SMM Direct: Report from International Conference on Maritime Security and Defence

Report from International Conference on Maritime Security and Defence

“Integration of MS&D, international conference on maritime security and defence, into SMM, the world’s leading maritime industry fair, was the right step at the right time,” said Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC). This move met with approval from all areas of industry and from the international naval delegations before the start of the conference. The range of subjects was well structured, covering strategic, economic and political issues. That was one of the factors in the success of this streamlined conference with its very focused one-and-a-half day programme.

One of the main reasons for holding MS&D together with SMM was the expansion in range of exhibits for SMM. “The inclusion of MS&D has added a new, attractive, forward-looking area to SMM. It has proven itself straight away, on this first occasion,” said Bern Aufderheide. And Heinz Schulte, Editor-in-Chief DVV Media / Griephan, the partner for the event together with the German Maritime Institute (DMI), agreed with him – “It was a great opportunity that we went alongside MS&D at SMM. We should keep to this policy of holding MS&D on the occasion of SMM.”

With some 250 international participants, MS&D 2012 covered all the key issues in the maritime sector today in three Panels, covering the rapid changes in the maritime environment, the security of the maritime logistic chains, and future maritime capabilities in the technical, strategic and political areas. “The conference far exceeded my expectations in terms of the quality of presentations, the technical expertise, and the lively discussions with very knowledgeable participants,” said MS&D Chairman Hans-Joachim Stricker, Vice Admiral (ret.) of the German Navy and President of the German Maritime Institute (DMI). The new conference concept met with great approval by all participants. “We have a highly interested audience here,” added the second MS&D Chairman Ulrich Otto, Rear Admiral (ret.) and Vice President of DMI.

There were a total of 14 military delegations from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America among the international MS&D participants. Conference visitors were unanimously positive about the “complete package” of MS&D and SMM, with the exhibition practically showing the hardware while the conference presented the software. MS&D participants took the opportunity to exchange ideas on the technical aspects in the direct competitive environment with SMM exhibitors. “MS&D was just the right forum for international networking of industrial companies, navies and academic institutions,” said Vice Admiral Stricker in summary.

The format of the subjects at MS&D 2012 appealed strongly to current thinking in maritime circles. As Vice Admiral Stricker emphasised in his summary of the first Panel, the changes in the maritime environment need to be appreciated much more than in the past by the general public and by politicians. He felt it was important for everyone involved to work together to change that. The new challenges posed by the rise in sea level, changes in the coastlines and in the maritime economic zones call for solutions in legislation,” he added. He felt that one of the key results of the conference was to break through the strict distinction between the tasks of the navies and of other national security organisations on the one hand, and civil organisations dealing with maritime security on the other. “The requirements for com­prehensive security are much more complex today,” said Rear Admiral Otto.

The views of some of the exhibitors in the MS&D thematic areas showed that they felt their presence at SMM was very positive. Lürssen said that the integration of MS&D into SMM 2012 was a major reasons for the company’s participation in this leading maritime industry show, said Jörg Ahrens, Sales Director at the Bremen based Lürssen shipyard, which is one of the leading manufacturers both of naval ships and of large luxury yachts. “We had visits from very important parliamentary representatives, state secretaries and naval delegations right on the first day of SMM,” he said. And the new exhibitors also expressed their satisfaction – for example Sven Fürus, whose company Lex Gabinia exhibited a protective system using NATO razor wire – “We got a very good response”. Daniel Andersen of the Danish security consulting company Citadel Solutions, presenting its programme of security and hijack survival training at SMM, believes the integration of MS&D into SMM is “highly positive”. Norbert Kahl, CEO of the SMM newcomer Kahl Sicherheit Consulting, said “We received very positive feedback. We even had a visit from the Brazilian Navy.

Chairman Stricker was very pleased with the event – “We will continue this successful route, to establish MS&D even better in the minds of the industry.” The next MS&D will be held on the occasion of SMM 2014, shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology international trade fair hamburg, from 9 to 12 September.

Press Release, Septembar 7, 2012