Oceanco and BMT Nigel Gee join forces to form Lateral Naval Architects
by Marilyn Mower
Two of the superyacht industry’s biggest brands – Dutch builder Oceanco and British engineering firm BMT Nigel Gee – have announced the launch of a major new joint partnership: Lateral Naval Architects.
At a press conference held on the deck of 109 metre Project Bravo, Paris Baloumis introduced Lateral, a new engineering and naval architecture firm dedicated to yachts of 100 metres plus. With financial support from Oceanco, the new joint venture firm is essentially a spin-off of the large yacht division at BMT Nigel Gee and is housed in a new office on Shamrock Quay in Southampton. James Roy, yacht design director of BMT Nigel Gee is the new entity’s managing director, overseeing a 50-strong team of engineers and naval architects.
With the lofty goal of becoming “the Apple of naval architecture”, branding consultant Peter Economidas, explained that the focus of the new firm is to provide expert naval architecture and engineering services to the industry at large as well as collaborate with Oceanco’s in-house engineering team. All of BMT’s efforts in the superyacht market will be undertaken by Lateral.
Roy, who built BMT Nigel Gee’s large yacht division over the past 12 years, said that the focus will be to find new solutions by, “Asking new questions. Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach; this is at the heart of the Lateral brand.” Lateral can rely on the depth of expertise at the British firm, which will focus now on commercial and military vessels
Oceanco and BMT Nigel Gee’s collaboration began in 2008, resulting in such vessels as 92 metre Equanimity, 86 metre Aquijo, 110 metre Jubilee, 107 metre Black Pearl and the soon-to-launch Y718. Baloumis said the intent is not to “step on the toes” of any design or styling firm and that the core competency of Lateral will remain naval architecture and engineering but with an adventurous focus “to make innovation possible.”