Maritime industry icon Jack Gallagher dies at age 89


(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) — On Monday, John "Jack" J. Gallagher, a pioneer of the maritime environmental services industry and founder of Gallagher Marine Systems, died at age 89.

Gallagher contributed to the development of many of the tools of the industry, including the U.S. Navy's inflatable oil boom. He held dozens of patents, was involved in most of the major oil spill responses since 1973, and helped shape the regulations for the industry. Gallagher was the founding director of the Center for Marine Environmental Protection at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy; founded Gallagher Marine Systems, a maritime environmental consulting firm; and authored his life story, "Oil Spill Jack." He was also an attorney specializing in admiralty and patent law, and was an aeronautical engineer, serving in the U.S. Air Force as an aircraft maintenance officer during the 1950s in France. Gallagher also was an accomplished artist, sculptor, historian, and world traveler.

"He was larger than life, and his impact on our industry was profound," said Carleen Lyden Walker, co-founder and executive director of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA). "I met Jack in 1995 at the first CMA conference that I organized. He pulled me aside to ensure that I was aware of his views on spill response in the post-OPA 90 era. Being relatively new to that conversation, most of the nuance of his argument was lost on me — but his passion was crystal clear."

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Seamen's Church Institute,

By Professional Mariner Staff