History of the BMEC - British Marine Equipment Council
History of the BMEC - British Marine Equipment Council
Also known as the British naval equipment association and British Oil Spill Control Association
The British Marine Equipment Council (BMEC) was a federation of four Trade Associations - the , the British Oil Spill Control Association (BOSCA), the British Naval Equipment Association (BNEA), and the Association of British Oil Industries (ABOI) - plus an affiliated Ports and Terminals Group (PTG), and as such represents suppliers of equipment and services in all sectors of the industries involving naval and merchant ships (including fishing vessels), ports and terminals, offshore oil and gas, and pollution prevention and control.
Recognised by both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as the lead Trade Association concerned with all such marine equipment matters, BMEC acts as the collective voice of the marine equipment industry, lobbying Government on matters of concern whenever necessary.
The members, numbering some 200, range from major corporations supplying equipment at system and sub-system level to the smaller but very important SME suppliers of individual items of equipment, components and related services. The majority of the well-known British marine equipment suppliers and shipbuilders are members.
The primary role of the individual Associations, which are very much market-orientated, is to provide promotional and information services to assist and support the marketing operations of their members, with particular emphasis on overseas opportunities. Strong ties exist between all four Associations and the DTI, and in particular each Association acts as the sponsor for its sectors’ equipment/service industries at international exhibitions and outward/inward trade missions.
The Associations also act as the representative voice of their industries when issues need to be raised with the respective Government departments or other authoritative bodies.
One of BMEC’s most important activities is to maintain close liaison with the Chamber of Shipping (COS) and the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association (SSA). Following the issue by the three Associations of a Joint Statement of Understanding on Future Collaboration, in November 1994, designed to bring about closer co-operation between the three principal sectors of the UK maritime industries and thus improve UK’s competitiveness in the global market place, regular meetings are now held at which collaboration issues are discussed.
Establishing and maintaining good contacts with all the European bodies representing the marine and the offshore oil and gas industries, within both the EU and EEA countries, is another important task for BMEC. As a founder member of the European Marine Equipment Council (EMEC), BMEC is very actively involved in the whole European maritime scene. As the current Chairman of EMEC, which comprises eight Marine Equipment Associations from Germany (2), Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway (2) and the UK, I regularly attend meetings with staff from the EC’s Directorates for Industry (DG III) and Transport (DG VII), on items of interest to the Marine Equipment industry.
BMEC also attends meetings of the influential Maritime Industries Forum (MIF), the European Commission initiative launched in late 1991 to improve the competitiveness of the European Maritime industry as a whole. The MIF is generating some very positive ideas and proposals for future action, most notably in the areas of Short Sea Shipping, the development of marine resources, and the utilisation of computer technology and EDI in many aspects of the whole maritime industry. Benefits to BMEC members accrue from these European activities.
Apart from these activities linked to BMEA, there are cross linking activities with the other BMEC Associations. For example, ABOI has a number of common interests with BMEA, most notably concerning the production of FPSOs.
On the naval side, BNEA, which has well established links with the MoD and strongly supports the activities of the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), is now involved in activities concerning the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), specifically with the DTI sponsored British Exclusive Economic Zone Export Promotion Committee (BREEZE).
BREEZE is designed to promote export opportunities for companies’ equipment and services in the emerging markets of EEZs worldwide.
Also, given the importance to the UK defence industry of alignment of military requirements within Europe, BNEA takes every opportunity to promote links with European counterparts. This adds strength to research and development programmes across the European defence industry and also support major defence projects that are best undertaken collectively. In particular, BNEA has links with the two major European equipment-related committees, namely NIAG, the NATO Industrial Advisory Group and EDIG, the European Defence Industrial Group.
BNEA is very much involved in safeguarding UK industrial interests and plays an important part in the Anglo French Italian, Common New Generation Frigate programme (Project HORIZON) and PAAMS, its associated Principal Anti Air Missile Systems, through UKIPNIC, the United Kingdom Industrial Panel for Naval International Collaboration, which is chaired by BNEA.
Increasing worldwide concern regarding the environment and the resultant requirements for new legislation, have highlighted the activities of the counter pollution Association - BOSCA.
BOSCA represents the United Kingdom spill response industry. Its membership includes equipment manufacturers, service contractors and consultants, and covers every aspect of pollution prevention, control and clean-up at sea, along coastlines and inland. BOSCA has service contracts with both the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Environment Agency, the terms of which include the maintenance of the National Equipment Database for use in spill incidents, and, through its members, the Association plays an active role in clean-up operations undertaken by these organisations. Other users of the services available through BOSCA include port and harbour authorities, operators of oil terminals, pipelines, oil handling facilities and offshore oil installations, and local authorities. Members of the Association also provide round-the-clock spill response services for small and medium-sized enterprises and the general public.
Other major tasks for BMEC include close involvement with the BSI and IMO activities concerning standards relevant to the industry and the harmonisation of equipment standards in Europe. Also for matters related to equipment and pricing.
BMEC attends occasional international meetings involving representatives from Japan, the USA, Korea, Canada, Finland and Denmark, where matters of mutual interest or concern are discussed.
In summary, BMEC gets involved, or is prepared to become involved, in any activity that helps to promote or preserve business opportunities for British companies involved in some way with the maritime industry. Through seminars, presentations, outward and inward missions and its involvement in EU activities, BMEC creates opportunities for its members to meet, exchange views and information and, most importantly, make new business contacts.