Looking back over a difficult month for world affairs

Geoff Waddington (pictured left) being presented with his President's medal by Paul Homer
Geoff Waddington (pictured left) being presented with his President’s medal by Paul Homer

Rarely am I lost for words, but I have found updating this blog at this time harder to compose than usual. You know full well why this is of course, given the state of the world currently. My colleagues and I have been appalled at the situation developing in Ukraine. The invasion has dominated the marine headlines, as well as the general news, for several weeks now – and rightly so, for it is the only news in town that matters currently.

The immediate threat to shipping and crews was not apparent when the invasion began but is far clearer now. There are many in the Continue reading “Looking back over a difficult month for world affairs”

From shipping catastrophe to Reality TV via defective lifejackets!

Photo credit: The Dubrovnik Times
Photo credit: The Dubrovnik Times

Mike Schwarz casts his eye back over last month’s eventful and eclectic marine news.

Another maritime accident of catastrophic proportions as MV X-Press Pearl sinks
Those who have followed my writing over the years will know my feelings about such events very well. Yes, we all know shipping is a dangerous business, of course. But yet again, here, on the face of it is another example of an accident that could have been prevented according to initial reports. Obviously, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt the outcome of the investigation.

Like many others, I watched in disbelief as this tragedy unfolded before my eyes over a period of two weeks, following the devastating fire Continue reading “From shipping catastrophe to Reality TV via defective lifejackets!”

What caught my eye last month

Is your new bike stuck in the Suez Canal on the Ever Given?
Is your new bike stuck in the Suez Canal on the Ever Given?

There is never a shortage of news stories as far as the shipping and boating world is concerned, many of them bearing bad tidings of more incidents and accidents the have happened at sea. In fact, daily maritime news feeds fill my inbox to capacity. Some of these articles are of great importance and relevance, others rather more frivolous by nature. There is room for both of course.

Sometimes these articles leave room for further thought and require more digging around to really understand what is at stake, often creating more questions than they answer. Anyway, here are three news items from the last month that caught my eye. Continue reading “What caught my eye last month”

Who knows where the time goes?

A new entry to my blog is long overdue. As an aside, the title of this blog –  ‘Who knows where time goes’ – is one of my favourite songs, written by the talented and much missed Sandy Denny, and sung by her when with Fairport Convention, one of my favourite bands. Perhaps that plug will get me a free ticket to a future gig? But although I digress shamelessly, the fact is that one day simply merges into the next due to the pandemic and the current lockdown in the UK, as time slips easily by. With the inability to do much at the moment, a work day in the week is little different to the weekend it seems. Our lives are disrupted and mundane, but for good reason. Let’s hope this pandemic clears through soon. And yes, these are challenging times, not just for many working marine surveyors who are finding it hard to go about their lives as normal, but for many others too. Please stay safe and if you are working at this time, do carry out enhanced risk assessments. Continue reading “Who knows where the time goes?”

The IIMS surveyor network is proving its worth

Strange and positive things can and do happen at times of great adversity it seems. And let’s face it, the world is facing adversity like no other most of us will have seen. I repeatedly hear from small craft surveyors around the world that they have had their busiest ever year. Yes, the rules of survey have changed, but many people in the world have decided this is the perfect time to purchase a boat remarkably. Equally cargo and commercial ship surveyors are reporting that they too are busy. But again, the rules of engagement and survey are different now.

A number of members have informed me that they are Continue reading “The IIMS surveyor network is proving its worth”

With a spate of incidents and accidents what price human life at sea?

Of course, we have always known that the sea can be and is a treacherous place at times; but the past few weeks have seen a spate of distressing incidents and accidents, seemingly occurring on an almost daily frequency and resulting in the loss of life with substantial damage to vessels and cargoes around the world. Before I became involved in my role as CEO of IIMS, I was blissfully unaware of the sheer number of lives lost at sea, as indeed are most members of the general public. The reason for that is simply that most marine accidents, apart from the really major ones, never make the general news agendas. When I tell my friends and family about the tragedies that routinely happen at sea, they are disbelieving.

The personal distress I have felt having seen details of one incident after another dropping into my inbox has compelled me to write a blog Continue reading “With a spate of incidents and accidents what price human life at sea?”

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