Managing Director - John White

Managing Director - John White

Managing Director John White grabs his fitter, welder and grinder as he sets about scraping
off those barnacles.

Welcome dear reader to your latest edition of Inside Marine. As I type away at this introductory piece amid some glorious UK weather, it is all too easy to imagine things have been plain sailing with fair winds and following seas recently.

However, as we all know, for many it has been turbulent and choppy waters that we have been forced to navigate for the last few months during this horrid Covid-19 storm! I’m sure, like me, many of you are fed-up hearing about it and would wish it away so that we can get back to some semblance of normality. However, please indulge me when I discuss it a little bit as I promise to look at it from a positive perspective and talk some about how we have or are adapting as a result.

This edition, one of our annual favourites, carries a strong focus on the shipbuilding and ship repair sector. A bustling area of the maritime industry if ever there was one!

A dockyard can be an exciting place when you first discover one. As a young boy, it amazed me to see the sheer size of a ship out of water in the dry dock. Like an iceberg, I had no real idea what bulk laid beneath the surface of the sea or could have imagined how large the rudders and propellers were. This wonder did not cease even into adulthood during my time in the Royal Navy where I would see many ships out of water being taken apart and rebuilt again or indeed built from scratch.

If you will allow it, I will liken the refit or rebuild of a ship to what many of us are currently undergoing within our various industries because of our dealings with the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, some businesses did not survive the storm and whilst some came through unscathed, for most of us we suffered varying degrees of storm damage as we did our best to stay afloat during this turbulent time.

So, it is into the dry dock we go. The gates close, the basin drains of water and our great damaged hulk of a company sits upon the supporting beams ready for a much-needed repair job. However, whilst we are out of water and in the position, it would be wise to have a good look over our vessel whilst everything is exposed, to see not only what needs repairing but what we could improve and apply to it in order to better adapt ourselves to future storms or simply a more productive time spent at sea.

This is what my crew and I did over the last couple of months. Initially, born out of a need to adapt some of our old systems and procedures to a safer, more user-friendly and socially distant way of doing things, we were forced to review what we had and make major improvements in order to fit our new parameters.

For sure, like many of you, we had to quickly shore up some holes in the hull and bail out some flooded compartments simply to just stay afloat before we even had chance to sail into dry dock and thankfully I had an excellent skeleton crew to help me do that. However, time was also well invested in a whole new way of looking at what we did and how we did it.

I am proud to say that my crew did such a good job that we have been fortunate enough to find ourselves not only in a position to set sail once more, but to do so with some new shipmates! We have taken on four new crew members in our editorial and project management teams who will now be amongst the first to use many of our ship’s new systems.

Like I said, a horrid time to be sure, however, as the saying goes, what does not kill us will only make us stronger. I hope, like us, if you returned from sea with storm damage, you have found the time to rebuild your particular ship and get it seaworthy once more. And if you were lucky enough, maybe you had the chance to make some improvements whilst you were at it and can now cut through the water using those extra few knots gained as a result!

John White - Managing Director