It is The Nautical Institute's 25th anniversary this year so it is perhaps appropriate to start off this branch report with a general restatement of the aims of the Nautical Institute as seen by your chairman.
We are a fully international organisation, our aim is the enhancement of marine safety by improving the professional standards of the marine industry. We do this by producing a first class range of guidebooks covering an increasing area of marine expertise, by producing a professional magazine, Seaways and by providing professional input to legislators and other bodies connected to the Industry.
This international aspect is very important in that any member or branch anywhere in the world can have an input into the international marine industry or get guidance from the Institute's publications, head office, or other members in professional operational practice.
This has been a year of considerable change both for the branch and for the Hong Kong community as a whole.
Many branch members have left Hong Kong on retirement or to take up other posts; However we have signed up a number of new members this year and membership now stands at about 320.
There has been a change in the method of paying subscriptions for the Hong Kong pilot members recently. We all sincerely hope they will all maintain their links with the Institute.
We retain the same links as last year on the Validation Committee of the Hong Kong Registry of Ships, the Port Operations Working Group on the Regulation of Marine Traffic, and on the Pilotage Advisory Committee. The individual membership on these bodies will probably change during this next year, certainly Alan Loynd will be stepping down from the Port Operations Working Group.
We have had a number of very interesting branch meetings during the past year. We finally had our visit to the Tsing Ma and Kap Shui Mun bridges plus the new airport and what a first class day it was, organised and written up in issue 56 of our newsletter by John Lambourn. Jim Marriage gave us an interesting talk on the optimum use of Hong Kong waters. Graham Botterill gave us a very lively talk on ISO 9000 and the ISM code and we had a first class Christmas Lunch at the Mariners Club.
Roger Tupper gave a very interesting talk on Marine Traffic Management in Hong Kong which was enlivened by the amazing antics of the slide projector which shot all Roger's carefully prepared slides onto the floor and certainly proved the most recalcitrant machine of its type that most of us had come across.
Adam Kerr gave a very well attended talk on electronic chart displays and Information Systems. Many of these events were followed by dinner upstairs at the POC.
The coming year will be the last full year before the change of sovereignty in Hong Kong. Your branch already made private contact with Chinese authorities with regard to the future. As the Institute is totally devoted to professional matters we feel we have something to offer both to Hong Kong and I believe, in conjunction with mainland nautical professionals, to China. We have passed on several of our publications as examples of what we can offer.
As the number of expatriate members of the branch dwindles I sincerely hope our local members will feel encouraged to take up the running of the branch. I will be stepping down as chairman after this report but I am sure local participation will be in the forefront of my successors'mind.
Since the last AGM we have said goodbye to Gordon Wood who was a tower of strength on the committee.
Finally my thanks to our present committee and office bearers. Again thanks to Steve Chor of the POC and Dave Ewings of China Navigation for providing us with venues also to Eric Edmondson for organising the Friday lunches.
Contributed by Captain Sir William (Bill) Codington, FNI
Seaways August 1996