2023 SAFETY4SEA London Forum: Shipping is not sailing in uncharted waters

The 2023 SAFETY4SEA London Forum, which was held on Thursday, September 14, 2023 at the Ocean Suite of ICS Maritime Hub, London, UK, during the London International Shipping Week (LISW), covered the most recent technological developments, regulatory updates, and trends, demonstrating that there has been progress on all fronts in creating a framework to deal with the impending challenges.

The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having SQE MARINE as lead sponsor. More sponsors of the event included the following organizations: Arcadia Shipmanagement Co. LTD, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd (BPS), Capital-Executive Ship Management Corp. , Capital Gas Ship Management Corp., Capital Shipmanagement, Columbia Shipmanagment, Dorian LPG,  Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Limited (EASTMED), EURONAV, Green-Jakobsen A/S, Inmarsat, Latsco Marine Management Inc., MASO STRATEGIC, NAVTOR, OneLearn Global, RISK4SEA, SEAFiT, V.Group.

Supporters of the event included: INTERCARGO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International WindShip Association (IWSA).

Main issues discussed

  • Recognizing the critical role of leadership in redefining and strengthening safety norms and practices within the industry
  • Implementing technological solutions and strategies to minimize mistakes and enhance safety
  • Addressing the human aspects that shape the onboard environment, fostering unity and collaboration
  • Focusing on seamless communication and data transfer to support operational efficiency
  • Advancements in Autonomous Shipping and MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships)
  • Exploring core competencies and the latest training techniques
  • Understanding the impact of soft skills in maritime operations
  • Emphasizing the importance of interpersonal relations and maintaining mental health while at sea
  • Identifying necessary skills and training for the green transition
  • Assessing our alignment with STCW and MLC standards
  • Evaluating current standings and envisioning the roadmap to achieve 2030 to 2050 sustainability goals.
  • Crafting emission strategies that resonate with the latest guidelines and industry expectations.
  • The promising alternative fuels, their performance benchmarks, and the pivotal considerations in their adoption.
  • Exploring groundbreaking technologies that will drive the maritime industry to a carbon-neutral future.
  • Analyzing the potential impact and opportunities of these eco-friendly marine routes.

Opening the event, Apo Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, welcomed the delegates and speakers and thanked all sponsors and supporters of the event, emphasizing that ’Partnerships is the key priority for shipping for the time being as collaboration is the new fuel. ‘’

We look forward bringing all industry stakeholders together to discuss and find solutions to ongoing challenges. In this respect, it is extremely important for all industry stakeholders to collaborate and support our people, both onboard and ashore, with more initiatives, more projects and more tools.

…he said.

The following experts gave presentations on specific items as follows:

  • Apo Belokas, SAFETY4SEA, presented the key outcomes from SEAFiT Survey, that run during 2023Q1&Q2, and highlighted the important findings by pointing out that overall wellness and happiness have increased, in comparison to previous years. The pandemic is now seen as a bygone occurrence, and connectivity onboard has improved due to an increase in bandwidth and the fact that many operators offer their crews free internet access. These two factors have greatly influenced the rising levels of previous SEAFiT indices.
  • Erik Green, Green-Jakobsen, A/S, highlighted that human performance is influenced by many factors, but some are more important than others. Seen in a safety and beyond-compliance perspective Green-Jakobsen can document what factors positively influence safety performance. Referring to specific client cases, his presentation discussed the most important human performance influencing factors, the need for continuously performance reviews and the value of psychological safety.
  • Nicolas Charalambous, EMSA, presented the RBAT methodology which aims to provide a structured approach for risk assessment and safety equivalence evaluation. This tool focuses specifically on the concept development stage for future vessel operations that incorporate automated or autonomous functionalities. In the current absence of clear rules and standards for such technology, safety should be ensured by adhering to functional requirements developed using goal-based approaches, as outlined in the draft MASS Code, he stressed.

The following experts formed in three different panels discussed key industry’s challenges and addressed priorities in the agenda:

Panel #1: Safety First: Managing human factors in an era of change

In an industry as vital and dynamic as shipping, safety remains paramount. The era of change brings new technological advancements and regulatory shifts, yet the human factor continues to be central to our operations. In this panel, participants discussed how to manage and optimize human interactions within the shipping sphere, ensuring safety as our unwavering north star.

Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President Safety & Regulatory, Inmarsat; Nicolas Charalambous, Project Officer – Ship Safety, The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA); Chris Oliver, Principal Director Marine – Head of the Marine Department, ICS and; Capt. Adam Parnell, Director Maritime, CHIRP discussed how to effectively manage human aspects as we go towards further digitalization and automation while putting safety first.

Panel #2: Sailing Strong: Crafting a future ready crew via training & development

In the ever-changing landscape of shipping, the ability to adapt and grow is paramount. Training and development aren’t just about meeting today’s demands but crafting a crew that’s ready for the future’s uncertainties. In that regard, methodologies, technologies, and strategies are needed to equip our sailors to be resilient, skilled, and ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.

In this panel, the following experts participated: Dr. Somiyeh Djavanroodi, Deputy Head of The Nautical Institute Academy, The Nautical Institute; Erik Green, CEO and co-founder, Green-Jakobsen A/S; Marinos Kokkinis, Managing Director, OneLearn Global and; Capt. Leonid Zalenski, COO, Columbia Group.

Panel #3: Switching Green: Strategies & Alternatives for a smooth transition

On its way to a net-zero carbon future, the maritime industry is assessing cutting-edge new ways to operate in advance of the switch to alternative fuels and green technology, and it is reinforcing this shift with new regulations and a progressive mindset.

The experts of this panel discussion agreed that we need to take immediate action today to align with industry’s ambitious targets, as revised after MEPC 80 last summer and discussed strategies and options for a seamless transition. The participants were: Gavin Allwright, Secretary General, IWSA; Maria Athanasiou, Managing Director at MASO STRATEGIC, Founder of Athanasiou & Associates LLC, Partner at AAS Business; and Dr. Edmund Hughes, IBIA Representative to the IMO and Director, Green Marine Associates Ltd.




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