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World-Wide Odessites Club holds presentation on The Maritime Encyclopedia of Odessa
Those who made speech were Evgeny Golubkovsky, Vice President of World Wide Odessites Club, Konstantin Ilnitsky, Editor-in-Chief of Publishing House Ports of Ukraine, Roman Morgenshtern, Marketing and Project Director of Ukrferry, composite authors – Anatoly Gorbatyuk, Rostislav Aleksandrov- Anatoly Zadorozhny, Viktor Fotinyuk, the captains and others.
Speakers noted that in Odessa, once the third largest city of Russian Empire, one of the largest hubs of the Soviet Union in recent history and independent Ukraine these days, no single aggregated printed edition devoted to maritime history of the city with all the remarkable events and names of those who made the history has ever been issued. It’s a common fact that the history of Odessa is rich of vivid events and closely linked with major historical events of Russia, Ukraine, Europe and black sea area, with the activity of many prominent personalities.
At an opening speech, Evgeny Golubovsky, vice president of the World Wide Club of Odessites, said: “Naturally, shipping company “Ukrferry” decided to fill in the gap with the leader and specialists of the company initiating and launching the project. Ever since her foundation, Ukrferry has taken an active park in tackling actual problems of the city. Even at the hardest time of her development Ukrferry extended support to veterans of Black Sea Shipping Company, the rehabilitation center for handicapped children, participated in restoring Svyato-Preobrazhenskiy Cathedral, erecting a monument to Isaac Babel, memorial tablet to Aleksey Danchenko, the head of Black Sea shipping Company, sponsored musical contests named after E.Gildes amd D. Oystrakh, participated in many other public projects.
The first step taken by Ukrferry towards creating the Maritime Encyclopedia of Odessa was a historical calendar devoted to 60-year anniversary of World War II victory, to seamen and soviet trading ships that protected and liberated Odessa and to restoring trade shipping after war. The calendar, created in collaboration with Trade Fleet Museum of Ukraine, was recognized both in Odessa and outside of her. Now the edition, which has already become a rarity, can be found in the leading libraries and warfare museums in Ukraine, Russia and a number of European countries.
Decision was taken to ensure full-scale financing of the project for the account of the company. The timing coincided with hardest time for the whole shipping and Ukrferry in particular when world crisis have crippled operation of shipping companies by reducing traffic sharply and making operation of many ships and service unprofitable. Notwithstanding this, company managed to mobilize resources and fulfill the project.
The project was heartily supported by all organizations related with shipping domain: museums, newspapers and TV channels, educational institutions, ports and shipping companies, public and veteran organizations, trade unions. But the complicity of task became evident at the very first steps. It’s a sad fact of life that many ship veterans who have witnessed many important events and occurrences are now gone. The bulk of information to process, verify and systemize in creating the encyclopedia turned out to be overwhelming.
Initially, we expected the job to be finished within 2 years but it turned out to be almost 4, says Konstantyn Ilnitsky, MEO editor-in-chief - If it weren’t for a volition to restrict encyclopedia to just those materials collected by the end of 2011, our job would have lasted for ever. Nevertheless, the book has laid robust foundation to maintain efforts on preserving history of maritime Odessa. This activity will go on as there are still a slew of interesting facts from maritime history of Odessa, biographies of prominent specialists who have regretfully failed to appear in the edition. That’s why we are already thinking of making an additional volume of MEO.
Positive feedback and reviews from field specialists, overall keen interest to publication of MEO indicate that authors managed to display the entrepreneurial spirit of maritime Odessa, ever retaining long journey romantic appeal, love for the native city and her history closely connected with merchant shipping. Orders for MEO proceed not only from private persons, maritime legal entities and companies in Ukraine but also from USA, Canada, Israel, Germany and England.
Those maritime domain representatives who made speech at presentation voiced a unanimous opinion that MEO corresponds to the highest standards and that its publication is an important milestone both in Ukraine and ex-Soviet Union area. Moreover, it brings in a brand new style combining classic encyclopedia style accuracy with literature and having a unique Odessa-like style.
The issue of restoring the Museum of Maritime Fleet of Ukraine was also raised at presentation. Speakers pointed out that Ukrferry’s activity in creating MEO gives a hope that by joining the maritime domain and wise management the greatest projects to restore national shipping become feasible. Glorious memories of the maritime Odessa of the past are a key factor to regain the reputation of the Black Sea capital of Ukraine and the largest shipping hub in the Black sea area the city used to enjoy.
Alexander Fedorov, Press secretary of Shipowners Association of Ukraine.
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