MSD successfully established

There were satisfied expressions on the faces of the 1,300 or so participants from all continents and more than 60 exhibitors after three days of MS&D 2009. Their unanimous assessment – the international conference and exhibition on maritime security & defence (MS&D) has established itself successfully in Hamburg.

Bernd Aufderheide, President and CEO of Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH (HMC), feels that this success shows the calculations worked out – “MS&D 2009 was a magnet for the international maritime security and defence experts, as expected. This broad based approach, bringing these subjects together in a conference and exhibition under one roof, is what makes MS&D really stand out. Our concept has worked out just the way we hoped.”
The many years of experience, which HMC has in organising international maritime exhibitions such as SMM, the world’s leading ship building fair, made it easier to organise this new event. MS&D will in future be the key forum in these areas for international navies, governments and industry.

The great success
of MS&D owes much to the 48 high-calibre speakers from senior levels of many navies of the international community of states, the coastguards, police, and international organisations including NATO, the EU and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea – and shipowners and industrial companies. The presentations covered the current “asymmetric threats” to international shipping from piracy and terrorism, and today’s crisis areas, and showed strategies and activities to resolve these problems. Altogether there were speakers from 16 nations, showing the very international nature of the event.
There was unanimous approval by participants for the organiser’s concept of running the conference in two parallel Panels, one on Security and the other on Defence. Participants included 21 navy delegations, and experts concerned with the security of ports and shipping routes, coming from organisations, governments, academia, merchant shipping and industry.
The key issues of the Security Panel were piracy and terrorism, and their impact on world trade and the global economy.

“It is very rare to get so many experts from international navies together at one event as we have here at MS&D,” said the Chairman, Vice Admiral (ret.) Lutz Feldt, who was Chief of Staff at the German Navy until 2006 and is now President of the German Naval Institute – high praise for the organiser Hamburg Messe and the MS&D Media Partner Mönch Publishing, represented by the magazine NAVAL FORCES. Lutz Feldt also noted that the lectures had made it clear that the majority of threats cannot be resolved by military means alone, as agreed by a broad consensus. He also welcomed the attention given by government to MS&D, with the opening by State Secretary Rüdiger Wolf (Defence Ministry) and participation by Dagmar Wöhrl, the Federal Government’s Maritime Coordinator and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics, and by Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Kossendey (Defence Ministry). Dagmar Wöhrl demanded that the international community of states should do more, for example in Somalia, to re-establish stable government structures. That would make it possible to counter crime on the high seas more effectively. She emphasised the importance of tackling the causes of piracy.

Rear Admiral Ulrich Otto, Chairman of the Defence Panel, focused on local crisis flare-ups and defence measures and stressed the special role of MS&D for international cooperation – “MS&D and other events of this nature have an extremely important part to play in cooperation of the navies with one another and with companies of the maritime industry. MS&D has an important function in exchange of information and experience in this context.” He noted that navies had all adapted to the new global situation and the change in their tasks. The main concern nowadays was crisis control, and also humanitarian support and disaster relief. The lectures also showed that new approaches will have to be taken to equipment in future – moving away from large super-ships, and concentrating instead on smaller, more flexible naval units.
Jan Wiedemann, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine NAVAL FORCES, draws positive conclusions: “The MS&D conference was intended to give an overview of today’s conflict centres and the countermeasures taken, and also to close existing gaps and to propose suitable measures to eliminate them. And MS&D has completely met these expectations.” He felt that the mix of lecture subjects, the international character of the event, and the balance between operating subjects and technical solutions from industry, had got across very well. Some 50% of the presentations were made by speakers from industry.

Participants confirmed Jan Wiedemann’s view. Thus Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad, Naval Chief of the Royal Swedish Navy, felt that the subject mix of the conference programme was very “fruitful”, and that the conference had covered all the areas that are important for today.
Vice Admiral José Ernesto Cueto, General Inspector of the Navy of Peru, was particularly interested in Defence subjects. He felt that MS&D gave a good overview of new developments in defence technology. That was important for the Navy of Peru, being responsible for a long coastline, which is hard to protect.
Rear Admiral Jorge Luis Gross Albornoz, Chief of Naval Operations Ecuadorian Navy, attached particular importance to the twin-track approach of this event with the conference and the exhibition, giving a good overview of the most advanced surveillance, security and defence technologies available today.