AGM – 7 August 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the Company was held at the Remuera Club, Ohinerau St, Remuera, Auckland on Wednesday 7 August 2019. 15 Members attended.

Routine business was conducted and reports received.

The Master’s report is available here.

Captain Tony Murphy (Auckland) was presented with his membership certificate.

Life Memberships were awarded to Captain Nic Campbell (Wellington) and Captain John Frankland (Auckland). The awards were passed by acclamation.

The following officers were elected or appointment confirmed:

Master – Captain E Ewbank
General Secretary/Treasurer – Commander Larry Robbins
Warden Auckland Branch – Captain Chris Barradale
Warden Christchurch Branch – Captain Darrell Daish
Warden Tauranga Branch – Captain Ken Camp
Warden Wellington Branch – Captain Eric Good

l-r: Darrell Daish, Eric Good, Ted Ewbank, Chris Barradale, Ken Camp

Posted in Auckland Branch, Christchurch Branch, General, Tauranga Branch, Uncategorized, Wellington Branch | Leave a comment

Wellington July Meeting

The July meeting, attended by 16 members and three guests, was held at the Bolton Hotel today. Two of the guests (Elmar Gailitis and Ian Scott) are members of the Navy League and Captain Dave McEwan RNZN, guest of Eric, is a prospective member.

Unfortunately our planned speaker, Derek Nind (CEO of CentrePort) had to cancel at short notice, so, as an alternative, I personally filled the position.

In the last four and a half years, worldwide centennial services have been held marking the loss of life at battles and naval engagements in the Great War. One of these ceremonies, which must surely be the last, took place in the Orkney Islands at the Lyness Naval Cemetery, Scapa Flow, less than three weeks ago. It was not well publicized and I do not think that New Zealand had any direct representation at the ceremony.

Under the heading of Links with the Past  and assisted by two videos and a cd recording, I gave the audience a soft maritime history lesson. The account led up to, included  and told the story of the aftermath, of the scuttling of the German  Grand Fleet in Scapa Flow in 1919.

The talk also provided me with the opportunity to indulge myself with a personal discourse on my family, one of whom was witness to that event.

Favorable comments after my dialogue included that “it was a bit different”.

Derek Nind is on the speaker list for later in the year. 

Lew Henderson reported on his attendance at the NZ Maritime Law Society Advanced Litigation Skills mock trial where he represented the Branch. He said it was a very worthwhile experience.

At our meeting next month we have been asked to co-host a lunch prior to the launch of a new maritime book. The publisher is very enthusiastic and talks of speeches being given by MPs and other important dignitaries. We shall keep you informed as plans develop. For your interest I attach a flyer about the book which explains all about Captain Henry Rose, about whom the book is written.

Ken Watt


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wellington June Meeting

The June meeting held at the Bolton Hotel was attended by 14 members and 1 guest.

After working lunch 4, which included a very spicy coconut and lemongrass soup, we were briefed and entertained by the talk given by our member, Katherine Walker.

Katherine recounted her life and experience leading up to her gaining a Masters Certificate and work and life history since. Ship Brokering, Lecturing, Examining, Moving around the World, Parenting and other business interests reinforced the dictum of School of Navigation (Warsash) Director Captain Wakeford, given to cadets leaving the establishment, that, a Master Mariner can do anything.

With the aid of a power point presentation and supported by John Mansell, who was at the meeting, Katherine guided us through the maze that can be encountered on the route from deckhand to Master.

Nomenclature has changed somewhat. Watch-keeper Deck has superseded Second Mate, Mates are now Chief Mates and Extra Masters have disappeared into oblivion. As much time is spent in the classroom as is spent at sea. All of this provides for the opportunity for fierce debate on today’s marine qualification system which, in truth, is a reflection of education generally in NZ. 

Our thanks to Katherine for her illuminating talk which was given under the pressure of just having shelled out a couple of weeks pay to a vet, for two operations on her dog!!

Other Business

a    It was pleasing that two members at the meeting volunteered their services in response to the appeal from the NZ Maritime Law Society for Master Mariners to appear as expert witnesses in their forthcoming mock trial for lawyers. This can only help raise the Branch’s profile.

b    The Bolton Hotel, unlike the Bay Plaza, are pretty understanding when a number of meals are ordered and there are no shows. There were three on Wednesday. Understandably people find that, despite having said that they will be at a meeting, find at short notice they cannot make it. Under such circumstances I am open to an email or telephone call before 10am on the meeting day with advice of cancellation.

c    Next month we have arranged to have Derek Nind, Chief Executive of CentrePort address us on the progress in restoring the port to full operating conditions following the devastation resulting from the Kaikoura Earthquake. This should be very interesting.

Hoping to see you in July

Ken Watt


Posted in Wellington Branch | Leave a comment

Crossed the Bar

Members who recently crossed the bar:

Captain K.G. Marshall – Christchurch Branch, 2019

Captain Maxwell Deane – Auckland Branch, Life member, 22 February 2019

Captain Neil Andrew Wheeler – Auckland Branch, 14 January 2019

Captain Richard Henshaw – Christchurch Branch, 27 November 2018

Captain David Boyes – Wellington Branch, 21 October 2018

Captain Fred Kelner – Auckland Branch, Life member, 13 October 2018

Captain C. M. Anderson – formerly Christchurch Branch, 11th August 2018

Captain B. R. Meads – Christchurch Branch, 15th April 2018;

Captain G.T.H. Nicol – Wellington Branch, 31st March 2018;

Captain J. Glyde – Wellington Branch, 15th March 2018;

Captain J. Twomey – Christchurch Branch, 15th September 2017;

Captain D.R. Morgan – Auckland Branch, 6th August 2017;

Captain P.J.R. Wavish – Auckland Branch, 24th July 2017;

Captain G.D. Hill – Christchurch Branch, 16th July 2017;

Captain J.A. Barbour – Tauranga Branch, 22nd June 2017;

Captain Q.W.V. Gray – Auckland Branch, 12th February 2017;

Captain I.B. Owen – Wellington Branch, 1st February 2017;

Posted in Auckland Branch, Christchurch Branch, crossed the bar, recent departures, Wellington Branch | Leave a comment

Sailors’ Society (NZ) appoints Chaplain

Sailors’ Society in New Zealand has appointed Aaron Ironside as the Society’s Port Chaplain in Auckland and National Chaplain. This is a new full-time position, Aaron taking over from Major David Millar who was the Auckland port chaplain, on a part-time basis, for almost 20 years until he retired in September 2018.

The Society’s Chairman, Terry Nobbs, welcomed the appointment, noting that over 20 applications were received for the position. “The appointment is”, he said, “a major step forward both for the organisation in Auckland and for our national body. It’s a mark of our determination to better serve the merchant seafarers who carry over 95% of all our trade.” Mr Nobbs expressed his gratitude to the Sailors’ Society parent body in the UK for their support for this venture which has also received funding from other society groups in Otago and Bay of Plenty.   

Sailors’ Society has over a hundred years’ history of service to seafarers in the ports of Auckland, providing chaplaincy services in a partnership at the Seafarers Centre in Quay Street, Auckland.  The chaplains of the Centre visit ships in port and seek to assist with any welfare or employment difficulties, visit injured seafarers in hospital and welcome seafarers to the Centre where they can get in touch with home or simply relax away from the ship.  

The Society is a faith-based non-denominational charity serving seafarers of any nationality, race, religion and background. National Secretary, Commander Larry Robbins, said that Aaron has a wide Christian experience, being a popular Christian Broadcaster and Conference speaker who has delivered over 1000 presentations, and spent 25 years on radio in New Zealand and Australia. He and his wife, Debbi, planted and pastored Harvest Christian Church for fifteen years in West Auckland, where the church baptized over 100 new Christians, and established four additional congregations.

Aaron says that he is looking forward to ministering to the 8000 or so seafarers who visit the Seafarers’ Centre in Auckland each year and to meeting them in their workplaces on the ships in port. Over the past six years, Aaron has used his Master’s Degree in Psychology to offer 2500 hours of counselling to over 300 clients and looks forward to using these skills in his new role; skills which he says will help when he meets any seafarers struggling with loneliness, depression or who are simply missing home. “We aim to be a welcoming presence”, he says, “and someone who the sailors can talk to as a friend.”     Aaron’s passions include his three young adult children, supporting the Warriors League Team, and perfecting American BBQ. He loves a good laugh with friends, and was even a grand finalist in the Auckland International Comedyfest Competition in 2015.

Posted in General, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Interesting Talk by member Wellington Pilot Lew Henderson

Fourteen members attended the May meeting. Not a bad turnout given the number away on vacation or being unwell.

Our speaker and member, Lew Henderson, gave an unscripted and fascinating talk for a full hour on the complexities faced by Master Mariners in command in present times.

As a current Pilot of the Port of Wellington and based on his own extensive career experience, Lew was able to engage with his audience in an informative manner  cataloguing the transformational changes in the shipping industry that have taken place since many (most?) of us at the meeting last stood on the bridge of a ship.

In his dialogue Lew traversed a full range of issues that have evolved over time and have definitely replaced the way of life which existed post WW2 and up to the introduction of container shipping, bulk shipping, cruising and the multiple offshore industries.

Probably the most prominent matter which has reshaped the industry has been the rapid advances in technology. This is exemplified by the fact that everything about the complete operation of a vessel, be it on the bridge or in the engine room, is, or is capable of, being recorded in some manner. This information is stored or accessed as necessary, by owners, regulators etc as and when seen necessary.

Ships sail without paper charts, sextants and other dated equipment which has been replaced by satellite based communication systems seen to be the ideal deputy for highly trained but sometimes fallible human beings.

Ships crews very often are a mixture of cultures, languages and having different dietary requirements. 

Evidence of qualifications may well be suspect. 

Health & Safety at Work legislation overarches all shipboard activities. 

Uniforms of office have, to all extent, disappeared. As a Pilot, when Lew boards a vessel he often identifies the Master as the individual in a group who steps forward to shake hands. 

Alcohol aboard ships has just about disappeared. 

Crews are small and the support and comradeship which existed in the past has been replaced by isolation and the potential for individual psychiatric problems. 

The ever present tension between ships masters and owners and regulators (policy innovators) is one situation which remains unchanged. viz a recent move to train candidates to be pilots but without their having the historical requirement of holding a Master’s FG Certificate of Competency. An action defeated by the Maritime Pilots Association

Lew had certainly not finished when time ran out. He has offered to speak again but with a focus on his pilotage responsibilities. This will be most welcome.

Next month Katherine Walker has agreed to talk about qualifications and the current career path  to become a Master Mariner ( if that is what you could possibly want after hearing Lew Henderson’s description!?) 

Please mark your diary for Master Mariners lunch on Wednesday 12th June.

Hope to see you then

Ken Watt


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March Meeting – Wellington

The lunch meeting held at the Bolton on Wednesday 13 March was the first for the year. 

14 members,  plus guest speaker Dr. Ed Ballard and visitor Bruce Campbell, a Southampton pilot and son of member Angus Campbell, all enjoyed the excellent curry lunch put on by the hotel.

Before the meal, the Warden welcomed all in attendance particularly newly recruited member Jenny Cuttrice.

Jenny was presented with her membership certificate to the acclaim of all present. With extensive recent command experience,  Jenny is a beneficial and appreciated addition to our Branch.

After lunch Ed Ballard was introduced by Roger Kerswill. 

Some time ago Ed had enjoyed his younger life with Roger being his scout leader in the Evans Bay sea scouts and he saw this presentation as a good opportunity to return some of his time which he felt he owed Roger.

Ed reviewed his educational career history – Engineering Degree from Canterbury University and a PhD in Ship Science from Southampton University in the UK. He is a qualified naval architect.

His talk revolved around the time that the consultant company for which he worked, had to prepare a conceptual proposal for the construction of a Floating Natural Gas Vessel (FLNG), hypothetically 500 metres long.

With the aid of projector slides Ed took us through issues such as where natural gas is found, its properties, the temperature and process by which it is liquefied and the formidable hurdles faced in the customers design brief for a notional vessel which processed natural gas piped from the sea floor, liquefied and stored it prior to it’s transfer to tanker ships for delivery ashore.

An hour passed very quickly with the audience being absorbed with the technical challenges and the proposal as to how they would be overcome. 

A short question time followed.

The talk was brought to a lighthearted end with Angus Campbell announcing that he had been a member of the Evans Bay Britannia Sea Scouts in 1940!

It was reflective as to how well the talk was received when there was general agreement that Dr. Ballard should be invited to speak again to a meeting later in the year.In concluding, the Warden advised that the April meeting would be the Branch AGM and it was hoped that there would also be time for member Captain Katherine Walker to give a short talk with it’s content yet to be advised.

The agenda for the AGM will be sent out shortly.

Cor Van Kesteren distributed new lapel name badges to all in attendance. These are to be kept by the individual and it is expected that they will be brought to meetings and worn.

DO NOT LOSE THEM! they are your responsibility.

See you next month


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Waitangi Day 2019

The Governor General of New Zealand, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy GNZM QSO, is the Honorary Patron of the NZ Company of Master Mariners.

On Waitangi Day (6 February 2019), the Company was represented at a reception at Government House Wellington by the Master, Captain E E Ewbank, and the Warden of the Christchurch Branch, Captain Darrell Daish.

The Master, Captain Ted Ewbank, with Her Excellency the Governor General.
Captain Darrell Daish and Captain Ted Ewbank with students of Scots College
at Government House, Wellington
Posted in Auckland Branch, Christchurch Branch, Executive Committee, General | Leave a comment


It’s been an active beginning to 2019 in terms of maritime casualties.  The phone at the Panama Marine Accident Investigation Department was likely ringing off the hook with three major incidents on Panama-flagged vessels in the first two days.  The first three weeks of the year have produced a wide range of serious casualties…and they are likely just the tip of the iceberg in terms of incidents and near misses.

The casualties begin…

These casualties started with the SINCERITY ACE,  a Panama-flagged car carrier which suffered a major fire in cargo spaces on 31 December 2018 in the North Pacific.  The vessel was subsequently abandoned with four known casualties and one crew member missing.

On January 1st/2nd, MSC ZOE, a Panama-flagged ultra large container vessel (ULCV) was enroute Bremerhaven, Germany.  During heavy weather, the vessel lost 290+ shipping containers overboard.  The containers have started washing up on German and Dutch beaches with significant pollution.

Also on January 2nd, 6 crew members from the MSC container ship MSC Mandy were kidnapped off the coast of Benin.  The Panama-flagged feeder vessel was on the way from Lome to Lagos when a reported 8-10 pirates boarded the vessel and left with 6 of 26 crew, possibly including the captain.

A fire aboard the YANTIAN EXPRESS, a 7500 TEU container vessel reportedly started in one container on deck on January 3rd and spread.  The subsequent blaze forced the crew of the German-flagged vessel to abandon ship to a responding tug boat.  The blaze was finally being brought under control a week later.  Yantian Express is reportedly making her way to Freeport in the Bahamas under her own power.

On the less serious side from the view of personal injury, the bulk vessel Anglo Alexandria (UK-flagged) grounded while downbound on the Mississippi River on January 5th.  While the vessel was refloated within 48 hours and there was no reported pollution, a queue of 50 in and outbound vessels had developed.

In the Black Sea off Turkey, VOLGO BALT 214 split in two and sank in heavy seas.  While 7 of the Panama-flagged cargo vessel ‘s crew were rescued by Turkish authorities, 6, including the captain, were lost at sea.

Hong Kong harbour was the site of an explosion onboard the tank vessel AUIAC FORTUNE on January 8th.  The Vietnam-flagged vessel was preparing to bunker when the explosion occurred.  At last report 1 crew member had perished with multiple still missing.

The Vanuatu-flagged cable layer STAR CENTURION was anchored in the Horsburgh OPL off Singapore on January 13th when the outbound Hong Kong-flagged tanker Antea collided with her.  The damage to Star Centurion was so severe that she capsized and sank soon after with all crew being rescued.

Back in the Black Sea on January 21st, Tanzania-flagged LPG tankers Candy and Maestro were conducting a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of cargo in international waters.  During the transfer, a fire broke out, engulfing both vessels. The two vessels had a combined crew of 31 of which 19 were killed or are missing.

How do we learn from these incidents?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Casualty Investigation Code’s (CIC) objective is, “…a marine safety investigation, as defined in this Code, is an investigation conducted with the objective of preventing marine casualties and marine incidents in the future.”  In short, the goal is for flag states and the maritime industry as a whole to learn from incidents, identifying opportunities for improvement and best practices.

Unfortunately, 75% of the time according to Allianz Global, we find that the cause of these incidents are attributed to human error.  “Human error” potentially involves all the different processes in shipping in which humans play a role – navigation, engineering, ship design, vessel management, shipping clerks, regulatory agencies, flag state.  Everyone from the CEO down to the entry ratings in a shipping company is part of the human element.  Everyone from the secretary of the IMO down to flag state and class inspectors is part of the human element.  And all parts of the human element have the capability for error.

But what is human error? LACK OF EXPERIENCE!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Maritime Societies’ Annual Dinner

The Auckland Branch of the Company was well represented at the Maritime Societies’ Annual Dinner, held at the Northern Club on 7 December, when twelve Master Mariners and their partners/wives attended with 50 others.

During the course of the evening, the Warden of the Auckland Branch, Captain Chris Barradale, presented membership certificates to master mariners Holly and David Clayton. Holly is employed by Ports of Auckland Ltd and husband David is currently serving as C/O of MV Buffalo working around the NZ coast.

The guest speaker was Commander Lisa Hunn BSc RNZN, Commanding Officer of HMNZS TE MANA who spoke well of her time during the annual Exercise RIMPAC when the ship won the “Top Gun” trophy competed for by 14 nations.

David and Holly with the evening’s Guest of Honour, Commander Lisa Hunn RNZN (Commanding Officer HMNZS TE MANA)

David Clayton addresses the guests

Warden, Capt Chris Barradale presents membership certificate to David Clayton while Holly Clayton looks on.


Posted in Auckland Branch | Leave a comment