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November 5, 2015

Voyager News

Open standards, innovation and a cloudy outlook

Little to celebrate in the world of shipping last month except the firm tanker market. The Tripartite group gave a gloomy prognosis of the outlook and with the Paris COP21 talks looming, the industry is bracing for possible action on CO2 emissions. Elsewhere, there are rewards for innovation and new digital frontiers and another warning on cyber safety.

The state of the world

The annual ‘Tripartite’ meeting of shipowners, shipbuilders and classification societieswas not an upbeat affair given the state of the market and its effect on service providers. The three sides agreed the focus should be on ‘value creation’ and quality rather than quantity. Shipbuilding and classification survey standards should be enhanced, they said.

The meeting heard that a combination of complex regulatory regimes that relied on untested technologies had the potential to increase technical risks for the industry.

The participants, who included 100 representatives from BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO, OCIMF, IACS and Shipbuilder Association CESS expressed concern over the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention, given the lack of confidence in the availability and capability of type approved equipment designed for compliance.

Among other topics, the group expressed strong support for cross-industry co-operation on the development of guidelines and self-regulation for cyber safety and security as well as better and more cost efficient industry use of incident data to enhance ship performance and safety.

Black hole for weapons

Private security company ESC Global Security has warned of a flood of weapons entering the black market as companies go bust against a backdrop of declining East African piracy. Welcoming the decision by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to reduce the size of the Indian Ocean High Risk Area, ESCGS warned the weapons stored in floating armouries could easily fall into the wrong hands as these facilities close or are abandoned.

The past four years has seen the number of licensed PMSCs more than halve, as companies reel from a reduced requirement for security on board vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden, and more are expected to go under, ESCGS said. The International Maritime Bureau reported in July that in the first six months of 2015, no vessels had been attacked in the Gulf of Aden or Red Sea.

Floating storage of weapons is currently unregulated and while it is hard to estimate the exact number of floating armouries in operation, ESCGS said the security risks were not clearly understood, especially given the number of the vessels flagged with registers that were otherwise blacklisted.

Costa goes Digital

The Costa Group has created the Carnival Maritime operations unit to offer real-time digital support to all of the 25 vessels operated by the Costa Crociere, Costa Asia and AIDA cruise brands.

The focal point is the fleet operation centre which will collect data for display to nautical officers operating on shifts 24 hours a day to support the ships in risk and crisis management and in optimising their route planning.

Carnival Maritime EVP Jens Lassen said the aim is a ‘zero-incident’ policy similar to aviation industry benchmarking. The unit will also have an environmental element, with the company aiming to use technology to identify potential areas for optimisation of fuel and energy consumption, including monitoring of engine conditions, as well as in improving its water and waste management.

Pole Star takes to the cloud

Tracking provider Pole Star has launched a new cloud application platform, with the ultimate aim of facilitating the creation of a ‘universal maritime eco system’. The platform is built on enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure and has an open API designed to incorporate a range of services within a single system, from vessel tracking and SSAS management to maritime risk intelligence.

Using a modular platform enables customers to select and combine services drawing on data sources such as Jeppesen, Tidetech, IHS, Inmarsat, Airbus, Risk Intelligence and Orbcomm. The system which is accessible anywhere runs on a scalable and redundant cloud-based architecture.

The platform will launch with three brand new services: tracking, ship security and risk insight according to Chief Technology and Marketing Officer Peter Davies. “The Pole Star API gives customers the freedom to extract, analyse and integrate all of the data that is available to them within Pole Star’s services, allowing them to connect their Pole Star account with their ERP or existing IT systems,” he said.

Wärtsilä promotes innovation

Engine system manufacturer Wärtsilä has launched a maritime innovation context   Marine Mastermind (www.wartsila.com/marinemastermind) – aimed at start-up companies and entrepreneurs, with the aim of identifying new digital services for the shipping industry.

The contest is open to existing companies as well as aspiring entrepreneurs, with the winner given the chance to develop their idea together with Wärtsilä’s experts and product development company Shift Actions.

General Manager, Business Innovation at Wärtsilä Services Tero Hottinen, said the competition would seek out ideas for efficiency gains, better usability, improved transparency of operations or enhanced safety.

“The key criteria that we will emphasise during evaluation are the usability of the solution within the marine business, innovativeness, customer focus and the business potential and scalability of the solution,” he said.

Submissions will be accepted by Wärtsilä until December 31, 2015 with the winner to be chosen by an international jury and announced in March 2016.

Confused climate conversations

The arguments over shipping’s contribution to climate change went off the scale this month, with the Republic of the Marshall Islands lashing out at the IMO Secretary General and the ICS being forced to point out that shipping could not be taxed as if it was a country.

In comments that the owners sailing under its flag might have found uncomfortable, Marshall Islands foreign minister Tony de Brum singled out departing IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu as “a danger to the planet”.

In May the Marshall Islands sent a high-level delegation to the IMO’s Maritime Environment Protection Committee to call for a reduction in shipping greenhouse gas emissions “commensurate with maintaining a no more than 1.5 degree global warming threshold”, and requesting this form a key part of the IMO’s policy prior to the Paris meeting.

It was a request the IMO was in no position to accommodate and it pledged to complete its work on a data collection, monitoring and evaluation process and consider the outcomes from COP21. To Mr de Brum this made Sekimizu “not just a danger to the planet, but as the research points out, also to the shipping industry’s future prosperity and, therefore, the future stability of world trade.”

Meanwhile the International Chamber of Shipping has condemned the suggestion of a carbon charge for shipping made by the International Transport Forum (ITF), a think-tank affiliated to the OECD.

ICS questioned why international shipping should accept a carbon price of $25 per tonne of CO2 – almost three times higher than the carbon price paid by shore based industries in developed nations.

“While shipping may currently have CO2 emissions comparable to a major OECD economy, it is inappropriate for the ITF to propose that the industry should be treated like an OECD economy,” said ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe.

Prepare for cyber regulations

The North P&I Club says shipowners and operators should be prepared for new regulations on cyber security. In addition to risks to vessel safety, a lack of on-board cyber security measures could expose shipowners to heavy fines and penalties, the Club said.

The US Coast Guard published a cyber strategy in June in response to what it sees as one of the most serious threats to US economic and national security interests. The IMO has also recognised the threat to global maritime safety and commerce, and is expected to review industry guidelines at next year’s MSC meeting.

“The safe operation of ships is increasingly dependent on sophisticated electronic systems, so it is vital these systems are properly secured and protected from external risks,” said North’s deputy director of loss prevention Colin Gillespie. He noted that the Coast Guard’s cyber strategy could be a catalyst for new national and international regulations.

“The strategy calls on owners and operators to establish a reasonably viable cyber risk management programme, including continuous assessment, coordinated planning, investment, benchmarking, training, and possibly risk transference such as insurance,” he said.


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