Chairman's Welcome Address
Welcome to the 5th biennial Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch seminar. When the Branch Committee first met last year to discuss the topic for the 2007 seminar, we wanted to find something new to talk about, something that had not been discussed before at one of our seminars. However, when we considered what it was that was occupying the minds and day to day work of ship operators, their insurers and legal advisors, it wasn’t that they were wondering where the next ships were going to built, or how the fleet could do more to protect the environment; no, it was how to deal with the latest incident that was now delaying a ship in a port, how to ensure that the Masters and crews can comply with the latest legislation brought into force, and how to amend the company procedures to comply with a change in the legislation without jeopardising the operational schedule of the ship. Put simply, if the day to day operation and management of the ship went smoothly, then the ship operators would find themselves with more time on their hands to contemplate the important issues of ship building and the environment.
The dust has settled on the ISM Code, which became mandatory 10 years ago. As for STCW, it is now 30 years since the first STCW Convention was adopted by the IMO, and 10 years since the first major amendments were carried out. The consensus of the Committee was that it was time for the Branch to debate the issue of maritime accidents, why are we still having them, and what can be done about it, hence the title of today’s seminar ‘Marine Accidents : The problems and solutions’.
We would not be able to host this seminar if it was not for the generosity of the speakers, who have given their time freely. We have an international group of speakers today, each one of them experts in the subject of their papers.
I must also give thanks to our sponsors, without whose support we would not be able to provide such a high quality seminar at an affordable price. I am also grateful to Star Cruises, who once again have allowed the Nautical Institute to continue to be the only organisation in Hong Kong to host a maritime seminar onboard a ship.
This year we have introduced a questionnaire for our delegates. This will allow everybody here today to have their say on the important day to day issues that are affecting ship operators today. Please take time to complete the questionnaire. The findings will be correlated and published by the Nautical Institute and circulated world wide.
John Wilson, MNI,
Chairman, Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch.