Hats off to Jim Lawrence, Lorraine Parsons and all their colleagues who organise the Connecticut Maritime Association's annual gala event.
CMA 2014 (#shipping2014) took place in Stamford CT over three days in March and was possibly the best attended in the history of the CMA.
A roll call of the biggest names from around the world of shipping turned up to speak, listen, eat, drink and network.
What makes CMA different is its origins. There's something informal, dare we say friendly about the CMA. It's an association that seems to exist purely for the sake of bringing shipping people together in and as a community. It's not a political lobby, it's not a professional association… it's a club. It raises money to educate and sponsor youngsters, it has a regular social scene and there’s something about that social cohesiveness that translates across into the annual conference and exhibition. So, despite #shipping2014 being a huge event, it didn't in any way feel like a cattle market as some in the shipping calendar do.
The recipient of the 2014 Commodore Award was Scorpio Tankers' Robert Bugbee. Unlike his usual provocative and cheeky self, he gave a heartfelt, funny and warm speech, although he did point out that, as a Brit, America had given him the opportunity to develop his career in a way that is usually only possible in Europe for those born with a shipping spoon in their mouth.
Well done CMA!
(PS. The picture below right is of me going for a cheeky run with Rose George while at the conference)