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Thomas Miller acquires specialist marine and energy consultancy Brookes Bell Group

Thomas Miller, the international provider of market leading insurance services, announces the acquisition of international marine consultancy, Brookes Bell, for an undisclosed consideration.

Brookes Bell is a leading marine technical and surveying consultancy with offices in Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. It has served the marine and energy industries since 1903, providing specialist services in areas including emergency response, casualty investigation, salvage and wreck removal operations, scientific cargo expertise, forensic engineering and expert witness services. The firm is also a leader in research and development of ship design support to enhance maritime safety and technology and employs a renowned group of Marine Engineers, Civil Engineers, Master Mariners, Naval Architects, Cargo and Fuel Scientists, Fire Investigators and Metallurgists.

Hugo Wynn Williams, Chairman, Thomas Miller, says: “Brookes Bell’s long-recognised expertise across international marine and energy markets will make an excellent and complementary addition to the Thomas Miller Group.”

Colin Kershaw, Managing Partner, Brookes Bell, says: “Thomas Miller is a business that very much shares the values, vision and foresight of Brookes Bell and we are delighted to have taken this next step in our journey towards further growth and diversity.

“Brookes Bell will continue to operate independently, with no changes to our brand or operational structure, to provide independent and highly respected expert consultancy services to new and existing clients while, crucially, having access to investment to expand.”


Roland Cross / Jon Atkins – Four Broadgate
+44 (0) 20 3697 4200 /

Note to Editors

Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller is an international provider of market leading insurance services.

Founded in 1885, Thomas Miller’s origins are in the provision of management services to mutual organisations, particularly in the international transport and professional indemnity sectors; where today they manage a large percentage of the foremost insurance mutuals. Thomas Miller also manages insurance facilities for all the self-employed barristers in England & Wales, as well as trustees of pension schemes, patent agents and housing associations.

Principal activities include:

  • Management services for transport and professional indemnity insurance mutual
  • Managing General Agency
  • Professional services including legal and technical services, claims and captive management
  • Investment management for institutions and private clients

Brookes Bell Group

Brookes Bell is a market leader in marine technical, survey and casualty investigation services to the marine and energy sectors worldwide. Offering unrivalled expertise and experience across all the major marine and scientific disciplines, the firm provides multi-disciplinary consultancy services to clients and is regularly called upon to provide litigation support through expert evidence in courts and arbitrations around the world. The Group also supports ship designers and operators by providing a range of safety services using in-house software tools and risk-based alternative design. Brookes Bell uses only directly- employed expert personnel across disciplines including Marine Engineers, Master Mariners, Naval Architects, Cargo and Fuel Scientists, Fire Investigators and Metallurgists.

Adrian Scales awarded Chartered Master Mariner Status (CMMar)

Congratulations to Adrian Scales, Brookes Bell Master Mariner and Partner, who was recently awarded Chartered Master Mariner status (CMMar) by the Nautical Institute and Honourable Company of Master Mariners - just the 18th such award to have been made. Adrian has also just recently received his Freedom of the City of London and became a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

Graeme Bowles re-appointed to the SCR Panel

Our Consultant Master Mariner Graeme Bowles has been re-appointed to the SCR Panel by the Lloyds SCOPIC Committee for a further three year period, until 31 December 2020. Graeme was originally listed on the panel in 2010 and has been appointed as SCR on three LOF salvage cases, as well as on several non LOF cases where his SCR credentials were specifically called for by clients.

A new record – 63 clients attend the Hong Kong seminar

On 25 October 2017, the Hong Kong office held a seminar at the Mariner’s Club where the record attendance of 63 clients exceeded expectations and totally justified moving to a new larger venue.

Brendan Cuffe flew in from Shanghai and presented 'Sea Trials – What is Tested and Why?' It found wide appeal amongst our audience and one client commented that was "a good introduction to one of the important parts of a shipbuilding contract and useful for the executive negotiator for the contract as well as the engineer superintendent attending the trial."

Tim Moss and Luigi Petrone, who are now familiar presenters to many in our Hong Kong audience, did a great duo act to present the 'Tao of Sampling' which explained why and how we take samples. One client said that it was "informative and all types of sampling were well explained with practical demonstrations" such as Tim’s showcasing of the ultimate manly hoover – the Pneumac – which has a 6-metre long hose that can suck up cargo such as soya beans for sample collection.

It's fantastic that these seminars are going from strength to strength as they aim to help share information as well as providing a platform to catch up with our clients despite busy schedules. Therefore, we would like to say a sincere thank you to all who attended the evening and helped make it a great success.

The new paradigm in offshore wind farm dispute claims management

Ken Kirby, a senior partner and metallurgist, recently spoke to ‘Energy Engineering’ alongside Grant Greatrex, Managing Partner at ELAN Forensic. The partnership between our two organisations aims to deliver best-in-class expertise for every offshore wind farm project and dispute.

Installed capacity of offshore wind is on the verge of an increase, but there are significant challenges to overcome before the industry can flourish.

Source: Energy Engineering, Issue 73, Page 24-25;

Nikolaos Karimalis joins Brookes Bell

We are pleased to welcome NIKOLAOS KARIMALIS to our team of Master Mariners in Liverpool. Niko has an MSC in Technical Ship Management from the University of Strathclyde and joins us from Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd where he spent 22 years serving on a variety of ships including container ships, bulk carriers, general cargo ships and tankers. Please follow this link for further information about Niko’s surveying and consultancy experience.

Hong Kong Seminar - Full to the Gunwales

The latest Hong Kong seminar on 18 May 2017 brought in a record crowd, with over 40 clients and 12 Brookes Bell staff attending.

Both talks were given by colleagues from our Singapore office who shared with the audience their diverse areas of expertise. First up was Donald Ross who took the audience through loss prevention and claims handling for ports and marine terminals. The audience participated enthusiastically in the ensuing Q&A section, which highlighted a need for a future talk to be given by our master mariners on safe ports and tug assistance.

After a short interval, Dave Myers gave a lively and engaging presentation on Fire Investigation - Engine Room Fires & Self-Heating Cargo. After the talk, Dave was hotly (excuse the pun) sought out by clients to answer more questions as the drinks and canapés flowed.

Thanks to all who participated in another momentous event and maybe next time we will be in an all new seminar venue as it appears we are outgrowing this one!

With new appointment, Mark Ross bolsters fire investigation team

Mark brings a wealth of experience to Brookes Bell. Prior to joining the company, he worked with the London Fire Brigade for over twenty years, specialising in fire origin and cause investigations, and fire behaviour. Mark has carried out over 2,000 fire investigations, ranging from small compartment fires to multi-million pound losses, and including those of accidental and deliberate origin. He has also given expert testimony in Coroners, Magistrates and Crown Courts on numerous occasions.

He joins the business as the company continues to expand its scope and scale, increasing its operations around the globe and developing regional centres of excellence.

Dave Myers, an associate and fire investigator at Brookes Bell, said: “Fire and explosion investigation is a key part of our work at Brookes Bell. Mark Ross is a hugely respected investigator with a wealth of experience. He is therefore perfectly placed to bolster our fire investigation team as we continue to offer global expertise in the marine, energy and offshore, and industrial sectors.”

Mark comments: “Brookes Bell’s excellent reputation is well known, and I am very much looking forward to utilising the same detailed, forensic approach to fire investigation with Brookes Bell’s team as I used with the London Fire Brigade. As the breadth of inspections expands in the shipping and offshore sectors, it will be a privilege to work alongside such a wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary team.”

Mark will be based in the Group’s Sidcup office.

Claims Adjuster, Adam Whittle, reflects on some of the highlights from the superyacht industry in 2016.

Adam Whittle

Adam Whittle, Claims Adjuster at Brookes Bell Group, reflects on some of the highlights of the superyacht world in 2016.

2016 was another impressive year for the superyacht industry.  Headlines include the acquisition of Blohm & Voss by Lurssen Yachts, the delivery of 'Dilbar', the largest superyacht in the world in terms of volume, Heesen breaking the mold with the 'Galactica Super Nova'; one of the fastest superyachts in the world, and the construction of the world's largest sailing yacht, the aptly named, 'Sailing Yacht A'.

​Industry figures reported that last year, a total of 755 yachts 24m or longer were either under construction or completed, but with yards having to sign non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, that figure will be higher.  While the Arab states and Russian billionaires may be stealing the headlines with the very big stuff, the bulk of new orders was for yachts between 90 – 150 feet; a 9% increase over last year.

2016 was also a year of firsts.  The 107m superyacht 'Ulysses', said to have been commissioned by New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart, is the first private superyacht build undertaken by Norwegian yard, Kleven.  This yacht is designed for long-range passages in the most testing of sea conditions and has oceangoing capabilities fitting of Kleven's heritage.

Ice-classed with a range of 8,500 nautical miles, 'Ulysses' has unrivalled sea-going capabilities as well as an extensive array of tenders and toys, including a 21-metre catamaran capable of 50 knots.

​The Brookes Bell Yacht Practice continues to grow and diversify. Our experts have been retained to investigate issues on several of the world’s largest superyachts including new build disputes, naval architecture consultancy, marine engineering expert witness work and project management. Brookes Bell’s multi-disciplined, in-house skill set cements our reputation as the “go-to” firm for the superyacht industry.

With our wealth of practical experience and cutting edge in-house technology, we look forward to further growing the Yacht Practice in 2017.

A copy of the article in Propeller Club LPL Leading Edge Jan 2017 is available here​

Brookes Bell's technical evidence stands up to scrutiny in landmark cargo claims case

Expert technical evidence delivered by Dr. Martin Jonas, a partner and consulting scientist at Brookes Bell, played a critical role in overturning the Volcafe Ltd and others v. CSAV case, heard in the UK’s Court of Appeal in November 2016.

The decision by the Court of Appeal has been widely welcomed by the shipping industry, which raised concerns over the ‘detrimental impact’ of the original High Court Ruling that set aside centuries of legal precedent relating to the carriage of cargo.

The case concerned the carriage of 17 non-ventilated containers of bagged coffee between Columbia and Germany in 2012. The coffee was transported by the Chilean container line, CSAV. Despite following the orders given by the shippers and lining the containers with paper in accordance with established shipping practice, a small percentage of the cargo was found to be damaged when it arrived. The cause of the damage was condensation.

When this case was taken to the High Court, the judge went against previous legal precedents and declared CSAV liable for the damage, even though the company had followed standard industry practice in lining the containers. The reason for this verdict was that CSAV could not prove that the lining was a “sound system” for preventing damage, despite its wide use in the industry. This new precedent shifted the burden of proof in cargo claims, with wide-ranging ramifications for the worldwide container industry and the broader shipping industry. Specifically, the ruling limited the right of ship owners to rely on an ‘inherent vice’ defence if cargo is discharged in a damaged condition.

Unusually for a shipping case, the case was taken to the Court of Appeal, and subsequently overturned. During the proceedings, the Court accepted expert evidence from Dr. Jonas at the court of first instance, relating to the science of condensation in the container trade, the limitations of industry guidance and the difficulties of transporting cargo without any wet damage at all.

Dr. Jonas said: “Thanks to a combination of practical and theoretical expertise, Brookes Bell was uniquely placed to deliver expert technical opinion during this case. Where the claimants were forced to rely on two expert witnesses to deal with industry practice and scientific aspects separately, Brookes Bell was able to testify on both accounts. Our evidence stood up to scrutiny in one of the highest courts of the land, and was preferred by both the original High Court judge and the Court of Appeal judges.”

Brookes Bell was involved in the case from an early stage once the incident was pursued as a claim, providing an initial opinion. As the case evolved, Brookes Bell was able to develop its role, producing expert reports and oral evidence accepted at the High Court, and subsequently the Court of Appeal. The successful grant of the appeal ensured a return to previous legal thinking, and marked a significant victory for the container shipping sector. This would not have been possible without the integrity and quality of the evidence presented by Brookes Bell.

A copy of the judgment is available at:

Other news releases on this case at: