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Mastering the dark art of Permitting

Wednesday 15th February 2023 | Blog written by Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer

Having qualified as a Marine Biologist at university, I jumped straight into my first role within the marine survey industry processing geophysical and hydrographic data. During the pandemic, I found myself looking for my next big challenge and fortunately I found an opportunity more suited to my qualifications and career expectations. I joined the OceanIQ permitting team with limited knowledge and experience in global permitting, but lots of transferable skills, a willingness to learn and a supportive team that enabled me to do just that.  

I flew straight into my first live projects and quickly realised the real intensity of the world of permitting. Within just a few months I was working on various cable systems including NO-UK, Scot-NI and most of all R100. I threw myself into writing the protected areas section within a Desktop Study for another customer and really loved that element of the reporting. The role has taken me right across the world already, from France, Belgium, Denmark and the Isles of Scilly, to Guam, Australia and Timor-Leste. Visiting landing sites in person, for both permitting and Desktop Study work, is essential to fully understand the project and local needs. And I’ve travelled even further virtually, with maintenance callouts on systems all around the world, it’s never a dull day and no two days are ever the same! 

I view global permitting as a dark art due to the highly varied and multifaceted requirements. They seem to be constantly changing from one project to the next, depending heavily on location and the specific requirements of each part of the world as well as things like local environmental sensitivities and any areas of cultural significance, so we always have to be updating our logs, processes and knowledge.

As a team we have so much collective experience in all aspects of subsea cable planning, installation and maintenance that we’re able to master that dark art and offer our customers assurances during this complex element of projects, right across the world. 

However steep my learning curve has been, it has been refreshing to join a team of likeminded people and sharing my own knowledge and skillset with a group of highly experienced and talented individuals has been extremely rewarding. Since joining the OceanIQ team, it is clear that I have found my niche. I look forward to continuing to absorb as much information as possible whilst having a positive impact on the way our work interacts with environmental sensitivities – something that as a qualified marine biologist is always important to me personally, but also to the team and rest of the business. Successfully navigating international permitting complexities within short time constraints and constantly developing priorities has allowed me to gain incredibly valuable skills that continue to be applied daily within my role in the team. 

Overall, being able to contribute to finding the balance between the importance of submarine cables and environmental considerations is something that I’m really passionate about. And getting permitting right is imperative for a future where staying connected in a virtual world is so important for so many people across the globe.

Author: Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer

Chloe Morris, Permitting Support Officer