The Nautical Institute Queensland Branch Seminars and Branch Activities



World Maritime Day 2006


The Nautical Institute (Queensland Branch) in partnership with the Maritime and Shipping Law Unit, University of Queensland celebrated World Maritime Day 2006 with the holding of their third annual combined seminar.

Drawing on International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos’s theme, “Technical Co Operation; IMO’s Response to the 2005 World Summit” the seminar concentrated on aspects of training, technology and education.

The seminar was formally opened and introduced by Dr. Sarah Derrington, CNI , Director, Marine & Shipping Law Unit, and Reader, T.C. Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland.

Branch Secretary Iain Steverson FNI delivered a précis of the Secretary General’s speech presented at the World Maritime Day celebrations in London on 28 September. This concentrated on five of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) relevant to the World Maritime industry. The eight goals were originally proclaimed at the 2005 United Nations World Summit at the meeting attended by over 150 world leaders. They were:-

1          Helping to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2          Promote gender equality and empower women.
3          Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
4          Ensure environmental sustainability.
5          Develop global partnership for development.

The  MDG’s pursue the quest for a peaceful, secure and poverty free world with the resultant global prosperity the end goal, which is the halving of world poverty by the year 2015.

Next speaker was Michael Clinch, Human Relations Manager, ASP Ship Management.
Michael gave the audience a very clear picture of the difficulties associated with the manning and operation of a multi national fleet especially in relation to the training and retention of qualified personnel. Currently ASP operate 10 ships under the Australian flag and despite large numbers of young Australians applying to go to sea the economics of training and retention is due to a number of factors including the almost total disinterest of the essential maritime industry by Australian Governments past and present, which precludes any expansion . The apathy shown towards the local maritime industry is distressing for a country of which 97% of all exports and imports are carried by ships.

The third speaker brought a smile to many when he drew parallels to that classic TV series “Star Trek” and “Get Smart” of 30 years ago, to that of modern day port management. Speaker was Peter Keyte, General Manager, Port Operations, Port of Brisbane Corporation. As he proceeded to move through describing modern day usage of such aspects as force fields, lasers, robots, laser beams, the cone of silence and even shoe phones (modified) the “Trekie” fans in the audience were obvious. With a number of Brisbane designed totally robotic straddle carriers, driverless, fitted with GPS and anti collision lasers presently operating successfully at the container terminals, those programmes of long ago have proved to be almost prophetic.

After an excellent lunch provided by our hosts, the law firm of Blake Dawson Waldron,
Steve Pelecanos FNI, Vice President International Marine Pilots Association and NI Councillor brought us up to date on the initiatives of Australian Marine Pilot training which commences implementation of a revolutionary training programme in January 2007. Due to the shrinkage of the Australian Flag fleet the supply of local traditional marine pilots has almost dried up. Consequently over a number of years and with cooperation from many areas within the local Maritime industry a training programme has been put in place that will allow entry from various sectors of both the industry and from outside sources. This will allow entry to “The Australian College of Marine Pilots”.

Final speaker was Professor Edgar Gold AM, QC, FNI whose topic was “The World Maritime University: Success at the International Level”. This proved to be a most enlightening subject as many in the audience were not aware of the extent of the educational aspects or the range of influence that its graduates are having on the world maritime industry, for example country delegates to IMO. Edgar was able to give a potted history of the establishing of the WMU at Malmo, Sweden and its subsequent expansion and growth especially into China he having been an influential member of the WMU Board from its inception.  He also noted that the Australian Government unlike many other countries had made no monetary contribution to the WMU despite the presence of a number of Australian academics on the staff.

The proceedings were summarized appropriately by Ernest Van Buuren MNI in his capacity of Partner of our hosts and to whom we were most grateful for their assistance on this significant but sadly unappreciated World Maritime Day.
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