Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited South Shields Marine School and saw the award-winning maritime training centre in operation on Tuesday, February 8.
Princess Anne toured its state-of-the-art facilities, based at South Tyneside College, and met senior staff and cadets.
The Princess herself has also made previous visits to the college.
Her visit stemmed directly from the marine school being awarded the highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2019, which is awarded every two years to colleges and universities recognised as delivering real benefit to the wider world through education and training.
The marine school received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its ground-breaking innovation in advanced 3D modelling.
Developed over a decade, the technique helps naval architects in their design and implementation of high value real-world projects.
This was exemplified by the marine school’s key support to Kazakhstan’s state oil company in developing a new port and waterway for the expansion of the Tenzig oilfield on the Caspian Sea.
Its work also ensured a safe route to sea was mapped for Britain’s two new aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales - from their berth on the Firth of Forth in 2017.
During the visit, The Princess gained insight into the marine school’s work by spending time in its ship control room and engine room simulators and on its Northumbria Bridge simulator.
The Princess was welcomed by Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College, of which the marine school is part. She was joined by South Shields Marine School Principal, Simon Ashton and Chair of Governors, George Clark.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Patricia Hay and Mayoress Jean Copp, were also present.
As part of the tour, The Princess Royal met Mel Irving, the marine school’s Research and Development Lead, and Paul Hodgson, its Technical and Projects Manager.
They provided Her Royal Highness with expert insight into the work that contributed to the awarding of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
Also present, to speak about their training, were Engineering Cadets Lisa McKie and Thomas Mill, as well as Deck Cadets Jamie Robson-Dryden, Sarah Wilkinson and Owen Smith.
Curriculum Leader Josslynne Brown and Deck Cadet Fern Lilly were also on hand to give an insight in to women in maritime, as part of the college’s commitment to the Government’s Maritime 2050 initiative.
Dr Whiterod CBE said: “The Princess’s visit was a highlight in the long and distinguished history of South Shields Marine School.
“The marine school’s work in 3D modelling is exceptional and rightly deserves to be recognised, as does its entire body of training and research.
“I’m delighted The Princess saw our facilities and met our skilled team and our motivated cadets, who represent a new generation of Merchant Navy seafarers.
“I very much hope she enjoyed her time with us and was impressed by the incredibly high standard of training the marine school delivers.”
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Pat Hay said: “I was delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to the borough as she visited the world-renowned South Shields Marine School.
“As a global leader in naval expertise, education and training, the centre has an outstanding international reputation for delivering high quality specialist courses and preparing our seafarers of the future.
“It is wonderful to see the school recognised with the incredibly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize and for those involved in this innovative work to be honoured with a special visit by royalty. It’s a real celebration of their outstanding achievements.”