Spotlight on: Maritime Services Award


Australia’s maritime community is strengthened by the many teams and individuals working to support the industry, the economy and each other.

The Maritime Services Award is dedicated to the companies and people who contribute meaningfully to the industry in many valuable ways.

In 2022 the Maritime Services Award went to the tug crews at Engage Towage and Svitzer for their heroic efforts to prevent the bulk carrier Portland Bay from grounding on the NSW coast.

Rob Garrett, the master of Engage tug Martinique, said the salvage of Portland Bay was a once-in-a-career event filled with danger from start to finish.

“The lives of the Portland Bay’s crew were on the line,” he told DCN.

“Throughout the salvage it could’ve gone either way, but the way in which the four tug crews worked together with the ships crew, United Salvage and the Port Authority was nothing short of amazing.

“The combined effort ensured we succeeded in getting the ship and its crew to safety. To be recognised was very humbling and it wasn’t expected.”

Mr Garrett said recognition through the Maritime Services Award – and through the Newsmaker of the Year Award – meant the world coming from industry peers.

“We have a fantastic industry and to recognise people or organisations that do something special, is special in itself,” he said.

“Our team at Engage have always been very close; we’re a family. Since the salvage and the awards, we have bonded together even more and it has highlighted to me that we have people who selflessly put others in time of need ahead of themselves.”

A spokesperson for Svitzer said the Maritime Services Award recognises the valuable work undertaken by members of the maritime community – including tug crews – every day.

“Last year many of our colleagues on the water were part of significant inter-agency efforts to prevent loss of life and environmental damage during weather emergencies,” the spokesperson said.

“Being part of that seafarer community, our crews within Svitzer – along with our maritime partners – take their role to ensure safety seriously, and is at the core of our values.

“It was fantastic to see the efforts from our Brisbane, Newcastle and Sydney teams to be recognised by their peers – for work that is often not highlighted among the wider public.

“Our tug crews are a humble bunch so to see them and the important work they do and that they take such pride in recognised, meant a lot.”

Port of Melbourne is the sponsor behind this year’s Maritime Services Award, which highlights the achievements or contributions to any service sector of the Australian maritime industry by a company, individual or organisation.

The award is open to agents, brokers, classification societies, legal practitioners, finance providers, telecommunications or IT suppliers, security services, tugs and towage operators, training and education companies or institutions.

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