Seaways October 2023
One really important feature of global maritime events such as London International Shipping Week is the opportunity to engage at multiple levels with a range of key stakeholders across a broad spectrum of key subjects.
Captain John Lloyd FNI Chief Executive
Reflections on LISW
Many of these align closely with the priorities of The Nautical Institute, including:
I was especially interested in a session where the UK Hydrographic Office delivered key updates on the role of data and its availability for the use of our community, enhancing the safe operation of ships by providing a real-time assessment of water levels and areas of safe navigation. There seems no doubt that we will have extraordinary levels of data available to us, and I am open to the argument it will be very accurate data drawn from multiple sources. What is less clear is how that data will be presented to the user and how it will be analysed and translated into something meaningful to the operator. We have some more work to do in ensuring the data is useful and is combined with effective tools that will support decision-making if we are to maximise the benefits of enhanced safety and efficiency.
Many sessions addressed the challenges we are facing with the route to ‘net zero’ and the decarbonisation agenda. With shipping generating 3% of the world’s GHG emissions it remains a key target to reduce these as much as we can, and there is undoubtedly a lot of good work taking place. At the same time, many delegates and presenters expressed their concerns about the lack of real change. There seem to be isolated pockets of progress in choosing the next generation of fuels and clean energy but there still seems (to me) to be a lack of overall commitment and confidence in reaching our goals. An example of this is that conversations are very much about how clean the new fuels will be and how they will allow the clean ship of tomorrow to be ‘emission free’. But I did not hear much (if anything) about the full-life carbon footprint left by a vessel being built, operated and decommissioned. I heard no-one speak with confidence about the availability of the new fuels in sufficient quantity to meet the demands of the sector, and I heard little attention being paid to the amount of training required to ensure these ships will be operated safely. We need a more joined-up approach. That leads me to:
It was great to see and listen to people from different sectors all over the world having important conversations – classification societies talking to P&I and other insurers; owners talking to crewing managers; employers meeting with training providers. All of them keen to discuss the needs of tomorrow and the steps we need to take now to ensure we can provide the support necessary to embrace and benefit from technology changes. There is no doubt we need greater levels of collaboration and wider discussions between operators and ports for bunkering solutions of tomorrow. We need increased understanding and collaboration on the development of the fuels we need for the future. And we need to listen to the oil and gas giants of today who surely are pivotal to our success of tomorrow, as well as the new providers, and those who put the supply lines in place. With oil at $90 a barrel it is hard to imagine a better time for these financially robust organisations to commit seriously to long-term clean energy solutions for our planet. This is all about people and working together.
Shipping Week helped remind us of the importance of coming together to discuss matters of key importance. However good the on-line technology, it is often simply more effective to spend time exchanging ideas and holding discussions with multiple people capturing and challenging different viewpoints.
We are far more able to bring together people across the generations by meeting in person, and with that in mind I want to give a huge shout out to all those who participated in our own event on board the Trinity House Vessel Galatea.
It was a great pleasure to hear the UK shipping minister Baroness Vere announce a range of funding and support measures for maritime professionals from Ukraine. We know these new entrants will be ably supported by Trinity House.
Our seminar was focused on maritime careers, including some excellent presentations from cadets who helped us understand what is going well with their training but were also not shy about their frustration with employers and shipowners who have lacked the commitment to ensure the seatime needs of every cadet can be met in full. This is indefensible and we must do better.
We were pleased to provide our own insights into how Continuing Professional Development helps ensure the best professionals, and finally we had an amazing panel session looking at extending maritime careers after a period at sea. London International Shipping Week left us all with much to think about. We have the opportunity to build on the week and work effectively and together to bring about better outcomes for our people, our business and our planet. I look forward to working with you to ensure The Nautical Institute plays a full part.