£500,000 investment for Stonehaven maritime training academy welcomed

THE MRI saved around 1200 lives in over 30 years.
THE MRI saved around 1200 lives in over 30 years.

Survival Craft Inspectorate (SCI) has announced investment of £500,000 in a new training academy at Stonehaven Harbour.

The centre – on the site previously occupied by the Maritime Rescue Institute (MRI) – will be the focal point for a range of maritime courses.

CEO Ann Laing said that the decision to close had been "extremely difficult".

CEO Ann Laing said that the decision to close had been "extremely difficult".

Initially, six jobs are to be created at the Training Academy, with plans to add additional staff by the end of the year.

All SCI engineers will be given ongoing training.

The Stonehaven site includes the main building, offices, classrooms and workshop on the harbour front, and an additional building which will be used as a training room.

A davit will be installed on the quayside for practical coxswain training sessions.

SCI managing director Angus Campbell said he was ‘‘delighted’’ to announce the news.

He said: “The academy will represent a quality new training resource forstudents, coxswains and offshore personnel.

“Crew training and competency is a growing area of our business today and this strategic acquisition fits in well with SCI’s long-term growth objectives.”

The SCI Marine Training Academy is expected to annually host around 5000 students seeking to enhance their skills across a diverse range of marine and safety related disciplines.

The MRI base was forced to close its doors in February following the severe storms that hit the area, and SCI is delighted to have acquired the site – and to be honouring its maritime past.

The facility will bolster SCI’s training offering to clients in the North Sea and internationally as it relates to equipment installed on their installations.

The business presently supplies 100 lifeboat and davit launch systems and 400 Safelaunch lifeboat release and retrieval systems (LRRS) per annum.

As LRRS compliance regulations come into force in 2014, SCI expects sales of its Queen’s Award-winning Safelaunch system to increase.

Nigel Don MSP has welcomed new training academy, saying: “This is an international company, based in Scotland, which operates in the United States, Canada, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Western Australia and the Middle East.

“Two years ago they were praised by the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, for their innovative approach to lifeboat safety, and they are growing fast.

“The Stonehaven facility will occupy the former Maritime Rescue Institute buildings and I cannot think of a more appropriate use.’’

SCI has more than 22 years’ experience in the manufacture, supply and maintenance of lifeboats, davits, liferafts and fast rescue craft, and the academy – which will complement SCI’s established training school at Findon – will enhance the skills and competency levels of personnel who use, install and service them.

SCI chief executive officer Derek Sinclair said: “We’re confident the academy will boost local hotels and shops because of the numbers who will attend the facility.

“Previously, MRI – an organisation which was internationally recognisedas an expert in this field – trained organisations such as the Dutch Lifeboat Authority and special forces from different parts of the world. We would expect our new academy to attract similar organisations.

“We’ve had tremendous support from Stonehaven Harbour Board and Aberdeenshire Council .’’