In a historic occasion, Global Underwater Hub (GUH) – the leading trade and industry development body for the UK’s underwater sectors – received a visit from HM The King on Friday 29th September.
GUH, which represents the diverse range of businesses operating in the UK’s £8 billion underwater industry, provided The King with a tour of its premises in Westhill on the outskirts of Aberdeen, and showcased the vital work being undertaken across the sectors including offshore energy, aquaculture, defence and telecoms.
Upon his arrival, The King was welcomed by Neil Gordon, chief executive of Global Underwater Hub followed by introductions to key industry stakeholders, GUH board members, staff and representatives from member companies, and local school pupils.
During the visit, His Majesty took the opportunity to inspect the latest technology “all-electric” work-class submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), built and developed in Newcastle by GUH member company Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD). His Majesty then viewed a live offshore operation in The Netherlands on a control station being carried out by one of Fugro’s Autonomous Surface Vessels which launched an underwater robot used for the inspection of subsea cables and pipelines.
His Majesty then toured exhibits from a range of companies working in the blue economy, including JFD who specialise in underwater diving technology, underwater 3D image capturing company Viewport3, and ARC Marine who make ecofriendly artificial reefs which provide subsea protection as well as enhancing biodiversity.
A team of senior pupils from Aberdeenshire’s Mintlaw Academy then showed His Majesty their fully operational ROV which they designed and built themselves. The Mintlaw ROV team is an example of how initiatives such as the GUH STEM Challenge educational outreach programmes can inspire young people about technology in the underwater industries.
Neil Gordon expressed his gratitude to His Majesty for the visit, and said, “We were honoured to welcome His Majesty to the Global Underwater Hub in Westhill. It was a unique opportunity to showcase the UK’s underwater sectors, the technology and expertise of our member companies, and our commitment to developing skills and capabilities to drive competitive advantage as the global leader.”
Before leaving, The King was invited to unveil a plaque to commemorate the visit.