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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