IIMS UAE Branch 5th Biennial Conference report

Around 75 delegates from the surveying and wider maritime sector gathered at the well appointed Sheraton Jumeriah Beach Resort in Dubai on Monday 27 November for the one day UAE Branch Conference, the fifth Conference since the formation of the branch nearly 10 years ago.

The event was opened by Peter Valles, Chairman of the UAE Branch. He thanked the speakers and the sponsors for their generous support. He introduced a short video, recorded by Adam Brancher, IIMS President, who was unable to be at the event in person. All presentations were short sharp as each speaker had only 20 minutes to make his point.

First to speak was IIMS CEO, Mike Schwarz, who in his short presentation tackled the subject ‘The relevance of IIMS in the 21st century and how marine insurers can get the most from Institute members’. In particular he spoke of the need for surveyors to stick to their area of specialism and competence; and he reminded those requiring the services of a surveyor to use reputable sources only and to choose those who are members of a professional organisation only.

The next speaker to be introduced was Carl Durow from the London P&I Club, someone who is well known at these events having spoken several times before. He talked on ‘P & I Ship Inspection Surveys – What are The Club’s Looking For?’

Omar Omar, another well known speaker from Al Tamimi & Company, based in UAE, talked about logistics and cargo claims for left behind cargo in ports. His knowledge on this subject was invaluable be laboured the importance of understanding how the local jurisdiction works.

Dr Phil Thompson tackled the topic entitled innovative and rapid 3D visualisation and collision simulation technology – riding the wave of the digital evidence revolution, a presentation he had given recently at the IIMS London Conference. He shocked delegates with some of the real bridge commentary that led to a collision.

Jack Hatcher from Hill Dickinson specialises in shipping, advising on both wet and dry matters for vessel owners, P&I clubs, hull underwriters, salvors, charterers, brokers and ports. In his talk, Jack tackled the subject of casualty investigation in the modern electronic era: “Thinking Outside the Box”.

Next to the podium was Capt John Noble, a Fellow of both the Nautical Institute and IIMS; and another very familiar face. His presentation topic? ‘Introducing Antigua and Barbuda, Yacht and Maritime registry – advantages of flying a white listed flag’. John brought his many years’ experience to bear on an interesting topic covering the difference between white, grey and black labelled flags.

Professor Christopher Abraham spoke both eloquently and knowledgeably about the disruptive changes that are already impacting on the lives of surveyors (and all other professions too for that matter) and warned that the pace of disruptive change is certain to increase further in the coming years. He introduced the audience to the concept of VUCA, an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations.

Vijay Ramachandran gave a thorough presentation on the role of surveyors in loss minimization and claim handling.

Tony Fernandez, another distinguished senior surveyor from India and IIMS Fellow took to the stage and delivered his presentation with aplomb. His subject? Striving towards impartiality as Marine Surveying Professionals – (Concepts, Cases, Concerns and Challenges). Tony kept the audience totally onside using his powerful address and pertinent content for which he is renowned for by many.

Yaman Al Hawamdeh, a Partner in HFW’s Dubai office locally, presented on berth and Fender Damage Claims – a Middle East Perspective. Seemingly a rather innocuous subject, it soon became apparent at the sheer scale of damage and accidents that are reported and caused by this method.

Henrik Uth was the final speaker. His subject? ‘Uber Surveyors – Breaking the Stereotype’. Henrik’s company has been pioneering a platform to promote competent surveyors to P&I Clubs using an inbuilt algorithim to grade them. The platform, which is free for users to access, carries a fee from participating surveyors.

After the Conference, delegates and guests headed out for a reception and dinner on the lawns of the hotel. Just prior to dinner, a lifetime achievement award was presented to Capt Antia by Daniel Vikstrom from main event sponsors, Inchcape.

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