An active 12 months
THE LAST 12 MONTHS have been a particularly active time for the Hong Kong Branch of The Nautical Institute. Branch membership grew to some 305 people and the Branch continued to broaden its activities in the territory. Meetings were well attended as were social functions.
A questionnaire was distributed to all members to try and pinpoint their views of The Nautical Institute's role in Hong Kong. Firstly, most members felt that we should get more deeply involved in the marine affairs of Hong Kong, striving towards making our voice heard in Government. A second point made was that we must try to pick interesting topics for our meetings, as this directly related to the number of attendees. On two such occasions, the talks on the Hong Kong Port Development Board and Dredging Techniques, we succeeded in drawing a larger than usual audience and a lively debate ensued. Also suggested was that more visits and social events should be organised. In this regard we have had two dinners this year, one on Trafalgar Day, and the second being the annual dinner. Although the latter was postponed for a week, it was a great success, partly due to the fact we did not combine it with the annual general meeting, making it more a social event than a business one. A further request was for more warning of meetings, etc., and we have instigated a trial system of faxing reminders to all members who are able to receive them.
With regard to visits, we have had only one, a trip to visit the Outward Bound School vessel, Ji Fung; this was extremely successful and may well become an annual event. We will, however, endeavour to have more visits in the coming year. In addition to the above activities, four members attended the bulk carrier conference in Hong Kong in October 1991, and one of our members sat on the Hong Kong Shipping Registry Validation Panel. A second member, David Ewings, has recently been appointed to the Hong Kong Pilots Advisory Committee. Desmond Howell has been leading a group of members writing a monograph on the operation of high-speed craft. Although this got off to a slow start, we hope to see it gather momentum this year.
Looking to the future, and in line with our commitment to be further involved in Hong Kong Government affairs, the Institute has been asked to nominate a person as adviser on port operations. Under a sub-committee led by John Lambourn, we are currently investigating the feasibility of approaching the Government to request a functional constituency for the maritime industry, and it is hoped that by joining forces with some of the other institutes in Hong Kong, this may be possible. The purpose in pursuing this matter is to try to ensure that The Nautical Institute and other maritime organisations have a say in the operations of the port and shipping up to and beyond 1997. However time is short, as within the next year, the last nine functional constituency seats will be authorised by Government for the 1995 elections, and there will be no further seats available before the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese Government.
A separate committee under the joint chairmanship of Bill Codrington and Eric Edmondson is putting together an information package on piracy in the region. The purpose of this document is two fold: firstly, it is intended that much of the information will be passed on as a supplement to our newsletter for seagoing members and it is hoped that this will give them sufficient information to consider what action they can take to protect their ships; secondly,
as a lobbying document to pressurise the Hong Kong Government into action with other governments in the region to stop piracy.
The Chairman said: 'As Chairman I must personally thank all the committee members who have worked hard during the last year to make the Branch a success. Particularly thanks must go to Paul Owen, who will be standing down as Honorary Secretary this year, having been a driving force within the Branch for many years. John Lambourn will be taking over as Honorary Secretary, and I wish him every success in this post. I would also like to thank Desmond Howell together with Paul for their editing of the newsletters, and Jim Rogers for successfully arranging the annual dinner. I must also thank Eric Edmondson for his efficient booking of Friday lunches and Steve Chor for arranging the Police Officers Club which continues to be an excellent venue for our branch meetings. Finally I would like to thank all members who have contributed significantly this year, particularly Trevor Hollingsbee who has worked so hard at recruiting new members.
It was unanimously agreed that the office bearers for the coming year would be as follows:
Chairman: P. A. S. Markland
Vice Chairman: Captain Sir William Codrington
Honorary Secretary: J. S. Lambourn
Honorary Treasurer: J. Rogers.
Contributed by Captain P. A. S. Markland, FNI
Seaways September 1992