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ABS looking ahead in assisting the maritime industry to meet the encountered environmental challenges

Soteris Pavlou started his career as a land based mechanical engineer in the onshore petrochemical industry and transfer to the marine side of the industry back in the 1992. In the thirty years that have passed he served as a marine surveyor, as an HSQE and TM manager for an offshore Ship managing company and has joined ABS as their local point of contact and Business Development manager in Cyprus and Israel, Soteris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering – Alternative Energy Sources and a Post Graduate diploma in Energy Management and Conservation. He is a Member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).

What are the principal areas of focus for ABS in support of its clients at the moment?

These are interesting, challenging times for the shipping industry. The bounceback after the pandemic has seen global supply chains come under intense pressure that has created both chaos and opportunity. There are strong commercial opportunities and at the same time strong volatility. Our view is that safety of life and the environment remain the priority for the industry in these times.

Whether in operations, maintenance, crew training and of course, in sustainable operations, owners and operators should look to classification as partners in their journey. We have the experience across all shipping disciplines to support and advise our clients with the information and technical knowledge they need.

The path ahead promises new frontiers for shipping; new fuels, new technologies, even new operating models; those owners are able to successfully navigate this course will need to rely on class for continuous guidance.

How is ABS responding to the challenges and opportunities brought about by decarbonization?

Decarbonization is probably the biggest challenge our industry has ever faced. How to replace a well-known and well-understood means of propulsion with multiple solutions across energy efficiency and sustainable fuels – and to do so safely – is a huge requirement.

Our role at ABS is to provide the industry with the best possible information we can; we cannot make choices for our clients, we can only advise them of the options available to them and how these align with their fleets, trading patterns and long term plans.

Part of this process involves a program of joint work with the industry to recognize novel and innovative technologies and to assess new flexible-fuel vessel designs for Approvals in Principle. Our work has encompassed all the major options for lower carbon shipping and extends to concepts such as shipping of liquid hydrogen and the use of carbon capture and storage onboard ship.

How is digital technology supporting shipowners in achieving greater efficiency and regulatory compliance?

In the digital arena, ABS Digital Solutions recently unveiled its new Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) monitoring and reporting tool designed to support a continuous monitoring approach that allows vessel operators to proactively manage their fleet’s carbon footprint.

The CII functionality is an integral feature within the ABS My Digital Fleet Environmental Monitor module, which visualizes the key decarbonization key performance indicators such as Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator EEOI and Annual Efficiency Ratio AER.

This powerful digital tool compiles these critical findings into reports that comply with IMO guidelines and meet the reporting requirements among external stakeholders such as financiers and charterers.

What are the emerging technologies that will be the most important for owners in coming years?

Recent research projects indicate that onboard carbon capture and storage (CCS) might contribute positively to the decarbonization efforts of the shipping industry. So far, regulators have focused on improving vessel efficiencies and the use of alternative fuels; however, carbon reduction may require onboard CCS as one of several tools to decarbonize shipping.

While onboard CCS may not yet be mandated by national or international policy, shipowners and charterers may see market or regulatory forces drive the adoption of onboard carbon capture solutions and the development of mechanisms to facilitate the trade of captured carbon. CCS may require significant additional capital and operating expenditure, especially where regulations and technologies are still developing, and the economic feasibility is still not fully understood.

Although onboard carbon capture systems are still being piloted, investment is expected to increase over the course of the next decade, especially as discussions on global carbon markets advance.

How important is training and education in an era of automation and technology?

Amid the excitement about the new technologies associated with decarbonization and digitalization, we must not lose sight of the people we expect to deliver it. Just as we are now seeing digital technologies begin to showcase their true potential for shipping, we are only just beginning to understand the ramifications of these technologies for the brave men and women who crew the ships.

What is clear already is that maritime skillsets will need to rapidly adapt to survive in the new digital normal, and shipowners, classification societies and seafarers are all going to have to embrace a new attitude and approach to learning.

Training for the skills we will need to adapt and thrive in the decade of change ahead, will require us to adopt new learning techniques for the benefit of our employees and our clients. The pace of change in our industry means that our people must absorb and embed new knowledge every day. The question for leadership organizations is not simply how we help them achieve this but, critically, how do we develop them for the skills we expect them to need in the future.

Interview with Adonis Violaris, Managing Director of CSN

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