The Hong Kong Branch of the Nautical Institute held a full day seminar at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel in Hong Kong on 30 November 2001. This seminar was scheduled at the end of a week of international conferences in Hong Kong following Maritime and Logistics Week, designed to encourage the young people of Hong Kong to pursue careers in shipping and shipping related industries.
The NIHK seminar was entitled 'The Port of Hong Kong- past, present and future'. The speakers were all leading personalities in their fields, and were drawn from the container, cruise, and ship management industries; the banking, finance and legal sectors; and included a local historian, an economist, and the environmentalists. The keynote address was presented by the Director of Marine, Mr S Y Tsui, a marine engineer, so that it was only right that the Assistant Director of Marine, Mr Tupper, an ex-master, should present the closing address on the importance of feng shui in port planning. Christine Loh, previously a member of Hong Kong's Parliament (LegCo) (1992-2000) and now CEO of Civic Exchange, one of Hong Kong's non-governmental policy thinktanks, gave a memorable lunchtime address, reminding the people of Hong Kong of their roots, their unique identity in Asia, and how their history is so closely woven with that of the port. Despite the present recession, the message of all the speakers was clear: Hong Kong's position as a regional maritime centre is secure and has the potential to develop further in the future notwithstanding the present world recession.
The seminar was a great success and served to increase the profile of The Nautical Institute and the shipping profession in Hong Kong. Over 90 delegates paid the small admission charge while a large number of local students were admitted free. The NIHK branch also used the occasion of the seminar to make two worthwhile charitable donations: one presented by the Director of Marine to Mr Cowan Chui on behalf of the Hong Kong Sea School; and the other presented by Christine Loh to the Reverend Peter Ellis on behalf of the Mission to Seafarers in Hong Kong.
The success of the seminar was undoubtedly due in large part to the prominence of the speakers who kindly agreed to take time out from their busy schedules to participate, and to the generous sponsorship of several local companies in the shipping industry; and branch Chairman, Captain Duncan Telfer, thanked them all accordingly. That the'mix'was just right was confirmed by Shipping News International which said of the seminar: 'The last of a week of conferences in Hong Kong set an example that its predecessors should have followed. The entry fee was affordable, students were admitted free, and the organisers made a donation to the Hong Kong Sea School (and Mission to Seafarers).'
Pollution Control Centre
On 13 October 2001, two Hong Kong branch committee members accompanied six guests to the headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Department Pollution Control Centre John B Wilson, a marine surveyor and consultant based in Hong Kong and Yvette Chan, who was familiar with the operations of the marine department through her work with environmental agencies in Hong Kong, and the group of locally based marine surveyors and maritime lawyers, began the afternoon with a trip across Victoria harbour to the government dockyard on Stonecutter's Island. This was onboard MD 58, one of the marine department's fleet of 10 pollution control vessels. During normal operational status, the vessel would carry portable skimming equipment, and holds 22,000 litres of oil dispersant in three tanks.
On arrival at the government dockyard, the group were shown some of the other dedicated vessels in the pollution control fleet. These included the MD 59, an oil recovery vessel, having 150 Mt oil storage capacity, and fitted with a hydraulic oil powered skimmer; and the MD 51, which is used for boom deployment, and carries 3,000 litres of dispersant, which is mixed with sea water and deployed by a jet hydrant on top of the wheelhouse. Closer attention was paid to the MD 38, a modern aluminium-hulled vessel, obtained in 1996, which incorporates a filter belt oil recovery system, and has an onboard tank capacity of 1,500 litres.
At the equipment warehouse marine department staff demonstrated the operation of one of the portable oil skimmers and a portable oil dispersant sprayer. The return trip across the harbour was onboard Sea Cleaner 4. This is one of the six marine department-designed marine refuse recovery vessels. These purpose-built, 23m long, twin-hulled vessels are highly manoeuvrable and fitted with a remotely controlled scoop forward that is lowered into the water. Water nozzles, leading ahead of the vessel, gather the floating refuse, which is then lifted by the scoop and emptied into bins installed on a rotating turntable on the main deck. The collection process is controlled from the wheel house, where the contents of the scoop are monitored by video cameras. The twin-engined vessels are manned by a crew of four, and are capable of 12 knots, reducing to three knots when recovering refuse. Two vessels operate in the busy Victoria Harbour, with others working in other areas around the territory, taking the refuse to two designated marine refuse collection points.
The day was rounded off by watching a video of an annual oil pollution exercise carried out by the marine department, other government agencies and the local oil industry, when both shore and sea clean up operations were practised.
Captain Duncan Telfor FNI and John Wilson MNI
Seaways March 2002