The British Tugowners Association (BTA) hosted its 77th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference at Dalmahoy in Edinburgh on April 19/20. The day offered excellent networking opportunity for the senior representatives from the tug industry to interact with one another and our guests from the maritime world and was followed by a Golf tournament on Friday. At the AGM, Mr Tom Woolley from Targe Towing Ltd was appointed as the Chairman and Mr Marc Niederer from Svitzer Marine UK Ltd as the Vice Chairman for year 2012-2013. Mr Steve Jellis was re-appointed as the President of the Association for the year 2012-2013.
BTA had invited distinguished speakers from the maritime industry to share their insight on key topics affecting the tug industry – such as salvage, maritime regulatory framework both within EU and THE UK, tug accident analysis and the P&I insurance cover within the specialised tug sector. The presentations were very well received by the delegates and to quote one “there is something in each presentation that I have learned for the first time and will surely take back for an improvement in my day job”. The annual conference was kindly sponsored by – Samson Ropes, Burgess Marine and Damen Shipyards who all also had the opportunity to give various presentations on the services on offer for the tug sector and interestingly, the innovation and design improvements that are currently in the pipeline for the new tugs to be built in future. The Secretary General, Saurabh Sachdeva highlighted the importance of this event and the benefits it offers to both members and non-members to talk freely and openly on key fiscal and policy matters with one another outside of an office environment.
The Chairman opened the conference and outlined the successes achieved over the last year that included; revised proposals for an equivalent accommodation standards for the tugs under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which could have had huge implications for the industry, development of the new training regime and the training record books, consultation following the announcement to withdraw ETVs and the modernisation of Coastguards service, the knock-on effect on the CAST agreement and the follow on engagement with the MCA and the ongoing task to commence collation of statistics to identify the financial contribution the tug sector makes to the UK economy. He further thanked the Secretary for his valuable contributions and commitment to resolve issues with utmost dedication over the last 2 years and wished him well for his future endeavours on behalf of the BTA.
He outlined his vision for the year ahead with some key priorities for the BTA to aim and deliver on:
1) New Certification schemes for both deck and the engine sides and ensure progression is on offer for transferability into Merchant Navy certification scheme.
2) Coastguard Agreement on Salvage & Towage (CAST) Agreement: To ensure BTA member interests are fully resolved in the revised CAST agreement.
3) Voluntary Towage Certification Scheme: Assist MCA to draft the new Voluntary Towage Certification Scheme
4) Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB): continue to provide our expertise as and when required by the MAIB to and make recommendations to assist the Tug and workboat sector to improve its safety record.
5) Safety Seminar: continue the highly successful series of safety seminars in order to raise awareness among our peers to make the Tug industry and safety of personnel our top priority,
6) Engage with Ports, Pilots and Harbours and Foster good relationships with Port Authorities and Pilotage association and the media.
7) Port Marine Safety Committee: participate in on the Port Marine Safety Committee.
8) European Tugowners Association: work towards fostering a better and closer working relationship with our counterparts in Europe and provide the BTA with a stronger voice on key issues at European level and share lessons learnt.
9) Lobbying & Statistics: continue our liaison with government Ministers, official and other key stakeholders in order to foster better understanding of the contribution our sector make to the British economy.
10) Fostering closer working relationship with the Ports, Harbour Masters and the Pilots.
Finally, he announced the BTA Tug Personality of the Year Award for Capt. Roger Towner, Registrar General and Head of Seafarers Certification Branch at MCA for his long standing and committed services to the tug industry. Unfortunately, he was unable to join in person but, BTA will get his prize to him on a Tug!