Industry insight: Captain Bob Kitching, Western Maritime Institute
If the rumour is true, by the time this article is published, Captain R.C.E. (Bob) Kitching will have retired…for the second time. As President and Managing Partner of Western Maritime Institute for the past 17 years, and Associate Dean of the BCIT Marine Campus for about 10 years prior to that (and all of this following 30-plus years at ports and terminals throughout Canada), few in the industry have as much knowledge as Bob when it comes to Canada’s marine training regime. So before he follows through on the threat of sailing into retirement, we thought it best to get some of that knowledge down on paper.
BCSN: Tell me about the early days — how’d you get your start in the marine industry?
BK: I started my cadet training in 1955 aboard the training ship HMS Worcester. My first sea-going job was with the British India Steam Navigation Company, part of P&O Group in those days, where I served my apprenticeship stationed in India. I stayed with the company up to 1964, when I sat my Masters Certificate. I was 24 by that time.
After attending the University of Southampton in 1967, I joined a Panamanian tanker company for one tour of nine months. This was the year of the 1967 Arab-Israel War and the ship I was on was one of the last through the canal before it was closed.
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