MEMBER NEWS: North Star appoints marine decarbonisation expert to spearhead environmental and social responsibility initiatives

October 12, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: North Star appoints marine decarbonisation expert to spearhead environmental and social responsibility initiatives

North Star has hired sustainable shipping specialist Dr Tamara Topić to lead on the implementation of its environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) strategy, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable business practices aligned to global net zero goals.

Dr Topić brings a wealth of experience and expertise in maritime sustainability, environmental impact assessment, and corporate governance. With a PhD in sustainable shipping from Newcastle University’s Marine, Offshore and Subsea Technology department, and a M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture from University of Zagreb, she joins the UK’s leading infrastructure support vessel operator from MSC Cruise Management where she was an associate manager, technical R&D for the newbuilds and engine research and development department.

In her new position as North Star’s first sustainability manager, Dr Topić, who is also a member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, will be responsible for a range of key initiatives aimed at advancing the company’s sustainability agenda. This includes overseeing the development and execution of policies and procedures related to ESG, with a keen focus on industry best practices and standards. She will also provide invaluable technical insights on sustainability risks applicable to both onshore and offshore assets to drive digitalisation investment and enhance processes.

Dr Topić, who will report directly to North Star’s chief technology officer, James Bradford said: “I am honoured to join North Star at this pivotal time and very excited to be driving the transformation of the business and deliver meaningful change across its extensive fleet and operations in the UK and Europe.”

“It is North Star’s dedication to fostering a culture of sustainability and optimising its fleet performance which attracted me to the role. I’m really looking forward to working closely with the teams in Aberdeen, Lowestoft, Newcastle and Hamburg as well as our supply chain, contributing to the company’s environmental and social responsibility objectives.”

Established over a 135 years ago and an employer of 1,300 crew and 130 onshore personnel, North Star has 42 emergency response and rescue ships providing essential, continuous around the clock support to more than 50 offshore installations in UK waters. In recent months, it has also taken delivery of its first two of six initial newbuild service operation vessels (SOVs) for the offshore wind market as part of its ambition to add 40 hybrid-electric SOVS to its fleet by 2040.

North Star’s CEO Matthew Gordon added: “We are very pleased to welcome Tamara into this new role and lead the charge across our business. Her wealth of experience and commitment to sustainability align perfectly with our vision for a greener and more responsible future. With Tamara on board, we are confident that North Star will continue to lead the industry in sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

Dr Topić’s main responsibilities in her previous role centred on exploring, inspecting and proposing emerging technologies for zero emission propulsion for newbuilds and retrofits, as well as analysing new fuels and the feasibility of technical solutions.

Prior to this, Dr Topić held several academic research roles. She was a Research fellow in CO2 shipping and future ports for the Southampton University’s Marine & Maritime Institute delivering two vessel decarbonisation R&D projects; a research assistant to the director of the Centre for Energy and The UK National Centre for Energy System Integration at Newcastle University specialising in hydrogen and offshore wind and supporting UK Government requests for evidence backed research; and a PhD researcher in sustainable shipping for Newcastle University’s School of Engineering where she analysed ship energy efficiency and optimisation to assess emissions and understand the effectiveness of existing technical and managerial measures as well as policy.

A native Croation speaker and fluent in English and German, Dr Topić was also a lecturer at the Marine School of Higher Education at South Tyneside College in South Shields. In addition, she worked for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) helping to develop curriculum for Naval Architecture and Ship Construction courses to support the next generation of marine engineers and deck officers enter the sector. Dr Topić continues to be engaged with advancing new learning programmes, helping to educate and prepare future talent to safely apply new technologies and alternative marine fuels to support decarbonisation of SOVs and the shipping industry.

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