ISU appoints new President

Ms Charo Coll takes over from Mr John Witte as ISU President (Photo: ISU) Ms Charo Coll takes over from Mr John Witte as ISU President (Photo: ISU)

At the annual general meeting of the International Salvage Union (ISU) recently in Singapore, Ms Charo Coll was appointed president, taking over from Mr John Witte who continues as a member of ISU’s executive committee.

As mentioned elsewhere in this Salvage section, Ms Coll has already commenced her duties addressing the annual ISU media lunch, let’s reflect on her background, her thoughts about the future of the industry and similarly hear Mr Witte’s thoughts following his period as president.

Ms Coll is general manager of the Offshore and Salvage Division of Boluda Corporación Maritima and has over 25 years’ experience in the industry coordinating Boluda’s salvage division including its tugs engaged with the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency. She has also managed Boluda’s sales and purchase departments.

Charo Coll grew up in Valencia, Spain and gained a Specialist Degree in International Maritime Law at Comillas Pontifical University of Madrid and a Ship Management Diploma from the International Ship Manager’s Association at the UK’s National Sea Training Centre. She has also attended numerous seminars at Lloyd’s Maritime Training Programme along with others at the Instituto Maritimo Español.

Ms Coll’s formidable list of credentials continues: she is a former president of the European Tug Owners’ Association and has been a member of the Valencian Chamber of Commerce and also WISTA (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association). She was recently honoured with the Valencian Government Business and Social Achievement Award.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Coll said: ‘I would like to thank John Witte for all that he has done for the ISU over the past two years: he has shown great dedication to the role. For my part it is a great honour to be the President of the ISU and I look forward to leading the association as it continues to address the current challenges, in particular, enhancing the reputation of the industry and strengthening further our relationships with shipowners and insurers’.

Outgoing president Mr Witte also touched on the importance of the link between salvors, ship owners and insurers stating: ‘ISU members represent the best way for ship owners and insurers to limit their losses from marine casualties.’ Reflecting on the state of the industry with 2016 statistics revealing a fall in revenues from all sources of 50% on the previous year, he presented a positive picture: ‘Nevertheless it is absolutely clear to me from the discussions we have had here in Singapore that this remains a vibrant industry. Many of our members have substantial assets and experienced personnel at their disposal and are willing to take on financial risk of providing services in dangerous and uncertain circumstances.’

He touched on a subject facing salvors within their own circles: ‘We know our members are not only competing against each other but also against more opportunistic operators; the under-utilised offshore sector and so-called consultants who might assemble a team and gear on a case by case basis. However, ISU believes that ship owners and their insurers benefit in individual cases – and in general – by supporting a strong, professional salvage industry and members of the ISU.’

At the meeting Mr Richard Janssen was elected ISU vice president. He is managing director of Smit Salvage with 20 years’ experience of the marine salvage, towage and energy sectors. The list of salvage and wreck removal operations Mr Janssen has been involved in include an impressive roll-call of familiar names: Kursk, Tricolor, MSC China, Troll, PN6 and Modern Express.

Mr Janssen studied business in Rotterdam and was a members of ISU’s salvage sub-committee and has been an Executive Committee member since 2015.

By Peter Barker

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