ETA 54th Annual Meeting became another milestone for the Association. More than 160 delegates and guests attended the annual event, making this edition one of the biggest in the history of the European Tugowners Association.

During the three days, both the Executive Committee and the Annual General Meeting delegates discussed crucial issues for ETA. The main outcome of these debates was the replacement of Mario Mizzi as Chairman of ETA by Leendert Muller. Mr. Muller will be the head of the Association for the next 2 years; he shall have the assistance of Kimmo Lehto as ETA´s new Deputy Chairman.

The Annual General Meeting attendants could also welcome the new ETA member delegates representing Adria Tow, Rimorchiatori Laziali and Vassiliko Terminal Services, which with Dublin Port have made the ETA membership reach the record number of 84 full members in 24 countries. Moreover, 9 new associated members joined ETA(Robert Allan, Wartsila, Pikasoma, ACL, Caterpillar Marine, Logic Vision, Lankhorst Ropes, DMT and Pont Cat). These new adhesions expand the membership not only in numbers but also in sectors including shipyards, marine supplies or shipbrokers. At the moment,32 companies have joined ETA as associate members.

The Annual General Meeting was followed by the ETA Conference “Safety is our Business” which brought together EU policy makers, a representative of the Italian Coast Guard and ETA´s associate members specialists who presented the newest technical developments in the towage sector.

The Conference was opened by Ben Harris Head of Claims, London Branch at the Shipowners´ Club and Adrian Mundin, Secretary General of the British Tugowners Association who gave a snapshot of the towage industry in 2016.

Remi Mayet, Deputy Head of Unit, Ports and Inland Navigation, EU Commission presented the EU-led last initiatives affecting the maritime transport sector. Among these, Mr. Mayet focused on the decarbonization efforts implemented by the Union in cooperation with IMO and the EU actions to increase the efficiency of the sector by using digital technologies. Finally, he invited ETA to join the new European Ports Forum expert group, which among other tasks, it shall assist the Member States and the EU Commission in the implementation of the Ports Services Regulation.

Captain Vittorio Pagotto, Head of Operations Office, Italian Coast Guard, described the heroic efforts carried out by the Guardia Costiera to improve the maritime safety in the Central Mediterranean and save the lives of the hundreds of migrants who try to cross it every day.

Markku Mylly EMSA Director General gave a keynote speech on the different actions and projects developed at the EU level to improve maritime safety. Among other issues, he focused on the Agency ´s project to set up a common EU coast guard. This presentation was complemented by his EMSA colleague, Frédéric Hébert – Head of Unit, Pollution Response Services. Mr. Hébert depicted the Agency´s services to Member States in case of environmental catastrophe at sea.

During the afternoon, speakers from our Associate members took the floor to describe the latest developments on tugboat design and towage operations. Carlos Arias, Senior Specialist at Lloyds Register analysed the last IMO approved rules on tugboat stability.

Robert Allan representing Robert Allan Ltd. outlined the main risks affecting tugboats and described the company´s efforts to design tugs with the highest safety standards in the market.

Dirk Degroote (Product Manager, Damen Shipyards Group) explained how the increasing size of ships is affecting tug designing and what it implies in terms of towage operations safety.

Christian Strahberger, Schottel´s Managing Director, presented the work developed by his company in order to increase the safety of boats in the most efficient and effective way.

Finally, Stefan Mueller, MTU Friedrichshafen, illustrated the latest innovations to tackle noise and vibration onboard and how these issues are affecting tugboats crews´ safety and health.

Click on the speaker´s names to download the presentations.

The Annual Meeting was peaked with the Gala Dinner and the Social Day, which this year brought ETA delegates to the impressive Castello di Duino and to Lipica stud farm. As every year, the ETA family could enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and savor the finest Italian gastronomy.

The ETA Secretariat thanks all delegates, guests and speakers for their attendance and active participation in a successful 54th Annual Meeting. On top of that, we want to express our gratitude to all sponsors for their contribution that made possible the organization of our annual event.

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