John is a proud Irishman and has been running a very successful specialist marine services and ship management company from Ireland for the last 15 years with business around the world. In latter years, John has steered the company to more specialised ship management realising the niche requirement to work with the marine science community and the challenges and rewards that this brings. John believes success in the marine science field is based on breaking down boundaries of communication and bringing together multiple disciplines on a ship to work together, through planning and creating a culture of shared challenges and shared solutions.
John has had a long and varied career in the Marine Industry, from seafaring, Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture to creating Maritime Management in 2004, a specialist Marine Services company.
As a teenager John worked on the container ship between Dublin and Liverpool in the summer holidays. He started his maritime career with the Marine Engineering Cadetship with the Bank Line Ltd. in 1977.
During the 80’s, when the Shipping industry collapsed, John went back to University in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) to study Naval Architecture and Shipbuilding at one of the oldest colleges of Naval Architecture in the world. The combination of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering attracted him to work as a ship and engineer surveyor for Lloyds Register of Shipping for the next sixteen years in many different shipping and offshore locations from London, Glasgow and Dublin to Venice, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey. Working day to day with shipbuilders and seafarers from so many different countries and traditions makes one realise that once you set foot on a ship, you are part of a global collegiate, far more unifying than any cultural, ethnic or religious difference could divide.
As senior ship surveyor in Istanbul, it was a challenging time for the ship repair and shipbuilding industry in Turkey, when bulk carriers and tankers were being rebuilt following the disasters of the Devonshire, Kowloon Bridge, Erica, Exxon Valdez and Prestige of the late 80’s. Lloyds Register were working at the coalface of changing legislation in the busy ship repair sector and growing shipbuilding industry in Istanbul. John developed the role Marine Projects Manager to service the rapidly growing Turkish Shipowners community building ships in Japan, Korea and China. This was the start of a proactive engagement with shipowners as opposed to the traditional regulatory oversight practiced by Lloyds Register. Having a young family living in Turkey at that time was a great opportunity to immerse and understand the cultural differences and learn that the similarities, when you seek them, are very powerful and fulfilling.
Following on from Turkey, John worked for Lloyds Register in Ireland for a short time and then with the Irish Maritime Administration before taking the leap away from the regulatory side of the business. He set up Maritime Management with his Norwegian partner in 2004. Maritime Management, through John’s experience and expertise, soon built a client base of ship owners to manage their ships. From the first job managing the classic mega yacht “Christina O” to building a fleet ranging from Reefer vessels in South Africa to vessels in Angola, along with several cargo ships, variety was never in short supply. There followed many marine projects such as the conversion of AHTS to Seismic Support vessels in South Africa, Turkey and UK, to building a research vessel for Irish Geological Survey in Cape Town, a National Geographic passenger vessel in Chile and a Floating Hotel project combining Russian building expertise and Irish Design.
Through their work in Chile, Maritime Management were recommended to Robert Ballard’s, Ocean Exploration Trust to manage their new vessel AV Humboldt which was sitting in Bremerhaven. She was an old and unloved East German ship which had been gifted to the trust. The first area of operation was the Turkey Black Sea and Mediterranean – John’s knowledge of the Turkish ship marine industry was key in securing this management contract and since then the vessel was renamed “NAUTILUS”, which we always say is “the most famous exploration vessel in the world”. Twelve years later and through many vessel improvements and upgrades, NAUTILUS has covered the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Atlantic, Caribbean, Mexican Gulf, and for the last five years has been based on the west coast operating form Canada to Galapagos and recently west to Hawaii. The Nautilus programme is focussed on exploring the deep ocean with ROVs and specialised mapping capabilities with remote presence, STEM outreach programmes, and education. www.nautiluslive.org
In 2015, John, as Managing Director, has steered the company to concentrate on the more specialised area of ship management. Outside direct company business, John has been Branch Secretary and Chairman of the Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST). He served four years as President of the Irish Chamber of Shipping, representing Irish shipping interests as Director and member of the board of the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) and International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). He is also on the advisory board of the Irish Marine Institute for renewable energy testing and the Development Task Force for Ireland’s Ocean Wealth programme.
Maritime Management are establishing, over the last five years, a model for community lead development of offshore renewable energy with expertise on Tidal Turbines and how they will satisfy the needs of the more remote coastal communities for reliable energy resilience.
Also for the last five years they have been developing a Tall Ship for the Ireland project with Atlantic Youth Trust. This Tall Ship is being developed for the whole Island of Ireland, bringing together youth in both the North and South and using the sailing platform to explore similarities rather than diversities, enabling personal development of young people at the vulnerable age in their mid to late teens.
“The Mission Resolve, Lana Rose project is exciting, deliverable and capable of making a real difference to the damage we have done to the ocean and providing a core resource for disaster relief and humanitarian aid. It is very rare, indeed, to have such a combination of expertise from the origins in Resolve Marine and the vision of Joe Farrell and the established outreach and awareness of other collaborators and founders. It is great to be involved at this launching stage with the combined abilities assembled, to prove the concept and see it replicated around the wo