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Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very warm welcome to all the Member and Guest’s at the 2016 AGM of the “Hong Kong branch of the Nautical Institute”. As in the past, we’ve yet again had a very exciting 12 months of activities.
Despite the dull freight markets, it has been a very busy calendar year for us at the NI. It has been a year of fantastic presentations, intriguing discussions, great cocktails events, and I must say some fun and productive meetings along the way.
Thanks to our honorary secretary Donal Keaney, we’ve achieved a new high. We are now hi-tech, with a Whatsapp group of the committee members. I must admit that we are a dedicated committee, which is always connected and delivers real time solutions. (Thank god I work QHSE and not sales)
So what have we been doing the past year?
Our biennial seminar onboard the Star Pisces in October’15, covered issues related with “Competencies of a future mariner”. Roundabout 85 delegates enjoyed a full day seminar which had interesting and thought-provoking discussions from amongst the finest maritime speakers in the world. The day began with the Hong Kong’s Director of Marine, Ms. Maisie Chung giving the opening address, which is now a tradition at our seminars. Though we were somewhat concerned as Maisie had been in office only for a little over a month, however she not only accepted to present, but also set up a fine tone for the seminar. Thereafter Arthur Bowring, MD of the HK Shipowners Association presented the keynote address, which he described as a ‘philosophical view’.
Javier Yasnikouski, an Argentinian e-navigation specialist working at IMO in London, spoke on e-navigation and in fact gave us his preferred definition of e-navigation, i.e. enhanced navigation. Gerry Buchanan, the Managing Director of LISCR Far East, presented the changing regulatory environment, especially with reference to ECDIS and the associated competency needs. He was followed by Ivar Håberg, head of the hull and stability section of the DNV GL Approval Centre in Shanghai, who took a detailed look at future ship design and ultra-large container vessels.
Thereafter John Wilson, the American Club’s Director of Technical Services, Asia, spoke about the risks associated with new technologies. He in-fact highlighted that shipping had become a lot safer over the past 100 years.
The final session of the day the speakers began to look for solutions. Pradeep Chawla, Managing Director of QHSE at Anglo Eastern Group, gave us some real-life observations about the industry and pointed out that it is impossible to tell a 35-year-old Master who has never experienced a GPS failure, that he needs to keep practising his celestial navigation. He talked about the potential productivity gains from big data, and concluded by stressing that human factor competencies are vital for the progress of our industry.
Dr. Chris Haughton, a past member of the NI Council, spoke as a representative of GlobalMET, the international association for maritime education and training establishments. He was broadly in agreement with Captain Chawla, and pointed out that the rate of speed of change in our industry is increasing while the shelf life of knowledge is getting shorter.
Finally, Captain Norman McNee gave the seafarers viewpoint. He was the recipient, in 2013, of the HK Marine Department’s Bravery Award for his successful rescue of two hapless injured yachtsmen in stormy conditions south of Fiji. He pointed out that IMO must consult seafarers in the future and stop being led by equipment manufacturers.
The day ended with a cocktail party before we reluctantly departed to make room for the passengers who were embarking for a cruise that evening.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the companies and organizations that have traditionally supported us over the years and enabled us to arrange evening presentations and cocktail events free of charge for all. Their support allows us to make donations to the Mission to Seafarers and provide sponsorship for local Hong Kong Cadets. The institute and members are also actively involved in providing support to the local Hong Kong cadets both by way of sponsorships and teaching support.
Very soon after our biennial seminar, we had another important event in the early part of November 2015. We had a short seminar on the “Future Training of Master’s and Role of the Nautical Institute”. Trevor Bailey currently Master of the luxury passenger vessel Hebridean Princess and Mrs. Bridget Hogan Director of Publishing and Marketing at the Nautical Institute, discussed the new flagship publication ‘The Nautical Institute on Command’.
Going into the festive season, we bid farewell to Harry Hirst and followed up it with festive Christmas drinks at the Cannyman Bar, on Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. Though we now see less of Harry in Hong Kong, however the gathering gave us an opportunity to present to him, a small token of our appreciation for his support of the Institute for his 23 years in Hong Kong. A special thanks Dave Schaus and Irwin Marine, who had very kindly volunteered to sponsor the drinks for the first hour of the event.
After the year end festivities and the holiday season, our next event was closer to Easter. On 31st March this year, a trip was arranged and coordinated by John Wilson to visit the HK MARDEP VTC. It was an excellent opportunity for members of the Nautical Institute to witness, first hand, the excellent facilities and working of the traffic control at the complex Hong Kong harbour.
Soon thereafter a visit was arranged for members to visit the MSTI (Maritime Services Training Institute), which involved a scenic bus journey from Wanchai, to well into the New Territories. We are thankful to the manager, Mr. CK Mak and senior instructor William Wong, who kindly gave up their Saturday to host our visit.
Post earlier cancellations we were finally rewarded by an excellent presentation by Paul Walton, Director of LOC Hong Kong on Crane Operation and Maintenance issues. Paul has a vast knowledge of cranes, wires, and having conducted surveys on a wide variety of offshore vessels and heavy lift crane vessels / barges, the presentation was great.
Our most recent presentation and the first one for us at our new home for the evening presentations, i.e at the Maritime Museum was by, Clive Loh of the British Admiralty. The event was also one of the best attended events in recent times, wherein we ran out of chairs for the high number of attendees. The topic, of “How to stay compliant and navigate safely using electronic charts” and “The new IHO standards for ENC’s” generated great interest amongst the audience.
A special thanks to our venue coordinator’s, Luca and Peter Lam for the Mariners Club, Alan Loynd and Donal Keaney for arranging a new home for the NI functions at the Maritime Museum and to Donal Keaney for allowing us to use the conference room at the office of Smyth and Co in association with RPC.
We would like to invite members, old and new, to join the NI committee. We would also like to invite non-members to join NI membership. We are now able to process membership applications locally
For updated information please do visit our website, which is always promptly maintained up to date, courtesy Capt. Luca Ferrerio.
Lastly, my sincere thanks go to all the committee members, A great effort put in by the committee, a special mention for Alan, Aalok, Amit, Donal, John, Paul, Petty, Luca, Carlos & Marso – to the NI HKG members, friends and supporters, and also personally for me to my two bosses – Capt. Chawla at office and my wife the big boss at home for allowing me to spend a few precious hours for the NI activities. A big thanks to my employers Anglo Eastern for supporting me in the causes on NI.
I would like to offer a toast. Let us all raise our glasses – Good health – Calm and Safe voyages – to the seafarers.