Briggs stays busy to keep the Mersey on the move

Family-run business that helps keep the river Mersey moving, from operating the river pilot vessels to servicing  the buoys that help guide the ships. Tony McDonough reports

Mersey river pilot vessel, Kittiwake, operated by Briggs Marine. Picture by Tony McDonough


On any given day the River Mersey is home to a myriad of maritime activity and Briggs Marine is so often at the heart of it.

In the July Mersey Maritime Face-2-Face, Rob Baker from Briggs Marine, a family-run business, offered a fascinating insight into the company’s operation in and around the Mersey and how it is growing its presence here.

Briggs Marine is a leading provider of marine and environmental services, specialising in port and marine operations, subsea and environmental support and vessel charter. In the Mersey and Liverpool Bay it also has a significant involvement with the maintenance of the cables carrying power from the huge offshore wind farms.

“There is a growing offshore wind market in the Irish Sea,” said Rob. “The cables coming ashore from the wind farms need to be maintained. We have a number of framework contracts for this task and our last Irish Sea job saw us mobilise on 01 January at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

“We also used the docks at Liverpool and Birkenhead for our own fleet to support that operation as well. It is a real multi-vessel and multi-skilled approach.”

Briggs also works at the Stanlow Oil terminal on the Manchester Ship canal where around 500 vessels a year come in and out. The company also operates the river pilot vessels which are frequently seen in the Mersey, operating 24 hours a day and carrying out roughly 8,000 pilot transfers per year. Briggs has transformed this service in recent years by bringing in five new vessels in the space of four years.

Rob added: “One of key things with the projects is our extensive use of the local supply chain. This is why we are keen to work with Mersey Maritime and its members. And we get excellent support with berths, shipping agents and the local specialist trades.

“One of the main things Mersey Maritime can do for us is help us to improve those links. Some of those suppliers are the best kept secrets in Liverpool.”

Mersey Guardian is a vessel local to the area and is one of five coastal service vessels Briggs operates under contact with the Environment Agency. He added: “The main customer for the vessels is the EA. They use 50% of the vessel time. Mersey Guardian can be seen locally on various survey projects.”

Briggs also has the contact to service the buoys on the River Mersey which help ships to navigate the waters safely. Rob said: “We have an annual programme for the maintenance of the buoys and we can also pick them up and repair them at our dedicated facility.”

The company is also involved in an array of diverse work on Merseyside including dredging, providing divers for survey work and even anchor replacement for ships.

“The exciting news for us,” Rob added, “is that we have now outgrown our previous facilities in the docks and have taken a new office on Derby which gives us great access to the docks and to the city. That will facilitate our continued growth in the Liverpool city region.”

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