Allen Brink served ten years at sea in the Merchant Marine qualifying as a Master Mariner. In 1980 he swallowed the anchor to take up a career as a marine surveyor with P&I Associates (International Group P&I Correspondents) based in Durban. In 1983 an opportunity arose for Allen to branch out on his own and he founded A R BRINK & ASSOCIATES, a marine surveying and consultancy company, which not only conducted survey work for a multitude of maritime clients but also for various P&I Clubs.
The Company grew rapidly and expanded from a one-man operation to a point where additional staff surveyors were required. In 1987 John de Freitas joined as a partner, retiring in 2009. Allen Brink is the sole director and owner.
In 1991, for the purpose of increasing their P&I Club client base, Allen travelled to London and embarked on an extensive marketing venture. This led to increasing appointments directly from P&I Clubs and well as ship owners, charterers, maritime lawyers, hull and machinery and cargo underwriters, sale and purchase ship brokers and so on.
Regular marketing visits to the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Greece, Hong Kong, etc., assisted in expanding the client base internationally.
Allen Brink is a member of a number of high profile local and international nautical and marine surveying professional bodies,including the International Institute of Marine Surveying and The Nautical Institute. In 2019 Allen was award Chartered Master Mariner status in London (CMMar), one of very few in the world to be recognised.
A R Brink & Associates was appointed correspondent to The Charterers P&I Club (now The MECO Group) in 1993 and in the period of being involved with this P&I insurer, it has handled all the largest claims experienced by them. Some of these being the total loss of the Cordeigriera of the Wild Coast of South Africa, the total loss of the capsize bulk carrier Smart off Richards Bay and several major calcium hypochlorite explosions off Port Elizabeth (Maersk Londrina & APL Austria), to name a few.
The Company was appointed correspondent to The UK P&I Club in 2006 – serving all Southern African ports, Namibia and Mozambique.
Although not a correspondent to any other International Group P&I Club, the Company regularly receives appointments from almost all Clubs, especially with regards to large cases where the local correspondent, P&I Associates, are conflicted. P&I Clubs who have regularly supported the Company are
• The West of England
• London Steam-Ship, Britannia
• North of England
• Steamship Mutual
Appointments have also been received from Skuld, Swedish, The Norwegian Hull, The American and Japan.
The Company also receives appointments from the various fixed premium P&I insurers.
A R Brink & Associates are accordingly well known throughout the international maritime & P&I sectors of the industry.
In 2017 a severe storm of hurricane force strength passed suddenly through the port of Durban. This resulted in a large number of ships breaking moorings and, after drifting uncontrollably, colliding with fixed and other floating objects, including other moored vessels, harbour quay structures and installation equipment. Two of the large containerships involved were part of the MSC fleet. The Company was appointed by West of England to attend on behalf of MSC. Apart from investigating the damage, assisting lawyers with the refence to various claims, one of the largest plastic ‘nurdle’ pollution matters experienced in South Africa occurred. The Company assisting with the co-ordination of the extensive and lengthy nurdle clean-up operation. The claims that arose from this incident have been dealt with from 2017 up to 2021 and are still ongoing.
Our office in Durban, ARB HOUSE, is located within the harbour precinct at Maydon Wharf. The office is positioned roughly midway between the New Pier Container and Tanker Terminals to the East and the older original Point area to the North. This allows easy access to the entire port of Durban. We have been in the same office since 1989. The building is within the leasehold area of the port, owned by parastatal Transnet. We have a cost-effective long-term lease on this property which runs until 2039.
Associates & Consultants
When founding The Company in 1983, Allen Brink had the vision of expansion in mind when naming the company. To cover a full spectrum of maritime consultancy disciplines, for cost effectiveness, Allen was of the opinion that there would not be the need to permanently employ a large staff of multi-disciplines as these could be contracted in on a ‘as-needed’ basis when required for a specific appointment. For example, master mariners with command experience, senior marine engineers, naval architects, marine chemists, metallurgists, crane or lifting gear rope experts, harbour pilots, meteorologists, oceanographers, salvage experts, hydrographic surveyors, civil and structural engineers and/or forensic fire experts, may be subcontracted. Thus, a conservative Head Office staff compliment would suffice until a specific discipline was required for a particular matter.