Online Exhibitions & Stories

SERS Ship Emergency Response Service

Rewriting Women into Maritime History
(left) Sophie, Naval Architect. (centre) Lizzie, Team Lead, Rule Development. (right) Yikun, Senior Structures Specialist.

Sophie Taylor, Yikun Wang, and Lizzie McCaig

Location: Southampton, UK

Unsung Safety Heroes

In the bustling Global Technology Centre of Lloyd's Register (LR), a group of dedicated individuals operates around the clock, ready to respond to ship emergencies at a moment's notice. Among them are Yikun, Lizzie, and Sophie, three remarkable professionals who make up a vital part of the LR Ship Emergency Response Service (SERS). Their work is characterised by precision, expertise, and a sense of responsibility towards ensuring the safety of vessels and their crews on the high seas.

For Sophie, Yikun, and Lizzie, SERS is more than just a job—it's a calling. Lizzie, a seasoned member of the team, spearheads the response effort, taking the lead in assessing the severity of emergencies and deciding when to call upon her teammates. As a number one, she liaises directly with clients, seeking essential information about the ship and its condition before the incident. Lizzie's role extends beyond providing technical advice; it requires empathy and effective communication, as captains ultimately hold the responsibility for their vessels.




Yikun, the number two in the team, brings a wealth of knowledge as a naval architect. Alongside Lizzie, she plays a crucial role in the Research and Development department of LR, where they craft and refine the structural rules that govern ships' construction. Theirs is a continuous effort to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of maritime technology and environmental concerns, shaping the future of ship design.  

Sophie’s primary role, as a full-time member of the SERS team, is to model the ships, ensuring that the necessary data is available for immediate use in emergencies. With thousands of ships in their database, Sophie and her team have painstakingly crafted 3D computer models, loaded with critical information about each vessel. This preparation ensures that when an emergency occurs, they can swiftly assess the situation and offer prompt support.

When an emergency strikes, Yikun, Lizzie and Sophie drop everything else to answer the call. Their day jobs momentarily take a backseat as they become integral members of the SERS team, ready to tackle any challenge thrown their way. The three are passionate about their work and understand the importance of their contributions in upholding ship safety.



Working together as a seamless unit, the team relies on one another's expertise during emergencies. While Sophie carries out complex technical analysis through the computer model, Yikun assesses the damage strength and Lizzie provides technical advice drawing on her years of SERS and research and development experience. Though the majority of emergencies are straightforward, occasionally, they face complex situations that demand innovative solutions. The trio exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and innovation, brainstorming together to devise the best strategies to assist clients in crisis. As unsung heroes of the maritime industry, Yikun, Lizzie, and Sophie go beyond their job descriptions to ensure that ship safety is never compromised. Their commitment to constant improvement and dedication to safeguarding vessels and their crews reflect the true essence of LR and its mission to make the seas safer for everyone.

Each team member has a unique journey that brought them to this crucial role. Sophie's early love for maths and engineering, combined with her affinity for boats, led her to a career where she can genuinely make a difference. Yikun, on the other hand, found her passion for naval architecture almost accidentally, yet it has guided her to contribute to groundbreaking research and rule-making. For Lizzie, an accident diverted her career path into the realm of research and development, turning her into an instrumental figure in shaping the future of ship structures.

The work of Yikun, Lizzie, and Sophie might seem incremental to some, but their collective efforts and expertise have a profound impact on ship safety, the maritime industry, and the environment. Their ability to translate complex knowledge into practical rules and procedures is nothing short of remarkable.


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Written by Carly Fields

© Emilie Sandy Photography, 2023