SMM Fair Hamburg

September 29, 2008

Kilian O'Brien was the first Messe Mentee at the SMM Fair in Hamburg.


As part of the Technology Transfer initiative in the Cluster of Excellence, “The Future Ocean” I attended the ship building and machinery messe (SMM) in Hamburg on the 24th of September, 2008. I was fortunate to be able to call upon the expertise of Prof. Dr. Ernst Flüh, who kindly accompanied me. The fair comprises all aspects of the ship building industry including all manner of information regarding technological developments. Of course, the fair is aimed at large industrial buyers and suppliers. Nevertheless, most of the exhibitioners with whom I spoke were prepared to engage in discussion and open to hearing more about my reasons for attending the fair.

The theme of my dissertation addresses issues concerning the emissions caused by the operations of merchant shipping. Thus, a certain modicum of understanding of the technical aspects of ship propulsion and operating is required in order to be able to fully comprehend the difficulties with which the operators, owners and crew are confronted on a daily basis. This background information must be considered when examining any current legal norms or, indeed, suggesting methods for reform. This fair represented an ideal opportunity to obtain this information first-hand. The Messe-Mentoring programme was particularly advantageous as the “mentor” with whom I was paired had attended this event on several occasions and was able to provide me with useful tips and information as to the general layout and setup of the fair. This enabled me to better use my own time and avoid unnecessary repetition. Nevertheless, I was give sufficient freedom to visit several press conferences, which were directly interesting for me, but not necessarily for my “mentor”. Moreover, I was introduced to several people with whom I have subsequently taken up contact. This may prove to be fruitful during the actual writing of my doctoral thesis or, alternatively, in my future career. Finally, it was particularly refreshing to attend such an event with someone from an entirely different field of expertise. This allows one to distance oneself from the deeply settled mindsets and, perhaps, think somewhat more of the overall picture. I would certainly recommend the experience as being worthwhile should an appropriate event be found.

Kilian O'Brien is PhD Candidate at the Walther-Schücking-Institut für internationales Recht at the CAU, Kiel.