ORGANIZED by the Plymouth Nautical Degree Association (PYNDA) in celebration of its 40th anniversary, ‘Riding the Storm’ was advertised as a shipping conference organized by ‘professionals for professionals’. In reality, it was a conference organised by a whole bunch of people, myself included, making it up as they went along!
The venue? The IMO in London. Very prestigious.
The highlight? The ship-decorated afternoon cakes (more on these below). Very delicious.
The lowlight? A 45 minute fire alarm evacuation, which exposed the IMO’s emergency response system to rather a lot of scrutiny and unfavourable comment. Very unauspicious.
The speakers? Quite an impressive bunch actually. But you don’t want to read a long list of who said what, do you? Or if you do, pay a visit to http://www.pynda.com for a full account.
The funnies? Mike Penning, the UK Shipping Minister gave the Conference Keynote Speech. Sans notes, the Minister outlined regulatory reform and the legal structures now in place to give merchant ships the right to protect themselves against piracy. Among other things, he also explained the need for a renaissance in coastal shipping and ports to ensure a sustainable UK logistics and transport network. But sadly, the most talked about aspect of his otherwise very good speech was his apparent infection of selfitis which so plagues politicians. Many were intensely irritated by his constant reference to “my” ports, “my” roads and “my ships”. They’re not yours Minister, they’re everybody else’s.
The charity? The Mission to Seafarers held an exhibition and sale of maritime photography by Claudia Muntean and Delta Muntean. Spinnaker were among the lucky ones who came away with some superb limited edition artwork which now graces our office walls. The sale was somewhat overshadowed and very poignant, coming just two days after the death of the Mission’s Secretary General, Tom Heffer, a man blessed with a great sense of humour and personal integrity. Tom will be missed on so many levels.
The sponsors? Moore Stephens, LISCR, Gray Page, Lloyds Register and Tradewinds. What a lovely lot!