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Get to know Capt Philip Bacon FICS
Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Getting to know… Captain Philip Bacon FICS
"The qualities of life and work don't come our way
for free; they exact considerable personal cost, and the principle
of sowing and reaping comes into play - we need to keep planting
and tending, some things flourish, others die."
Ahead of the ICS Chartering Workshop taking place on the first
day of the Breakbulk Europe event(Tuesday, 17 May 2022), we are
catching up with the knowledgeablePhilip Bacon FICS who will
deliver the much-anticipated workshop in Rotterdam.
What is your current job/role? Is every day the
I am Vice-President for commercial operations at Siem Shipping,
which is an owner and operator of a fleet of multiple ship types -
from state-of-the-art large LNG-fuelled Pure Car and Truck Carriers
shipping the VW 'stable' to Canada, US and Mexico (VW, Bentley,
Lamborghinis, etc) through Ro-Ros (heavy machinery from China to
Europe and North America, tonnage provider to European ferry
operators) through to Reefers (bananas, fruit and frozen fish) and
operating some Handies. We have in-house shipmanagement, and the
parent group is equally broad from subsea to renewables and
finance, so the short version is - no, there are definitely not two
days the same!
What excites you about this work?
Variety and opportunity are two keywords I'd use to synthesize
what I enjoy about my last 40 years - because I started practicing
for it at 15 years of age. I was driving a ship by the time I was
20, enjoyed it a lot, and felt very professionally fulfilled. I
could have just settled down and I don't find fault with anyone who
does, but some people want to keep walking steadily towards a new
target. Shipping, in its general sense, is a broad enough universe
for those that want to keep expanding learning and practice from
early years through to retirement!
How does what you do fit into the overall shipping
Today I have a broader remit, but I came ashore to the more
specific role of commercial operations. This is a key function for
any organisation which effectively controls any asset - in our
case, a ship, but it could be an FPSO, a port terminal, or an FSRU.
In short, it is a function that, on a timeline, sits later than the
signing of a contract or charterparty and earlier than accounting
(or sometimes legal, claims). Chartering or commercial functions
conclude a deal, they hand it over to commercial operations, who
need to do absolutely everything necessary to a.
deliver what has been promised at the same time as
b. collect all the revenue related to the deal and
c. pay all the costs related to it and
d. make sure all the loose ends are tied off e.g.
who picked up the cargo was entitled to it, that accounts have all
they need to pick up the Receivables and Payables and do their
bookkeeping and make their provisions. It is very much the hub of
an operative organisation.
How has the ICS experience helped you to get where you
Coming from the sea, I had only seen the end-products of the
commercial world: a concluded charterparty, drawn-up Bills of
Lading and so forth. What exactly were the interests at play, what
happened before and after the carriage of the cargo were all a bit
of a mystery. This is where formal study of the Chartering side at
the ICS was so helpful in filling in some considerable blanks in my
knowledge and positioning a few pieces of the jigsaw which I had
not managed to quite place when looking from shipside!
Having worked ashore alongside colleagues from many different
pathways over the last 25 years, I realise that for everyone it is
a similar experience. This is where the panoramic of an ICS module
or pathway is helpful whether someone has been in Shipping for a
long time like I had, or if they are moving in from another
What piece of advice would you give to those thinking
about studying with the ICS? What's the best thing about being part
If you have any experience, choose your first modules to match
that experience because there is the strength of mature study -
building over what we have already experienced. The other aspect of
mature study (the expression means, learning after leaving
schooling, rather than being old!) is that you learn A LOT from
your colleagues rather than just from the programme; and that is
the best part of being part of ICS. Even meeting up with other
shipping people at socials, we absorb knowledge from beyond the
borders of our own work or study.
What is the best thing about the shipping/maritime
industry, in your opinion?
It is about the breadth of the industry, the number of different
roles within it, and a large degree of transferability between the
sectors and segments within the sectors. Maritime touches on
hundreds of different industries and services across the whole
globe, and even the same type of service can take on many distinct
aspects depending on the particular setting.
What workshop are you running at Breakbulk Europe
TheBreakbulk Chartering workshop is going to open a one-day
window into the commercial world behind Breakbulk. This is the
carriage of things too large or heavy for a container but the wrong
shape, size, weight or quantity to carry efficiently or safely in a
conventional bulker.So we'll identify the main examples of those
cargoes, and how their carriage gets contracted and executed.
Anyone who has an interest in the logistics of these cargoes, or
that works in one segment of a breakbulk supply chain and would
like an overview, will find this workshop an essential "panoramic"
of the A to B transportation by sea of breakbulk cargoes!
If you want to keep learning throughout your professional
career, shipping is one of the big broad fields in which one
doesn't run out of opportunities, and the ICS has some very useful
maps and networks by which to navigate!
Register for the ICS Chartering Workshop at the
upcoming Breakbulk Europe event or view the full workshop agenda
If you are inspired by Philip and would like to embark on a
shipping study programme with the Institute, don't hesitateto
contact us today: T +44 (0)20 7357 9722 | E email@example.com | W www.ics.org.uk
Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers | 30 Park Street | London SE1 9EQ | United Kingdom
T +44 (0)20 7357 9722 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | W www.ics.org.uk