when people visit they want to talk to the crew about their experiences. They say “yes I’m impressed by the rigging, but how do you live on here – tell me your stories”.’

This year’s event follows on from the success of the 2014 Tall Ships Regatta, which attracted more than 1m visitors. During the five days the vessels were in Greenwich – having arrived from countries including the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Poland – a range of activities were on offer for the ship-loving members of the public to get involved in.

One organisation responsible for those activities, and which had been heavily involved in this year’s event, is Dartford-based National Maritime.

‘National Maritime is the official partner for the event, and organising the shore-side events was National Maritime’s role,’ said chief executive Peter Green.

‘We first got involved when the tall ships were here in 2014. We worked in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and it was so successful. Three years ago, we had 1.1m visitors. People love coming along to be entertained, shop and learn a little, and our role is to engage with them – which can only be a good thing.

‘We have two priorities,’ Peter added. ‘One is, how do we regenerate our coast communities, and events like this reconnect maritime communities. We’ve always believed that the maritime sector is wider than what you see. It’s more than just a port or a ship; it’s about getting that message across. It’s also smack bang in the middle of the maritime cluster here in London, so that works for us also.’

This year’s regatta took place slightly earlier than in previous years, to coincide with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Canadian Confederation – the act that saw the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick united into the Canada we know today.

And while not all vessels in London were making the trip across the Atlantic Ocean, they were all playing their roles and taking on at least the fi rst sections of the Rendez-Vous Tall Ships Regatta 2017 with their fellow vessels. ‘Greenwich is the starting port of the trans-Atlantic race to Canada, where all sizes of tall ships participate,’ Laurens explained. ‘From the 30 here a proportion of them will take part the full race. Others will take part in smaller sections of the race.

‘Normally I like to run this event in summer, but because of this race to Canada we ran it over Easter. It’s very weather dependent when it comes to numbers attending. When it’s dry it’s good so we’ve been lucky this year.

‘We’re very proud to be the start of this race. We had a lot of Canadian influences at the event as well – including some performances – so there is a Canadian taste to it. We just wanted to create a great environment where people could come to Greenwich and enjoy their day.’

As part of the festival, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in partnership with National Maritime’s Jobs in Maritime, recruited 50 sail trainees to embark on some of the magnificent tall ships visiting London.

Trainees got to spend 15 nights aboard a voyage to Sines in Portugal – the birthplace of the famous explorer Vasco de Gama – and take part in the running of the vessel; including steering, charting the course and climbing the rigging.

It’s hoped the experience will prove to be more than a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those aspiring seafarers and spark their imaginations about the prospects of a life at sea.

‘The sail trainees will have been sponsored by a number of partners and they will go into Sines in Portugal, where they will be dropped off – and fly home – before some of the ships go to Quebec in Canada,’ said Peter.

‘It’s a great initiative that gives them an unbelievable experience on the sea and hopefully makes them think it could be something they want to do in the long-term.’

‘The reason for the existence of tall ships right now is that they are the best platform for sail training,’ added Laurens. ‘It gets young people out of their comfort zones. They climb the rigging; they don’t have their telephones or social media. They meet new people and it’s a life changing experience. They do the night shifts and learn the discipline needed onboard the tall ships. All of that is what we call sail training.

‘These tall ships play such a key role and it’s great that Greenwich Council and National Maritime make it possible for people, who otherwise don’t have the money or opportunities to take part in these experiences, to be part of it.

‘It’s also very important for the ships. The ships look nice but it takes a lot of love, energy and money every year to keep them looking beautiful. If you have a 100-year-old ship then it’s a lot of work.

‘The most important thing, though, is that we capture their imaginations and make them enjoy being out on the water.’

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National Maritime’s first Investinblue conference

More than a year in the planning, National Maritime’s first Investinblue conference attracted thousands of visitors to Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre for a two-day event showcasing major developments in the maritime sector. (more…)

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