Latest News

Latest News

Ongoing Case Work

Our renowned work on maritime casualties has led to appointments as Special Casualty Representatives (SCRs) on two high-profile cases this year to date.

STELLAR BANNER – a 2016 built VLOC of 300,000 DWT – was grounded around 60nm off coast of Brazil during February and all crew were safely evacuated. The vessel took on a significant starboard list and salvors were appointed to lighter the fuel and sufficient cargo to enable a re-float to be progressed. The vessel was successfully re-floated during May and towed to deep water for inspection. Unfortunately, it was declared a total loss following that inspection and scuttled by Salvors in deep water (following approvals) thereafter.

ZELEK STAR – a 2005 built general cargo vessel - dragged her anchor while in ballast on Christmas Day 2019 and grounded on Ashdod beach, Israel. Salvors were appointed and the vessel was successfully re-floated (after dredging a channel back into deep water) during March 2020.

In addition, we were also appointed by the UK SOSREP as technical advisors for KAAMI – a 1994 built general cargo vessel - that ran aground off Skye, Scotland, during March 2020. All crew were winched to safety by helicopter. The vessel was successfully lightened of cargo by salvors and thereafter re-floated in May. She was subsequently towed to dry dock in Kishorn for dismantling.

Safe Return to Port – principles and impact on design

The SOLAS Safe Return to Port regulations have a significant impact on new passenger ship design. Last month we held a webinar to introduce the regulations and to demonstrate how our Systema™ software can assist in ensuring compliance. A full recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Metallurgy and Fuel Testing Laboratory

We are currently finalising plans to create a high-end laboratory to deliver comprehensive metallurgy, fuel testing, paint analysis and non-destructive testing facilities which will come on- line later this year.

Our Chief Technical Officer, Ray Luukas, explains the rationale:

“For many years we have enjoyed a widespread reputation for delivering high quality maritime consultancy delivered by our team of master mariners, naval architects and marine engineers. More recently, we expanded our offer to include a range of associated scientific and technical services including metallurgy consultancy. Today, our in-house metallurgists work alongside other team members to provide our clients with more comprehensive advice on issues such as wire rope failure, container collapses, welding defects or failure of engine components. Increasingly the market is wanting more technical and complex metallurgy services and the creation of our new laboratory will allow us to deliver that”

Metallurgy testing plays an important role in understanding how materials behave in certain environments and, as such, is not specific to the maritime industry. With increasing demand coming from within and outside maritime, we see scope for using the new testing facility to help develop business in a number of market segments including traditional maritime, superyachts, and the energy sector more generally.

The laboratory will also house a new fuel-testing facility reflecting the increase we are seeing in fuel-related investigations and claims. Poor quality fuel often leads to extensive and expensive machinery damage. The new facility will test fuel to ISO 8217 standards to highlight substandard samples and to help identify the causes and origins of fuel-related problems.

Welcome to two new SCRs

We are delighted to welcome William Leschaeve and Michael Riddell who have recently joined our team as Special Casualty Representatives (SCRs). SCRs are highly specialist salvage and wreck removal consultants and, as such, number only around 50 globally. They are appointed by the Lloyd’s of London’s SCOPIC Committee for their exceptional level of expertise in the field of salvage and wreck removal.

Michael Riddell is a senior master mariner, based in our Singapore office. Following an initial career at sea with Safmarine, he later served on ocean-going salvage tugs responsible for ocean towage and emergency response. Ashore, Michael has extensive experience in emergency response, wreck removal, ship stability, condition surveys and other related work.

William Leschaeve operates from our London office and is a senior naval architect. He has significant experience working for a classification society as well as a number of notable marine consultancies. William specialises in marine casualty investigations including groundings, collisions, capsizes, cargo and total losses.

Spotlight on Marine Engineering

Marine Engineering

Marine engineering is a longstanding and fundamental Brookes Bell expertise; it was one of our founding disciplines and remains a core skillset. Our marine engineers are all qualified chief engineers with many years’ seagoing experience under their belts. All are professionally registered (or working towards registration) and prior to joining us, many had augmented their sea time with experience as technical superintendents, in shipyards or in other marine industries. We utilise this experience to efficiently meet the needs of our various clients.

The synergy of our team and the quality of our expertise – which is never compromised by out-sourcing - enables us to effectively support our valued clients across a wide range of issues, disputes and incidents. Our instructions include matters related to machinery failures, fire, bunker disputes, crane damages, condition surveys, vessel technical management, construction and redelivery disputes and many other marine related matters, where our clients require robust, balanced and sound technical opinion. Our forensic approach to investigation is recognised globally and we routinely apply this to our work.

As well as the more litigious opinion and investigative instructions, other consultancy and general engineering survey work fall within our expertise. As an example, Covid-19 has prevented many companies from sending their own supervisors to shipyards in China and so, today, we are increasingly being called to investigate problems arising from poorly supervised newbuilds, scrubber installations and repair work.

A multi-discipline approach is often vital if the true cause, effect and long-term implications of any marine casualty, dispute or investigation are to be fully understood. To ensure we present a holistic and comprehensive solution to our clients, our marine engineers are supported by in-house complementary expertise, including tribologists, naval architects, metallurgists and fuel chemists. This offers our clients a direct transfer of case knowledge between the experts required to fully investigate a matter, whilst simplifying and expediting the logistics of doing so.

Prevention is always better than cure and, given our extensive and broad incident investigation experience, we can bring our first-hand knowledge of lessons learnt to prevent recurrence and reduce the risk and consequences of loss to various stakeholders. Supporting these activities, we often contribute to P&I Clubs’ loss prevention activities and guidance.

With marine engineering teams in the UK, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, we are on hand to offer first-class advice and support. We look forward to supporting you and please do get in touch if you think we can provide assistance.

Meet the team – Alasdair Douglas, Senior Software Engineer

Alasdair Douglas life

Having trained and initially practiced as a naval architect, my role at Brookes Bell is now focused on software development where as part of a software development team I am responsible for developing and maintaining our core software products. My somewhat unconventional background allows me to talk on a professional level with vessel stakeholders and software developers equally – and this gives me a useful edge when it comes to producing maritime software.

Our main software solutions relate to passenger vessel safety for use in the design cycle and during operations. EVI™ is our advanced pedestrian dynamics tool that helps vessel designers comply with the regulations surrounding the evacuation of passengers and can also provide operators with useful insights in to managing passenger movements. Systema™ also supports passenger vessel designers, as well as shipyards, to analyse the redundancy of their vessel designs against the IMO’s Safe Return to Port (SRtP) regulation, and help operators to develop crew operational procedures required to respond to an SRTP casualty. SRtP Onboard™ is an operator’s decision support system designed to ensure they can train and effectively respond to an SRtP casualty, by restoring system functionality which allows them to return to port, or safely evacuate. Our team also offers support to owners, designers and yards and we can work alongside a design team analysing their systems using Systema™ ensuring compliance, identifying issues early in the design cycle, and proposing solutions to problems.

I’ve been with Brookes Bell for nearly 12 years and involved with these software solutions for nine of those. On graduating from the University of Strathclyde I joined Safety at Sea in Glasgow – originally a university spin-off and then later becoming a formal subsidiary of Brookes Bell. In Glasgow we have a history of developing novel software solutions, and I quickly moved towards working on these, combining my engineering background with my keen interest in software development to enhance and develop our core software products for our global clients over a number of years. Regulations continue to evolve and strengthen and it’s my job to ensure our software tools maintain pace with all requirements and retain their relevance in a changing world. Ultimately, I see my role as creating software solutions to complex engineering problems both from a design and an operational perspective.

It's not easy to get away from the computer screen, especially when I enjoy playing computer games and coding in my spare time. But when I do, I like to spend time with my fiancée Jo and our Pug - Captain Pugwash (even the dog has a nautical connection). I like to run, and ski and until recently I was lucky enough to live part of the year near Morzine in France, where the skiing was great, and the running tough! We’re now back in Scotland full time and looking forward to getting back to sailing and exploring the West Coast once lockdown eases.

Scientific Information Sheets

Our information sheet series continues with marine coating services.

Marine Coating Services Sheet

Scientific Information Sheets

With inevitable delays in the global logistics chain during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware of concerns that shipowners, charterers, cargo owners, P&I Clubs or other commercial/insurance interests may have in respect of cargo care and the effect of delays on cargo safety and condition during this difficult time.​

Our highly qualified cargo scientists, with decades of experience and a depth of cargo expertise unrivalled in the industry, have produced a series of information sheets which showcase our commodity expertise; this week we are focusing on coal and related commodities.

Coal and Related Commodities PDF

Webinar on Safe Return to Port: Principles and Impact on Design

Brookes Bell invites you to a webinar on ‘Safe Return to Port: Principles and Impact on Design’ on 29 May 2020. Join our in-house experts to better understand the IMO SOLAS regulation and work through a practical example of the impact of the regulation on the design of systems.

Register here.

Webinar invite and overview.

COVID-19 May Update

Following on from our Shanghai office being re-opened in April we are now pleased to announce the re-opening of our office in Hong Kong. Our other offices in Singapore and the UK are still operating remotely, and we are still actively supporting clients locally in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and throughout the UK.

If you need to get in touch with us urgently - particularly out of office hours - we recommend calling our out of hours numbers or our team directly on mobiles if you know who you wish to speak to. Contact details, including mobile phone numbers for our employees, are available on our website or alternatively you can use our Contacts app for both Android™ and iPhone®, available on Google Play™ and on the App Store®.