Hello. My name is Paul Wright.  I have been involved in the international shipping industry for over 50 years.  In 1962 at the age of 13, I entered HMS ‘Conway’ a Merchant Navy Training School located on the shores of the Menai Straits in Anglesey. In my final year I was promoted to the position of Senior Cadet Captain and was a nominee for the Queen’s Gold Medal. On being awarded a Passing Out Certificate in 1965 which entitled me to 12 months remission of sea service, I left the school and joined the highly respected Blue Funnel Line (later to become Ocean Fleets) of Liverpool as an apprentice Deck Officer.

On completion of my apprenticeship, I served as a deck officer on a variety of ships managed by Ocean Fleets including general cargo vessels, car ferries and passenger liners. The ships served between Europe and the Far East and West Africa. I also worked for a short time on research vessels of the Natural Environmental Research Council.  Between 1976 and 1979 I served on ships of Overseas Containers Ltd, a British company at the vanguard of the container shipping revolution.

During my time with Ocean Fleets I not only completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Maritime Studies at the University of Wales, Institute of Science and Technology, but achieved a Certificate of Competency as a Master Mariner.

In 1979 I joined Plymouth School of Maritime Studies as a lecturer and embarked on an academic career. For the first 12 years I was involved with the training of cadets and deck officers for the Merchant Navy. The time coincided with a significant decline of UK Merchant Navy training. To broaden my interest, I successfully undertook a MSc in International Shipping at Plymouth Polytechnic.

On the ending of cadet and officer training at Plymouth, I transferred to the Centre for International Shipping and Logistics, of what was to become the University of Plymouth. Between 2000 and 2006 I was appointed as Head of the Centre. My area of teaching focussed on Maritime Business, particularly on shipping and port management operations. In 2006 I was appointed to the position of Associate Director of the University of Plymouth’s newly created Marine Institute.

After 35 years in marine and maritime education I retired from the University of Plymouth in July 2014. A year later I was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal for ‘services to maritime training and to The Nautical Institute’.

I still maintain interests in the maritime world through various activities including; Chairman and Trustee of the ‘Tectona’ Trust, Trustee of the Conway (Merchant Navy) Trust and Chairman of the South West Company of Mariners. I am a member of several committees associated with the work of The Nautical Institute, the Plymouth Merchant Navy Monument and the South West Maritime Historical Society. I have been privileged to have been involved with MLA College, Lloyds Maritime Academy and Western Maritime Training following my retirement enabling me to maintain my interests in what I consider to be one of the world’s most exciting industries.