Mark Harper hails how new technology can make Brexit Britain a global maritime leader
Transport Secretary Mark Harper launched International Shipping Week at Tower Bridge in London with a pledge that post Brexit Britain can once more lead the world in new maritime technology.
The senior minister was visiting Belfast-made new electric boat Artemis which uses new battery technology and design to eliminate emissions, noise and destruction caused by the wake of boats while still being able to travel at high speeds.
The demonstration at Tower Bridge in the City of London came as the company was one of several to win cash from an £80 million government award to boost Britain’s maritime industry.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Harper said: “Post-Brexit this is a big reminder that we’re a global trading and maritime nation.
“We’ve seen that this week with the prime minister in India at the G20.
“It just reminds us that we have a global influence global country. And our maritime heritage and future is obviously a central part of that.”
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He continued: “Front of technology brings us really big export opportunities here.
He pointed out that the new Artemis boat can be used for “crew transfer vehicles out to the offshore wind sector.”
The minister added: “So again, there’s an export opportunity there.
“But it’s a very good demonstration of what we can do.
“And we saw actually, the demonstration this morning, you cut the wake out, you massively reduced the sounds.
“So that means you operate in this sort of built up city port area but also it means you can operate in a comfortable way transferring crew out to offshore wind platforms in a comfortable, safe way with zero emission technology.”
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Artemis Technologies chief executive Iain Percy was a double Olympic gold medalist and is aiming for his technology to be used in ferries and other larger boats in the future.
The demonstration boat – The Pride of Belfast – built in Northern Ireland can travel at 30 knots.
He told Express.co.uk the UK Shore programme had “supported investment” in the industry.
Mr Percy said: “It’s been about supporting the maritime industry through development and design and then the Department for transport have helped turn the company into an export company.”
Speaking about his cutting edge technology, he added: “There is really nothing like this vessel anywhere in the world.
“This is the first zero emissions boat which has any kind of available range and speed.”
Elsewhere, the Shore UK competition has allowed Portmouth International Port to massively boost its jobs to 40,000 with new ferry technology.
Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port said: “As a port owned by the people of Portsmouth, we have a duty to ensure that we grow sustainably and for the benefit of our local communities.
“I’m proud of our ambitious sustainability goals and this project will see us be able to not only provide shore power for ships on three of our berths, but also provide power for the hybrid Brittany Ferries ships coming in 2025.”
Britanny Ferries which also operates from the port said the two new hybrid ships represents the biggest ever renewal of its fleet.
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