IIMS India Branch Silver Jubilee Conference report

An unusually wet October day in the bustling city of Mumbai, India experienced an unusually large gathering of the representatives from Marine Surveying Companies, P&I Clubs, Correspondents, Vessel Owners, Agents and Equipment Manufacturers. It was the 5th of October 2016 at the Majestic Ballroom of ‘The Lalit’ Hotel near the new swanky T2 terminal of Mumbai’s International Airport.

A sequel to the Silver Jubilee Conference of the IIMS London HQ, the Indian arm of the prestigious Institute decided to ‘up’ the antenna by bringing together the strength of the Marine Surveying Community and affiliated businesses under one roof, for a daylong Conference & Exhibition followed by the 1st edition of IIMS Awards for the Indian Chapter and a Networking evening for the attendees.

Mike Schwarz (CEO, IIMS UK) welcomed the guests, read out the messages from the other senior members from the HQ and threw the floor open to the speakers, who collectively presented 12 crisp papers, which were highly knowledge oriented, stayed true to the theme of the event and most importantly, engaged the audience and stuck to the timetable.

Milind Tambe, the Regional Director of IIMS India who signed off on that day by handing over the baton to Pervez Kaikobad, the now RD of the Indian Chapter recalls the very first conversation with Capt. Purnendu Shorey and Capt. Anupam Raizada of ‘Offing Group Private Limited’ who conceptualised and provided turn key management for the event.

With autonomous ships being (or at least supposed to being) a reality in the near future and the advent of cutting edge technology being introduced as tools for the use by Marine Surveyors – this was an opportunity to stress upon the need for ‘change’ in the mindsets of the Marine Surveyors and a chance to get the next gen introduced to what they can expect in the future Capt. Purnendu Shorey, the Co-founder of Offing chose to helm and facilitate the conference himself – ‘At the beginning of the day, I too am a Marine Surveyor and a proud Member of the IIMS. We know our business best and if we don’t put up a show ourselves, the essence can get diluted and that would be a pity’ asserted Capt. Shorey. He also presented the Ice Breaking session which set the tone for the day.

Capt. Ruchin Dayal of eDOT Solutions took the audience on a journey of ‘what’s new’ with regards to the regulations of loading and testing of Iron Ore fines. An eye opener and a well-researched paper, to say the least.

In an Industry that is largely dominated by the male species – Ms. Swati Jadav of Sure Safety, stormed the floor with a smile on her face and a package of information on the Inventory of Hazardous Material for Ships. The Surveying Companies welcomed the information and also the opportunity that this stream offered – with nearly 60,000 vessels having to have an IHM done in the future!

Conrad Gordon from the Dubai office of Maritime Mutual Insurance Association (NZ) Limited, who were also the Gold Sponsors for the event – took the opportunity to educate the delegates about the strengths of the club, the services on offer and the presence of their correspondents in India.

Cargo Claims are always an area of great concern for all stakeholders of the business – Capt. Amol Deshmukh of Aeghiscorp Maritime Ventures LLP threw light on the swords and shields of this aspect of the business.

Akshay Jain from Vedam Ship Design & Consultancy followed up with a ‘to-date’ review and the futuristic solutions of the most talked about topic of today’s times – Ballast Water Management.

And just before the delegates were treated to a wholesome lunch and a tour of the exhibits, Mandeep Pruthi of Adonia Design Engineering & Consulting LLP shared his experience and views on the role of a Marine Warranty Surveyor.

The exhibition area engaged the delegates with booths from equipment manufacturers such as Eastwest Engineering who showcased the latest models of Cygnus Instruments, a booth of by Vedam, the exhibits of IIMS publications and financial solutions by Kotak Mahindra Bank.

There was a special area dedicated to something from the heart – Offing used the platform to voluntarily collect nutrition essentials for the lovely children who are undergoing treatment at the paediatric oncology department of the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Mumbai. It was heart-warming to see the delegates take interest in this selfless act of humanity.

What happens to be the most challenging session of the day (post lunch) was turned to one of the most thrilling sessions – Dr. Phil Thompson and Mark Wilson of BMT Group, took up this challenge and presented a recreated simulation of a collision with the use of the visually enthralling, high fidelity REMBRANDT portable simulator. This presentation was indeed futuristic and sowed the seeds of the possibility of the use of simulation for incident/accident investigation.

Mike Schwarz was next – who shared updates on the current and futuristic educational possibilities for surveyors and of course the need to constantly ‘sharpen the axe’ and to remain current in the market place.

Cygnus Instrument Ltd was represented by Ribu Kurien, who shared the features of the latest Ultrasonic Hatch Cover Testing equipment.

Having one of the largest P&I Clubs speak at an Indian Conference was welcomed. Capt. Hari Subramaniam, Loss Prevention Manager from the Singapore branch of Ship Owners Club shared his and the club’s views on the outlook of P&I surveying.
Senior members of the IIMS, Capt. Mukesh Gautama of Wilson Surveyors & T.S. Shrinivaasan of Mar-tech Surveyors wound up the technical presentations with their papers on empanelment as an IRDAI Surveyor and Human Values & Personal Discipline in Marine Surveying respectively.

It was now time to introduce the audience to the esteemed members of the Honorary Awards Panel which included Industry stalwarts such as Mr. S.Hajara, Capt. S.S. Naphade & Mr. Sanjeev Bhandari.

With self and peer nominations that were analysed by the Awards Panel for a period of 30 days prior to the event – The next 30 minutes were dedicated towards celebrating the success of the winners of the below categories of awards:
1) Excellence in Technological Advancement – eDOT Solutions
2) Most Courteous Surveyor – Capt. Kapil Dev Bahl
3) Survey Company with Best CSR Initiative – Wilson Surveyors & Adjusters Pvt Ltd
4) Longest Serving Surveyor – T.S.Shrinivaasan
5) Most promising upcoming surveyor – Capt. Ruchin Dayal
6) Best Speaker at the conference – Akshay Jain

The evening would not have been complete without the felicitation of:
1) A.W.J (Tony) Fernandez for his ‘Outstanding Contribution & Dedicated Service to the Surveying Industry”.
2) Mrs. Jan Cox from the UK HQ for her exemplary service of yeas to the IIMS in her role of as Membership Secretary.

Pervez Kaikobad, the now Regional Director of IIMS India gave a vote of thanks to all the attendees and sponsors.

A long and thrilling day needed some unwinding and this was provided by a networking cocktails at the venue. The crowd of nearly 100 delegates was cheerful right till the end and it was a pleasure to get some instant feedback from them.

The IIMS Committee which saw a new lead in the chair on the next day, with T.S.Shrinivaasan taking over as the Chairman of IIMS India proudly looked back at the previous day, vowed to grow the members of the fraternity and return with a bang, for the next event!

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