Baird Maritime / Work Boat World
Best of 2022 Awards
Message from our co-founder Neil Baird
The most challenging time of the year is with us again. This is when we have to re-review and compare the almost 400 new vessels that we have reviewed on Baird Maritime in the year just past.
Despite the continuing ravages of Covid, the number of ships and boats we reviewed has increased over 30 per cent beyond those covered in 2021. Not only have the outright numbers increased dramatically, so have the numbers of new naval architecture firms and shipbuilders that we have worked with.
Similarly, and as always, the innovation demonstrated in this industry continues to be encouraging. It never ceases to amaze me that humans can endlessly come up with new ideas of ways to improve the tools, ships and boats, that they work with. That applies not just to the ships and boats, but to their engines, propulsion systems, electronics, deck equipment and safety gear that they all must be fitted with. Impressive advances have been seen in all those aspects as well.
Having been in the maritime business for 55 years now, I don’t remember a year in which significant advances have not been made. Certainly, 2022 was no different with so many exciting new vessels being produced that it made the focused observer’s head spin.
As the world slowly adapts to the continuation of Covid it has been encouraging to see the tourism industry recover so rapidly from the depths of its 2020/2021 depression. People want to travel to recover psychologically from the two bad years they have just endured. Thus, significant numbers of new tourist boats, ferries and cruise ships have appeared on the maritime scene.
As readers will note from the descriptions of our 2022 awardees, many of those new ships and boats are outstanding. They are safer, more comfortable, stylish, cleaner and economical than ever.
At the same time we have experienced the Putin invasion of Ukraine which, yet again, has made the world more aware of security threats and maritime needs to counter them. So, too, has piracy which, while declining globally, has shifted its focus from south-east Asia and east Africa to west Africa and the Caribbean. Patrol, assault and other military craft are continually being developed and improved across the board. Some of them are very exciting vessels.
They are also increasingly necessary thanks to the recent increases in the noxious industry of people smuggling that is rearing its repulsive head in many parts of the world. It necessitates both patrol and rescue boats for prevention and response.
The oddly and perversely interconnected worlds of emissions reduction and energy shortages have driven a rapid recent expansion in the demand for oil and gas exploration and development ships alongside those required for transporting, erecting, connecting and servicing the controversial windmills that are being erected along the coasts of the world. Those ships and boats, too, are innovative and sometimes very exciting. Let us hope, though, that the offshore sector’s usual over-exuberance does not return as happened so disastrously recently.
Tugs, also, have seen a recent boom. They become ever-greener and more powerful and efficient. Bigger ships in busier ports require ever more and better tugs. While Turkey increasingly becomes the focus of global tug building, there are other builders in Vietnam, Romania, Poland, Indonesia, Malaysia and China that are doing well.
While port developments have driven the tug market, they have also necessitated more and better dredgers and their support vessels. Dredging is another little known but fascinating sector of our wider industry and one where exciting advances continue to be made.
It is wonderful to see the fishing and aquaculture sectors starting to revive after decades of malicious and misguided government and Greens depredation. Some magnificent new vessels have been launched to service the sector and very significant investments are being made. That must auger well for the sectors’ future.
As the world is predicted to soon slide into recession, it is encouraging that so many participants in the maritime industry remain optimistic. Obviously, you have to be an optimist to survive in this business but, it is good to learn that I’m not the only one who remains positive.
Anyway, the ships and boats presented in 2022 were so numerous and generally impressive that it as been more difficult than ever to grade them for the Baird Maritime Awards. We have, as always, done the best that we can and, after considerable agonising, to be fair and objective. Our “Best” vessels are, then, in reality the “Best of the Best” as there are large numbers of ships and boats that are very close indeed to the “Best”.
As always, our judging criteria are based on finding the best combination of quality, safety, innovation, reliability, utility, economy, sustainability and style. They make for difficult choices but, after considerable consideration and discussion, the decisions are made. We are well aware that we could be fallible, so we are always interested in any comments or criticisms from readers.
The fundamental idea of awards such as these is to highlight and reward excellence and to publicise it. We also seek to give our readers the benefit of the ideas and innovation that the awards recognise. We trust you will be inspired by what you read here and will start ordering some fine new ships and boats for your fleets.
List of Vessels
All the vessels in all categories from around the world that we reviewed in this awards period.
How we decide on the award-winning vessels and equipment/service suppliers in each category
Winners will be announced day by day over the course of the event
Best Small Fish Farm Support Vessel:
MEST Shipyard, Faroe Islands
Best Medium Fish Farm Support Vessel:
Macduff Ship Design, UK
Best Medium Trawler:
Macduff Ship Design, UK
Best Large Trawler:
Best Factory Ship:
Best Medium Wellboat:
Detroit Group, Chile/Brazil
Best Large Wellboat:
Best Fisheries Research Vessel:
Best Helm Seating Supplier: