President’s Report to the 2022 AGM
Members of The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (Australian Division) Inc. (RINA), I welcome you to the 2022 Annual General Meeting. I would like to thank all members for their ongoing support for the Australian Division and it is my pleasure to provide you with an overview of the highlights of the last year of operations and touch on future direction and activities.
The last year, while having its fair share of ongoing COVID related disruption has been another successful year for the Division focusing on our key mission:
‘the improvement of ships and all that specially appertains to them, and the arrangement of periodical meetings for the purpose of discussing practical and scientific subjects bearing upon the design and construction of ships and their means of propulsion, and that relates thereto’.
The mechanism for the Division to achieve this mission is through the conduct of our section technical meetings and the publication of our quarterly journal The Australian Naval Architect (ANA).
It is pleasing to see that despite COVID our Sections have maintained the drumbeat of delivery of high quality technical presentations with the delivery through video conferencing technology serving to enhance the ability of members from all parts of Australia to partake in each section’s meetings. It is anticipated that this delivery mechanism will continue to be a highlight of the Institute’s activities in the post COVID world.
The move to conduct Section technical meetings and Division Council meetings by video conference has its down side, a key one being the lack of real face-to-face communications with friends and colleagues and the reduced ability to meet new contacts through social interaction as was a factor of the original meeting formats. In a post COVID environment (when that does eventuate), each section will need to consider its own circumstances and memberships desires regarding reversion to a more traditional meeting format noting however that this should still utilise video conference delivery for those members state and nation wide that may wish to participate. On that note, I did read with envy the description of the NSW SMIX bash in February’s ANA. Now that we Queenslanders have been released from our COVID detention I for one plan to make the most of this year’s bash.
Despite the move to new technologies for the conduct of meetings and delivery of technical presentations, the successful delivery requires the time and effort provided by the members of each section’s council. I understand the additional burden that Section Committee and Council membership places on the individuals and their families and I thank them wholeheartedly for their commitment and dedication. With respect to the development and publication of the ANA, all thanks go to the diligent efforts of our Editor’s John Jeremy and Phil Helmore. Each of the four editions this year have been exceptional in coverage and content. I believe that the ANA as a regional specific publication provides exceptional value for our membership that cannot be attained through the more generic international RINA publications.
Our organisation achieves its mission through our members and for the organisation to have appropriate presence and standing within the Australian maritime domain, we have to build a strong sustainable membership base. To that end, it is very encouraging to have seen our membership numbers grow by 131 to reach 863 this year. I would however ask all our members to reach out to any practicing naval architects or maritime engineers who are not currently members and encourage them to join the fold.
This brings me to the key challenge that faces our profession, which is one of clarity of identity and enhancing our reputation within the maritime domain. The Council has commenced a review of the perception of the roles and responsibilities of naval architects in the Australian maritime domain with a view to increasing industries understanding and our member’s future prospects. In a similar vein we continue to work with Engineers Australia to achieve the appropriate recognition of the profession and thereby assist with some of the functions that impact our members.
The Divisions financial position remains strong, but expected to be reinforced through the anticipated income generated through the IMC 2022 International Maritime Conference to be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney from 10 to 12 May 2022, having been postponed from the original date of October 2021 due to COVID. The conference, organised by RINA with our partner organisations, provides further opportunity to bolster the Institution’s mission through presentations and discussions of the latest developments in maritime technology across defence and commercial shipping.
Another victim of COVID was the Australian Oil and Gas (AOG) Expo in Perth, at which our WA Section has organised a “knowledge forum” seminar in previous years.
The formal recognition of the Division status as a charity/not-for-profit organisation through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) will also assist the organisations financial position going forward. A big thanks to our Secretary and Treasurer for doggedly progressing this activity.
Unfortunately, the 2021 Walter Atkinson Award was not presented this year, this in part being another COVID related outcome with the lack of conferences venues for our membership to present papers at. Despite this there have been some highly commendable articles presented in the ANA this year of which the following are noteworthy examples:
“AGM Michell and the Tilting-pad Thrust Bearing” by Stephen Phillip; and
“Commemorating the loss of HMAS Perth (1)” by Michael Bailey & David Nicholson.
I anticipate that this will change with the conduct of the re-scheduled IMC 2022 this year.
That brings me to the end of my report to the AGM however I wish to sincerely thank the members of the Division Council for their time, their contributions and their professionalism that have steered us through another successful year for the Australian Division of RINA.
My term as your Division President ends at the conclusion of this AGM and I have informed the Division Council that I will not be available for re-election. I would like to thank Violeta Gabrovska for her support as Vice President through my Presidency.
Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations to Jim Black on his election by Division Council as my successor and wish him similar strong support to that I have enjoyed.