The 64th General Meeting of the International Salvage Union was officially opened by their President Charo Coll on Tuesday 23rd October 2018 and hosted by Captain Nicholas Sloane of Resolve Marine Group at the Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront.

Ms Coll is General Manager of the Offshore and Salvage Division of Spanish company Boluda Corporación Marítima. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry coordinating the salvage division of Boluda Corporation. In this role she coordinated the Boluda Tugs engaged with the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency for 15 years. She also manages the chartering and sales and purchase departments of the corporation.

Captain Nicholas Sloane needs no introduction to readers of Southern Africa Shipping News.

The salvage industry has come under financial pressure in the last couple of years despite gross revenues in 2017 recovering slightly they are still well below previous years. Competition between ISU members is intense with fewer major incidents and reduction of income along with income from LOF at extremely low levels mean that it is not an attractive picture for the industry. The need for a well funded professional salvage industry is required. The prevalence and concern of ever increasing numbers of fires on box ships where ISU members are the only people able to deal with these incidents are stretching both the salvage and container industries financially and logistically – see recent SASN posts “Boxship Blazes to be Contained” and “The Bigger The Ship, The Bigger The Risk” – which highlight the importance of the industry.

Nick Sloane, Charo Coll, Rob Whitehead
Nick Sloane, Charo Coll, Rob Whitehead

The guests and delegates were delightfully entertained by the choir from Lawhilll Maritime School in Simonstown but not before a very special award was presented.

Lawhill Maritime School Choir
Lawhill Maritime School Choir

Captain Rob Whitehead, President of the Society of Master Mariners of South Africa, presented to Captain Nicholas Sloane an award in the form of The Society of Master Mariners SA gold medal and citation, and is the highest form of recognition that can be made to a fellow marine professional in South Africa. This prestigious award was presented in recognition of Captain Sloane’s many epic endeavours over the years and more specifically for leading the salvage team of the Costa Concordia, which placed the international spotlight squarely on the quality and professionalism of South African mariners and salvors.

The salvage industry is of course of paramount importance to the safety and environmental issues pertaining to all plying their trade on our Oceans, and therefore the men and women risking life and limb to make the sea a safer and cleaner place should be very much more visible on the global maritime stage.

It’s importance is ignored at everyone’s peril.