Spring 2019

Under the surface with: Louise Brown

We meet Louise Brown Africa STS project manager for Fendercare Marine looking after all aspects of the ship-to-ship transfer of oil and gas in African waters.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My father worked for Shell so growing up we spent time living in Scotland, Norway, Nigeria and Kenya which exposed me to different ways of life and has given me an appreciation of diverse cultures.

How did you come to join the James Fisher group?

I left school after my A levels and in 2008 took a temporary role at Fendercare Marine, based near Norwich. Although I didn't have a career path in mind, I quickly secured a permanent role in sales within the company's naval division, and in June 2012 I joined the Ship to Ship (STS) side of the business which co-ordinates the complexities of transferring oil and gas between vessels at sea. In 2014 I moved to the operations team looking after the growing African STS market.

Tell us a bit about your job?

I work as part of a team handling STS operations in Africa. We work on revolving shifts to ensure that the operations are manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The oil industry never sleeps so we can't either! We co-ordinate all STS logistics; from the vetting of vessels, the monitoring of environmental conditions, managing the Mooring Masters to the deployment, utilisation and maintenance of equipment (such as fenders and hoses). It is very important that we remain fully compliant at all time, not only to our high quality assurance levels, but to the demanding industry standards as well.

Client liaison is a big part of my role which must be managed alongside the continually juggling of logistics. This means mine is certainly not a 9-5 job. It is highly-demanding but very rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Africa is a particularly challenging region for STS: there's a lot of commercial pressure and competition is fierce. We have to face many challenges including the complex environmental issues presented by the location as well as cultural and language barriers. We have to be prepared to react very quickly to every client's changing needs – our clients usually need everything yesterday!

But I relish this challenge and I'm proud of the fact that I've gained experience and knowledge of STS and the way the business works. I'm always keen to learn more, take on more accountability and responsibility, and I'm very lucky to be getting so much support from Fendercare Marine in meeting those ambitions.

What does the future hold for STS in Africa?

Africa consistently demands high volumes of STS transfers with Lome (in Togo, on the West coast) recording the largest number of operations of any of our bases worldwide.

Fendercare Marine is expanding in Africa - we recently opened a new base in South Africa and planning to open additional locations this year – and we aim to remain the world leader in STS. Although there may be challenges ahead, this is a very exciting time to be involved.

 

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