The Council of Marine Carriers and the organizing committee of the 22nd Tugboat Conference are to be congratulated on presenting such a relevant and engaging three-day event. The conference, held from June 1 – 3 in Whistler, had the right mix of speakers, exhibits and networking sessions to ensure attendees were kept busy and entertained throughout.
Opening with a golf tournament followed by a welcome reception, attendees got the opportunity to relax, catch up with colleagues and settle in before two days of an agenda that gave a holistic look at the current operating environment for the tug industry.
Photo above: Captain Phill Nelson and Leo Stradiotti stand with Joe and Sharon Gosse following presentation of the Legacy Award to Captain Gosse.
Following a welcome from Conference Chair Leo Stradiotti on the first day of sessions, Bart Reynolds, President, Seaspan Marine, gave the keynote speech that focused on “Learning From Other Industries.” He started by highlighting the “things that keep me up at night” — harm to people, harm to assets and equipment, and harm to the environment and followed to demonstrate how improvements over the past 20 years could be attributed to the evolution of safety systems, training, reporting, supervision, communications and job safety analysis as well as advanced safety management systems that allowed for data analysis, accountability, best practices and the sharing of lessons learned.
Four sessions in total were presented over the course of the next two days, providing insight into:
1) The relationship with the wider industry — Robert Lewis-Manning (President, Chamber of Shipping); Ben Thompson (Client Relations Area Manager for Western North America, Lloyd’s Register); and Bob Beadell (President, Invicta Marine) spoke in turn about the trends in both the global and local shipping industry and the effect these trends were having on the tug industry; the Federal Government’s Delegated Statutory Inspection Program and what tug operators could expect in the future from Transport Canada in relation to the program; and the benefit of having a robust safety management system.
2) Expanding the partnership — Captain Kevin Obermeyer (President, Pacific Pilotage Authority) spoke to the changes being implemented to the Waiver System, noting that since the Nathan E. Stewart incident, pilotage rules had been “under the microscope.” Captain Obermeyer was followed by a panel session led by Captain Stephen Brown and featuring Bikram Kanjilal (Trans Mountain Expansion Project), Michael Lowry (Western Canada Marine Response Corporation), Eric Butler (Chevron) and Captain Robin Stewart (BC Coast Pilots Ltd.). Each looked at aspects of safety and how the tug industry plays an integral part in contributing to the spill response regime.
3) Industry support — Mike Phillips (Robert Allan Ltd.) and Ben Harris (London Shipowners Club) discussed first, the design of escort and rescue tugs to meet the future needs of the B.C. coast; and subsequently, liability issues in relation to incidents that involved tugs.
4) The broader horizon — as the last session of the conference, Captain John Veentjer (Marine Exchange of Puget Sound), Yvette Myers (Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security) and Brian Wootton (Canadian Coast Guard) provided a “big picture” look at both national and international initiatives — Veentjer spoke about collaboration between U.S. and Canadian counterparts in addressing issues like vessel traffic management; and both Myers and Wooten looked at the many initiatives that were being planned under the Oceans Protection Plan.
Other activities over the three days included the presentation of the Legacy Award to Captain Joe Gosse (see our tribute to Captain Gosse in the June issue) and a fun-filled evening gala that included dinner, entertainment and casino fun.
The 23rd CMC Tugboat Conference will take place in Victoria in 2019 — watch out for details!