Orkney Harbour Authority – Up Close and Personal

Meet members of the management team and staff who, through their professionalism, dedication and passion, manage and operate one of the UK’s most diverse and successful Harbour operations.

Apprenticeships at OIC Marine Services

Owen Robertson is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering. He is halfway through his four year apprenticeship and has spent time studying at Inverness College UHI and North Highland College UHI alongside working at OIC Marine Services at Scapa, where he is learning the practical skills he needs as an electrical engineer. Watch his video to learn more about his apprenticeship journey.

Staff Profiles

Mr James Buck FRIN

Head of Marine Service and Transportation and Harbour Master

Born in South Wales, bred in the Peak District and coalfields of Staffordshire, Jim has a long affiliation with Orkney, spending family holidays in and around Birsay.

Joining the Royal Navy from school in ’87 as a Seaman Officer with the desire to become a Naval Aviator, he over a varied 30 year career became a Specialist Navigator (marine Pilot) and Master Mariner (warship). Sailing all 7 seas and visiting all the continents with the notable exception of Australia, Jim has travelled the world on a variety of naval vessels, from the smallest mine hunter to the largest aircraft carrier. He has commanded both ships and squadrons of vessels, held instructional and strategic posts and worked with an array of international organisations, navies and individuals.

Made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation for his work on the navigation of Small Craft, he completed his career in the Ministry of Defence, leaving the service in 2017.

On leaving he continued his maritime career, working first at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth as the Head of Marine Service and Operations and then for OSI Maritime Limited as a Business Development Director.

Jim has returned to the islands he loves and looks forward to providing the strategic direction and leadership to secure a strong and prosperous maritime future for Orkney.

Mr David Sawkins

Deputy Harbour Master Strategy and Support

David joined Orkney Islands Council as Ferry Services Manager for Orkney Ferries Ltd in May 2005. With the formation of the Council’s Marine Services Department he was appointed as Head of Marine Services (Support) in April 2009.

David was the Interim Director of Marine Services from January 2011 until September 2012 and the Marine Services Senior Manager and Harbour Master from October 2012 until January 2014. Since then he has undertaken his present role which includes responsibility for strategic planning, oil spill response, harbour plans and infrastructure.

David previously worked for the ports, harbours and marine sections of Portsmouth City Council (1989 – 1996), Shetland Islands Council (1996 – 2003) and Port Sutton Bridge ( 2003 – 2004) gaining wide and varied experience in port management and operations, ship operations and vessel’s major refit / building.

David has a Honours degree (BSc) in Engineering & Management Studies (Portsmouth University, 1994), an International Diploma for Harbour Masters (2011) and is a Full Member of the UK Harbour Masters Association and a Council member of the British Ports Association.

Mr Paul Olvhoj

Business Development Manager

Paul joined the team at Scapa in November 2019 and is responsible for the development of the core business incomes for Marine Services as Business Development Manager.

He joined the Royal Navy straight from school in Grimsby as a Weapons Artificer on destroyers where he served in Persian Gulf in the aftermath of the invasion of Kuwait. Since leaving the RN he has worked in Siberia and Nigeria for oilfield service companies and then worked with Dutch company Fugro around the world conducting wireline logging and geotechnical surveys.

Paul came ashore in 2006 to work in agency and chartering, was general manager of a marine survey company and, most recently, was sales manager at Port of Sunderland which, like Orkney, is a municipal port authority.

Paul is a member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (MICS) having passed his professional exams in 2018.

Mr David Hibbert

Technical Superintendent

David has over 10 years’ service with Orkney Islands Council and has accumulated over 30 years’ experience in ship operations and management, and is a fully qualified Chief Engineer and registered Incorporated Engineer.

He joined the management team at the Harbour Authority in 2010, and prior to this he was the Technical Superintendent with Orkney Ferries Ltd. David is responsible for the maintenance and availability of all of Orkney Marine Services Vessels, VTS, Linkspans and Harbour infrastructure. He is part of the operational management teams for the towage, ferries and harbour operations.

Mr Andrew Blake

Ferry Services Manager

Andrew was born into a maritime family in Hampshire and has always had salt-water in his veins. He completed his schooling in South Africa, having emigrated there with his family. After school he joined the South African Navy (SAN), spending a considerable portion of his career at sea and rising to command three ships of three different classes. In his last five years he was responsible for the acquisition of a core mine-warfare capability for the SAN. During this period he also undertook the duties of standby naval harbourmaster and pilot.

In his quest to get closer to ships and the sea, Andrew chose to look to his country of birth with its strong maritime heritage in order to best utilise his skill set. His love for island living immediately attracted him to the position of port marine safety and counter pollution manager in the Orkney Islands. In August 2017, Andrew was appointed Ferry Services Manager overseeing the day to day operations of the internal ferry services.

Dr Jenni Kakkonen

Senior Biologist

Jenni joined Marine Services, Marine Environmental Unit in March 2007 as a Biologist. In February 2012 she took on the daily management of the Marine Environmental Unit as a Senior Biologist.

Jenni is responsible for the marine ecological monitoring work carried out by the Unit. This includes marine non-native species monitoring, sandy and rocky shore monitoring, radiological monitoring, ballast water sampling and contract work carried out by the Unit.

Jenni has a BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology from University of Bristol, an MSc in Aquatic Ecosystems Management from Edinburgh Napier University and a PhD in Marine Biology from Heriot-Watt University.

Captain John Taylor

Marine Superintendent - Pilot Launches & Towage

John joined Shell Tankers (UK) Limited as an indentured apprentice in September 1965 and left to work for Elf at Flotta Terminal during 1998.

He was an Offshore Supervisor in Oman for five years and Marine Superintendent in Brunei for three years, before transferring to Japan where he was part of the team that oversaw the introduction of large Petronas LNG tankers to several Japanese ports.

John gained his Command during 1988 and was Captain of product tankers, LNG vessels and ULCC’s up to 1998.

When he left Flotta Terminal after it was sold to Talisman Energy, he set up his own Company, working on projects for renewable energy off Eday, completing STS oil transfers worldwide and playing a key role in some of the worlds’ largest salvage operations. He has been working in the port of Rotterdam, between salvage operations, gaining invaluable experience on tugs and Port Operations. John joined the team at Marine Services in Orkney this summer.

Douglas Manson

Port Marine Safety & Counter Pollution Manager

Douglas’s marine career started over 25 years ago in the white fish and pelagic fishing industry. In 1997 he moved to the offshore industry working on oil and gas support vessels in the North Sea. Douglas joined Orkney Towage Company Limited in 2002 latterly sailing as Chief Officer and then came ashore in 2017 as Port Safety and Counter Pollution Manager with Marine Services.

Richard Wild

Deputy harbourmaster Ops

Richard joined the merchant navy out of school, serving as a cadet on container ships worldwide. After qualifying he worked on a wide variety of vessels including; Bulk Carriers, Marine Protection vessels, offshore vessel and latterly local Ferries.

He joined the department in November 2019 and is responsible for the day to day operations of the 29 piers and harbours within the Orkney ports estate.

Karen Ritch MAAT

Operational Support Manager

Karen joined Marine Services as Operational Support Manager in April 2020 and is responsible for the daily administration for the operational side of Marine Services.

She joined Orkney Islands Council in March 1998 firstly working in Technical Services then to Finance, Customer Services and then part of the Accountancy Team where she gained her MAAT in Accountancy.