Mackay: A couple of weeks ago, Australia’s oldest and largest marine pilotage company Australian Reef Pilots (ARP) was bought out by a consortium of its employees.
ARP, which services all types of shipping through the Great Barrier Reef, has been sold by the private Brisbane-based company Torres Industries to a group of ARP executives and reef pilots.
Brisbane-based private equity firm Catapult Partners has also invested in ARP.
AROP employs 38 pilots at four working pilot stations, has 41 managerial and support staff, and owns or operates six pilot boats and five helicopters.
ARP has been providing pilotage services on the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait for 126 years.
Simon Meyjes, who lead the buyout and is the firm’s ceo, says: “It’s business-as-usual for ARP with a focus on safety, reliability and value. The new owners, being employees, are heavily invested in growing the company and continuing its progressive approach to pilotage.”
The pilotage industry on the Great Barrier Reef is highly competitive, Meyjes admits, but ARP maintains “an edge”, he says, by re-investing in employee training and developing technology that’s tailored to company’s needs.
For instance, during 2014, ARP introduced a world-first Pilotage Operations Safety Management System (POSMS) to prepare for catastrophic but rare incidents (low probability/high risk); exceeding the standard required by the ISO 31000 risk management methodology.