At the top of their game – the latest recipients of Chartered Master Mariner status

27 September 2019

Six senior maritime professionals marked the pinnacle of their professional careers in September 2019 by receiving Chartered Master Mariner status from the Honourable Company of Master Mariners. Helen Kelly reports

The annual Chartered Master Mariner (CMMar) presentation ceremony was once again held this year onboard the HQS Wellington, the home of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM) moored alongside London's Temple Stairs on the River Thames.

Over 100 people gathered on the Wellington's quarterdeck to mark the occasion, including friends, family and supporting maritime professionals. Awardees travelled from as far away as Singapore and South Africa for the ceremony, which was the first in the award's three-year history in which non-British residents were recognised – although awardees were all British citizens.

The six CMMar recipients this year were: Captain Scott Baker; Captain Allen Brink; Commander Gareth Jenkins; Captain John Lloyd; Captain Mike Meade; and Captain Michael Rowland.

Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, the chairman of the CMMar Registration Authority, gave the official greeting, in which he acknowledged that the Chartership scheme's inception comes at a time when there is accelerating change in the maritime profession due to economic and technological developments.

'This makes it all the more important to ensure that, within the ranks of senior Merchant Navy officers and their military equivalents, there is a new mechanism to recognise personal professional excellence in those who go beyond just the achievement of the necessary certificates of competence,' Admiral Essenhigh said.

'More importantly, we need to encourage those who achieve Chartership to commit to auditable, continuous, personal, professional development and to demonstrate their ongoing involvement in the training and mentoring of other officers to follow in their footsteps.

'In an era when the impact of new technologies on ships and maritime operations risks marginalising the role of the professional seaman, I see the Chartered Master Mariner scheme as an international bulwark against erosion of our traditional skills and values which are so often, in the last resort, vital.'

The Chartership

The CMMar was devised by the HCMM – with input from other professional bodies such as Nautilus International – to be a marque of excellence like that held by Chartered Accountants and Chartered Surveyors. It is the highest standard awarded in terms of professional and technical achievement.

The CMMar is awarded to maritime professionals who have risen beyond prescribed qualifications and can prove exceptional performance alongside individual contributions to the industry, including charitable and other not-for-profit work, such as mentoring and skill-sharing.

There is a rigorous six-stage application process that is conducted on a quarterly cycle culminating in the annual award ceremony. Initial application is made to the Nautical Institute (NI) for objective evaluation. It is at this stage that most applications are rejected or returned for further information.

Successful applications will be forwarded to stage two for consideration by the NI's Verifications Committee.

In an era when the impact of new technologies on ships and maritime operations risks marginalising the role of the professional seaman, I see the Chartered Master Mariner scheme as an international bulwark against erosion of our traditional skills and values Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh

Next is a Professional Review Interview (PRI) by the Registration Authority (RA), which provides governance and oversight of the project. The RA will verify the application and conduct interviews, which are either in London or via live video conferencing.

Applicants who make it through are passed to the Court of HCMM for approval.

Those awarded Chartered status will have shown exceptional capability over a wide range of disciplines, marking them out as self-motivated individuals who have made a significant contribution to society.

Awardees must undergo an annual re-validation process to ensure that they are engaged in continuous improvements and are giving back to the maritime community. Those that rest on their laurels can be struck off – although to date no recipient has suffered this ignominy.

World class

A total of 30 maritime professionals have now received CMMar status, with 22 of those present on the Wellington for the September 2019 event.

Guests were treated to one of HCMM's famous curry lunches served in the Court Room below decks, where they enjoyed a cold starter of poppadoms with tomato chilli relish, cucumber mint raita and mango chutney, followed by a selection of chicken, lamb and vegetable curries.

Guests retired to the Wardroom following lunch for more networking, where the atmosphere was convivial among awardees and their supporters.

In July a new CMMar crest was issued that encompasses all the qualities of the scheme. King Neptune represents the worldwide seafaring community; an anchor represents the connection to the ocean; an open book represents a CMMar's professional eminence; a nautical globe represents the navigational experience and skill of Masters; and Britannia represents the British Isles and where the CMMar started. It also highlights the drive for greater female representation within the maritime profession.

The next steps for the CMMar scheme are to achieve a wider geographical reach and greater gender diversification. There is currently only one female CMMar out of 30. The Registration Authority plans to promote the scheme in targeted regions in a controlled roll-out from the end of this year.