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OCEAN WEEK – An overview of the Marine and Maritime Sector on the South Coast

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Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, and they hold 97 percent of our planet’s water, produce at least 50% of the world’s oxygen and are home to most of the Earth’s biodiversity. World Oceans Day, celebrated annually across the world on 8th June, is an event designed to encourage people to celebrate the oceans, help inform the public of human actions on the ocean and develop a worldwide movement to protect it and unite the world in sustainable ocean management. 

This year’s theme is The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods and is particularly apt as by 2030, an estimated 40 million people will be employed by ocean-based industries – something that we on the South Coast are working to encourage and expand. With this economic development comes great responsibility – as the UN says we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished, with 90% of big fish populations currently depleted and 50% of coral reefs destroyed – and as such a new balance must be created, “rooted in true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it”.*

This is not only an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humans get from the ocean and the ways in which we can use its resources sustainably, but a chance for us at the South Coast Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications to highlight a small cross section of the companies within the region. These companies work in this sector and are keen to develop a sustainable Blue Economy, sharing the responsibility of protecting oceans and bolstering scientific research and technologies.

Airborne Robotics 

Airborne Robotics is a leading manufacturer of professional drones with offices in the UK, in Germany and in Austria (development & manufacturing). Most recently working with the University of Portsmouth, Bentley Telecom and Ocean Infinity – they have been working on the Dr. SUIT project to develop an autonomous offshore wind farm inspection fleet consisting of unmanned drone swarms and a marine robotic vessel by 2022. You can read more about this project and others here. 


aql is a UK-based, regulated telecommunications operator who specialise in providing secure, reliable wholesale access to fixed and mobile networks to government, enterprise and to innovators. Fuelled and inspired by a love of sailing aql, have harnessed 5G technology to stream real-time, virtual reality video from on-board yachts racing at events from Cowes on the Isle of Wight – demonstrating the capabilities of 5G powered VR as a gateway to the sport – with many sustainable ocean focused applications to come – read more here. 

JET Engineering 

JET Engineering System Solutions is helping meet the pan-industry demand for 5G enabled ‘Industry 4.0’ activity at sea.They are delivering this operational capability with the development and deployment of a suite of platforms that provide 5G mesh communication networks for the littoral and open-sea environments. Applications for this technology include increasingly data-driven operations in industries such as offshore renewables, autonomous platforms, aquaculture, decarbonised shipping, smart ports, and safety and security. Read more here. 

National Oceanography Centre (NOC) 

NOC is one of the world’s top oceanographic institutions undertaking world leading research in large scale oceanography and ocean measurement technology innovation; working with government and business to turn great science and technology into advice and applications. Whilst supporting scientists in universities and research institutes with facilities, research infrastructure and irreplaceable data assets – with the aim of enabling the UK to harness the full power and diversity of its ocean science talent. They have worked on many ocean sustainability projects including nature-based coastal defences, addressing knowledge gaps in ocean variability, biodiversity and resultant functional capacity of the Atlantic – and much much more here. 

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult 

Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult aims to deliver the UK’s largest clean growth opportunities by accelerating the creation and growth of UK companies in offshore renewable energy. With a focus on research, innovation, testing and supply chain growth. They are currently working on decarbonization of North Sea offshore wind vessel operations and maintenance, the SusWIND project to drive the future sustainability of wind turbine technology (using sustainable materials and processes in developing composites for blades) and many more sustainable and ocean focused projects across the solent and beyond – which you can find out about here

Solent MEZ

The Solent MEZ consortium connects networks regionally and nationally, collaborates on key maritime initiatives to support the maritime sector in its broadest sense. Through an enterprise approach it partners with other regions, maritime clusters and cross-sectors to benefit maritime businesses and institutions. With the mantra ‘Connect. Collaborate. Deliver.’, the Solent MEZ optimises the enterprise approach to tackle key maritime issues. The Solent MEZ’s ‘Connected and Autonomous Maritime’ initiative is capitalising on this and has enabled cross-sector, cross-region collaboration supported by the Catapult network.  This initiative will benefit from the Solent’s strengths in marine autonomy, robotics, innovative engineering solutions, advanced manufacturing and smart port initiatives.

TP Group 

Working in aerospace, defence and energy, TP Group’s vision is to shape a more secure world. Working on resilient solutions driven by advancing technologies and world class services – which most recently include the SeaCURE programme which has recently received government funding for a study into a new method of capturing carbon from seawater – helping to tackle climate change. The process – similar to capturing the CO2 bubbles in a fizzy drink – makes use of natural processes and renewable energy to remove carbon from seawater, allowing that seawater to in turn take more CO2 out of the atmosphere. Read more here

Ocean Infinity 

Are a world leading marine robotics company, deploying autonomous technologies to capture ocean data and deliver maritime solutions whilst minimising our environmental footprint. Their technology most recently was used in sustainable ocean focused projects such as the Weddell Sea Expedition, where they played a pivotal role in a major international Antarctic science expedition; and an urgent subsea search, inspection and operations on the wreck of the MV Grande America, which sank in the Bay of Biscay on 12 March 2019 – you can read about these projects and more here. 

*UN Website – World Oceans Day June 2021


Chloe McClellan
Media and Communications Assistant
Chloe McClellan is an experienced communicator and social media specialist.