Simulating stuff

COULD you learn to love an oil tanker? That was just one of the questions posed during the London Shipping Law Centre’s annual Cadwallader Lecture, the prelude to three days of shipping-related events at the 2003 London Seatrade convention. And, to the disappointment of Intertanko chairman Peter Swift, the answer was ‘No’ - not even a double-bottomed one.

All in all, the lecture provided a useful primer to areas of shipping outside the lawyer’s direct remit, proving that although everybody in shipping wants the same thing, nobody can agree on how to get it – or even how they will know when they have got it.

To add a truly international element to the event, the lecture was shared with an audience in South Africa via a live satellite link. Those who survived both the subsequent hospitality and the journey to the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands for the Seatrade exhibition proper the next morning were greeted at the entrance to the convention by a somewhat bizarre display of coffee mugs and dry ice, courtesy of the Lloyd’s Register stand. This was just the first of more than 140 exhibitor stands, covering more or less everything anyone in shipping could want to know about.

Stands directly relevant to lawyers included the Admiralty Solicitors group, Hill Dickinson and the London Shipping Law Centre. But, amongst more than 140 stands, there was plenty there to keep everyone happy. Besides investigating ports, equipment providers, registries, class societies, training groups, hangers-on et al, visitors had the chance to drive a tanker, a submarine, a tug or even a Formula 1 racing car, thanks to a number of simulators.

If legal exhibitors were in short supply, it was a different story when it came to conferences. Several conferences were running in tandem with the event, and although there were none specifically devoted to maritime law, delegates could attend presentations on legal claims in the 21st century, a varied and entertaining LMAA session on arbitration covering everything from bunker claims to fraud, a debate on flagging , and a meeting of the Admiralty Solicitors group. To round the week off, the LSLC ran a specialist mediation training and awareness course for shipping and commercial disputes.

The social round may not quite have measured up to Posidonia standards, but it was a promising start to an event which has aspirations to become a regular on the shipping calendar.

Poised for Posidonia

IT may still be five months away but with Athens hosting the Olympic Games this year, it is never too early to start planning for Posidonia. Many think of Posidonia as just an exhibition but these days it’s much more than that. The fun kicks off this year on Friday 4 June with the second Posidonia Cup, a day-long yacht race in Faliron Bay close to Piraeus. Sponsored by Lloyd’s Register, this year’s regatta is expected to attract more than 40 yachts.

The serious stuff begins on Monday 7 June with the official opening of the event and the Posidonia Maritime Policy Forum, a day-long conference held at the Eugenides Foundation Conference Hall. The exhibition itself, the nineteenth of its kind, doesn’t open until Tuesday 8 June and runs until Friday 11. Held at the Piraeus Port Authority’s Akti Maouli Waterfront Exhibition Centre, it is free to everyone involved in the maritime industry although you do need to register in advance. This can be done online at www.posidonia-events.com. In 2002 more than 1,600 exhibitors from 79 different countries packed out the hall and welcomed more than 16,000 visitors so there’s plenty to see if you’re a first-timer.

But before you do anything else, make sure you book your accommodation. With the Olympics in town this year, hotel space will be at an even greater premium than ever so get booked in early if you don’t want to spend Posidonia week in an airless hotel room on Omonia Square (take it from someone who knows). The official travel agent for Posidonia is Afea Travel – www.afea.gr.