RIP John Howard MNM, 1947-2020

We were very sorry indeed to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, John Howard, on 9th September. John was the Founder and President of IJUBOA, the International Jack-Up Barge Operators Association. He wasn't just deeply committed to the promotion of safety and training in the jack-up industry, he did something effective about it.

We were delighted when he was awarded the Merchant Navy Medal last year, and that the Marine Society recognised John's work the year before with the presentation of the Thomas Gray Silver Medal. Here is John receiving his Thomas Gray Medal from Tony Radakin, then Second Sea Lord.

John was a fine man, and it was a great pleasure working with him. We will miss him.

What do we do?

The Maritime Skills Alliance designs and promotes qualifications and apprenticeships for the UK’s maritime sector. We have developed a suite of interlocking standards and qualifications – MSQs, “Maritime Studies Qualifications” - which enable employees to progress both within their specialism and between sectors.

You can find a complete and regularly updated list of all our Units and Qualifications on the Qualifications page.


  • develop qualifications and apprenticeships which suit the needs of the sector
  • maintain a suite of National Occupational Standards
  • work to secure a good range of high quality training provision across the country
  • champion skills matters for the maritime sector
  • work with a wide range of other bodies across the UK, especially national governments and their agencies, to further our aims

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The MSA is not-for-profit (a Company Limited by Guarantee - company number 7939255), funded by its members.