+44 (0)20 7264 3250

Casualty Response

Get emergency support now


Meet Paul Johnston, Maritime Client Relationship Director, ABL Newcastle

The team at ABL Group shares the passion, vision and values for working in energy and the world’s oceans, de-risking and driving the energy transition. We are driven by the idea that the best work is born from professionalism, diligence… and fun. You know ABL Group, but do you know our team?

A recent day in my ABL life saw me back at sea. This time not signed on as a member of the crew but as part of a four person team of ABL colleagues. We provided training in “Vessel Operations” to a group of 12 maritime insurance professionals and maritime lawyers. The course took place onboard a passenger ferry sailing on a round-trip from the UK to Europe and lasted for two and a half days.

While on passage the delegates were given access to operational areas of the ship including visits to the bridge and the engine room. We were able to talk the delegates through the operations that they were witnessing first hand and also provide them with additional underpinning knowledge during classroom sessions. Upon arrival back in the UK we, along with other UK based colleagues, hosted a networking event in Newcastle. These days may not be typical of my day-on-day activities but do demonstrate the interesting and varied activities that fill up my time.

I come from a family of seafarers. My father was a marine engineer, one of my grandfathers was a Master in the Merchant Navy with the other grandfather being an Able Seaman, also in the Merchant navy. I knew from a very young age that I would follow in the footsteps of my family members. 35 years on from first joining the industry I continue to be extremely proud of what us “maritime professionals” achieve.

At the moment, I am focussed on strengthening the relations between our maritime team and clients based in Europe and West Africa. I am developing a project that looks to ensure that the network of European / West African P&I correspondents are fully aware of our capabilities in their own jurisdictions. The intention is to develop relationships with new clients and to reinvigorate relationships of those clients with whom we may have worked with in the past.

For me, I think that the future of maritime in Europe and West Africa looks much more collaborative. With the global nature of P&I clubs and legal instructions incidents may happen in one corner of the world, managed by ship owners based in another and then supported by lawyers and experts who could be based anywhere. Our strength of our maritime offering at ABL is that, based on our global structure, we can support casualties anytime and anywhere around the world, working collaboratively across our offices.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. There are no excuses for taking short-cuts and that applies to all. You do not need to be a safety official or a “manager” to be a leader when it comes to safety. Everyone onboard must contribute to the overall safety of a vessel and all onboard should feel empowered to challenge their ship mates, regardless of rank, if they feel they are not working safely

More about Paul

Position: Client Relationship Director, Maritime

Office Location: London

Hobbies: Campervanning, Riding my electric bike and Fine dinning

Favourite Movie: The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 original)🧙‍♂️

Favourite Book: ‘Anything penned’ by Irvine Welsh

Favourite Song: ’24 Minutes From Tulse Hill’ by Carter USM

ABL brings together the deepest pool of multi-disciplinary expertise to support all areas of shipping, from early advisory and technical due diligence, navigational planning, early engineering, vessel design and modifications, through to operations, with surveys, inspections and audits, as well as world-class marine warranty survey, to supporting in the minimising of losses with marine casualty management, salvage and wreck removal, and expert witness work.