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Thursday 24 May 2018

On 15 May, four Warsash Maritime Academy cadets, Claire Allan (V. Ships), Frank Essen (RFA), Richard Smith (RFA) and Calum Wright (Maritime London), visited the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London for the IMO70 forum, with their law lecturer Branimir Pantaleev.

The high-level forum was organised to discuss the IMO's role in the future of shipping and international trade, and was also attended by cadets from international nautical academies in addition to the international ministerial delegations.

Before the forum began, the cadets enjoyed lunch in the IMO restaurant overlooking the River Thames, where they met the UK delegation including Katy Ware, MCA Director of Maritime Safety and Standards and permanent UK representative to the IMO.

The cadets with the MCA's Katy Ware (left) outside IMO in London

After lunch the cadets took their seats in the iconic Main Hall, where the IMO Secretary General, Mr Kitack Lim gave an opening speech on the past successes and challenges of the Organization and the prosperous future he foresees the Organization having in overseeing the industry. The address was then handed over to a panel of industry leaders from a number of backgrounds, including the Minister of Transport for Ghana, Mr Kweku Ofori Asiamah and the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thompson.

Cadets ready for the Forum in the Main Hall at IMO HQ

A number of issues were discussed, ranging from autonomous shipping and how it will affect safety and careers, to the relevance of the Organization in a modern world where maritime law-making is becoming increasingly nationally and regionally relevant. A lively discussion on the Paris Climate accord followed, with the commitment to meet the 2050 carbon cap discussed at length by DNV GL’s CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen. The CEO of ECT Rotterdam, Leo Ruijs, similarly discussed the matter of containerisation with passion, introducing his opinion that with the increasing size of ships, shoreside facilities such as cranes, trains, HGVs and barges will also need to increase in capacity to ensure efficiency both economically and practically.

After the debate, all attendees were invited to a drinks reception in the delegates’ lounge, where the cadets had the opportunity to freely network with industry leaders, plus meet cadets from Glasgow and Poland. They also spoke to Nautical Institute CEO, Captain John Lloyd about the successful relocation of Warsash Maritime Academy, and with Robert Bursiewicz, Head of the Trade Office for Navy-San, about the differences in nautical training across Europe.

Claire and Calum also met the International Shipping and Trading Association’s 2017 Woman of the Year, Inge Mitchell - the first publicity officer for the IMO and first woman to be accepted at the Baltic Exchange. Now 91, Mrs Mitchell went on to tell them that to achieve in the industry depends upon personal morals and ethics, which put her in good stead to be accepted in successful in what was an almost entirely male dominated industry in the 1950s.

Calum Wright and Claire Allan with Inge Mitchell

The forum was enjoyed and valued by the cadets who hope that the topics discussed will be useful in future studies and the contacts gained during the reception will develop relations with industry peers.

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