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Master Mariners Jen and Eilidh lead ScottishPower's celebrations for UN Day of the Seafarer 2022 and fly the flag for women in maritime

27/06/2022

boat and wind turbines in open sea

ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) is marking UN Day of the Seafarer 2022 by celebrating the stories of those who take to the seas to make the journey to Net Zero a reality for its offshore renewables projects.

Organised by the International Maritime Organization, UN Day of the Seafarer takes place on 25 June each year and recognises the invaluable contributions seafarers make to international trade and the world’s economy. This year’s theme is ‘Your voyage – then and now, share your journey.’

Seafarers play a key role in offshore wind projects, carrying out works such as crew transfers, operational surveillance, construction monitoring, metocean monitoring and forecasting, unexploded ordnance investigation and disposal, waste management and environmental response, and offshore emergency response.

SPR’s marine and site operations are overseen by a dedicated team, which includes six Master Mariners – the highest level of professional qualification among mariners and deck officers.  They can serve as the master – or captain – of any merchant ship, of any size, operating anywhere in the world.   

In 2021, the team was responsible for a work programme involving around 2,400 seafarers on some 90 vessels across the Iberdrola – ScottishPower’s parent group – global offshore portfolio.

SPR’s team of Master Mariners includes two women. More than 24,000 women are estimated to serve as seafarers across the globe; however, this represents only 1.2 per cent of the global seafarer workforce*.

Chief Officer Jen McCaul, Marine Assurance Manager within SPR’s construction team, first went to sea in 2010, sailing on board capsize bulk carriers transporting ores between Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe. After achieving her Officer of the Watch certification, she worked on a range of offshore vessels – anchor handlers, accommodation barges, windfarm installation vessels – across three continents and progressed from Third Officer to Chief Officer. She then completed her Master Mariner studies at college before joining SPR in January 2021.

She said: “I absolutely love what I do and it’s great to work with seafarers from across the world to deliver projects that will help us all enjoy a cleaner and greener future. It would be impossible to build an offshore windfarm without that partnership with the seafaring community – whether that’s a bottom fixed site off the coast of Suffolk or a floating wind project off the coast of Scotland. The UN Day of the Seafarer is a brilliant opportunity to recognise these efforts and say thank you.”

Captain Eilidh Smith is the Senior Project Manager for Marine Assurance, based within the Operations and Maintenance Team for SPR’s flagship offshore windfarm, East Anglia ONE, and Iberdrola’s Wikinger windfarm in the Baltic Sea.

Eilidh started her career with a cadetship with Maersk, working on the deep-sea container fleet and studying for her qualifications. After completing her Chief Officers’ certification, she worked on platform supply vessels in the North Sea before moving on to the Northern Lighthouse Board – the general lighthouse authority for Scotland and the Isle of Man. She sailed in various ranks before being promoted to Chief Officer and Acting Master. After a spell working in marine consultancy, she joined SPR in April 2021.

She said: “As demand for green electricity continues to grow – and we build more and more offshore renewables projects – seafarers will continue to be an integral part of our extended team. We have a really strong seafaring community here in East Anglia and across the globe. While I’m proud to work alongside them day in and day out, it’s great to celebrate their efforts – which are often unseen in the background – through a global day of celebration.”

Further information on the UN Day of the Seafarer is available at https://www.imo.org/en/About/Events/Pages/Day-of-the-Seafarer.aspx.

*Figures taken from the BIMCO/ICS 2021 Seafarer Workforce Report

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