In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Capt. Randall Lund, Allianz’s Senior Marine Risk Consultant, Marine Loss Control, refers to industry’s key challenges and ways to move forward. With regards to decarbonization, Capt. Lund explains that Allianz has accelerated a net-zero timeline goal from year 2050 to 2030 and encourages whole industry to move up the timeline to meet the net zero emission standards.
ith regards to a safer and more resilient industry, Capt Lund highlights that all stakeholders in the supply chain should contribute and focus on human behavior and a safety-minded culture; ensuring that adequate contingency plans are in place for any future crisis situation and; the international hazardous materials (DG) regulations, since fires and explosions show an alarming trend.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the top priorities in your agenda for the maritime industry for the next five years?
Capt. Randall Lund: With cargo vessels accounting for nearly half of all vessels lost (foundered) in 2021, our focus will continue to include a review of these losses as produced by the investigation department within the appropriate flag state; we will also review the findings from the classification society and from other regulatory stakeholders who investigate losses. From these collective findings we will look for trends within the industry and thereafter make appropriate recommendations to reduce overall loss, and thus cost to the industry.
S4S: From your perspective, what are the key challenges that the maritime industry is currently facing? What are your suggestions to move forward?
Capt. R.D.: As the world continues to understand and adapt to the problems created by global carbonization, one of the biggest challenges currently facing the maritime industry is in each stakeholder’s ability to find the best path forward towards Net Zero emissions. As a part of Allianz Group, we have accelerated a net-zero timeline goal from year 2050 to 2030. To make a step change in industry’s performance across a zero-emission maritime industry, it is vital to move up the timeline and associated requirements to meet Net Zero emission standards.
S4S: What are the key lessons learned from past major maritime incidents? Are there any alarming trends during the last ten years that you would like to share?
Capt. R.D.: One of the most important aspects of any type of loss in the maritime industry is understanding the human interaction element of the equation that has led to the maritime incident. Human behavior is sometimes very difficult to change and within any one company, I feel that human behavior is directly related to that company’s overall culture. In other words, a safety-minded culture promotes a recognizable higher value on lives. This value and the associated feeling transcend to the day-to-day decisions being made by those on the vessels.
S4S: How should industry stakeholders work to improve crew welfare and foster seafarers’ resilience?
Capt. R.D.: In my opinion, each and every seafarer, from the lowest ranking crewman to the Captain are heroes. In light of world events over the past few years, (pandemic, supply chain, Ukraine), I think most folks have come to appreciate the vital role these workers play in the global picture of world trade. It is time that all industry stakeholders raise the importance of this work force to a level of greater appreciation by raising pay scales, offering better benefits, creating safer working conditions, and allowing additional freedoms when vessels are in port. Early in my career I sailed on various ocean-going vessel types (tankers, bulkers, OBO, RoRo) and absolutely loved the idea of getting to visit other countries and have enough time off the vessel to experience the cultures. This is a rare occurrence in today’s industry for a variety of reasons, such as vessel turn-around schedules, country security concerns, pandemic concerns, etc.
S4S: What is your wish list for the industry and/or regulators and all parties involved towards maritime safety?
Capt. R.D.: My wish list would include providing the tools and resources for those working on the various vessel types to be successful with each and every voyage. Additionally, on that wish list would be for the regulatory agencies around the world to speed up the process needed to approve and incorporate changes/new regulation. Finally, it would be great for these agencies to step up enforcement of the already established international regulations to level the playing field. The industry must weed out the unscrupulous players and stakeholders who only look at the bottom line.
S4S: What lessons has the industry learned with the pandemic? Where should we improve for a future crisis situation?
Capt. R.D.: I think one of the key lessons learned by the industry (and the world) is that the seafarer, as well as anyone employed in the supply chain (domestic rail, trucking or international air) needs to be considered as a “critical” worker, immediately, or the entire global supply chain can become victim to the crisis. In the event of any future global crisis situation, with adequate contingency plans, many of the recent painful situations can be largely avoided or at least possibly reduced.
S4S: If you could change one thing across the industry from your perspective, what would this be and why?
Capt. R.D.: If I could snap my fingers and change just one thing within the industry it would have to be regarding compliance of the international hazardous materials (DG) regulations found in the IMO’s IMDG publication. Fire and explosion incidents ranked second (behind sinkings) in the number of incidents for insurance losses in 2021. However, fires and explosions have risen to the top of the list in monetary cost to the industry.
When a fire breaks out on a modern container vessel carrying upwards of 20,000 TEUs, it is extremely difficult for the vessel’s crew to successfully fight and extinguish the fire. With limited resources, both in manning, experience, and adequate fire suppression equipment to handle a fire originating in a large container stack, even the most highly trained professional firefighter would find it an almost impossible situation to control. Eventually, the vessel is abandoned to save the crew at the expense of the cargo and possibly the entire vessel itself.
Many of these types of incidents can be traced back or are suspected to be a result of mis-declared, or un-declared hazardous materials on container vessels. With the forecasted increased demand for lithium-ion batteries, and already knowing the hazards associated with the carriage of this cargo in transit, there will undoubtedly be future incidents with dramatic losses connected to unscrupulous players.
S4S: What is your key message to industry stakeholders with regards to a more sustainable future for the maritime industry?
Capt. R.D.: My key message would be similar to the message we put forward in our recently published Marine Risk Bulletin for Lithium-ion batteries. That being, only through a concerted effort by all stakeholders in the supply chain can we hope to maintain a robust and safe maritime industry.
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.