September 2005 the Queensland Branch of The Nautical Institute,
the Maritime and Shipping Law Unit of the University of Queensland,
celebrated World Maritime Day 2005 with a seminar under this year's
theme 'International shipping – carrier of world trade'.
The seminar, which was co-chaired by Dr Michael White QC, MNI,
of the University of Queensland, Captain Iain Steverson FNI and
Edgar Gold QC, FNI; the last two Secretary and Chairman respectively
of the Queensland Branch was a resounding success. More than
60 speakers and participants from all sectors of the maritime industry
and elsewhere attended.
The morning theme was 'Shipping and trade: Australia's role'.
The seminar was opened by Bruce Wilson, Director-General, Department
of Transport, Queensland
Government. He outlined his government's interest and involvement in, and
support for the state's maritime sector, which is considered
to be of high priority in
terms of the state's overall economic prosperity. He provided additional
information on how government involvement and support is being
focused through investments
in roads, rail and access to ports. This was followed by a presentation 'The
challenges facing the carriers of Australia's international maritime trade',
from Llew Russell, the Chief Executive Officer of Shipping Australia, the
principal institution representing the Australian maritime industry.
He provided the audience
with a very positive report on the current prosperity of the industry but
also referred to some of the challenges being faced. These included
increase in regulation, security requirements, as well as rising fuel costs.
He urged the various levels of government to ensure that the positive trend
in the industry be maintained by increasing investment in infrastructure.
The second part of
the morning focused more specifically on what was actually happening
in the industry. The first paper by Rowan
Bullock, Manager, P&O
Ports (Queensland), entitled 'The stevedore's role in the nation's trade,
provided a fascinating insight into current operations in Australia's
major ports. This
included information on the very rapid growth of ports today which in turn
required significant investment, especially in automation as well as services
by increasingly large container ships. The next presentation was written
by Michael Allen, Business Manager of Anglo Coal, one of Australia's
and heavy user of bulk sea transport and presented on his behalf. It provided
a detailed insight into the very rapid growth of Australia as one of the
world's leading coal exporters. He expressed some concerns that
port and terminal services
were now often unable to meet shipping requirements. The final paper for
the morning session was presented by Jeff Coleman, Chief Executive
Officer of the
Port of Brisbane Corporation. Brisbane is rapidly becoming one of Australia's
leading ports with growth rates in the various cargo sectors ranging from
10 to 60 per cent per annum. It was interesting to note that
all three speakers
expressed some concern that infrastructure (road and rail access) cannot
be left to industry alone and that government must continue to
invest more in
as they are the direct beneficiaries of increased maritime trade.
the theme shifted to 'Australia's skilled services to shipping.'
The first speaker, Captain Steve Pelecanos FNI, Vice-President
of the International
Marine Pilots Association and Chairman, Brisbane Marine Pilots, expressed
concerns about the growing shortage of skilled personnel in the maritime
and in the pilotage service specifically. He said that alternative methods
of acquiring these skills must be developed as the traditional 10-year
training period for skilled mariners and marine engineers might
no longer be either
or appropriate. Captain Jeff Holden, Principal Examiner of Masters and
Mates and a senior member of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority
outlined the latest requirements under the amended STCW Convention and
how these are being implemented in Australia. He said that while
had been tightened up in order to discourage fraud, the new system also
provided some flexibility to meet the increasing demands of the
growing maritime industry.
The final paper was presented by Mr Justice James Allsop of the Federal
Court of Australia and the court's maritime coordinator. In his
dispute resolution', he expressed some concern that although Australia
had one of the
best legal systems anywhere, as well as an ample supply of skilled personnel
in the maritime legal sector, these services were not used to the extent
they should be. A reliable local dispute resolution system, such as a maritime
and mediation regime, needed to be established and would round out Australia's
role as an important maritime centre.