WASHINGTON — Witt O’Brien’s, a leader in emergency and disaster relief, has acquired Navigate, a group of agencies specializing in crisis communications.

The acquisition brings four Navigate-owned agencies into the company — Navigate PR, Navigate Response, Navigate Response Asia and Helix Media. The group, which like Witt O’Brien’s specializes in the maritime industry, is headquartered in London and Singapore and operates a global network of 43 offices in 29 countries.

Navigate founders Mike Elsom and Bill Lines, based in London, and Ed Ion in Singapore will continue in leadership roles.

The O’Brien’s communications offering is overseen by public relations veteran Sean Fitzgerald, who joined the company last year after 18 years at Ketchum. The company, a subsidiary of transportation and logistics company SEACOR Holdings, brought Fitzgerald (pictured) onboard to augment its tactical public information support on a global level and broaden its reputation-driven communications offerings in response to client demand.

“This acquisition broadens our support for the maritime industry at a critical time,” said CEO Tim Whipple. “Ship owners and managers face an evolving range of disruptions that can put their operations and reputations at risk. These include disease pandemics, cyber-attack, hurricanes, and oil spills. We believe the best approach is to integrate outstanding emergency management with effective crisis communications.