Marine consultancy reaches ‘nautical’ milestone

An Aberdeen-based marine consultancy is set to finally mark its twenty-fifth year in business serving the marine and offshore energy sector after its plans to celebrate the occasion were put on hold by the pandemic.

Seacroft Marine Consultants operates from the distinctive Roundhouse at the entrance to the city’s Port, delivering a range of independent marine consultancy, inspection, and assurance services to offshore energy installation operators, contractors, support vessels, ports, and harbours.

The business was formed in 1995 by Capt. Roderick MacSween and since 2004 has been jointly owned and led by his daughter, Jennifer Fraser and technical director, Michael Cowlam. Michael joined the business shortly after it formed and has one of the best offices in the city, perched on the top floor of the Roundhouse with commanding views over the harbour, coastline and, on a clear day, far out to sea.

Seacroft Marine has come a long way since its early days when it specialised exclusively in recovery, rescue, and emergency response services. While still a central part of its consultancy, the company has diversified significantly to deliver a full range of support services to ship owners, offshore operators, and industry bodies across the globe.

Michael Cowlam said: ‘Our experience in in the offshore industry taught us a lot and we saw there was a space for us in the prevention of incidents, as we expanded into marine assurance, dynamic positioning consultancy, and offshore marine training.

‘We operate in industries where safety is the number one concern and our full range of bespoke services provide offshore installation operators and vessel owners with the reassurance that their vessels, marine operations and procedures comply with company, industry, and regulatory requirements.’

A large part of Seacroft’s work involves the implementation of safe working practices and a good example of how it was used to good effect came with the launch in 2016 of its marine vessel control and management programme designed to mitigate the risk of collisions involving attending vessels.

‘We are proud of our record and what we have achieved in reducing the collision risk of offshore installations and attending vessels. Our bespoke SafeZone® 500 programme has become the industry benchmark and we have trained over 2,000 offshore workers in SafeZone® 500 procedures. Statistically this equates to personnel on almost every Installation in the North Sea.

As the energy industry transitions to renewables, Seacroft is using its consultancy experience to advise renewable operators of offshore wind farm projects on vessel selection and inspections, assessment of port and harbour facilities for construction, operation, and maintenance, as well as advice on specialist recovery and rescue.

Michael Cowlam sees the renewables sector as a growth area as many of its consultancy and project management services are already being applied to vessels, facilities and operations used in the offshore wind sector.

‘We expect business in renewables to grow in the years ahead as more offshore wind farms are licensed. This will include marine and dynamic positioning assurance, procedures for towing, mooring and positioning floating structures; marine warranty surveying, autonomous and uncrewed vessel operations for seabed surveys, cable laying, and other underwater surveys and inspections.’

The next twenty-five years will see a real sea change in the shape of the industry and as a mature and experienced company Seacroft Marine Consultants is set to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, belatedly, it has its sights firmly on the years ahead.