Belfast Telegraph

SmartOcean Forum highlights openings to become power in marine sector

by clare weir

Northern Ireland can become a leader in the development of products for the global marine sector, a conference in Belfast has heard.

The SmartOcean Forum at Titanic Belfast is encouraging the development of high-tech products and services for traditional sectors such as fisheries, transport and security and emerging sectors such as renewable ocean energy and environmental monitoring, and ocean observation.

Northern Ireland is already home to major companies like Survitec, which makes marine safety and survival equipment for customers including the Ministry of Defence, the US Navy, the US Air Force, Shell, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Belfast Harbour is fast becoming a hub for the construction of offshore energy hardware and in September it was revealed that a consortium of fishermen, tradespeople and engineers from the Co Down village of Kilkeel have put forward plans for a multi-million pound revamp of the historic harbour.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that Northern Ireland must mix the the traditional strengths of engineering excellence and innovation with new skill sets to meet the needs of the newly emerging sectors.

"The rapid rise of innovation in technology and the emerging opportunities coming from the marine sector offers considerable scope and opportunities for those companies who are willing to find new innovative ways of working and developing," she said.

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