Woodbank Marine was created as an independent consultancy by Andy Askham in response to a growing demand for support services, particularly in the areas of shipbuilding, vessel efficiency, and environmental compliance. With a strong ship management and shipbuilding background and extensive practical experience, his seagoing career included positions as an LPG Cargo Engineer, progressing to Chief Engineer before he moved ashore as a Superintendent to manage RoRo’s, Bulk Carriers and Product Tankers. After several years as Technical Director and DPA, he has extensive practical experience in ship management, vessel operations and newbuilds.
Woodbank Marine has been involved in a variety of projects for clients in the maritime sector. With expertise in newbuild projects from concept design to vessel delivery, these include tendering support for both ship owners and shipyards; pre-purchase vessel inspections; providing independent advice and support for technology start-up organisations, RoRo operations and energy and infrastructure projects; expert support for new projects; market analysis, and company representation.
Woodbank Marine is providing technical and operational support for an ambitious and important initiative.
Britannia Maritime Aid aims to establish a permanent non-military humanitarian aid/disaster response UK registered and manned vessel in the Caribbean to provide an effective and regular means of directly delivering UK overseas humanitarian aid and skills training to Commonwealth communities in need, and when required to provide direct, fast and cost-effective emergency response to disaster hit islands and coastal commonwealth countries.
Such a vessel will be a cost-effective replacement and enhancement to UK Government current disaster relief aid in the Caribbean with no cost to the MOD budget, freeing RFA vessels for deployment where they are needed.
The Leadship-designed ship is based on a ‘common platform’ RoPax and will provide a maritime training and experience to UK and Commonwealth maritime cadets, apprentices and trainees.
In addition, it will provide a mobile conference and demonstration facility with VIP accommodation, conference and exhibition space to promote British and Commonwealth business, goods and services in the Atlantic Basin. It will give the FCDO a soft-power platform to further relationships with Commonwealth and other nations to the benefit of the United Kingdom.
It’s planned that the ship will offset operating costs with revenue from a number of potential tasks – for example, in the development of transport logistic infrastructure with passenger and freight services between Caribbean Commonwealth nations, tackling the growing dependance on imported food and goods. It’s location and capability will provide a platform for environmental projects, such as assisting in tackling the problem of sargassum weed, and beach clean-up and plastics recycling.
Britannia Maritime Aid will be aiming for a government retainer and periodic charters to cover availability and deployment during the annual hurricane season and specific UK government requirements. It expects the vessel to be built with private funding, and aims to offset build and operational costs with commercial activities.