Seacor subsidiary bolsters crisis comms footprint

Two maritime PR/crisis communications firms have been bought out by Witt O’Brien’s, an emergency management subsidiary of New York-listed Seacor Holdings. No price has been revealed for the acquisition of London-based Navigate and Singapore’s Helix Media. The move positions Witt O’Brien’s on a par with MTI Network, the current largest maritime crisis communications specialist.

“This acquisition broadens our support for the maritime industry at a critical time,” said Tim Whipple, CEO of Witt O’Brien’s. “Shipowners and managers face an evolving range of disruptions that can put their operations and reputations at risk. These include disease pandemics, cyber-attack, hurricanes, and oil spills. We believe the best approach is to integrate outstanding emergency management with effective crisis communications.”

Navigate’s founders Mike Elsom and Bill Lines in London and Ed Ion at Helix Media’s Singapore office will continue to work for Witt O’Brien’s, reporting to managing director Sean Fitzgerald.

Navigate’s Bill Lines commented: “This initiative represents a shipping industry first: the integration of world-class crisis management with a global crisis communications and reputation management capacity, in one seamless offering. Witt O’Brien’s shares our commitment to innovation and resiliency in the maritime sector. We are hugely excited about the future and look forward to serving our clients as one team.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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