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Visit to Odessa for 10th Anniversary of the Nautical Institute of Ukraine

On Thursday 7th October Frances, my wife, and I landed in Odessa Airport for our first visit to the Ukraine. The purpose of our visit was to join in the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Nautical Institute of Ukraine. There followed four days and three evenings of visits to stakeholders in the maritime sector, Ukrainian hospitality at its very best and, of course, the conference on the ILO Maritime Labour Convention
2006 - Opinions of All Concerned Parties. We flew from Dublin, where we had a chance to visit our only grandchild, via Vienna to Odessa where we were picked up at the airport by Branch Chairman, Capt. Georgy Zinchenko and Branch Secretary Professor Valdimir Torskiy. They took us to the offices of Anglo Eastern Ukraine where we met Capt Oleg Lukyanchenko. We discussed the current state of the Ukranian shipping industry and the position of Anglo Eastern, after which we had lunch with Capt Lukyanchenko and his colleagues.
Here we experienced, for the first time, wonderful Ukranian hospitality and after lunch we continued into the city to our hotel. A quick unpacking and we were on the move again with our host Vladimir and his wife Larissa to the Philharmonic where we had a chance to admire this beautiful building before enjoying a concert of jazz improvisation on the piano. After the concert we joined Capt Alexander Sagaydak for
a truly wonderful Ukranian feast. Larissa was very helpful in assisting us to choose genuine Ukranian dishes which Frances and I enjoyed hugely. On Friday morning we got down to work and the real purpose of our trip. Georgy picked us up at the hotel and took us to the Odessa National Maritime Academy which was to be the venue for our celebration. I expect that a full report of the conference will appear in Sea Review and I hope also Seaways. For my part I felt that it was a very worthwhile exercise with all attendees benefitting from the opinions expressed by the various parties. It was good to witness the branch contributing to the maritime future of Ukraine. I must complement the assistance given to my wife and me by Oksana and Irina who translated for us during the inference. The 10th Anniversary of the Nautical Institute Institute of the Ukraine was celebrated in style. During our visit we were given a tour of the fine facilities at the academy, met some of the students and had a very pleasant lunch with the Rector, Professor Mykhaylo Miyusov. In the evening we attended the Odessa Music Comedy Theatre, after which we had dinner in a Bulgarian restaurant with Capt. Lukyanchenko. On Saturday morning we were taken by Vladimir and a very able guide Olga on a walking tour of the city. Unfortunately the weather was awful but it did not dampen our enthusiasm for the beauty and elegance of the city. After lunch with Capt.
Mikhail Kudymovskiy we visited the offices of V Ships (Ukraine) where we met the Managing Director Capt.Igor Safin who was about to depart to his gym for a celebration of his 35 years in boxing. We toured the fine training facilities which V.Ships possess and were grateful to everyone who gave up part of their Saturday to show us around. Saturday evening saw us at the truly stunning Opera House enjoying a Ukrainian opera. This was followed by another Ukrainian feast with Vladimir, Larissa, Georgy and his daughter . Sunday morning dawned fine and clear. Frances and I made good use of the couple of hours we had before departure to walk around the city marvelling in its spacious streets, avenues and parks and delighting in its beautiful buildings. Alexander and Vladimir took us to the airport. Our visit to Odessa was over. I left with several emotions. I really enjoyed my visit to Odessa. I enjoyed meeting so many members and was very grateful for and overwhelmed by the unstinting hospitality of my hosts. I was disappointed that our visit was so short and decided that we must come back, perhaps as tourists. I was hugely impressed with the professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication of the committee and members of the Nautical Institute of the Ukraine. I am sure that it has an outstanding future and wish it fair winds.

President NI, captain James Robinson, FNI

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