InterManager members enjoyed a successful Annual General Meeting in Manila, Philippines on November 15th.
Members from throughout the international maritime community enjoyed a full day’s programme of discussions and presentations in addition to the annual meeting and networking events.
InterManager President Alastair Evitt gave a report of his first year in office. He told members: “The past year has been a very busy one – but for me one topic has predominated in my presidency to date and that has been the issue of piracy. I feel it is appropriate to acknowledge it and to commit our resources and energy to continue to support anti-piracy initiatives.”
InterManager has supported a number of pan-industry piracy-related initiatives including the international Save Our Seafarers Campaign (where InterManager is an active member of the steering group and one of the 30 supporting organisations) and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program (MPHRP) which is producing a series of guides and training programs for the industry to prepare seafarers and their families for the possibility of being kidnapped and held ransom, as well as guiding shipping companies on how to assist crew upon their release.
Working together the shipping industry has identified key objectives which it believes governments and legislative bodies should address as part of the fight against piracy. These include:
• Reducing the effectiveness of motherships (which are easily identifiable)
• Enacting legislation to ensure that pirates can be held and prosecuted
• Enacting international legislation to ensure the full criminalisation of acts of piracy
• Tracing and criminalising organisers and financiers of piracy
• Ensuring appropriate naval resources are committed to piracy areas, particularly in the Indian Ocean
• Protecting and supporting seafarers and their families
Working with its own membership, InterManager has launched a campaign, entitled ‘Armed Guards – the freedom to choose’, to bring pressure on Flag States and charterers to allow owners and managers the freedom to choose whether to put armed guards onboard their vessels where their risk assessment (and in compliance with BMP4 guidance) shows it to be necessary.
Mr Evitt urged members to visit the Save Our Seafarers’ website and click on the link to send a letter to their local politician. He said: “This is not a petition – it is much more than that. It is a letter in your own name to the government in your country of domicile and I hope that, with more than 26,000 letters to date, we are starting to become a real thorn in their side.”
The President reported on the Association’s progress over the past year, advising members that InterManager has:
• Grown – attracting two new ship manager Full Members and five new Associate Members
• Represented members’ interest at numerous industry bodies, including IMO
• Identified and addressed the important issues facing our sector
• Worked for the improvement of the whole industry, particularly in partnership with Round Table organisations and other international shipping associations
• Raised the Association’s profile – attending over 50 conferences attended by more than 2,000 people as well as delivering lectures and classes in ship management topics and on KPIs
• Improved communications with members by revamping the Association’s website – www.intermanager.org The new website has received more than 7,000 visitors over the past six months
Members also heard progress reports from members of the KPI Project. Mr Evitt said: “This is itself a great success story of a project that has now outgrown our Association but continues to be fully supported by it and I particularly thank George, Alex, Markus and Kuba for their massive contribution.”
Another area where InterManager members have committed time and resources is that of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and this is an area that we will be addressing further through 2012.
Urging members to become more fully involved in the work of the Association, Alastair Evitt praised the work of the Secretary General, Captain Kuba Szymanski, but pointed out: “Kuba, although super, is not superman.”
He asked: “How do we maximise the benefits of our limited resources to benefit our Association and its members best? We punch well above our weight in this industry and that is thanks to the work of a small team supported by our membership, but there is always room for more of you to take part and help us — for example by representing InterManager at industry events or by taking part in working group discussions – so please guys, get in touch and get involved.”
Representatives at the AGM heard presentations from Neil Ferrer, Dr. Toby Abaya, Roger Adamson and Roger Ringstad who all addressed very important aspects in the field of safety, training and welfare. Mr Evitt said: “It goes without saying that our seastaff are the backbone of our industry and our crew managers, our seafarers and their safety and well being are a primary concern of InterManager.”
The AGM’s networking opportunities were sponsored by Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Aboitiz Jebsen and Thome Members were particularly grateful to Dito Borromeo of Philippine Transmarine Carriers and his staff for helping to organise the event.
There was some disappointment at the number of members able to attend the AGM and the corresponding Executive Committee meeting which immediately followed it. As a result the Secretary General will be contacting all members to identify suitable locations for next year’s ExCom meetings and AGM to ensure a higher turnout. “Lets make 2012 a pilot year, where we try things differently,” said Mr Evitt.