Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to tell you that we are continuing with our mission to provide the strongest possible professional focus, dedicated to improving standards of those in control of seagoing craft, while maintaining the Institute as the leader of nautical excellence in Hong Kong.
Since I took over as chairman from Mr. John Wilson, we concentrated on preparing the last series of Command Seminars, took place aboard the “Star Pisces” alongside the Ocean Terminal on 6 November 2008. With the full support of our committee members, we had another high quality and successful seminar held in Hong Kong. I have to admit that we are proud of the best maritime cluster in Hong Kong, who you are well represented, and willing to participate in discussion of different issues, which made our seminar successful.
On the 5th of December 2008, we had a wonderful pool side BBQ held at the Mariners’ Club in Tsim Sha Tsui. About 30 members and guests joined the great dinner and enjoyed all the delicious food with unlimited drinks. Everybody tasted the early spirit of Christmas and went home with a raffle present, including gifts. Even children got in on the fun and got a gift.
In January this year, we organized a presentation by Capt. Yoshitaka Fukuo about “Developing new business in the maritime industry”, which attracted many participants and interesting discussions as well.
On April 1st 2009, Harry Hirst, a partner of Ince & Co and our previous chairman, presented a very informative and practical topic on “Criminalization of Seafarers – Looking after the crew”, which attracted a record of about 57 members and guest attendants. At the end of the presentation, we presented a cheque donation to Rev. Peter Ellis of the Local Missions to Seafarers. The donation was from the proceeds of the Command Seminar Series in November 2008.
We were quite busy in May, because we had our institute’s first visiting of the year to the Waglan Lighthouse on 9 May 2009. Everybody was so happy to celebrate the 116th birthday of the lighthouse, as it was found to be a unexpected coincidence that the light started to operate on the same day in 1893. After the visiting, we went to have a fantastic sea food lunch in Po Toi Island. It was one of most successful excursion from the branch, with a nearly full capacity 30 people on board the “Taikoo Sun”.
To welcome our good friend and previous vice chairman, Mr. Trevor Hollingsbee, our committee members organized a curry lunch at the Marine Police Headquarter in Sha Tin on 26th of May. Everybody enjoyed one of the best curries in town with a wonderful and heartwarming welcome from all the commanders of different districts from Marine Police.
As far as membership is concern, we have picked up the momentum in promoting our membership to our friends in Hong Kong. Applications are being processed. Hopefully, we will have many applications handed in this year. Two of the new applicants were the junior officers from Cnco.
In the coming years, there will be much more fun in our branch, as arrangements have been made with Marine Department to join the annual Dragon Boat Racing at their Headquarter in Stonecutter in May. I’m afraid we have to do more exercise in the coming April and May, so as to get more trophies from the race. We will try and look for every opportunity to join more events and activities in Hong Kong shipping industry. As what I have stressed that, we had to make our branch more vibrant, not only by providing good quality professional seminars and presentations, but also social gathering to enlarge our shipping cluster in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, I would like to express my sincere thank to all my fellow NICOM members for their supports and commitments. In particular, those office bearers such as:-
Capt. Dave Watkins, the Vice chairman, who has been actively participating in all activities last year, even with so many workloads from his work. During the last visit to the Waglan Lighthouse, Dave sponsored the cost for launches and all drinks provided on the beautiful junk “Taikoo Sun”. We thank you for his generosity and commitments.
Capt. Graham Cowling, the Honorary Treasurer, committed himself by taking over this difficult task of the committee last year. And of course, our financial situation remains wealthy under his administration.
Thank God. Rhod McNeill, our longstanding Honorary Secretary, has also committed to continue his contributions to our institute. Despite travelling overseas and having to do heavy workloads in the past years, Rhod has always been producing agenda, meeting minutes and different reports in time. He also keeps us in good contact with the NI HQ in London as well.
Mr. Luca Ferrerio, our webmaster, continues to keep our website in good shape, and update it with new messages. We will always have latest information posted on the website in good time with beautiful photos and articles. He has always been the back bone of our institute.
I have to thank our past chairman Mr. John Wilson, Capt. Pradeep Chawla, Capt. Vikrant Malhotra and Capt. Sameer Sablok and all others committee members for their assistance to organizing the Command Seminar Series held on board the “Star Pisces” last year.
Of course, we also give thanks to Capt. Alan Loynd, Miss Petty Leung, Capt. Robert Herman, Mr. Matthew Fenton, Capt. Eric Edmondson, Capt. Thomas Yeung and Miss Yvette Chan who have always been working closely together to provide our best service to the shipping industry in Hong Kong. Their contribution and enthusiasm are much appreciated. I have to thank Miss Carmen, secretary of Capt. Dave Watkins, who agreed to be the membership coordinator of our branch to forward news, invitations and other notices to our members and friends in future.
Finally, I want to thank you for your coming. I’m always proud of having members like you, who are always attending our functions and events, as well as providing good and constructive discussion in seminars and presentations. We very much hope that you will continue to join our functions in future and give us advice for improvement.