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Letter to James St. John from Dag Saevik, Senior Captain aboard The World of ResidenSea
There are many “chapters’ in the history and evolution of The World. One chapter is ending today as Jim St. John departs as President and CEO. I looked back at some of his many contributions and thought that it may be of interest to all to highlight and share just a few. When Jim first visited the ship as a guest of the Residents Committee in September of 2003, his role was to assist as an advisor to the Residents prior to their purchase of the Ship. Little did he know it would lead to much more. He worked closely with the Residents Committee during the purchase of the Ship, helped run the first election and was asked by the first Board of Directors to become CEO in February of 2004. Since then, Jim has worked closely with the six elected Chairman, various Boards and numerous Committee Chairs. Jim realized that he would need to spend time onboard to guide the transition and structure a sound plan in conjunction with the Board, Residents and Management. In the more than 2000 days as CEO since that first trip in 2003, he has made another 58 trips to the ship, spending over 600 days onboard, and another 600 plus days in hotels or traveling on ship’s business. His longest stay onboard was 47 days in June and July of 2004.
During his tenure the ship did not miss one day of service due to maintenance, supply or staffing issues. Safety was always the priority and major world events were successfully managed including the Tsunami, the Tonga riots, where Residents could watch the capital burn, the Fiji Revolution, Tropical Cyclone Ivan and the Mexican swine Flu. During our last passage through the “pirate” zone in the Gulf of Aden, Jim worked with the US Navy to include the ship in its protection zone and arranged a direct phone link from our bridge to the Battle Group Commander.
In the hundreds of inspections ranging from safety and security to health and environmental issues, the ship has never failed, and more often than not, has received exceptionally high scores. Working with our medical team ashore and onboard, Jim personally has coordinated the evacuation of many of our most serious medical cases. To reward loyalty and ultimately provide a seamless lifestyle for Residents, Jim developed the Service Pins which are worn proudly by the staff on ship and shore. Special tribute was paid to the “Rissa” staff and crew for their role in launching this extraordinary vessel. On the business front, the original inventory of unsold AOW apartments was closed out in June 2006. The profit of the sellout exceeded the target of the original Sales Plan and all of the Residents benefited from the enhanced results. Working with early Residents, the original Residents Message Board was converted into the platform for communication that exists today. In addition, the World HQ site was developed for Board and Committee communication and document storage.
The itinerary voting mechanism was developed to allow direct Resident input in this most important and critical process. More recently, the “World News” has been added to improve Resident access to ship news and information. Jim has been with us and available to all 24/7 for all of this time. In one of our most difficult periods, he worked round the clock for over a week to support us as we transited from Singapore to Darwin. He has guided the ship from its uncertain beginnings to the great success that it is today and has been the glue that has held us together as a team through all of the good and trying times. When I took the picture of Jim leaving the ship in Tortola on the tender, at first I did not recognize him. When I looked again, I realized that I had captured a moment that none of us ever wanted to see. We will all miss him very much and extend a heartfelt “thank you” for all he has done.