SOME in the local shipping community were surprised to find Cypriot Communications Minister, Adamos Adamides, at a cocktail reception at the American Club on Wednesday.
The reception was organised by the International Ship Managers' Association (ISMA) the evening before it held its executive meeting, the first in Hong Kong, yesterday.
Few were aware the minister was stopping over in Hong Kong on his way to Tokyo to attend the Sea Japan '94 exhibition and conference.
The normal limits of accepted protocol at such receptions were stretched when, at the end of his speech, ISMA president, Captain Joachim Meyer invited Mr Adamides to address the gathering (See Freight & Shipping Post).
Mr Adamides seized the opportunity and promoted the Cyprus flag vigorously.
Some in the audience thought it was an astonishing abuse of ISMA members' hospitality and an opportunist performance not worthy of the Cyprus Government.
Apparently, Mr Adamides was invited to the reception by Mr Meyer, who happens to be managing partner of Hanseatic Shipping Co which, along with ISMA, is based in Cyprus, a rather tenuous excuse.
The general feeling was that someone in ISMA should have questioned the probity of inviting the minister to the reception without inviting his counterpart in the Hong Kong Government and the locally based representatives of Liberia and Panama, which haveserved the local shipping community so well.
Someone did have the presence of mind to invite some Marine Department officials, but the question arises that if there was to be a promotion of Cyprus, was the move backed by all 35 members of ISMA, or only by its executive committee? This kind of promotion might have been more apt before the bigger audience at Sea Japan '94, which begins on Wednesday.
When Intertanko held its annual meeting in Hong Kong in April last year, no official from the Norwegian Government came along to promote the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer.
Similarly, when BIMCO (Baltic and International Maritime Council) held its annual meeting in Singapore in June last year, they did not bring any officials from Denmark to promote Carlsberg beer.