At the southwestern extremity of the continent of Africa is the where two oceans meet. Atlantic and Indian Ocean waters combine and mix with complex weather patterns to create violent storms, high winds and other extremes. Originally named the “Cape of Storms”, this particularly beautiful outcrop of land is now known by the much more positive tag “Cape of Good Hope”. It is said that when mariners found food and shelter at the Cape, the name was changed to bring hope to others who would pass the same way.
“Good hope” is a good alternative theme for day two of the conference. Yesterday we heard there was a glimmer of positivity in parts of the hull market and today, the same was said about the offshore energy sector. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Day two and the enthusiasm is still electric in Cape Town. Last night was a chance to catch-up informally with friends and colleagues before settling down to the serious stuff planned for today. Making decisions early in the morning is not easy for most of us, but we had to decide whether to sit in the offshore energy session or the inland hull, fishing and yachts workshop. Whichever we chose, we missed out on something as they were both great sessions. One speaker in the offshore workshop kept us mesmerised with videos of sub-sea structures as big as a house located more than three kilometres beneath the surface and able to withstand pressures of 300 bar – incredible!
Morning coffee was livened up by the breaking news of the Marsh JLT merger or takeover or partnership or whatever it might eventually end up being. Speculation was rife as delegates gave their own opinions on what this might mean for the industry. As the man said, “we live in interesting times”.
Onwards to Helle Hammer’s Policy Forum and a unique insight into the impact of trade wars on shipping. Even with an expert giving his opinions on what the future might hold for maritime, we were left with the only certainty that the current situation would bring was continuing uncertainty.
Faced with another hard decision on the choice of afternoon workshop, delegates split to join the cargo or the legal and liability session. Those who opted for legal and liability heard a superb discussion on casualty response in African waters. Captain Nick Sloane gave his third presentation of the conference (so far!) and treated us to a number of film clips of large ships being blown to pieces off the Cape of Good Hope as part of a wreck removal process – great fun to watch!
While delegates were slaving away, those partners lucky enough to be in Cape Town were treated to a tour of local vineyards and wineries. We see that the conference programme finishes just in time to allow delegates to help their partners off the bus and back into the hotel (hic!).
Most of us go our separate ways this evening, many to sample (again) the delights of this stunning city. Tomorrow we gather once more for the final instalment of IUMI 2018.