A message to UKMPA members from outgoing Chairman: Don Cockrill


Don hands over to John Pearn and receives a gift from members to thank him for his work as Chairman

If you were able to attend conference on board HQS Wellington in early November, you will I hope have experienced another excellent event with a broad variety of technical speakers and a fascinating visit to Lloyds as part of the evening reception. The success of the event is of course down to the excellent organisation and coordination by our secretary, Peter Lightfoot, and in no small part to the significant financial support of our many sponsors who enable the delegate costs to be maintained at an attractively affordable level to members.

Had you been at conference you will also be aware that on behalf of the UKMPA membership I was presented with a magnificent gift in the form of an inscribed decanter and glasses with an appropriate libation to put in it and enjoy. Thank you all, it will whenever I use it remind me of five terrific years of serving our highly respected Association as your chairman.

I had intended saying a few words as I handed over to John but, despite my preparation, found I was lost for words – something which those who know me (and who were not there) will probably find hard to believe!

When I agreed to take over the role in 2010 I was determined to try and raise the professional respect and profile of the UKMPA within all areas of the UK ports and shipping industries and government departments and to continue to re-establish our position in the international fora of IMPA and EMPA. I am not going to go over all the milestones we (it’s a team effort of you, the members and your executive committee) have achieved in the interim but suffice to say I think it is fair to reflect that most of those aspirations for the Association have been achieved despite some significant challenges along the way.

However, it is imperative for the maintenance of public navigational safety (and commercial efficiency) within our ports that this momentum is maintained and not allowed to falter. With the enhancement of our role within the maritime community comes a significant additional workload. It has been very clear to your committee for the last ten years that an organisation such as ours cannot be effective by relying entirely on the voluntary efforts of individuals alone. As we have all seen on board ships, the manning levels within pilotage departments of UK ports have also had to adapt to economic pressures (whilst hopefully maintaining standards). Inevitably, the increased duty obligations impact on individual’s available free-time and roster flexibilities that enable the chairman and committee members to attend all the meetings, seminars, conferences and functions which are a standard part of any effective organisation today. Thus having stepped down as chairman, I have taken on the role of Secretary General – in a voluntary capacity – to work with John in supporting him by attending certain meetings, etc., on his behalf where appropriate (and also standing in for committee members as necessary). The aim is throughout the coming year to determine what the actual role of
an employed SG will be in the future and what the package for the employment of a SG will demand financially.

Thank you again for your support in my capacity as chairman. Please do continue without hesitation to offer the same fantastic support to John and his team on Section Committee.

Wishing all a safe, healthy and prosperous 2016.

Don Cockrill

Secretary General

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