The annual Offshore Support Journal Conference & Awards in London closed its first day with a gala dinner where hundreds of delegates from around the industry gathered to show appreciation to the businesses and individuals who are pushing the industry forward.
In a crowded field, nominees were shortlisted and industry voting determined winners for categories including support vessel of the year, shipowner of the year, innovation of the year, outstanding contributions in the fields of environmental practices, offshore renewables, subsea innovation, dynamic positioning, safety, industry leadership and Offshore Support Journal's award for a lifetime's achievement.
Seacor chief executive John Gellert took home the Industry Leader Award sponsored by Uptime International for his trend-setting work in shifting his global fleet towards adopting hybrid propulsion.
Riviera Maritime Media's head of content Edwin Lampert said “Our industry leader this year is both a pilot and a pioneer. He has piloted his company through a difficult period and now is pioneering its global leadership in terms of hybrid propulsion technology. To position the company for the future, this leader has decided to take the bold step of embracing hybrid propulsion technology by converting two PSVs to battery-hybrid power. And through joint ventures in Mexico and China, the company he leads will operate 12 battery-hybrid power vessels, which include four PSVs contracted to operate in the Gulf of Mexico and eight PSVs for worldwide operations."
Accepting his award, Mr Gellert said "It’s a team effort which involved a lot of people from Seacor, the new company, Rolls-Royce and Corvus. We’ve also used Kongsberg – we’re non-denominational. So it was a group effort. We’re very excited about batteries and about the future, and as you mentioned, eight vessels are available – anyone looking for charters, they’re awaiting opportunity. So we’d like to thank you as we look forward to 2019 and 2020."
Having won the award for Shipowner of the Year earlier in the evening, Mr Gellert quipped "I’d like to say it means millions, but we’re in the offshore business and in 2018, there weren’t millions. Sorry, that’s a joke ... The award is priceless and in 2019 the market’s coming back. It was a very active year for our first year as a separate company."
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Rem Offshore founder Åge Remøy. Introducing him, Riviera Maritime Media’s Mr Lampert said, "This year’s winner is a man of the sea. He’s been on board vessels since the age of 16, but in fact today almost didn’t happen because on one of his early voyages, he nearly drowned, and the vessel nearly sunk.
He bought his first trawler back in 1978. It was an old corvette he converted into a shrimp trawler, and together with his friends and family he financed the operation, which was his 1940s-built vessel and with his three brothers, forged what would be a distinguished maritime path.
Fisheries have long been in his blood and he continued in that industry until he started building Rem Offshore in 2004. And what marks this man out is the way, like a wave, he’s ridden the ups and downs that have followed in ensuing years. Between 2004 and 2014, he built 34 vessels, approximately three vessels a year, almost all of which were built in his native Norway. He built a strong, solid company and moved on from that company following the downturn to create a second company which today has nine vessels, a mix of seismic, PSV and subsea … It may be by virtue of his being a chess player that he is able to anticipate the next move so adeptly."
Accepting his award, Mr Remøy said "I was educated as a ship’s engineer and have been working in shipyards in Norway for 10 years before I got involved in owning ships. We bought our first trawler – built in Canada in 1942 – and converted it in 1978. So it started there, and as you also mentioned, I am now 68 years of age, I’ve been in the business for 40 years, starting with the fishing vessels and ending up with the offshore company. Now, I am more or less retired, and my successor, my son Frederik, he is now leading the company Rem as a sustainable and successful company, hopefully, in the future. My most important task at the moment is my family. We are … 18 all together, 10 grandchildren, and that is the most important part of my life, today."
Other award winners included Yevgeny Primakov for Support Vessel of the Year, Seacor Marine Holdings for Shipowner of the Year, OneStep Power for Innovation of the Year, Rolls-Royce Marine and Corvus Energy for the joint contributions they made to environmental operations in the sector, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs' Wind of Change SOV for the Offshore Renewables Award, Oceaneering for the Subsea Innovation Award, Kongsberg Maritime for the Dynamic Positioning Award and Subsea 7 for the Safety Award.