Heidmar believes that trust and strong relationships come through hard work and transparency.

Heidmar Marine Forum Hits Another Home Run

March 25, 2014

Don’t tell the CMA, but Heidmar held its own maritime conference in mid-March. And in Stamford too.

The invitation-only Heidmar Marine Forum 2014 took place at the Marriott Hotel. One-hundred and twenty-six esteemed guests came from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia and included representatives from major oil companies, traders, maritime attorneys, the U.S. Coast Guard, SUNY Maritime, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, towing and tug companies, marine consultants, the Seaman’s Church, maritime security companies, the MTI Network and members of Heidmar’s five tanker pools. Heidmar was also very pleased to have Joe Brady of Tradewinds in attendance.


This was the sixth consecutive edition of the Heidmar Marine Forum, although Heidmar conducted the first such event in 2002 in Athens, as well as convening the China Vetting Symposium in Huangshan, China in 2004.

As in previous years, it was highly successful in attracting attendees across the multifarious tanker disciplines with a platform for sharing best practices and working together to create the safest and most efficient marketplace for tanker trading and operating.

Throughout the day, tanker vetting experts from the major oil companies and traders, along with independent vetting company representatives, made themselves available for one-on-one discussions with ship owners and operators. This, all parties have acknowledged, continues to be the ideal place for gaining an in-depth understanding of tanker vetting demands and new developments in this crucial subject.

Speakers and Topics

The Heidmar Marine Forum included a day-long session of thirteen speakers. “Q&A” sessions were conducted at intervals throughout the day with listeners keen to pick up the microphone and pose their questions, and the speakers equally enthusiastic and responsive with their considered answers. Attendees said they were impressed by, and greatly benefited from, the depth of knowledge across the wide range of subjects that the speakers brought to the event.

Communication between attendees and invited guests were enhanced by group lunches, receptions and dinners.

The speakers (and “subjects”) in order of appearance were:

  • Proti Sinodes: Capt Michael Wilson, Chairman Intertanko Vetting Committee (Vetting Challenges); Alf Erling Strand, Principal Consultant Statoil ASA (“Statoil Quality Posture”); Capt. Anuj Chopra, Vice President, Americas Rightship Pty. Ltd. (“Rightship’s Approach to Vetting”); Capt. Cong Jian, Deputy General Manager, Shipping, Dalian Ocean Shipping Company (“Vetting Challenges of Chinese Owners”); Capt. Mike Nesbitt, Marine Operations Manager, Sunoco Logistics (“Oil Terminal Quality Concerns”).
  • Deftera Sinodes: Douglas Stevenson, Esq., Director, Center for Seafarers’ Rights, Seamen’s Church Institute (“Fighting for Seafarer’s Rights & Welfare”); Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director, Intertanko (“How Intertanko Is Working For Owners”); John Hillin, Safety & Security Operations Head, USCG NY Sector (“USCG Update – NY Sector”); Brian Starer, Esq., Squire Sanders (“Lessons Learned – MT PRESTIGE Disaster”).
  • Triti Sinodes: Dr. Ram Vis, Director, VISWA Labs (“Fuel Oil Quality Issues”); Jim Lawrence, Founding Partner, MTI Network (“Social Media in Commercial Shipping”); Mike Williams, Managing Director, MIRIS International (“Piracy”); Michael Chalos, Esq., Partner, Chalos O’Connor, LLP (“Trends in Criminalization of Maritime Issues”).

Heidmar Marine Consultant and the creator and organizer of the Heidmar Marine Forum, Capt. John Hill, summed up the intent of the event: “We assemble a carefully selected group of speakers, and ask them to address diverse subjects of interest to tanker owners.”

“We created the annual Heidmar Marine Forum with the objective of adding value for our esteemed pool partners.”

—Capt. John Hill – organizer of the Forum

“We also have a day where key industry representatives spend all day “one on one” with our pool partners, addressing any questions brought up. Heidmar feels that both of these events help us to identify and discuss important tanker issues in a fully transparent environment.”

Heidmar CEO Ben Ognibene said of the event: “Heidmar is here to add value to all its stakeholders whether pool members, charterers, brokers, vendors or any other party with interests in the tanker industry. As commercial managers of the world’s most transparent and quality-oriented tanker pools, we realized long ago that we must work hard every day to keep that distinction. In a market crowded with impersonators and opportunists, we continue to work hard to invest and distinguish ourselves in a business we have built for 30 years.”

“The Heidmar Marine Forum is a perfect demonstration of the company’s ethos.”

—Ben Ognibene, CEO, Heidmar Inc.

“To that end, 2013 resulted in the highest number of annual deliveries into the Heidmar pools, and we are just getting started for 2014. During the past year, our aggregate pools have carried over 85 million metric tons of crude and petroleum products, making almost 2,500 port calls, while navigating 7 million nautical miles without any significant incidents or spills. Incident-free operation does not come easily. It is earned through conscientious ship operation, careful manning management and team effort. We are very proud of these accomplishments.”

The Heidmar Marine Forum 2014 was concluded with a reception and gala dinner.

Attendee Feedback

Heidmar Marine Forum attendees were kind enough to provide their opinions about the 2014 event:

  • Capt. Tim J. Downs – Shell Trading US Company: “Such a varied and interesting event – I enjoyed it immensely.
  • Dr. Ram Vis – VISWA Labs: “I met, made friends and learnt so much from so many persons I had the pleasure of meeting.
  • Capt. Anuj Chopra – Rightship: “A pleasure to participate at a very well-organized and executed event.
  • Michael G. Chalos, Esq. – Chalos O’Connor, LLP: “I look forward to next year’s seminar.
  • Jim Lawrence – MTI Network: “Congratulations on a terrific program. The substance and the significance of the audience distinguish Heidmar.
  • Capt. Michael P. Nesbitt – Sunoco Logistics: “I got as much out of the event as the pool members did. It was truly a great event with an esteemed gathering of professionals. The warm hospitality from Heidmar always makes everyone feel welcome.
  • Capt. Michael Wilson – Chairman, Intertanko Vetting Committee: “I think that the Heidmar Marine Forum is unique and very good. The setup is outstanding!
  • Douglas B. Stevenson, Esq. – The Seamen’s Church Institute: “Great program.
  • Captain Aled Roberts – BP: “A professionally executed event…impressive slate of guest speakers!
  • Katharina Stanzel – Intertanko: “Excellent discussions and great contacts made…Definitely onto a winner with the formula!
  • AJ McAllister – McAllister Towing: “A very informative and enjoyable event! Raising the bar!