Wellington Meeting – Feb 2020

The first meeting of the year was held to-day at the Bolton Hotel.

Eighteen persons including Guest Speaker Richard Ford and potential full member Martin Harper were in attendance.

Before sitting down to an excellent curry lunch Warden Eric introduced Richard and Martin both of whom are colleagues of Jenny Cuttriss and working at TAIC, and Raminder Annand and Mike Emery who are new Full Members.

He also  took the opportunity to welcome back, Jack Hutchings from overseas and Iain Hill from the Wairarapa!

After lunch and before Richard’s address, Eric presented Raminder and Mike with their membership certificates. He also took time to report on the Branch’s representation at the “Otaki” memorial ceremony held at Otaki College last Monday. This is an event on the Branch’s calendar which marks the anniversary of the sinking of the SS “Otaki” towards the end of the first World War.

In giving his talk, Richard Ford, aided by a computer and projector held the attention of the meeting for nearly an hour. He back-grounded the mission of TAIC and importantly, the part he plays in accident investigation.

Whilst admitting that he did not have a maritime background he centered his value to accident inquiries by citing Arthur Conan Doyle’s quotation “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data“. Richards mission is to gather data, thereby giving support to the outcome of a marine accident investigation. We were all left in no doubt as to Richard’s ability to gather, at a later date, the finest of detail of an incident which may have led up to an accident/calamity. For illustrative purposes he used two case studies of accidents investigated by TAIC.

By way of real-time, full-time recorders which are international government mandated requirements on vessels over 3000 tonnes there is not much which goes on on a vessel in terms of navigation or indeed any other operation on the ship which cannot be retrieved for inspection/examination purposes either immediately or at a later date.

As one of the older brigade I could not help but be reminded of the theme of George Orwell’s book “1984” which warned of the dangers of totalitarianism to society. Was, or is, this just one step along the way to a Big Brother in the maritime world?

Richard was to be thanked for bringing many of us into the very modern world at sea, that is without even contemplating the possibilities of “Artificial Intelligence”

Preoccupation with the seriousness of Richards presentation was greatly relieved when, at the conclusion of the meeting, he asked for the application to join Master Mariners as an Associate of the Branch and Martin Harper handed of his signed application to join us as a Full Member!!

All is well.

To conclude and by way of reference to Rule 4, Objects of the Company which refers to advising and assisting Master Mariners : I would ask that any advice and or assistance, that could given to Captain Raminder Anand, in his pursuit to establishing a future and career here in NZ for him and his family, would be welcomed by him.

Information on next months meeting which includes the Charter presentation to Captain John Mansell and the Branch’s AGM will be given at a later date.

The date for the meeting is Wednesday the 8th April – that is if we are not all in quarantine!

Ken Watt


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Crossed the Bar

Members who recently crossed the bar:

Captain James (Jim) Varney – Auckland Branch, Life member, 29 February 2020

Captain Peter Attwood – January 2020 (long-time member of the Wellington Branch, resigned due to poor health 2018) Obituary 

Captain Ray Bedwell – September 2019 (long-time member of the Auckland Branch, resigned due to poor health July 2019)

Captain Robin Keer-Keer – September 2019 ((long-time member of the Christchurch Branch of the Company, resigned due to poor health June 2019)

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;

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All Person Errors

Copied from GCaptain 19 February 2020     By Captain George Livingstone –

There has been a lot of work in the last few decades directed toward accident prevention in marine transportation.  We know most accidents are caused by human error, importantly, a series of errors. The much talked about error chain comes to mind, and eliminating single person errors. The theory is that reducing single person errors will reduce accidents overall.

So how is it working? Long term accident studies indicate there has been a reduction in high frequency, low consequence accidents, the low hanging fruit so to speak. Credit is well deserved there.

What about low frequency, high consequence accidents? Not good results, and therein lies a problem. How do we go about preventing something that has very significant consequences but rarely occurs? Aviation struggled with the same problem for decades, what did they do?


Two years ago, John Konrad introduced my brother, Grant Livingstone, and me to some works that a Col John Boyd (USAF) had completed in the late 1960’s. Col Boyd, a decorated combat flyer in three wars, developed a theory he identified as the OODA Loop, explained in a piece published by John Konrad, Grant Livingstone and John Merrigan in October of last year in gCaptain. All of us were very interested by Col Boyd’s theory, as it seemed to hit the mark regarding problems in modern-day marine transportation accident prevention. 

US Military Fighter Doctrine

Col Boyd felt that US military fighter pilots in Korea and later Vietnam had lost critical combat skills. As early jet technology advanced and became very complicated, pilots became more ‘check box’ flyers resulting in the erosion of critical thinking. Col Boyd felt this was proven by the serious losses in actual combat. Aftermuch research and self-searching, Col Boyd came up with the OODA Loop theory, the idea of continuous observation, orientation, decision and action(observe-orient-decide-act) when in combat. He emphasized that the loop is actually a set of interacting thoughts that should be kept in continuous operation while engaged in combat (or any other critical operation, including ship movement). Anyone that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly will win the outcome of events. This neatly folds into marine transportation operations, especially when things are beginning to unravel.

With the best intentions, is modern day marine transportation facing the same dilemma as U.S. military fighter doctrine faced in the late 50’s and 60’s? Have we drifted off course?


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping including safety, environment, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security and efficiency of shipping. There are over 60 IMO legal instruments guiding regulatory development to improve safety at sea. Some of the more well-known:

  • MARPOL Convention
  • SOLAS Convention
    • ISM Code
    • ISPS Code
  • STCW Convention
  • International Code of Signals
  • International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
  • International Ballast Water Management Convention

The IMO enacted Port State Control (PSC) Authority to allow domestic maritime authorities such as coast guards to inspect foreign shipping at the ports of many port states.


The working professional mariner may have reached a point of saturation over the myriad of maritime regulations, statutes and codes meant to improve safety at sea. The average master, chief engineer and senior shipboard staff are being forced to address constant inspections and check lists through Port State Control to the detriment of the safe evolution of the vessel. Even the likes of Bridge Resource Management (BRM) training becomes just another box to check rather than a critical learning event. Are officers so over saturated that they have lost focus on the primary metric, the safe movement of the vessel and its cargo?

Check List Culture

And therein may lie the crux of the matter, has the effort toward accident prevention in marine transportation created a check list culture? What if we all got off track? Has the well-intended focus through ISO/ISM in preventing accidents led us to a place of putting critical thinking at risk? It is one thing to discuss theory and diligently follow check lists, and quite another to successfully manage developing crisis situations in real time. Have we become more about documenting than operational excellence?  

Continuous Loops and Recurring Cycles

Col Boyd felt that the OODA Loop theory served to explain the nature of surprise and shaping operations in a way that unifies Gestalt psychology and cognitive science in a comprehensive way. In other words, he believed that using a continuous loop, in a recurring cycle by all involved will create a winning situation.  

One of the critical points raised is that all involved in an evolution should be using the OODA Loop, specifically trained to use critical, out-of-the-box thinking skills, in a continuous and recurring cycle. On ships that means everyone, not just the captain and pilot, including tugs, all in the game, all aware, and not afraid to ask questions. The fact is, it may be a dereliction to remain silent, there is too much at stake.  

Has the effort generated toward preventing one person error morphed into all person errors?  

Captain George Livingstone is a San Francisco Bar Pilot, co-author of ‘Tug Use Offshore’, contributing author of ‘IMPA On Pilotage’ and a regular contributor to gCaptain.

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Wellington October Meeting

The October meeting was held on 09 October. There were 19 attendees,

Before lunch commenced a very professional address was given by Derek
Nind, CEO of Centreport. His talk was revolved around the recovery
efforts to return the port to a fully operational  state following the
infrastructure damage resulting from the Kaikoura earthquake experienced
nearly three years ago.

Major decisions have already been made whereby existing buildings, some
relatively new, have been, or are being, demolished, never to be
replaced. The previous policy of using reclaimed land for commercial
building purposes has been overturned.

The decision on the location of a multi-user ferry terminal is still
under consideration.

Putting aside the ongoing revenue from ferries and the import of oil
through the Seaview Terminal the Company’s main income stream is from
the export of logs and the handling of containers.

With regard to the latter, the port has concluded contracts with NZR to
carry cargo (made up mainly of containers and logs) from inland hubs to
the port of Wellington. Centreport established these hubs.  This measure
filled a gap left by the shipping companies when in the 1990’s they
abandoned the practice of providing shippers with empty containers for
packing and transportation back to the port (at the shippers cost).

As to the best way forward Derek spoke of the assistance he was getting
by consulting with various companies with expertise in four specific
areas. More importantly he has created a team, within the company, to
investigate and make decisions on issues such as length of berth, number
of container cranes, best container handling equipment and the draft in
the channel leading into the port.

All these are matters are of vital importance with decisions to be made
in a situation of a very uncertain future. NZ has many ports offering
services to container vessels. The effect of a damaged port and fierce
competition means that Centreport is challenged to maintain and
hopefully grow its business. It is holding on at present but hopes to
make progress with the passage of time.

To expand on his talk Derek offered a bus trip to and around the port
area to allow Company members to see for themselves the difficult tasks
facing Centreport.

It is hoped to take up this offer early next year.

In concluding the meeting, the Warden offered Captain Nic Campbell the
Branch’s congratulations on reaching his 90th birthday as well as
reminding members of the Christmas lunch arranged to take place
Wednesday 20th November.

Ken Watt


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Wellington September Meeting

There were nineteen at today’s meeting including Captain Dave McEwan RNZN who took away an application for membership form.

After lunch, a presentation on oil tankers and their development since the 1950’s was given by Mike Pryce. Growth both in terms of size, 12,000 tons average in the 1950’s to the 500,000 + ton monsters of the 1990’s and increased sophistication. The latter seeing hand operated wheel valves replaced with complete control systems managed from one location.

Aided by a selection from what must be a very comprehensive library of pictures, Mike gave a very interesting account of explosions, groundings, collisions and other disasters experienced in the world of tankers. Of note was a Russian designed vessel for use in the ice fields in the Arctic whereby it was operated in ice by going astern (ahead?) in ice but ahead with the pointed end (bow) in front in the usual manner, when out of the ice.

We all left the meeting with a greater understanding of the differences that came with the introduction of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) carriers which was, for me anyway, much longer ago than I thought to be the case. Natural gas is bought to a liquid state by cooling to -160 degrees C. which reduces its volume by 600 times. No tank cleaning necessary and elimination of the inherent dangers that accompany this operation.

Thank you Mike for sharing much of your 23 year sea-going life experience with us. I am totally overawed  by your dedication to recording every ship you sailed on, every ton of cargo you carried, every port you visited and every mile you traveled.

Next month our guest speaker will by Derek Nind, Chief Executive of CentrePort who will bring us up to date with progress in returning Wellington’s port to it’s former self after the devastation of the Kaikoura Earthquake.

I shall be away in the week before this meeting but you will be contacted and reminded of the date so you can respond allowing the Hotel to be advised, for their catering purposes, of the numbers expected to attend.

November Meeting – Please put on your calendar Wednesday 20th as the date we shall be having our Christmas Lunch when wives, partners and any other guests are cordially invited to attend.

Ken Watt


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August Meeting

A total of 36 persons sat down to lunch on Wednesday 14th. As was arranged, the meeting was held in conjunction with River Press who were launching a new book. The gathering was a very congenial affair made all the better by the excellent meal put on by the Bolton.

Sixteen of our members hosted the publisher, writer, descendants of ships captain, Henry Rose (about whom the book was written) and eight other invitees made up mainly of ex New Zealand Shipping Company sea-going and shore staff.

We were pleased to greet Helen Glyde who, apart from being a direct descendant of Captain Rose, is widow of Jim Glyde  who was Warden of the Wellington Branch some 15 years ago. Shortly after that time Jim and Helen moved to live in Hamilton and sadly Jim passed away in March last year.

On welcoming all to the meeting, Eric took the opportunity to say a few words of congratulation and present Nic Campbell with his Certificate of  Life Membership. This honour was decided at the AGM of the Company last week.

Nic has been a stalwart member of the Branch for many years and has committed a lot of his time to the production of “On Deck”. Well deserved applause followed.

At the end of the meal and after Carol Dawber (publisher) had introduced herself, a very detailed and at times amusing review of “Driven by the Wind” was given by John Brown. 

In the opening sentence of the book there is reference to Mompox where Captain Henry was born. Mompox (pronounced Mompos) is way way up the Magdalena River in Columbia. It is difficult to find even on a modern atlas but someone ( Julian Lillico ?) at the back of the room voiced that he had heard that it was a good run ashore!

The book is well worth reading in recounting the life story of a successful Master Mariner who at one time in his career was Chairman of the Wellington Harbour Board. If you decide you don’t want a copy go to your local library and they will get a copy in.

Attached are photo’s taken at the meeting.

Ken Watt

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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

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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


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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


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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.

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