Tue. 6 Nov. 2012: Internationally recognized researchers, regulators, policy makers and innovators came together in St. John’s Newfoundland recently to explore state-of-the-art training, knowledge and equipment for safety and survival in extreme ocean environments. And by all accounts the event was a success. The event was the 10th annual Ocean Innovation Conference and Exhibition 2012 (OI-12). Held between October 21 and 24 the event was a collaboration between two significant players in the international marine sector: the International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IASST) the Marine Institute.

Billed as Canada’s premier oceans event, OI-12 attracted significant national and international visitors from a range of maritime market segments, with more than 200 representatives from government, industry, academia and regulatory bodies, all of them converging in St. John’s at OI-12 to discuss the various facets and positions as they relate to survival in an ocean environment.

This event marked IASST’s 9th International conference and 61st International meeting. MI and IASST combined efforts to host OI-12 as a joint conference in an effort to bring practical, hands-on experience to the conference.

IASST took on the responsibility of the theme ‘Extreme Survival: Innovations in Training, Knowledge and Equipment’ as well as the conference’s technical program. The City of St. John’s sponsored an Icebreaker reception in support of OI-12, while MI was responsible for hotel support, the exhibition, a public lecture and specific networking events. The youth forum and Gala Dinner were joint initiatives between IASST and MI.

Robert Rutherford, OI-12 Conference Chair summed uop the event this way: “This conference provided an excellent networking opportunity and the forum to exchange knowledge and experience with safety and survival experts from five continents as far away as Australia, Japan and Namibia. We united to celebrate, broadcast and discuss innovations in the training, knowledge and equipment that has been developed and continues to be developed in our offshore safety and survival community.”

The OI-12 agenda provided a wide range of issues related to extreme survival. Highlights were a technical program which included key note speakers, Rear Admiral David Gardam, Command Maritime Atlantic and the Hon. Robert Wells QC, Commissioner of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry; along with a discussion forum on the personal experiences of four individuals who endured survival at sea and workshops on helicopter underwater escape training, use of simulation in training and safety at sea for youth.

Since 2012 marks the 100th anniversary since the loss of the Titanic, an event which had a significant impact on marine safety standards, a Titanic theme was represented during several networking events, such as A Titanic reception held at the Johnson Geo Centre.

A parallel trade show also took place, with more than 20 exhibitors in the industry.

IASST is an association of safety and survival training providers with worldwide membership whose mission is to facilitate the exchange of information on matters relating to safety in the maritime environment and to promote continuous improvement in safety and survival training internationally.