Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas at Martek

The office is covered in tinsel, festive jumpers are once again making an appearance, and we’ve just about recovered from the Christmas Party at the weekend. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

On Friday we supported ‘Save the Children’ as we took part in Christmas Jumper Day. The global charity work to make the world a better place for our children, as ‘No Child is Born to Die’. Their goals are to stop child hunger, protect their wellbeing and provide education for all. We hope we've helped them on their way. Keep up the good work @savethechildren!

Saturday was a time to glam up and dig out the party dresses as we headed to Ponds Forge’s Masquerade Ball. The tradition of the Masquerade Ball was to provide anonymity to a 17th century Europe heavily influenced by the class divides in societies.

Following welcome drinks and a traditional Christmas dinner, The English Gentlemen took to the stage to blast out a few party hits. Here are a few photos from the night for you to enjoy! 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

When is ECDIS mandatory?

As with the BNWAS regulations that preceded them, the regulations that have made ECDIS mandatory (IMO - Solas Chapter V Regulation 19.2) require a staggered compliance schedule based on vessel types.

Newbuild Vessels

Passenger Ships

Passenger Ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1st July 2012.


Tankers of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1st July 2012.

Cargo Ships

Cargo ships other than tankers, of 10,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1st July 2013.

Cargo ships, other than tankers, of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 10,000 gross tonnage constructed on or after 1st July 2014.

Existing Vessels

Passenger Ships

Passenger ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards constructed before 1st July 2012, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2014.


Tankers of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed before 1st July 2012, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2015.

Cargo Ships

Cargo ships, other than tankers, of 50,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed before 1st July 2013, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2016.

Cargo ships, other than tankers, of 20,000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 50,000 gross tonnage constructed before 1st July2013, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2017.

Cargo ships, other than tankers, of 10,000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 20,000 gross tonnage constructed before1st July 2013, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2018.

A simplified version of this information can be seen in the table below: 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Why manufacturers must offer ECDIS leasing

ECDIS, Electronic Chart and Display System, is the name given to the hardware driving shipping’s switch to electronic navigation. Essentially a simplified computer designed for use on a vessel’s bridge, the most basic function of an ECDIS is to display navigational charts on a screen showing the vessel’s position.

It’s the additional functions which really set ECDIS apart from paper charts though – a powerful system of tools, notifications and alerts which provide the navigator with essential, real time information and warnings of potential hazards far ahead of time.

ECDIS alerts the navigator if any sections of the route are considered unsafe based on the vessel’s requirements, this could be as simple as avoiding water shallower than the vessel’s draft or as complex as avoiding heavy seas for a vessel minimising the risk of liquefaction to a nickel ore cargo.

Chart overlays show information of interest on top of the chart itself, including weather and tide forecasts and piracy hotspots. This weather and tidal data feeds into the ECDIS’ automatic, optimised route planning, leading to fuel savings and reduced transit times. More advanced systems also support ice charts for arctic navigation and radar overlay, eliminating the need for two screens and making it easier to cross-reference the information from each piece of equipment.

As well as route planning and ongoing navigation, ECDIS has the potential to make huge efficiency gains within ship management, collecting data throughout the voyage and automatically sending it ashore, allowing for more accurate scheduling and easier maintenance and delivery logistics.

Most importantly though, ECDIS requires a fraction of the work of traditional charts to update, taking a huge burden off the navigator and allowing him or her to concentrate on safe route planning. Even the most basic systems can be updated regularly using a few CDs, while better devices automatically download and install updates and notices to mariners at port or even mid-voyage, meaning an immediate, significant saving on paper charts.

Research from DNV shows that the use of ECDIS may reduce grounding frequency by at least 30%. The third most frequent accident involving ships larger than 100GT, grounding is also the fourth highest contributor to marine fatalities at 12%.

Legally, the argument for ECDIS has been won. Electronic navigation is already required by law on new passenger vessels over 500 GT, new tankers over 3,000 GT and new cargo vessels larger than 10,000 GT. From June 2014 this will be extended to include new cargo ships above 3,000 GT and existing passenger ships built after July 2012 and larger than 500 GT. Two final waves will complete the legislation – existing tankers constructed after 2012 must navigate electronically no later than their first survey on or after July 1 2015, while existing cargo carriers bigger than 50,000 GT and constructed after July 1 2013 must meet the legislation no later than their first survey on or after 1 July 2016.

Despite the enthusiasm of the regulators though, ECDIS was not universally welcomed and lost trust among many users after early issues with the technology, including the lack of a legal requirement for different systems to use the same symbols to denote certain hazards. Meanwhile, opponents say it reduces important navigation skills and leads to decreased vigilance. Stories abound of navigators watching their screen intently as unmarked hazards sail past the bridge windows. After several years of hard work though, most of these issues have been cleared up and ECDIS equipment has emerged as reliable and meticulously thought-through, and opinion is starting to turn in its favour.

The biggest opposition to ECDIS though has always been over the timing of its implementation. Introduced after five years of rock-bottom freight rates and amid a raft of other expensive legislation, including emissions reduction and ballast water management, critics say that ECDIS is important but not urgent enough to justify such short, strict deadlines while owners and operators are struggling with tight margins and a crippling lack of accessible finance.

While legally required to implement ECDIS, there is a danger that companies will do as little as possible to meet the required legislation and wait until the last minute to implement the technology, which would be far more dangerous than continuing to use tried and tested paper charts. If companies use only the most basic functions of ECDIS and crew are not well-trained and comfortable with electronic navigation, there is a risk that we could see more groundings and collisions, all while the technology’s vast potential sits untapped.

This problem can be significantly eased by ECDIS manufacturers, who must make the responsible choice to offer leasing options on their equipment. Leasing is absolutely crucial to give operators and shipowners the opportunity to limit their risk and reap the benefits ECDIS can bring. Early adoption allows crew longer to get to grips with equipment and learn how to get the most from electronic navigation without the pressure of the IMO deadline.

Beyond the safety aspect, the advantages of leasing are numerous. There is no need for a large capital outlay, easing cash flow in difficult circumstances and leaving more money available for essential training.

While technology changes at such a rapid pace, it’s a real disadvantage to be stuck with equipment which isn’t up to date. Leasing allows operators to easily change supplier or system if they feel a better alternative is available and also makes it easier to trial different systems. This flexibility is not necessarily good for the manufacturer, but it is extremely important for the purchaser and the wider industry, because it encourages the innovations that will lead to ever improving safety records and the best possible use of ECDIS’ huge potential.

ECDIS does not have to be a cost - full training, getting the most out of the ECDIS you choose and integrating it with your onshore operation can all immediately lead to increased efficiency, reduced transit and waiting times, and could ultimately lead to savings which cover the cost of the equipment itself. For the good of the industry, manufacturers must make the first step by offering the option to lease a piece of equipment which, implemented in good time and used right, has the potential to prevent more collisions and groundings than perhaps any other single piece of equipment in modern shipping. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

ECDIS information offered to shipowners in new book

Information and advice on moving from traditional paper navigational charts to ECDIS platforms has been offered in a new book published by The Nautical Institute.

The second edition of 'From Paper Charts to ECDIS' has been published to offer full guidance on training, practice and equipment. It has been four years since the first edition was released, and the Nautical Institute’s Sea Going Correspondence Group (SGCG) believed that this second version was necessary due to the masses of experience that has been gained within the field in recent years.

Author Captain Harry Gale said: “As well as supporting its members through this fundamental change, The Nautical Institute wants to ensure that the best practice encapsulated in this second edition, incorporating experience at sea, reaches as wide an audience as possible throughout the industry. Bridge procedures have to be amended to accommodate the very different working practices needed for using ECDIS and failure to instigate the discipline of being alert and engaged when using ECDIS may lead to distraction, complacency and ultimately accidents.”

The Institute’s chief executive Philip Wake added that the industry had been starting to learn about the importance of ECDIS training back in 2009, but this move from paper to technology has been deemed difficult. Since then, a series of recommendations have now been listed by the Institute, which feature in this new book. It is hoped that the information available will be applicable to shipowners until at least 2018, by which time training on most vessels should be completely accurate.

The book's launch was part of the E-Navigation Revolution conference in London on November 20th and 21st. The wider conference looked at navigational safety issues that still remain a top priority within the industry. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Martek gets funny for charity

Eight South Yorkshire professionals took to the stage last week to do their bit for local cancer charity, Western Park.

In support of Director Steve Coulson, who bravely tried his hand at stand-up comedy, the whole Martek gang headed to Sheffield City Hall for Funny Business. The event was first run last year very successfully, and was therefore repeated this year, but with the aim of raising even more for the good cause!!

After a hilariously funny first half, Steve battled his nerves and brought his script to stage shortly after the interval, with a roaring cheer from the Martek Groupies.

With a script involving his two year old daughter and new born son, we were expecting hilarious tales of sibling rivalry and parent bribery – we weren't disappointed!

After a comical 10 minutes, Steve’s time on stage drew to a close, with big cheers from the supportive audience.

Unfortunately, after seeing all 8 contestants, it was clear it was going to be a tight competition, but the Martek business man managed to grab 3rd place, and in the process raised well over £1,000 for Weston Park Cancer Charity.

The whole night was a brilliant success for most – but a few shouldn't quit their day jobs just yet!! Tina Harrison from the charity announced the night was well on target to raising £30,000! 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Martek achieves ICS ServiceMark Accreditation

Martek Marine are pleased to announce that we have been awarded the Institute of Customer Service ServiceMark Accreditation.

To gain the recognition of a company committed to customer service, we invited in an assessor from the ICS to look at our core values, how we assist customers at every step of the enquiry process, and our aims for the future.

The assessor had the chance to gain the views of employees from all departments, including marketing, sales, operations and finance.

The award was presented to CEO Paul Luen at our quarterly company meeting this month.

Paul exclaimed “I am delighted to have received the ServiceMark award from the ICS. It is recognition of the work Martek’s employees put in every day to ensure all our customers receive the highest customer service from the moment of enquiry, right through to receiving their Martek product, and the service thereafter.”

If you have any comments regarding how we can further build on our ServiceMark customer service recognition, feel free to post a
comment below.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Martek grabs 3rd prize for 'Employer of the Year'

This week, Executive Assistants Sam Sargent and Erica Hadley were at the Grange City Hotel in London to represent Martek Marine as we were selected as a finalist for the 2013 Employer of the Year award, in the Office Show by Hays Recruiting Experts.

The black tie event was a great chance to meet people within the secretarial and PA field, as well as celebrate our achievements as a company.

The time came to present the awards, and we were thrilled to accept 3rd place for employee of the year!

After the delicious three course meal, we had a chance to dance to disco classics, and mix our own songs on the decks. 

The award now takes pride of place in our Rotherham Headquarters. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Martek Marine attend IMPA 2013

Last week was the annual International Marine and PurchasingAssociation Exhibition in London, and Martek were proud to attend once again.

Regional Sales managers Gary Rees and Ryan Bullock attended the event with Erica Hadley, Executive Assistant to the Sales Director.

Ryan commented “It was great to meet up with our customers at the IMPA conference once again. Seeing everyone at the UK’s leading maritime event brought a vibrant atmosphere to the event, and I can’t wait to be back again next year!”

The Martek stand had demonstrations of the recently launched potable water testing kits DRINKSAFE™ and DRINKSAFE™ Max, as well as portable gas detection, gas tubes, and calibration gas.

Erica Hadley said “It was great to catch up with old faces and meet new customers at this busy exhibition. We’ve made some great connections over the two days in London and we look forward to keeping in touch throughout the year.”

If you missed the Martek stand at the exhibition, take a look at our products on our website, and be sure to say ‘hi’ next year!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Martek welcomes new starters on board as the maritime company continues to expand

June has been a busy month at both our UK and Singapore offices, as we welcomed on board new starters in across all departments.

As Martek Marine to grow, Stephen Lapthorne has joined the team as our Finance Director. An accountant by profession, Steve has developed his career working in other successful privately-owned business around Yorkshire, as well as a 4 year period in an IT consultancy in New York.

Telesales Executive Deon Jacobs, has many years’ experience in sales and business development roles. He also has experience in event organising and management.

Our Asia Pacific team has also been expanding as Queenie Jeow and Stacey Gan joined the sales team. Queenie joins our team with 10 years of working in sales and purchasing. She will now be part of Martek’s ever expanding Fastcalgas Sales Coordinator team.

Stacy is looking forward to a new challenge at Martek, having previously worked in telemarketing and face to face sales, most recently within the energy industry. We’re excited to welcome the super-energetic Stacy to our Singapore office.

Jack Marsh is our youngest new recruit as he joins us as a Business Administration Apprentice. He will gain experience in all sectors of Martek from sales and service to finance and marketing. He is hoping his apprenticeship enables him to gain a sound knowledge of all areas within the business, as he exclaims he is “very excited to be joining a company as successful as Martek.”

And our newest recruit to the team is Regional Sales Manager, Gary Rees. Gary has over 12 years of experience with international sales in electro-optics industry.

We are now looking to bring on-board various roles throughout our South Yorkshire headquarters, including Regional Sales Manager, Fastcalgas Coordinator and Engineering Manager.

If you’re remarkable and want to be a part of the ever expanding Martek team, visit the careers page of the website to apply for any of the above vacancies and see what other roles we’re recruiting for. 

Friday, 26 July 2013

New drinking water tests from Martek reduce risk from potentially fatal pathogens

Martek Marine, leading manufacturer of maritime safety equipment, is introducing potable water testing kits to its product range, designed to meet the regulations on drinking water which come into force with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) in August 2013. The only standard kit guaranteed to meet all legislation and flag state requirements, Drinksafe has been designed to be the easiest kit on the market, providing effective testing for the presence of harmful bacteria and toxins, corrosion related contaminants and pH/Chlorine levels.

Martek’s Drinksafe is easy to use and requires no calibration, saving unnecessary spending on calibrations and saving crew from complicated and time consuming procedures. Drinksafe does not use glass ampoules or messy sample bags, and is robust enough for use on-board as well as light, waterproof and small enough for simple stowage when not in use.

Multi-language instructional videos explain the testing process, while simple-use diagrams remind exactly how the kit should be used. Drinksafe contains 2000 tests, more than any other on the market and enough to last a whole year for one vessel. This provides a comparative cost per test that is over 50% lower than the closest comparative test kit.

Drinksafe comes in a rugged all-in-one waterproof storage box which protects from damage and keeps components together in labeled, segmented areas.

Guidelines on the provision of drinking water at sea are currently provided by numerous different bodies including the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and national health organisations and maritime bodies. Though well-intentioned, the current guidelines are largely ineffective because they vary so widely and are therefore difficult to implement and enforce. The introduction of overarching regulation set out in the MLC and by the World Health Organisation (WHO) governing seafarers’ rights is expected to address this. MLC 2006 Standard A3.2 – Food and Catering, paragraph 7 states that “the competent authority shall require that frequent documented inspections be carried out on board ships, by or under the authority of the master, with respect to….supplies of drinking water”.

This is further strengthened by the WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation (2011) & Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (2008) which lists the following “recommended parameters to be monitored:…E. coli or coliforms; Chlorine residual (daily); Microbial quality - bacterial plate count; pH (daily); Turbidity; Corrosion-related contaminants - iron & copper.”

Factors that can promote the growth of bacteria and toxins in a ship’s water supply include limited flow rate, tank or pipe corrosion, alkalinity or acidity and temperature. Often, these problems occur together, accelerating the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately, the growth of bacteria also worsens these issues, for example, some bacteria produce carbon dioxide, which reacts with the water to increase acidity, resulting in more corrosion.

Bacteria and pathogens that can grow in poorly maintained drinking water include E.coli, Norovirus, Salmonella and Legionella bacteria, which can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia-like illness which can be fatal. The importance of avoiding these bacteria is particularly heightened on a vessel which could be days from the nearest port and for which delays or route changes for medical assistance could cost thousands of dollars.

Drinksafe is used to take one sample directly from the water tank and another at the furthest point from the tank. This allows the main water source to be directly tested for bacteria and toxins, as well as the distribution system through which the water flows for everyday use for drinking, personal hygiene, and food preparation.

Water quality recordings are easy to make using the supplied test log book which can be used for Port State Control or flag state inspections.

Martek’s support services include a 24/7 helpline offering expert guidance and advice on water testing as well as an easy to use online ordering facility with a questionnaire to help determine the buyer’s exact requirements and same day account setup and dispatch from Martek’s global distribution network.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Martek Marine expands into Russian offshore market

Maritime safety and environmental systems manufacturer Martek Marine has achieved a breakthrough first sale in Russia to national oil & gas explorer Gazflot. In another first, Martek’s calibration gases will be utilised on a pair of jack-up rigs in Yushno Sakhalin rather than on merchant vessels. Gazflot has a fleet of nine vessels including jack-up rigs, icebreakers and research ships. The Russian energy major has also placed orders for six of Martek’s Navgard BNWAS and a record breaking six figure system expansion contract.

The sale follows the crucial Type Approval of Martek’s Navgard by the Russian Register and the appointment of Ian Bennett, an experienced Russian speaking oil and gas industry executive as Martek’s regional sales manager.

Ian Bennett said:

“We’ve already seen a huge take-up in our systems aboard merchant vessels needing to meet the requirements of SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 19, but we’re also now seeing increasing interest from the offshore market. Approved by all the major classification societies, Martek’s Navgard is the easiest, quickest and lowest cost system to install.”

Navgard, which comes with a two-year warranty, uses real-time data logging, providing essential evidence in the event of an incident. Unlike some competitors that use simple key switches, Navgard requires a master password to disable, also noting when the system is switched on and off so that checks can be made to ensure it is being used continuously. When MV Karin Schepers grounded in 2009, the accident report noted that a BNWAS was present but had been switched off by crew. IMO regulations require all ships to fit a BNWAS before July 2015.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Martek introduces market’s first compact BNWAS for smaller vessels

Martek Marine, UK-headquartered manufacturer of maritime safety systems, has announced the launch of a Lloyd’s Register MED-approved BNWAS designed specifically for smaller bridges to meet the next stage of BNWAS implementation starting in July of this year. BNWAS regulations state that existing cargo vessels between 500-3000GT must be compliant by July 2013 and vessels between 150-500GT by July 2014.

The Navgard Mini offers the same functionality as Martek’s Navgard system in a more compact all-in-one-box unit. Navgard Mini is the only system available which has all IMO-compliant alarms and reset switches in a single enclosure, making it very simple to retrofit on the smaller bridges of tugs, OSVs and lower-capacity passenger vessels – the system simply requires a power supply to deliver full compliance with SOLAS regulation.

Existing systems require a button to be pushed to confirm the crew’s presence on the bridge. IMO legislation dictates that BNWAS systems’ first stage alarm must sound between every three to 12 minutes. If the reset button is not pressed, the second stage will activate after 15 seconds. If the button is still not pushed, the third alarm will sound between every 90 to 180 seconds.

Although effective in theory, there have been several incidents, including the grounding of MV Karin Schepers in 2009, on vessels which have had BNWAS installed but switched off, as crew have simply found it too demanding to continue with other necessary work while being disturbed by such frequent alarms and the requirement to push a button so regularly.
Martek has addressed this issue in several ways. Firstly, with the inclusion of the market’s first passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor. This is built in to the device’s panel and detects movement on the bridge. No alarm sounds as long as movement is detected on the bridge, and crew can work undisturbed. Only when the system detects no movement for a set time, between the IMO’s mandated three and 12 minutes, will the alarms sound. Because the PIR sensor is part of the panel, no extra installation is required and no additional wiring is needed, reducing the cost, installation time and space needed.

The second important feature is the password deactivation, also built in to the panel. Where BNWAS models have traditionally been turned off by a simple key, the Navgard Mini can only be deactivated by password. This increases accountability by giving the vessel’s Master the sole responsibility for the device’s operation. The system, which comes with a two-year warranty, also uses real-time data logging, providing essential evidence in the event of an incident and recording when the system is switched on and off so that checks can be made to ensure it is being used continuously.

Martek has compiled a BNWAS buyer’s guide with key questions and points for consideration with a comparison table, which can be downloaded.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Day at the Races

This month’s Fun Committee landed on the Sales Team’s shoulders to organise, so we ditched our usual weekends away from the gang and headed for a day out at Doncaster Races on the 1st June.
The day was filled with us pretending to fit in with the crowd, awkwardly trying to figure out what the 7/1 odds meant, drinking prosecco and wolfing down the odd seafood platter.

The Martek team are amature gamblers at best, and most lived up to this on the day. However, Jami and Dave were feeling particularly lucky, and managed to finish with £200 and £430 profit! 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Nautical Friday in aid of Seafarers UK

The Martek team had a great day of dress up on Friday when we took part in raising money for Seafarers UK.

Our crew dug out their best pirate and sailor costumes, paying £2 for the privilege, and competed in the Nautical Friday Quiz.

We’re pleased to report we raised a total of £129 for a great UK charity, supporting seafarers and their families through times of difficulty and hardship.

Seafarers UK (King George’s Fund for Sailors) has been helping seafarers since 1917, growing to be the leading charity in the maritime field. The money raised will help maintain a reasonable quality of life to the crew and their families of the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines. All money raised for the charity will help to provide accommodation, clothing and education for those in need. They aim to provide training to people of any age to prepare them for work or service at sea, promote safety at sea and efficiency and effectiveness of the maritime charitable sector.

After sending our best pirate jazz hands photo to @seafarers_UK, we were ecstatic to announce we won the #NauticalFriday best photo competition! We look forward to receiving our treasure! 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

When will you be adopting ECDIS?

July 2014 will come around faster than you think, and here at Martek, we’d love to know when you plan on complying with the IMO mandated regulations for ECDIS installation by completing the online poll on our homepage.

It has been a requirement to fit Electronic Chart Displayand Information Systems on new build ships since July 2012, with IMO legislation coming into effect for existing passenger ships
in July 2014. This will be followed by existing tankers in 2015, and existing cargo ships from 2016 – 2018.

There are great financial and safety incentives to invest in ECDIS well before the IMO mandate.

According to DNV research, deploying ECDIS reduces the grounding frequency by 30%, the fourth highest contribution to marine fatalities. Early adoption also allows your crew a longer transition period to paperless navigation so they acquire competency and confidence before the deadline, easing pressure when ECDIS becomes mandatory.

ECDIS will also save your company money as it eliminates the need for paper charts, administration and logistics. Time is also saved as manual updates to the chart are replaced with automated updates.

ECDIS can also save fuel costs as the system will optimise and automate your route plan, taking into account weather and tidal information, ultimately cutting out transit times by plotting the shortest, safest route.

However, some companies have other reasons for holding back on purchasing ECDIS, as they are unsure about what’s required of them and the training involved. Visit our ECDIS information website to read about the implementation schedule, the training required under the IMO and FAQ’s. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Martek Goes Outdoors

To celebrate Martek Marine achieving ‘Gold’ in the Investors in People award, last month the whole company took a day away from their desks to head to Thornbridge Outdoors, in Derbyshire.

The day was filled with whole company activities, including everyone laughing at Joe getting stuck in 3 hoola-hoops and running a ping pong ball down lengths of guttering to get it into a bucket – surprisingly harder than it sounds (we finally finished that task after several attempts)!
We then split off into 4 groups, allowing employees to work with people outside of their departments.
The day of adventure was filled with an apparent 4 mile bike ride (although we’re sure it was more like 8 miles!), abseiling off a viaduct, an Aerial Rope Course, a crawl through a marble mine, swinging through the trees on zip wires, a Jacob’s ladder and 10 meters of very difficult-to-climb netting – although Gary proved to be a pro!

The winning team (this is debatable  then received a £25 shopping voucher each and a few chocolate treats! Well done!

After a very exhausting day Team Martek reported back that 23% didn't enjoy the cycle and abseil and 7% didn't enjoy the Aerial Rope Course, but we just need to get them a little used to heights before the next visit!

However, 100% of employees agreed that they were given a chance to work with colleagues they didn't normally get a chance to work with, 97% thoroughly enjoyed the group tasks, and 90% said the event exceeded their expectations for the day!
We wound the day down with a BBQ in the sun and music from The Rogues of Rhythm. It’s fair to say there were a few sore heads in the morning! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Oliva crash could have been avoided if the vessel had ECDIS installed

It has emerged this month that MS Oliva could have been saved using an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) that could have warned the crew they were about to run aground off the shore of Nightingale Island.

The 2011 crash happened on the 16th March at Spinners Point. According to the investigation the second mate drew up a passage plan for the first leg of the voyage which would take the 75,000-dwt bulker form the Brazilian port of Santos to China. Waypoints were then plotted on a paper chart and were intended to take the vessel 10 nautical miles south of the Tristan Da Cunha Islands.

On approach to the islands the second mate saw a large echo on the radar but assumed it to be “a rain cloud or an iceberg”, the report said. At around 5am the chief mate made the same mistake, identifying a large echo directly ahead as a “heavy storm cloud”. The hazard was in fact Nightingale Island. The ship, carrying a cargo of soya beans and 1,700 tonnes of fuel oil, then ran aground, causing serious implications for the islands and its inhabitants with widespread pollution and its important lobster-farming industry closing for nearly two years. The vessel would then eventually break up, and was declared a constructive total loss.
From the investigation, it is clear that an ECDIS on board would have prevented the devastating grounding in 2011. The ECDIS would have recognised their mandatory points causing an audible alarm to be sounded when the danger ahead was seen in the ships path.

With ECDIS on board the crew of 22 could have plotted the entire route on the chart, with visible clear instructions on where dangers lay. This disaster and many more could have been avoided.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Martek Marine welcomes Heroes and Villains in the name of charity

The outfits certainly brightened up the working day!
On Friday the Martek team swapped their professional outfits for something more entertaining, dressing as fictional heroes and villains in the name of Comic Relief. 

Characters ranged from Jami Beech as Captain Sponge Monkey, Rachel Hufton as Haberdashery Hero and we even had Steven Bedford as ‘The Baffler???’ We didn't quite understand either!

On the day the team dived into a cupcake bake off with over 12 entries. The hard task of judging the delicious cakes was handed over to Amanda Woolley with the trophy going to Production Apprentice Daniel Wilson, although we think he might have had a little help…

The rest of the day was filled with a raffle and quiz, with a swearing ban in force throughout! The Martek team managed to raise over £175 for Comic Relief.

We look forward to our next charity challenge!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

What role does technology play in reducing shipping accidents?

A recent article on the Canadian Underwriter website on the increase in global ship losses highlights the role that technology will play in reducing shipping accidents if carefully applied to the industry with quality training and well thought out operational implementation.

Increasingly, ship losses are becoming more and more visible to the general public with recent cases such as the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy striking a particular chord. This not only causes human tragedy but bad PR for the ship owners. As such it is shown that self-regulation is now as much a pressure driver as IMO led requirements.

However, for as many owners that prioritise safety there are as many again that put costs far above. With freight rates depressed at the moment in most markets there is little free cash (and incentive) to invest in quality training and as a consequence some owners will decide to choose the cheapest option for compliance tick boxing only.

Human error is the biggest cause of accidents but with the introduction of technology into ship operations this is on a downward trend in general and will continue to do so as both technology improves, seafarers gain competency and IMO regulation engulfs increasing segments of the industry.

Hopefully this provides an optimistic indication of the industry embracing ECDIS ahead of the mandate.

For the full article please visit

Martek Marine introduces new website ahead of iECDIS launch

Martek continues to bring the maritime industry up to date with the launch of their new go-to site for everything ECDIS related at

The site includes information on topics from training options to flag state requirements. There’s also information on the ECDIS regulations as they come into place at the start of July 2012, beginning with the requirement to have ECDIS on-board all new build passenger and tanker ships. By 2018 this will become a requirement on all existing and new-build ships.

Be sure to keep checking back on the website, as Martek will soon be announcing the launch date to bring their ECDIS to market. The iECDIS package will include the full training needed, regular chart updates, hardware and full software installed.

In conjunction with the website you can also follow on twitter @dontbuyecdis and the Linkedin forum ECDIS User Group.

Martek welcomes on board ECDIS technical specialist

Martek Marine is pleased to announce the recruitment of Torben Holmelund, Technical Manager.

Based in Denmark, Torben will be managing the production and launch of the new iECDIS and will be specialising in the technical aspects as it goes to market in March.

Bentley Strafford-Stephenson, ECDIS Product Specialist states “Torben is a welcome addition to the team with the announcement of our new iECDIS for launch in March this year. Torben brings with him a wealth of experience of ECDIS having worked in the maritime industry for many years.”

We welcome Torben to the Martek team.

Martek Marine achieves Gold Standard!

Martek continues to WOW customers as a Gold Investors in People award is presented.
Here at Martek we’re constantly looking to improve the service that we provide for our customers and we believe that starts with having a great work force. To show our commitment towards our staff we contacted Investors in People towards the end of 2012 and invited Lesley Bers, their Investment in People Specialist, into the business to assess the opportunities that we offer to our team. We always set ourselves the highest standards and this was to be no different as we set our sights on achieving the top level award- the Gold Standard.

Our staff had a chance to tell Lesley what they loved about the company, as well as aspects they’d change. One of the factors our employees loved was the work hard, play hard attitude. One employee stated “If you put the effort in you’ll get the rewards”.

Another factor encouraging staff is the potential to grow within the company. One individual said “Challenging, very rewarding. High performance but the rewards are there; I’m living proof- from temp to senior manager!”

After a thorough look at the company’s staff policy, the training available and employee wellbeing we were delighted to say that Investors in People awarded us the Gold we’d been striving towards.

Lesley praised, “This is the best example I have seen of core values really being embodied into the way the organisation works and every aspect of what they do”. She added “There is a definite energy and enthusiasm around the organisation, not least because of the energy of the CEO which does seem to be infectious!”

CEO Paul Luen said, “Since the very start of Martek in 2000, we have always aimed to achieve the best in the field, and the Gold award is the recognition we’ve been looking forward to in the recent years”.

We will now be working with Investors in People in the coming months to look at the areas which we can improve further.

We will also look to including our Singapore office in the Investors in People assessment in the near future as we aim to become a world class company.