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.

January disappeared in a blur for several reasons. It has been a busy, yet productive start to the year. It is not only the pandemic that has challenged us though. None of us in the UK really knew what was likely to happen post Brexit until it actually happened. Things are now becoming clearer and it is apparent that MCA coding examiners with charter boats under 24 metres in The Mediterranean are having to handle and digest some difficult news. Although hard facts are still not easy to obtain, it has emerged that the Croatian government has decided British flagged vessels under 24 metres will be prevented from operating unless they change to an EU member state flag. That is not straightforward and will result in an inevitable loss of business to some of our members. With great support and huge efforts from IIMS President, Geoff Waddington, we have managed to solicit a response to our question from a senior UK government minister. But his reply did not bring with it especially encouraging news. There have also been unsubstantiated reports of the French authorities looking to obtain VAT from British flagged vessels moored in the Antibes areas. Geoff and I will continue to ask questions whenever we can, but the outlook remains uncertain and it feels as if the ‘new European order’ is taking shape.

The launch of a new IIMS Professional Qualification in Marine Corrosion has given me great personal satisfaction. The course author, Mike Lewus, has become a friend of the Institute in recent years and the result of our association is this exciting new qualification in a rather dry but essential subject area! The strong initial expression of interest in studying for this qualification has not surprised me. Marine corrosion remains a challenging subject, even for the more experienced marine surveyor. To get a detailed understanding in this complex subject by way of a formal qualification can only enhance a surveyor’s knowledge and understanding of his or her craft.

Our opening online seminars in 2021 have been popular and well attended. James ‘Randy’ Renn lined up the most impressive array of speaking talent for the IIMS US Conference just a couple of weeks ago and was rewarded with over 50 delegates. You can watch the 17 videos we recorded on the Institute’s YouTube channel. Ross Wombwell, British Marine, also drew an audience of around 50 people when he tackled the complex subject of the RCD post Brexit. And only yesterday, our first online Report Writing seminar of the year also attracted 50 delegates for what proved to be a lively and interactive event!

Time now to put the finishing touches to the next edition of the Report Magazine, due to publish on 1 March 2021 – don’t miss it.

Mike Schwarz
Chief Executive Officer

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