Oceanology International 2012 is the world's premier event for marine science and ocean technology, and is held every two years at the Excel exhibition premises at London 's Royal Docks. This years edition, held from 13 – 15 March 2012, provided a global forum where industry, academia and government share knowledge and connect with the marine technology and ocean science community. We visited this year event and our reporter on assignment Mattijs de Lange informs.
With over 550 leading suppliers exhibiting, a vessel program featuring naval and commercial vessels, and 6 one day conference programs. Oceanology 2012 is, according to the organizers, claimed to be the world largest maritime exhibition. With over 7000 pre registered visitors, an increase of 4,4 % since 2008. of whom are 35% operated in the offshore Oil and Gas and 19 % in the renewables , gives a exciting business meeting place. This year edition of Oceanology is collocated with Interspill 2012 Which is is the leading event covering all aspects of oil spill prevention and response which shows an additional 90 international exhibitors and contribution to the conference program.
Exhibition and conference
When entering the exhibition area via a spacious central hall with various coffee shops and cloak room. An excellent pre-registration and badge collecting gives you entrance to the exhibition floor. The first impression of the venue gives a “wow”, amazing what a tremendous display of the maritime industry. The exhibition floor shows a major hall with next to individual exhibitors with their stands in various sizes. Also theme and country pavilions which shows the international character of the Venue. Either centred by themes such as a diving pavilion hosting for instance the Association of Diving Contractors and a renewable energy pavilion hosting for instance Renewable UK. There are a total of 7 National Pavilions spread over the exhibition floor, of which 4 are from Europe. The Netherlands, Germany, and France from the mainland and Ireland and further 3 pavilions from North America, The United States, National - and Atlantic Canada. For first time exhibitors a designated area is provided giving an opportunity to meet customers in a professional setting.
The conference program shows themes as Renewables, Oil and Gas, Maritime security, Hydrography and Geophysics Ocean Observation and Forecasting and last but not least Navigation and Positioning. All chaired by leading companies in their field and keynote speakers renowned for their in depth knowledge on the various topics.
The industry as a whole amidst various economic up and downs over the recent years shows vitality, talking with various representatives of the senior management of leading brands in the Industry. One can conclude that there is a general shared feeling of optimism on the current and coming business situation. Various examples given by individual companies give evidence that this is more then the normal optimism on a trade exhibition. Talking with a director of an International and leading personal services agencies in the Oil and Gas industry informed, “even at mid march , as the normal start of the peak season in April still has to come, already a vast majority of our offshore project staff is engaged in projects worldwide” . On the manufacturing end of the industry, talking with a managing director of an leading provider for sub sea positioning and communication systems informed , “we just bagged a substantial contract and production is in full swing, we are working hard to staff our production facilities to meet challenging delivery dates directly related to offshore projects” In contact with a leading provider of GNSS systems the managing director informed, “ I am currently typing on my I-pad a proposal for an already agreed deal made an hour ago on the exhibition. Such a direct sell on an exhibition for this type of equipment is uncommon and a proof of the positive situation in this business segment in general” .
A leading UK supplier of underwater technology announced multiple orders by a foreign (Asian) naval force, demonstrating that not only leading contracts are won in the civil market but also to the defence industry.
Ongoing innovation is one of the corner stones of this ever growing industry, either by product improvement, new software releases, or complete new systems. More and more companies collaborate with Universities and renowned oceanographic institutes to jointly develop and market subsea systems. But not only hardware development lead to unique and new collaborations. The challenge to have new and existing offshore survey personal educated. Lead to a public private cooperation for a distance e-learning Academy. The international survey company Fugro, combined the with UK naval hydrographic department and the Plymouth University teamed for a Hydrographic Academy. The management informed “a one hour e-learning training module takes about 100 hour of filming and preparation. The scale of the project made us decide to cooperate with partners who could handle such an big project. “The e-learning module give student worldwide the opportunity to take on their lessons with internet access and even on the job while working on a ship.
Various companies use this exhibition to release their innovative and enhanced products abilities. Examples of this is for instance the Coda’s Echoscope. Based on acoustical principles an underwater inspection and imaging system is available which enables close inspection of objects underwater. The system in combination with an sturdy over the side mount solution already find its ways from the fabrication facilities to the end-clients.
Collocated with Oceanology 2012 the Interspill 2012 Exhibition and conferences were organized. The exhibition showcases the latest products and services from the oil spill prevention and response , pollution control, specialized vessels and equipment, waste disposal and land remediation, serving offshore, coastal, onshore and the growing land based spill industry. Not only the t grounding of Costa Concordia near Giglio Island led to various industry involvement. The Italian Marine Ecology company Castalia is currently utilizing the Dutch SeaDarq oil spill detection and monitoring equipment based on radar technology. The Italian ROV manufacture Ageotec has 4 of their ROV systems intensively employed on site by the Fire department diving team .
Having the exhibition site immediately adjacent to usable water. A fleet of approx 9 vessels lined the quayside of the Royal Victoria Dock. Various shipping companies have their vessels on display at the dockside, either to act as demonstration platform sailing thorough the dock demonstrating the onboard equipment or open to public to visit the vessel.
The 110 tons French Navy Survey vessel FS Borda supported the considerable France pavilions, both on Oceanology and Interspill, The vessel was commissioned in 1989 and is based at Brest. Accommodating all state of the art Survey sensors form the company Thales such as a HF search sonar and magnetometers. Dutch shipping company Braveheart of the former Island of Urk showed its model of the Javelin 22 currently under construction at KDI shipyard. Expected to be launched in May this year as an innovative monohull special designed for as a multifunctional vessel providing the renewables industry a service both focused on survey and personal transfer. Kongsberg Maritime provide waterborne demonstration on board the vessel Geo Motion a survey vessel from the fleet of the Dutch company Geoplus. With demonstration equipment such as the EM 2040 dual head multibeam system. Sonardyne International demonstrated a range of acoustical and inertial navigation based solutions onboard the Predator. The vessel is a 10 meter commercial catamaran with large deck areas spacious accommodation and proven track record in the marine industry.
Ecoance , created as a company in 2003 to met the growing demand in exclusively designing and building integrated solid and liquid pollution clean up vessels . Showed on the quayside one of their of their 9 designs with the vessel Workglop 128. A 13 meter vessel with twin 260 HP propulsion launched in Paris in 2010. A multifunctional design serving both a variety of supply boat as spill response rolls. A unique windfarm support and offshore /inshore survey catamaran roles is the Atlantic Cougar. A multi role vessel both enabling accommodation for crew and technicians up to 18 persons in 9 twin cabins.
Recently introduced into service with the UK Environmental agency is the Thames Guardian. The vessel owner Briggs marine backed a KP 39 mullion / 15 year contract to provide vessels and management to environmental agency The Thames Guardian with a functionality for aide range of sampling and survey activities . Represent one of 5 coastal and inshore vessels in close cooperation with EA.
The last day of the three days event is careers day, enabling students to have an orientation on their employment capability for the industry. Meeting, were possible staff of the human resources departments to handle their various questions. A next likewise set-up of meeting the Industry will be on the biannual event Ocean business 2013 held from 9-11 April 2013 in Southampton. The next Oceanology will be in March 2014.