LEADING INTERNATIONAL MARITIME MAGAZINE

Director's Comment

A tug on your heartstrings for some unsung heroesManaging Director John White harks back to the days of old when knights were bold.

Managing Director - John White

Managing Director - John White

Managing Director John White harks back to the days of old when knights were bold.

Welcome dear reader to your latest edition of Inside Marine. I write to you today from a sunny east coast of England with many of my staff - and probably many of you - enjoying a lovely summer break. Alas I’m still hard at work as are some of my staff in order that we can bring you this bumper edition. Bumper in more ways than one…

Bumper, firstly because the magazine is packed to the covers with an excellent and varied array of company profiles, advertisements, news, views and more. It really is a full edition with enough diverse content to keep almost all sectors happy.

Bumper, secondly (and forgive me for this one) because we have a focus on workboats, tugs and salvage. I use the word bumper with reference to the tugboats. Of course, the art of helping a larger vessel manoeuvre is a lot more involved than simply ‘bumping’ the ship into position, however, honestly speaking, I was just looking for a tenuous link for my wordplay!

In my opinion, tugboats can be likened to a medieval squire attending their knight on horseback. The knight, in splendid shining armour, lance and shield in hand atop his mighty steed, is a sight to behold and in the lists or on the field of battle, he is a majestic force to be reckoned with. Likewise, huge vessels – be it tankers, container ships, cruise liners or other - can confidently be described as masters of the sea when they are steaming across the oceans.  

However, what would either a knight or ship be without their respective squire or tugboat? Quite simply, the knight would not even be able to mount his horse, never mind hold a lance and shield whilst trying to do so. Similarly, these vast vessels would not make it out of a crowded port or harbour.

If you’ll continue to indulge me with this medieval analogy, the workboats are the many servants that the knight needs to keep the house in order, attend his armour repairs, feed and groom his horse and generally do all of the hard work so that he can remain in his commanding position in the saddle.
 
Our offices are close to the relatively small but busy ports of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Whereas these are modestly-sized when compared to many ports of the world, we do have our fair share of workboats and tugs, all continuously busying themselves about their work like worker bees attending the queen (I’m mixing analogies now). Our local workboats also serve the offshore wind farms with essential maintenance crews and equipment. Arguably these roles are less glamourous than those found aboard the titans of the sea, however, I trust I have given them the respect and acknowledgement due.

What about the salvage vessels? Well, clearly, they are the medieval blacksmiths who gather up the knight after he has fallen in battle. His shield and armour being converted into farming tools and horseshoes. Again, a dirty job but you can’t have broken knights littering the fields, can you?

Therefore, when next we admire or wave from the quayside at the crew or passengers of those mighty ships as they leave the safety of the harbour, I ask you to glance down and spare a thought for those often unseen, unsung heroes aboard the tugs and workboats who are the ones actually hard at work as the titan departs. As without their help, we would soon grow tired of waving at a motionless hulk.                                 

John White - Managing Director