Home Associations ABP coxswain honoured at Women of Achievement Awards

ABP coxswain honoured at Women of Achievement Awards

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Sue Hickson-Marsay (centre) receives the Overall Woman of Achievement Award from Katie Piper and founder member of the Women in Business Group, Karen Newton.(image courtesy of @Insight Photography)

Sue Hickson-Marsay (centre) receives the Overall Woman of Achievement Award from Katie Piper and founder member of the Women in Business Group, Karen Newton.(image courtesy of @Insight Photography)

Associated British Ports’ (ABP) only female coxswain Sue Hickson-Marsay, was ‘shocked and surprised’ to receive not one, but two awards at the Women in Business Women of Achievement Awards, held in Hull recently.

The awards are organised to recognise the achievements of women from across Hull and the Humber in the areas of business and the voluntary and community sectors. Sue was awarded the ‘Women Breaking Boundaries’ award for her work in the marine department at ABP and was also presented with the Overall Woman of Achievement Award by guest speaker Katie Piper.

Sue was also named runner-up in the Voluntary and Community category.

Sue, who’s been working for ABP for 17 years, was also instrumental in establishing the Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat after the town’s Government-funded coastguard boat was removed.

“I never planned on a marine career, ” said Sue. “But I began working at the Humber Offshore Training Association (HOTA) and loved it. I was also a coastguard for over 20 years.

“While working on Albert Dock with HOTA I would often see ABP’s pilot launches coming in and wanted to work on them. I managed to get a job as a deckhand and after a couple of years I was promoted to coxswain.

“It’s a job I thoroughly enjoy. It’s challenging, varied and I love being part of a close team and I get to spend time outdoors. I can’t imagine doing anything else. The only problem I’ve experienced is intense seasickness, but I learned to cope with it and it doesn’t affect me anymore.”

ABP Director Humber, John Fitzgerald admits he was really excited at the award lunch and is justifiably humbled by Sue’s achievements.

He said: “We are all so incredibly proud of Sue. Not just for what she does every day for us at ABP, but the incredible work she does for Hornsea Inshore rescue. We were all thrilled when she won the Women Breaking Boundaries award, but when it was announced she had also won the Overall Woman of Achievement Award well our table just erupted. It was a truly great moment.

“Many of our staff do incredible things and I am so pleased Sue has been recognised as a truly inspirational woman.”

Sue’s day job involves taking pilots out to ships needing to enter or exit the Humber Estuary, but her passion is the Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat, a charity she’s been running for 21 years. The lifeboat was purchased through fundraising and has been used for more than 200 inshore and flooding rescues.

Sue explains why the charity was needed: “When the coastguard boat was removed from Hornsea, many people felt it left a seaside resort and a fishing community hugely exposed. The nearest rescue vessels were over 25 minutes away by sea, which can make the difference between life and death in some situations.

“We campaigned hard and did lots of fundraising and finally managed to purchase a boat which has been crewed and managed by volunteers for over 20 years. We operate to the same standards as the RNLI and we work closely with them. We are also a Sea Safe Education Centre, a Royal Yachting Association training centre and we also offer sailing and VHF training.

“All of these additional activities bring in much-needed funds and help us keep the lifeboat going. It’s not always been easy, but I get a lot of support from family and friends. It’s the love of my life and I don’t do it for awards, I do it because I believe in it.”

If you’d like to find out more about the work of Hornsea Inshore Rescue visit:



ABP is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.

Around one quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade passes through ABP’s Statutory Harbour Areas.  ABP contributes £5.6 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 84, 000 jobs. Our current investment programme promises to deliver an extra £1.75 billion for the economy every year.


  • ·         Handled over 1.5 million vehicles in 2013.
  • ·         Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
  • ·         Has 1.4 million square metres of covered storage
  • ·         Has 1000 hectares of open storage
  • ·         Handled 119m tonnes of cargo in 2013
  • ·         Owns 5000 hectares of port estate
  • ·         Has 87km of quay

Over the next five years, ABP is investing over £650 million in a wide range of major projects across the group.

ABP Humber

The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo between them each year.

Grimsby and Immingham form the UK’s busiest trading gateway and move around 54 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

£75 million is currently being invested in the biomass handling terminal in Immingham, in a Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd that has seen £25 million invested in a biomass handling facility in Hull. The Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal will handle sustainable biomass shipments and will create over 100 permanent jobs once complete. The construction phase has also created 100 employment opportunities.

The Port of Hull handles 10 million tonnes of cargo per annum and is the is the focal point for the development of the UK’s largest offshore wind turbine construction, assembly, and service facility, which will be located on the Port’s Alexandra Dock. This new facility, coupled with a new rotor blade manufacturing base near Paull to the east of the port estate, represents a £310 million investment and could create up to 1000 direct jobs.

The Grimsby River Terminal represents an investment of £26 million and allows large car-carrying ships to berth outside the Port’s lock system. This development confirms the Port’s position as the UK’s leading automotive handling facility.

More than the equivalent of 1million teus (twenty foot equivalent unit) of unitised trade is shipped through ABP Humber ports.

Ro-ro and container traffic represents more than 30 sailings a week to Europe, Scandinavia the Baltic and beyond.

The Humber ports handle more than 70 freight train movements per day.

Goole is situated 50 miles upriver and is the UK’s premier inland port. It handles over two million tonnes of cargo annually.

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