Master mariner who grabbed life by the throat

Cian Timmons: March 10th, 1978 – February 21st, 2014


Captain Cian Timmons crammed more into his short life of 35 years than most who live twice his lifespan. He had a zest and enthusiasm – “one of those people that grabs life by the throat”, according to a friend – and a commitment to service, charity work and mentoring, particularly with young people, that has left family, friends and the organisations he was engaged with bereft at his sudden death.

A master mariner who had worked as a senior officer in BP’s fleet for the last 10 years, and most recently oversaw the conversion and commissioning of a supertanker for use as a major floating production, storage and offloading platform, Timmons was also a member of the general council of the Irish Institute of Master Mariners, a scouting leader, an award recipient of and council member of An Gaisce, and a freeman of the City of London.

On his returns home to Stillorgan on leave he threw himself tirelessly into voluntary work. In what spare time he had he revelled in skydiving – completing 150 jumps – supporting Leinster rugby and mountaineering. He was as comfortable sitting around a campfire as dining in a fancy restaurant.

Having supervised the conversion of the huge tanker/rig in Singapore and sailed it to Angola, he was responsible for the marine elements of its commissioning. He collapsed while on duty in the control room and could not be revived despite intensive resuscitation efforts by the platform medical team. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Raised in Bray, Co Wicklow, and educated at Presentation College, Cian Timmons in 1996 went on to Cork Regional Technical College for three years to gain a National Diploma in Science (Nautical Science). He qualified as master mariner in Dublin in 2005, a chartered shipbroker in London (2010), and received an MSc in maritime operations and management at City University, London (2011).

As a boy he was involved with the 5th Wicklow and Greystones Sea Scouts and Carrigrohane Scouts in Cork City, and later served the organisation as a member of its national council.

On a trip to to Kenya he met Melanie Wright. Eight years later they became “an item” and were married in 2010. They have a two-year-old daughter and Melanie is expecting their second child.

He later served on the scout commissioner’s team in Scouting Ireland and on the international team. He participated in the youth awards programme of An Gaisce, the President’s Awards, having received a gold award, and he was involved as a mentor with its alumni association. In 2012 he was appointed to the Gaisce council.

He was a committed Royal Geographical Society trainer on its off-site safety management curriculum, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a wilderness EMT.

He was well on his way to being a mountain leader.

Timmons was nominated as a livery man of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners in London, which, since he was an Irish citizen, required a change in legislation in the Commons.

His funeral service will be held this morning at 11.30 in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

He is survived by wife Melanie, daughter Emily (2), parents Brian and Caroline, brothers Donn and Patrick, sister Iseult and stepmother Vivienne.