Ignace Van Meenen
Essen, GFOS GROUP, Founding Chair EyeSea
Ignace Van Meenen, grew up in Belgium and received his law degree from the University of Ghent, Belgium, in 1991. After he obtained his Ph.D. degree in international contract law from the University of Osnabrück, Germany in 1993, he joined Deutsche Bank AG, where he spent the first six years of his career with executive responsibilities in corporate finance both in Germany as well as the United States. In 1999, he became group financial director of RAG AG – a Germany based international mining, chemicals, real estate as well as energy conglomerate (now Evonik Industries).
After further roles as CFO/executive board member in the media sector at Bertelsmann/RTL Group as well as in the real estate investment industry at DIC Group, he took up the CEO position at the international logistics/shipping Company Rickmers in Hamburg and Singapore in 2011. There he was intimately involved in oceans’ related business around the globe. In 2019, he was appointed executive board member of the listed company MPC Capital AG, focusing on real estate, renewable energy/impact investments as well as shipping.
Ignace Van Meenen further carried the board responsibility for ESG and sustainable investing. Moreover, he has also been the founding Chair of the non-profit organization EyeSea.org since 2020, based in New Zealand. In 2022, he took on his role as Co-CEO together with his wife Katharina Van Meenen-Röhrig at GFOS GROUP in Essen. GFOS is a German mid-tier software company, developing software solutions for Workforce Management, Manufacturing Execution Systems, Security Software, and IT Infrastructures.
“I am proud to be part of our EyeSea world mapping project. Our nonprofit organization enables us to visualize the reality of today’s oceans health. It is our responsibility and our work to make our planet and oceans safer and cleaner – this is the only way to leave a livable future to our children and generations to come.”
Monaco, Fraser Yachts, Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Chair, www.fraseryachts.com
With over 25 years in the private wealth and maritime sectors, Raphael has a well-earned reputation for delivering results through skilled people and operations management. Born in Angers in the French Loire Valley and a skilled footballer from an early age, Raphael considered a professional career in the sport before opting to study Hospitality and Tourism in Nice, France and London, England. As an entrepreneur he ran several businesses before the cruise line industry enticed him to sea where he completed several world cruises and met his future wife. Moving back on land, he embarked on what was to become a 15-year stint working for the world’s largest maritime services provider, V-Ships. As Director of Crew Operations, he was responsible for no less than 60 shore staff and up to 8,000 crew across the group’s cargo, offshore, cruise, yachting, hotel and resort portfolios. A rare opportunity to deploy his skills and experience for the benefit of a renowned UHNWI saw him leave V-Ships in 2013 to act as CEO for a Monaco-based Family Office managing leading luxury assets such as the Parkview Private Collection in St Tropez, Monaco, London and Beijing and yachts including the 69m (226′) M/Y SALUZI. In 2016, FRASER’s search for a CEO with UHNW expertise and an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to luxury yachting came to a successful conclusion when Raphael became only it’s 5th CEO in a history spanning more than 70 years. Since then Raphael has not only ensured FRASER continues to buy and sell more luxury yachts for clients every year than any other provider, he has also overseen the exponential growth of its Yacht Management fleet to almost 100 yachts, the opening of five new offices (Hong Kong, Phuket, TCN Palma and Barcelona), an increase in its skilled workforce of over 13%, and most recently, the successful purchase from longstanding owners, Azimut/Benetti, by the world’s most successful pleasure boat dealer, the American-based MarineMax. A firm believer in the value of working together as an industry to better serve clients, Raphael is actively involved with two of the most influential associations in luxury yachting today – LYBRA (Large Yacht Brokers Association) for which he is currently President, and MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) as Head of the Communications Committee. Fluent in English and French, a champion Ironman and father of two young daughters, Raphael is driven, professionally and personally, by the challenge of getting the most out of life and the pursuit of always giving back.
Athens, Escorial Consulting, Co-Founder Eyesea
I have worked in the maritime sector for just over ten years, and the good news is that you are not alone if you are looking to do something about maritime pollution. There are millions of us. Those with access to the coast and vastness of the seas have a unique role to play. You can be the eyes of the ocean. You can document and record what is going on. No one else is in a position to do this, and together we can drive change.
Singapore, Wilhelmsen Ships Service, Vice President Emerging Opportunities Portfolio Maritime Services
As Vice President Emerging Opportunities Portfolio Maritime Services for Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS), Nakul is an avid proponent of bridging industry domain expertise with new age technology capabilities. He advocates an Open Innovation philosophy to solve the big maritime challenges by leveraging a deep sense of eco-system thinking and the ability to collaborate with permeable organisational boundaries. Nakul combines a wealth of maritime sales, operations and management experience, with qualifications in marine engineering, business management and direct seafaring experience from his years working as an engineer. A keen commentator on maritime innovation and digitalization, tangible solutions for decarbonisation and plastics pollution are a personal passion.
Rotterdam, Business Development at Noord Nederlandsche P&I Club (NNPC)
I have worked in the Maritime Industry for over 16 years with a special interest and knowledge in Protection & Indemnity Insurance (P&I) and Defence Insurance (FD&D).
Liability Insurance plays a vital role in international shipping and, through our day-to-day work, we feel a unique professional connection to the wellbeing of our oceans. I am playing an active role in the development of Eyesea because I strongly believe in the simplicity of it and the opportunity that will come from results we will get.
Only the maritime industry – both commercial and leisure craft – can map the pollution deep in our seas and oceans… ‘cause we are the only ones out there. Crews and sailors feel passionate about their work and the waters they sail and therefore I am confident that our user friendly platform will be successful in collecting the right data. As a next step we can start the cleaning operations the oceans need on a very precise and accurate level.
Having lived by the coast on “islands” for most of my life, including my birthplace of Barry South Wales, Gibraltar, Singapore, Cyprus and, for the last 22 years, the Isle of Man, I have always had a deep fascination and love for the sea. My professional career started as a seagoing 16-year-old Marine Engineer Officer cadet and after progressing to Chief Engineer I moved into shore management as a Superintendent and Fleet Manager. For the last 22 years, I have worked for Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement in various capacities culminating in the role of Chief Operating Officer and latterly Chairman. In these roles, my priority has always been safety and environmental protection and the Management Board has provided encouragement and resources to deliver tangible results.
I am fortunate enough to live right next to the sea on a small stretch of coast that I regularly patrol to collect any garbage that washes ashore and I am pleased to say that the amount is relatively small and visibly reducing. I believe this is due to the efforts of active environmental protection organisations such as Beach Buddies here on the Isle of Man. With the enhanced intelligence on marine pollution sources and accumulation that Eyesea can provide, I have no doubt that such activities will become even more effective, more people will get engaged and the marine environment will benefit.
Captain Stephen Bomgardner
Head of Business Development, Sailplan
Captain Steve Bomgardner’s role at SailPlan involves leading the global commercial development, go to market and sales strategy for the company. SailPlan’s technology enables ships, ports, and marine terminals to measure, report, and reduce fuel consumption and GHG emissions using high-resolution real-time data.
He previously worked for two leading ship registries (BMA and LISCR) where he over saw the Americas and helped to create and oversee a new Offshore and LNG division for the other. Captain Steve spent the first 15 years of his career managing operations in the Offshore Drilling Industry, working on some of the most technically advanced vessels.
Throughout his career Captain Steve has been concerned with the environmental impact of the decisions he has taken. He believes that our oceans are the lifeblood of the world and we all must play our part in preserving them for generations to come and it is only through the collaboration of the entire maritime community that real progress can be made.
Captain Steve holds a B.S. in Marine Transportation from Texas A&M University and holds an MBA from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
Cyprus, ChartWorld International, Chief Executive Officer, chartworld.com
I have managed to live 90% of my life on islands, work my entire career in the marine industry, and have spent a large amount of my free time on, in, or under the water. The ocean will always be a major part of my story. Our oceans also play the most important part in the balance of our environment, and they have never been in worse shape. I am very proud to be involved with Eyesea, where we have an opportunity to bring technology, knowledge, will, and drive together to make a difference to our oceans.