The Nautical Institute Queensland Branch Seminars and Branch Activities



World Maritime Day 2005

Extract from Seaways, The International Journal of The Nautical Institute – November 2005 edition (Nautical Institute Log page 34/35)


On 30 September 2005 the Queensland Branch of The Nautical Institute, in conjunction with 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 Professor 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 in Brisbane 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 the significant 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 required by increasingly large container ships. The next presentation was written by Michael Allen, Business Manager of Anglo Coal, one of Australia's largest coal exporters 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 this area as they are the direct beneficiaries of increased maritime trade.

After lunch 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 sector generally 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 feasible or appropriate. Captain Jeff Holden, Principal Examiner of Masters and Mates and a senior member of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), next outlined the latest requirements under the amended STCW Convention and how these are being implemented in Australia. He said that while international requirements 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 topic, 'Maritime 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 arbitration and mediation regime, needed to be established and would round out Australia's role as an important maritime centre.

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