Report on the IIMS Baltimore 2020 Conference

Capt Bill Weyant and Bob Kissinger discussing surveyor ethics
Capt Bill Weyant and Bob Kissinger discussing surveyor ethics

Held in Baltimore during late January, the Maritime Institute (MITAGS) once again played host to IIMS for its annual conference visit to the US. The conference has grown in popularity and this one, the first marine surveying conference of the new decade, was the largest so far attracting forty plus delegates, most of whom joined in a real time capacity.

James Renn FIIMS had arranged a first class line up of speakers who presented on a wide range of topics, much appreciated by those who participated.

Having welcomed delegates, James handed over to Mike Schwarz, IIMS CEO, who gave an overview of the main activities of the Institute. He gave way to Van Macomb, who delivered a succinct presentation on surface coatings for non-skid surfaces. James came back to the podium to continue the theme as he talked about measuring slip resistance in non-skid surfaces.

Following a break, George Hunter from Coltraco joined the meeting and gave his presentation live from London. In it he introduced the latest developments in ultrasound measurements of storage tanks, fire suppression equipment and the like. Next up, Capt Todd Taylor talked about the not insignificant challenges of carrying out surveys for donation and charitable purposes.
First to speak after lunch was Michael Pinto, something of an expert in the area of mold (US spelling of mould). He delivered a compelling presentation and left those present in no doubt that mold in the marine environment poses a health threat. IIMS has invited Michael to write a more detailed article on this topic, which will appear in the March Report Magazine.

New technology was an ever-present theme during the Conference, none more so than the presentation and live demonstration by Bartosz Dagnowski, the man who invented and patented laser cleaning. Those who witnessed the live demonstration were astonished at the ease which items could be easily laser cleaned. This technology could have many practical uses in the marine sector.
Capt Bill Ackley brought the first day to a close when he reminded everyone of the danger they face each and every day in the course of their work. Bill spoke about the practices and regulations for safety in the workplace.

Day two dawned on an upbeat note. Mike Schwarz gave a short presentation on the progress towards the launch of the Marine Surveying Practitioner accreditation scheme. Dennis David followed him to the stand and picked up the mold topic from the previous day when he spoke about the tools available to detect mold, both visible and invisible.

Capt Bill Weyant and Bob Kissinger tackled the thorny subject of ethical standards for surveyors. In a double handed presentation, which include a bit of role play, they presented ten scenarios in a ‘good cop bad cop’ style. It served as a reminder to all present to take their ethical responsibilities seriously.

Following a break, the audience were treated to a video of Ian Nicolson, filmed in Scotland in 2019, talking about his experiences as a surveyor over the past 75 years. Following on came James Sweeney, who kept the theme of environmental health issues in the spotlight. His topic was an overview of bio security and infection control. He finished his slot with a live demo to demonstration the power of using filters to protect the environment.

Former US Coastguard, George Zeitler, shared his extensive knowledge on the subject of environmental surveys, running delegates through some of the MARPOL regulations relevant in this area.
After a wonderful visit to the ship simulator on campus, one of the finest of its kind in the world, Todd Lochner opened the final afternoon session. A forthright Attorney, specialising in maritime law, Todd expressed some strong and valuable opinions. The aim of his talk was to remind surveyors of who they (and their reports) are responsible to. Conference was brought to a close by the enigmatic Capt Lloyd Griffin. The title of his presentation was, “What we see and cannot believe – you just can’t make this up. In a fast-flowing presentation, Lloyd presented a number of photos showing non-compliance and explained the consequences of them, many of which were potentially lethal and likely to lead to injury. A compelling presentation, it acted as a reminder to all surveyors to be vigilant and to report accurately and factually.

James Renn said, “I am grateful to those who spoke and who were prepared to share their knowledge with us all for the greater good. That so many of you have travelled so far to be a part of the IIMS Baltimore Conference is truly heart-warming and I thank you all.”

Mike Schwarz commented, “It is always a pleasure to be present to support James in Baltimore. This was an exceptional Conference, well-staged and showcasing some great speakers and superb content.”

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