Hemsby offshore firm takes the plunge

A HEMSBY-based offshore servicing company has taken the plunge by training the next generation of skippers for its fleet of nine vessels.

Enviroserve, based at Mill Road, decided to train four novices to become skippers because of a growth in demand for business and a lack of outside training companies.

After two years of intensive training, Simon Inwards, 36, from Toft Monks, Stuart Wigg, 28, from Lowestoft, Matt Priest, 21, from Ramsgate and Nicholas McCrossan, from Dumfries, can now be seen at the helm of Enviroserve’s windfarm support, surveying and guard vessels.

Moored at Lowestoft’s Hamilton Dock, the fleet is being kept busy working on the Greater Gabbard wind farm.

It is hoped the new skippers, made up of a former gardener, restaurant worker, fisherman and marine worker, will inspire other maritime-based companies to invest in training and taking on new staff with no previous experience of life at sea.

And the new skippers should be taking command of an expanded Enviroserve fleet as the company has plans to buy two further vessels.

Enviroserve is also training up young people as welders.

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Former fishermen Paul Lines set up Enviroserve in 2003 and is its managing director. He said: “I did not think of it as a gamble to take on and train our skippers.

He said: “If your business does not move forward then it dies.

“I also think young people have a lot to offer and can be very committed.”

Mr Lines added: “Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are also going to be at the centre of the renewable energy sector in the years to come and we have to be in a position to make the most of it.”

Enviroserve, which has a 30-strong work-force and a predicted annual turnover of �2.5m, has worked on the Scroby Sands wind farm, Yarmouth’s outer harbour, the Sea Palling reef and also the Kentish Flats wind farm.

Its largest vessel is the 17.5m long Sea Beaver which is used for windfarm support and crew transfers.