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Presidential address

Welcome to The Nautical Institute’s International Seminar and AGM, here in the magnificent setting of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. The Nautical Institute’s Hong Kong branch has kindly hosted this years event- and such an international gathering of members and other industry leaders, front line practitioners and the younger generation professionals has been brought together to create an exciting program, with a particular emphasis on “ship-handling” a particular or rather necessary “hobby” of my own!
The Nautical Institute represents over 7000 maritime professionals from over 120 countries in 50 braches. We work constantly within our industry to ensure the highest levels of professional standards and competency in those who go down to the sea in ships and do their business on the great oceans of this world.

Our members contribute across these oceans in forums such as this to ensure the ongoing improvement in standards for seafarer education, training and crewing.
The panel discussions and round tables are a vital part of this conference and allow us all to participate and gain the most from our excellent speakers and I do encourage us all take full advantage of these. Through this and other such conferences I do hope that we can influence all those ‘Who go down to the sea’ to ensure that they are well trained and competent

More recently the Institute has developed some bespoke short courses where we think we can contribute to professional standards and we continue to work very strongly in the energy sector through our Dynamic Positioning qualifications.

As an educational charity our promulgation of best practice by engaging with academia and through professional networking via our Branch membership – John Lloyd has mentioned “Local to Global”- is very important and contributes to the Institute’s success.

The Institutes’ strategic plan also has a commitment to continue produce books & publications (Seaways & The Navigator) that support professional development need of our members and other maritime professionals

I have recently come back from a repositioning cruise, Miami to Los Angeles via Cape Horn, a truly epic voyage for a 144,000 GRT cruise ship with close to 5000 souls on board. All the way around South America I met and worked with the most professional pilots who were very happy to work within our particular Carnival BRM and fully embraced the latest technology.

As Master I find that I am often alone with my thoughts and worries and it is heartening to read similar experiences from other masters in ‘Seaways’. As President I would recommend that you take full advantage of our Institute’s ability to support, encourage and counsel you in your professional role. The ship’s master is under more pressure now than ever before and the Nautical Institute is there to help via its conferences, forums, blogs and publications. On its pastoral side the NI is working with other agencies in looking at fatigue and seafarer stress. All these benefits to members are only a mouse click away.

Recent issues of The Nautical Institute’s Monthly Magazine “Seaways” have had some very thought provoking articles and I would like to pay tribute to Lucy Budd for her editing and diplomacy skills. I particularly agree with and was happy to see Kees Buckens’s article (May 2019) “The future of pilot training”. In it Kees is saying that the fundamentals of Pilotage have changed, we should no longer train solely on “visual methods” and must embrace electronic navigation. I have always been a strong advocate for more use electronic systems.
My own feeling that  “we are now electronic navigators, backed up with visual clues” fits in very well here.

Interestingly, The Royal Institute of Navigation has focused on two important Navigation history milestones in its May/June issue. “Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914 and Alcock and Browns’ first Atlantic crossing in their Vickers aircraft exactly 100 years ago. Navigation techniques move on, but history reminds us on how far we have come in just 100 years.

Captain Mark Bull (June 2019) “Colregs for today’s world” makes a point that the Prevention of Collision at Sea will have been in operation for 42 years. Does new technology require new rules for the 21st century?
With collisions still taking place and the situation showing no signs of improvement has a gulf developed between the practitioners afloat and regulators ashore?

Christopher Rynd’s Resilience and resourcefulness (March) is an excellent breakdown of how cruise ships manage emergencies and he quotes from Captain Richard De Crespingny’s book “Fly! Life lessons from the cockpit of QF32” – a fascinating example of managing a crisis, albeit at 35,000 feet above the ocean.

Jillian Carson-Jackson (SVP NI) has been (January & March) ”Connecting Women in Maritime” & “Celebrating with # Balance for Better”, promoting women and professionalism in maritime. She reports that there are many industry groups that are working to promote women in the industry, addressing both conscious and unconscious bias. Women offshore ( provides a host of articles and practical advice for women who work on the water.

Karen Waltham, Managing Director of "Spinnaker Global”, raises some uncomfortable questions in our industry in her contribution in this June’s Seaways “Unconscious bias in the workplace.

A further exploration into this bias was a recent article in The Economist (1st June’s London issue) about a new word in use in South Korea “KKONDAE” (ConDee) a new word for “condescending geezer” – reveals a lot about hierarchy in South Korea.
Do you feel that nobody around you shares your commitment to work?
Do you offer unsolicited advice on the fashion choices or love lives of your younger colleagues? Are you irked when a junior office (or shipmate) fails to fetch you a coffee? Beware: you are well into kkondae territory. South Korean youngsters suggest that you engage in quiet reflection to help you overcome your inflated sense of self-importance. You have to earn their respect. You cannot take it for granted, just because of who you are!
Kkondae is a modern word of uncertain origin – perhaps an adaptation of the English word “condescend”. It means an older person, usually a man, who expects unquestioning obedience from people who are junior. A kkondae is quick to criticise but will never admit his own mistakes -BRM also kicks in here as well!

But I digress…

The letters page in Seaways always has some interesting by-lines and follow on’s. A recent letter from Captain Malcolm Armstrong –(April’19) highlights Welfare and Fatigue and indeed, this has recently been taken up by your council.

The launch of the eleventh edition of “The Principles of Navigation” in London with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones attending, reiterates the Institute’s strong connection with The Royal Navy and our embracement of  “electronic Navigation” whilst emphasising that traditional navigation methods are needed to combat “spoofing” and electronic failures. A great quote I saw on the Greek Island of Chios fits in well here:
“Never fear to move with the times, but never lose touch with the past”
Captain Panagiotis N Tsakos:

I should also like mention Bridget Hogan’s sterling work as head of Publishing and a few titles that immediately spring to mind that are invaluable to old, new and aspiring masters are “ The Nautical Institute on Command.” The NI Technical Committee under Trevor Bailey have put together a great “Global view of Command” and this coupled with Captain André Le Goubin’s “Mentoring at Sea” will be well suited to your Command bookshelf. Not forgetting the immediate past president’s Captain Duke “Iceman” Snider’s “Polar Ship Operations” for the more geographically adventurous of us.  

The Institute’s new Shiphandling Log book is a great tool for aspiring ship handlers to record their manoeuvres with a space for comments and reflections.

A further recording tool for professional advancement is the “CPD” log on the NI web site. Here you can record your professional activities to assist in your advancement and achieve the now internationally recognized Chartered Master Mariner Status.

This Months “The Navigator” - “Weather – Forewarned is forearmed” is as David Patraiko, NI’s Director of Projects, says in his Nav Brief “The Storm is safely out at sea” is the report most loathed by fellow mariners when listening to shore-based weather reports! The June issue goes on to discuss weather with comments by Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, FNI Former first Sea lord and former Hydrogapher of the Navy and at the other end of the scale, Ailsa Nelson,MNI who is a front line practitioner.

This is just a snapshot of the informative and varied publications available from the nautical Institute.

Having spent a lot of the past year in airport lounges, looking out of a Bridge window at the wind swept seas of the South Atlantic and occasionally walking the dog at home, I have had plenty of time to think on our future and ways in which we can make the NI even more relevant and useful and attract new members?

My own thought would be to lobby the regulatory and examining authorities to include a check box on professional exam’s application form to indicate membership of a professional institute. This would indicate to the examiner that the candidate was looking outside the narrow confines of an exam syllabus. Hopefully The Nautical Institute would be the institute of choice!

Young people in the maritime sector face many challenges as our industry evolves and The Nautical Institute wants to be sure that we are responding to them – No Kkondae here!
We want to make sure that their voice is heard at the highest levels of The NI and on the International stage as well. We are launching Younger Members Council to run in tandem with our existing Council – details are in this Junes Seaways.

Interestingly, Prestwick, Air Traffic Control Center in Scotland is starting to introduce ‘Direct Route Airspace’ which is the first phase of introducing an entirely free route airspace environment in the skies over Scotland, and eventually the whole of Northern Europe as part of a project by the Borealis Alliance of air navigation service providers.

Free route airspace (FRA) is a specified airspace within which users can freely plan a route between a defined entry point and a defined exit point, with the possibility of routeing via intermediate (published or unpublished) waypoints, without reference to the air traffic services (ATS) route network, relying on the aircrafts airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) – In shipping we appear to be moving the other way, from freely planned routing to controlled routes by VTS and Fleet Operation Centres – The Mona Lisa project in The Baltic springs to mind! – With that thought provoking challenge….

onto Shiphandling and I’m reminded of a great quote by US Fleet Admiral Ernest King:

The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling.

Thank you.

Postal Address:

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16 July 2024
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