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President kicks off Pan-Asian extravaganza

President kicks off Pan-Asian extravaganza

Singapore: The highly anticipated Sea Asia was inaugurated this afternoon by His Excellency President S.R. Nathan of Singapore (pictured). Speaking at the opening ceremony, in front of a room overflowing with the crème-de-la-crème of the Asian maritime world, His Excellency spoke of the growing importance of Asia as the new centre of the maritime world, adding, "I believe that Sea Asia can serve as an invaluable platform for networking and bridging the maritime communities of the world."

The event, which boasts over 854 conference delegates and individual stands grouping more than 250 companies, kicked off with a debate on the importance of the Asian maritime voice. Top representatives from a number of companies including NYK, IMC, PIL and many others spoke of the need for an increase in the maritime spotlight on Asia.

Andreas Sohmen-Pao, managing director of BW Shipping, said, "Asia's voice is disproportionately small," and cited three key issues which Asians should be concerned about - scrapping, manning and the environment. "Complex issues like these need multiple voices," he said rather than being steamrollered such as security was by the US in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Other topics brought up for discussion included the shortage of trained offices, the need for centralization of the Asian Shipowners Forum - a problem likely to be resolved in May with the expected announcement for the establishment of a permanent secretariat.  [02/04/07]