London Insurance Market Praise For UK Maritime Cluster After Falmouth Showcases Its Prowess
A tour of the UK's key specialist maritime cluster at Falmouth, organised for members of the London marine insurance market, has been hailed a success. It was seen to enhance expertise all round, and to build on professional relationships between maritime service providers and insurance specialists. A second trip of this type is already in the planning stage.
Executives of the company invited eight underwriters and brokers to join them in visiting Falmouth to take part in the company's first Shipyard Acquaint Course in the UK. Managing Director Nigel Clark said: "For some years we have arranged a Piraeus Assault Course, basically a vessel familiarisation exercise, for members of the London market twice a year, and these have been highly acclaimed. After Falmouth we plan a ‘one-dayer' in Felixstowe organised by our P&I surveyor, Jim Chubb, who is based in our Southampton branch, and we are exploring the possibility of doing something similar in Lisbon where our surveyor is André Vidal. We will also be running two further Piraeus courses in October."
The aim of the two-day event in Falmouth was to provide an insight into the workings of a modern shiprepair yard, a leading megayacht builder, the operations of a strategically located bunkering facility, and to observe ships in lay-up.
The group was welcomed at A & P Falmouth by the facility's commercial director, David Daniel, who briefed them on the history of the business at the Cornish port, detailed current and future development plans, and showed the group around the yard. Among the highlights was seeing the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Mounts Bay, which was in for a scheduled refit.
Later that day the group moved to Pendennis Shipyard Ltd, which occupies the site to the south of A & P and now utilises No. 1 Dock. This dock has recently been completely roofed in to provide a unique structure to house highly-valuable megayachts during building, outfitting or refit and can be split in half with a dock gate to provide either wet or dry docking at either end.
The group saw two of the huge yachts being constructed in the building shed, as well as seeing the components of cabin structures being constructed in dedicated workshops, and further components being painted to exacting standards. Said one of the London guests later: "The size and quality of the vessels is quite incredible. The workmanship that goes into these luxury vessels is clearly reflected in their price tag, but it was the obvious pride that the workforce have in the build quality of each component that impressed us. They all enjoy working in such a vibrant environment, and it was hugely impressive to see how this UK company has become a world leader."
The second day began with what was described as an extremely informative visit to World Fuels (Falmouth), where Paul Denmead, the terminal manager, explained the strategic location of Falmouth as a bunker port and its capacity for bunkering, and showed the visitors around the facility. There was lively questioning and interest as a bunker tanker came alongside.
The group boarded a boat, provided by Marine & Towage Services Group, to take a look at vessels moored in Falmouth Bay, and sailed up the River Fal to observe vessels in lay-up. "Some of us were surprised to see the size, number and ages of the vessels that are safely anchored in the River Fal. Many of these vessels are not what we would consider old, but are there simply due to the downturn in the markets," said one of the visitors.
"Taken together with a visit to Falmouth Maritime Museum that rounded off the event, we have gained an invaluable insight into the importance of the region, its technical abilities, and its contribution to the UK and international maritime scene."