Marine Futures “Summit” aboard RFA Argus reaches PM afloat in Falmouth

Marine Futures “Summit” aboard RFA Argus reaches PM afloat in Falmouth

As G7 leaders gathered on the North Cornish coast a smaller “Summit” of the UK’s key maritime movers and shakers took to the bridge (and deck and cinema) of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel Argus in the Port of Falmouth to launch an ambitious blueprint for Cornwall’s £1billion a year Marine sector and a “new green enlightenment” for marine industries across the country.

The G7-related “Cornwall House on the Waterfront” event led by Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) in association with Maritime UK (MUK) highlighted the remarkable ongoing achievements and diversity of marine businesses in Cornwall alongside the requirement for substantial investment to support the blue and green technologies and infrastructures which will allow the sector to continue competing on a world stage.

As luck would have it the discussions aboard RFA Argus – currently in the midst of a full refit by Port operators A&P Falmouth - were being echoed in the ear of Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was at the same time receiving a guided seaborne tour of Falmouth Harbour on the Port’s Pilot Boat “Arrow”.

Delegates aboard RFA Argus were invited into the ship’s cinema for the launch of CMN’s new landmark film “Port of Falmouth: Blue and Green Technology leading Cornwall’s Coastal Revolution” which outlines achievements and issues which were then discussed on the bridge with its spectacular views across the Port and town.

Brigadier G Fraser MBE ADC RM – Naval Regional Commander for Wales & Western England said, “I was delighted to welcome senior representatives from the Cornwall Marine Network and Maritime UK onboard RFA Argus in Falmouth port to mark the launch of an exciting initiative for the maritime sector in the South West concurrently with the meeting of G7 leaders in Cornwall. 

“It was a real privilege to be present as the film show-casing the Network’s blue-green initiative was aired for the first time on the ship.  We greatly value our enduring connections with the maritime sector in the region and look forward to developing our many partnerships into the future as the Royal Navy develops an expansive Sustainability programme as an integral part of our ambitious transformation programme.”

The new film focuses on the Port of Falmouth as the beating heart of the local marine economy - and home to more than 40% of Cornish maritime businesses. With global shipping and naval services, luxury boat builders, innovative marine technology and renewable energy projects all based in the Port – which sits within the world’s third deepest natural harbour – Falmouth is increasingly becoming known as a global centre for blue and green technology.

Paul Wickes MBE, CEO Cornwall Marine Network said,With the Port of Falmouth poised to become a prime hub for the floating offshore wind sector, this film marks an important moment in time. It’s our way of acknowledging what we’ve inherited from past generations – resources and knowledge which we are now driving forward into the UK’s international maritime future.”

The film captures maritime leisure and industry happily coexisting amidst Falmouth’s beautiful and vibrant coastal setting, showcasing some of the world-class businesses based in Falmouth, including A&P Falmouth, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Waves4Power, Cockwells, Workfloat, KML, Feritech Global, Tugdock, Rustler Yachts, Mylor Yacht Harbour and HydroWing.

One invitee unable at the last minute to attend the film launch and debate was Falmouth Harbour CEO Miles Carden who was diverted to collect Boris Johnson for an hour’s spin around the Port: “It was an incredible chance to share our future Port vision with the Prime Minister and discuss everything we as a marine sector have to offer to the UK, including the future of Falmouth as a Green Port.

“This week has put Cornwall firmly on the global stage and with HM Government help and investment we can put Falmouth Harbour at the heart of a new blue Cornish economy. We can then offer to the world a competitive Port, strategically located and fit for servicing offshore green and other future marine technologies.”

The direct lobbying for support in the Prime Minister’s ear exactly reflected conclusions among the delegates aboard RFA Argus: achievements within Cornwall’s marine sector are uniquely impressive and deserving of substantial investment from national and local government level.

Ben Murray, CEO of Maritime UK said, “With the eyes of the world on Cornwall, it is great that we’ve been able to showcase the truly world-leading offer from Cornwall’s maritime sector. The video shows some of the most cutting-edge innovation projects as well as those reflecting the best of British design and manufacturing.

“As we look toward the Autumn, Maritime UK will be submitting an ambitious spending review bid to government seeking significant funding to support the sector’s growth and competitiveness as we strive toward our Maritime 2050 ambitions. At the heart of that is the need to decarbonise, and we look forward to working with businesses in Cornwall to present the best possible case to government.”

Steve Jones, Managing Director Operations & Site Director Falmouth: “On behalf of A&P Group we would like to say thank you to Cornwall Marine Network and Maritime UK for presenting the landmark film show casing the ambition and vision of Cornwall aboard RFA Argus.

“The film and the event epitomised and showcased the broad spectrum of Marine activities in Falmouth, Cornwall and the wider South West. We are proud to be a part of this great group of companies within the film and we hope this helps to bring more diverse projects in the future for us all.”

Diccon Rogers, Managing Director of KML said “It was a pleasure to attend and to see the film showing all the world-class maritime businesses (including KML!) here at the heart of Falmouth. To see the present global reach of our locally-based businesses was truly impressive, and shows the further scale of the maritime opportunities to come. Falmouth really is Global Britain’s Atlantic Gateway. And whilst we were at this event, the Prime Minister dropped in at KML’s own Falmouth Wharves, in his pilot boat tour of the port with Miles Carden and the Falmouth Harbour team; it really does all happen in Falmouth…. Our grateful thanks go to A&P, the Royal Navy and Cornwall Marine Network for hosting the event, and to CMN for the outstanding film.”