Meet The Team

Meet The Team

“Check, check and double check the evidence” is a phrase that Judith Fergus, Senior Coatings Consultant at Brookes Bell, continues to hammer home as it showcases her commitment to precision and reliability in her work, and a reason why Brookes Bell has become one of the world’s leading industry experts in providing marine coating services.

With more than 34 years of experience in the marine coatings sector, Judith brings a wealth of knowledge from decades of both fieldwork and the realm of consultancy.  Her career has given her a breadth of insight covering coating development, specification requirements, as well as failure analysis.

Judith's journey into the realm of paints and coatings began at Northumbria University, where she pursued an Applied Chemistry Degree, setting the stage for her career.

She began her career in coatings at International Paints where she started as a Polymer Chemist before working her way up to Technical Manager with an oversight for the marine sector.  Her work included field inspections of vessels globally, ensuring coatings met stringent standards – a role she performed for 21 years before embarking on new challenges.

Seeking fresh opportunities, Judith moved to Chemco International, where she assumed the position of Business Development Manager for marine, petrochemical, gas and oil. Her tenure there prepared her for an exciting venture with Kansai Paint, Japan, where she specialised in developing marine coatings and fire protection paints for the oil and gas industry, a role she embraced for a further seven years.

With a keen eye for niche expertise and a history in laboratory work, Judith recognised Brookes Bell's reputation in this area and how she could help provide her significant expertise in this area.  Since joining Brookes Bell in October 2019, Judith has been instrumental in tackling various coating-related challenges, primarily focusing on anti-fouling Charterparty disputes and cargo tank coating issues on commercial vessels.

Brookes Bell has long been a reliable partner in helping vessel owners identify and resolve issues related to coating failures.  However, these issues often require the expertise of Master Mariners, engineers, fuel chemists and cargo scientists to all chip in and find the root cause and location of coating-related issues.  Brookes Bell has an exceptional team at their disposal to help investigate these types of problems, combined with our material scientists in The Lab that provide incredibly detailed and exceptional insights using their laboratory techniques,” Judith noted.

The maritime landscape presents a myriad of issues, and Judith's expertise shines brightest when dealing with cargo tank problems, notably blistering in the carriage of aggressive cargoes, such as ethanol.  Her approach is inherently reactive, stepping in when problems arise, offering invaluable insights and solutions to Brookes Bell’s clients.

One of Judith's key contributions lies in advising on recovery times between cargoes in tanks, crucial for maintaining coating integrity.  Her expertise ensures that operating procedures are meticulously followed, mitigating risks and optimising overall vessel performance.

Issues in cargo tanks can arise due to vessel owners not sufficiently complying with the specification of coatings and how that relates to a specific vessel’s cargo tank, based on what cargo is being carried and which procedures must be followed.  For example, ensuring ample recovery time between cargoes and double-checking cargo resistance lists and notes, will ensure what is carried will not lead to coating defects such as blistering, resulting in corrosion, which can be costly and time-consuming mistakes, especially when carrying more aggressive chemicals,” Judith says.

At Brookes Bell we offer a comprehensive service to ensure we can identify and resolve these types of problems.  This means working closely with clients to study their cargo lists, tank washing procedures and venting procedures.

Having access to the experts we have, not just in Liverpool and at The Lab, but around the world, ensures we can take a granular approach to our investigative work.  Although my speciality lies in paints and coatings, the same approach is evident across all of Brookes Bell’s team.  We have access to the very best experts and systems in the world, but despite that it is vital that we “check, check and double check” everything,” she added.

Andrew Yarwood
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