The Hart of the operation

“Initially operating within the equipment supply business, Hart, Fenton & Company Ltd was formed in 1954,” states managing director, Mike Simpson. “Over the next decades the company developed into an experienced ship designer and surveyor and, by 1978, had established itself within its field by undertaking a great deal of work on behalf of Sea Containers (SC) in the development of its container fleet. Subsequently taken over by Sea Containers as a wholly owned subsidiary, Hart, Fenton & Company, in addition to the work for SC, continued to work for a number of existing external clients, which at the time included Australian Offshore Services and BT Marine.

“As the years past, Sea Containers, and the industry as a whole, underwent several significant changes that ultimately led to Hart, Fenton & Company entering discussions with Houlder Limited and becoming part of its group in 2006. The company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Houlder Limited, operating out of five offices across the UK.”

A designer of bespoke marine solutions, Hart, Fenton & Company specialises in the design of vessels tasked with transporting a client’s specialised cargo or very bespoke needs. By developing the strong ability to understand individual client requirements, Hart Fenton is able to craft a solution to suit the clients needs, the company has worked alongside a large number of clients, in recent years, one of which is Wightlink, one of the UK’s largest domestic ferry companies linking the Isle of Wight to the mainland.

“The relationship between the two companies can be seen, when Hart, Fenton & Company designed a very specific vessel for Wightlink that would answer its requirement to carry a greater number of cars while still meeting existing berth restrictions,” Mike explains. “The solution to this was to design a vessel capable of carrying cars on three decks, a first for The Solent, that concept developed in to a vessel – St. Clare.

“Later in the decade Wightlink again turned to Hart, Fenton & Company to assist in the replacement of its vessels that ran between Lymington and Yarmouth. Running through a narrow river route with very clear requirements, Wightlink’s desire was to increase the level of passenger experience on board its vessels, in line with 21st century standards. The story of this project was very much the same as the others handled by Hart, Fenton & Company through the years. By getting to grips with Wightlink’s needs it was able to design the type of vessel required and followed this by being a participant during all the technical contract negotiations, the vessel’s trials and assisting with the delivery of the vessels themselves.”

Another client that can attest to the quality of service provided by Hart, Fenton & Company is Global Marine Systems. The vessel that links these two entities together is the cable ship, CS Sovereign, first designed by the company for BT Marine in 1990. Originally conceived as a telecommunications-cable laying and repair vessel, CS Sovereign is now operated by Global Marine Services and is to be used in the installation of power cables into wind farms: “What Hart, Fenton & Company did was assist in the modification process giving the CS Sovereign the ability to handle both telecommunications and power cables, with the fitting of two large carousels in the two main cable tanks, while also designing an access system that would allow small catamarans to transfer personnel back and forth from the CS Sovereign safely,” Mike says.

Having increased annual turnover year-on-year since 2006, Mike is all too aware of what it is that sets the company apart from the competition: “Close co-operation with the client underpins everything Hart, Fenton & Company does and stands for as a business. This is a company that believes that the only way forward is to better understand what its clients want to achieve and then go about designing what it is they need to attain their goals. Where the company also stands out is its ability to act quickly and proactively when called upon.”

Now in the midst of detailed discussions with several industry figures over the design of several mother ship concepts for the wind farm sector, Mike is well aware that this growing market has the potential to play a major part in the company’s growth over the coming decade: “Certainly the wind farm industry will play an increasingly large role in what Hart, Fenton & Company achieves in the future, however the company is still working actively to secure new clients in both the ferry market and the offshore sector. The Houlder Limited group as a whole has a strategy to grow and there is most definitely a commitment in place to increase the capacity of Hart, Fenton & Company by some considerable degree.”

Designer of bespoke marine solutions
A design and technical partner to leading owners and operators
Considerable expansion plans for the future