An historic steam tender which once towed Mersey barges alongside the great ocean liners of the Edwardian era is leading an innovative skills project in the UK funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund around decarbonisation in the maritime sector.
The Daniel Adamson – affectionately known as The Danny – is working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, Liverpool John Moores University, and National Museums Liverpool to equip college students with practical skills around maritime sustainability and vessel design. A cohort of 36 engineering students from Hugh Baird College in Bootle, Wirral Met in Birkenhead, and Riverside and Cronton Colleges in Widnes and Runcorn have been enrolled.
The Maritime Heritage – Maritime Futures programme will focus on educating the students about Liverpool’s importance as a global port city and its rich heritage as a centre for innovative maritime technologies. The students will learn about how the region’s maritime sector is rapidly greening its operations, and what kind of jobs and opportunities exist.
The programme has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and is being supported by expertise from some of the region’s key players in the sector, including Svitzer, the Peel Ports Group, Safeguard Engineering, Liverpool Pilots, and Cammell Laird.
Complementing their Level-3 curriculum and classroom learning, the students will develop specific problem-solving strategies and skills whilst completing a series of team-based challenges. Over the course of the academic year, and with the support of some of the region’s most experienced naval architects and engineers, they will be tasked with designing and building a prototype vessel informed by the principles of low carbon design.
At the lanch of the programme the steam powered Danny was joined in Liverpool’s Canning Dock by National Museums Liverpool’s Brocklebank (1964) and Svitzer’s climate neutral tug, Trident (2016), which took a break from its usual busy commercial operations on the Mersey to be part of the event.
Engineers from each of the vessels led ship tours, illustrating the challenges and evolution of maritime propulsion over the last 120 years. Svitzer’s decarbonisation team spoke to the students about the role that retrofit fuel technologies, vessel speed limits, and fuel types have in decarbonising maritime operations. By converting Trident from MGO to sustainably sourced HVO, Svitzer has reduced Trident’s annual emissions by 530t Co2-e.
Cathriona Bourke, collaborations and partnership manager for The Danny said: “The Danny has a knack for bringing people together and forging a sense of community – it is how she survived. By introducing these young engineers to their maritime heritage as well as the vast potential on their doorstep we are giving them a sense of pride and belonging which we hope will equip them with new skills, ambitions, and confidence in what they can achieve.”
Engineering student Alice Johnson from Hugh Baird College in Bootle said: “To come and actually see the history of the boats and how they’ve evolved through the years has been really good and really educational towards the course I am doing.”
The Maritime Heritage – Maritime Futures programme will culminate in June 2024 with a ‘Float Your Boat’ showcase on Liverpool’s waterfront. Competing in teams, the students will use the vessel prototype they have designed and built over the course of the programme to deliver the maximum amount of cargo across Salthouse Dock at the lowest environmental and economic cost.