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European Maritime Week Starts To Take Shape

An inaugural Steering Committee meeting has taken place to start making plans for Poole to host the internationally important European Maritime Week in 2017. 

The event, planned from 15 to 21 May, centres around a two-day Maritime Conference that brings together experts and stakeholders from all different maritime sectors including shipbuilding, shipping, ports, fisheries, offshore energy, environment, tourism and heritage to address the major challenges they face.  Economic growth, climate change, sustainable energy and environmental pressures on the coasts and seas are all topical issues that may be raised. 

The Steering Committee included senior representatives from Borough of Poole, RNLI, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, British Marine Federation, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Bournemouth University and Bournemouth and Poole College.

Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, who helped secure the bid and who presented an overview of the event to the Committee, explained how acting as hosts promises to boost the town’s position amongst the maritime community across Europe.  

"It is an opportunity for us to showcase what we have here in Poole. We have businesses that are leaders in marine technology, high quality training and educational facilities, world class boat building, an internationally acclaimed lifeboat training college and, to cap it all, an environment of outstanding natural beauty."

The Committee discussed the importance of having key outcomes from the event for Poole and its residents that would provide a lasting legacy. It agreed that economic vibrancy, attracting inward investment and providing high quality training and jobs associated with marine industries would be a real measurement of success.   

Members also agreed that the events, attractions and activities likely to complement the two-day Conference, should be on a level and scale to last across the whole week and draw visitors from far and wide, therefore the event would be referred to as European Maritime Week. 

The main outcome from the meeting was to request to the European Commission that Poole pursues the theme associated with maritime security. Jim Stewart, Chief Executive of Poole Harbour Commissioners and elected Chair of the Committee explained: "With the number of businesses we have here in Poole, as well as nationwide, who are on the cutting edge of innovation in maritime surveillance and security systems, and with the global leadership the Royal Navy provides in protecting coasts and seas worldwide, it would be totally relevant to have this conference theme in Poole."