Annual Report 2019-2020

Chair: Richard Binks

The endless support of the Executive is the fuel that runs the branch and as always, their efforts are valued and appreciated. We are also indebted to the regular help from all committee members, the branch is built on collective volunteer effort. We are always endeavouring to reduce admin and with this in mind, we decided to jointly absorb the Honorary Secretary role and at the same time we have simplified minute taking and reporting. As ever we would not be able to work without the admin and organisation support of Jacqui Adams, SUT Events Manager.


Richard Binks Chairman
Keith Broughton Deputy Chairman
Iain Knight Hon Treasurer
Claire Cardy Hon Secretary SUT+
Jacqui Adams SUT Events Manager
Phil Johnston Hon Secretary SW Chapter


We are looking forward to a return to better more social times without presence of COVID-19! In the meantime, we are learning about webinars, video conferencing, podcasts and online training. These new skills will help us with our core aim of disseminating knowledge of subsea technology. We will benefit from a future mix of both traditional and online events.

At the moment our evening and lunchtime events have merged into mid-day online presentations. Numbers attending these are steadily growing, the last two events 90 and 140 people registered. Generally, about a half of these “turn up” but still more than double the average attendees at in-person evening events. So clearly a growing a demand. The online events are run live, with Q&A sessions at the end. These events have been all free of charge, so it remains to be seen whether attendee numbers would fall if we were to charge a nominal amount to cover SUT chairing and administration costs. We are indebted to Steve Hall, SUT CEO for being the anchor man for these events.

When we get back to traditional events, we are still searching for a benefactor with a free lecture room in central London! However, the model of using a pub for more “social” learning events and the Institute of Physics plus corporate member venues for more earnest presentations does work. Our last evening event, way back in February, was our annual excursion to the offshore industry cluster around Woking, west of London. This was a well-attended event and shows the need of hosting events in places that are easy for interested parties to travel to.

Before COVID-19 hit, we were reviewing our social calendar. Our quiz night in November is always well attended and it would be great to duplicate this style of event in the Summer. A beer and a bap in the good company of SUT members are the key ingredients and we should not dilute these with prohibitively high event ticket costs.

Online events are now running regularly with help from SUT HQ and are usually recorded so check our website if you missed any.

Evening Events

  • Sep 2019: Philomena Verlaan: Deep-Sea Mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone: Update
  • Nov 2019: Annual Pub Quiz :Ye Olde Watling, London
  • Dec 2020: John Englander: Rising Seas – The Case for Moving to Higher Ground
  • Feb 2020: Peritus International/Petrofac: Pipeline Stories: A Pipeline to India and the Curious Case of the Shifting Sands

Lunch and Learns

  • Oct 2019: NATO Submarine Rescue System: Has anyone seen Nemo?
  • Nov 2019: Red Penguin: Subsea Power Cables – Lessons Learned
  • Feb 2020:  Westwood Energy: Global Offshore Prospects 2020-25


SUT+ aims have been to widen awareness of the branch and to encourage membership within younger age groups. This started in November, with SUT (along with other marine societies) giving a presentation following the Marine Autonomous Technology Showcase, targeting students and young professionals. An SUT+ Intro to the Society online meeting was held in early July and this was followed up with an “Ambassador” recruitment online session later in the month. Ambassadors within companies are important as they can act as SUT catalysts, posting meeting notices and encouraging event attendance etc.

Links between the London and South Coast SUT+ members have also been developed encouraging cross fertilisation of ideas between member groups.

Until COVID-19 runs its course, future online webinars are planned with hopefully a return to an agenda of social interaction in the new year.

City Subsea Awareness Course (SAC) and Unexploded Ordnance courses

COVID-19 has meant a change in strategy to run courses online rather than in person. The modular City SAC is ready to go. Finding suitable presentation material and ensuring that the intellectual property of the course is owned by SUT, has entailed a great deal of effort from course presenter Mark Murawiecki. Switching the course to online requires shorter presentations so the original modular plan can be used. Getting the right software package for booking, presenting and interacting with the online course is the pending issue before an inaugural course can be run.

The one-day course is adaptable to different target markets such as for Investors in subsea technology. Longer 4-5 day SACs are still planned with the potential of sharing content from the Aberdeen branch.
The unexploded ordnance course is work in progress, like the City SAC it is targeted at the City Insurance market.


The big event this year has been dealing with the social distancing consequences of COVID-19. There is a valued and essential social networking side of SUT that we all miss, so we look forward to running in-person events again. COVID-19 has had benefits in that we have accelerated our learning on hosting online courses, podcasts and webinars.

Engaging with existing, and recruiting new Corporate members is key to our future. COVID-19 has brought tough times for many of our corporate and individual members. We really appreciate that nearly all are continuing with their membership subscriptions and still enjoying the great value of the SUT.
Try and miss it, but if you do catch Covid, I wish you a speedy recovery.