This time of the year always gives a great opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for new beginnings. For that matter, Mr. Antonis Trakakis, Technical Director, Marine, RINA, makes an assessment of 2021 and shares his message for the new year across the global maritime community.
SAFETY4SEA: How would you briefly describe 2021? What is your assessment?
Antonis Trakakis: The year 2021 has been a transitional year, in the sense that topics – especially around the reduction of GHG emissions, that were ongoing on Jan 1, will remain on going on Dec31. Of course it is not wise to make quick decisions, but bold moves are needed, despite they will not meet wide consensus across the industry.
S4S: What were the lessons learned for the maritime industry in 2021 and what to keep for the new year moving forwards?
AT: Apart from the regulations aiming at safety on board, it has become clear that solutions must be found ashore as well for improving the level of medical care to seamen under challenging conditions such as the covid pandemic. This will avoid the recurrence of thousands of seamen being essentially stranded on board the ships. On the other hand, it has been clearly demonstrated that despite numerous problems, and with the effort and commitment of people both on bord and ashore, shipping succeeds to deliver its duty and cargoes at all times. Also, the alarming increase of incidents involving cyberattack, should be a wake-up call to the industry for taking the right measures as soon as possible.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2022?
AT: The current status of regulations describes the next year 2022 as the threshold to a new era, where the – until now, paramount figure of fuel consumption gives lead to how much CO2 a ship emits. In the fuel oil age, these two were irrevocably connected, but with low and zero carbon fuels and modern technologies, they may become totally independent. What becomes a big challenge, is that a ship will be described and penalized from her CO2 emissions, not only as a result of technology, but quite annoyingly also from weather effect and route selection, aspects that ship/company have absolutely no effect upon.
S4S: What are you looking forward to in 2022? What would you be most glad about seeing changing in the maritime industry next year?
Shipping is under strong pressure to reduce emissions while there is still no clear path, but only options that in most cases are still synonymous to wishful thinking.
And in this environment, full of ambiguities and uncertainties, owners are requested to select their future path. I wish that at least one clear path for reducing emissions becomes available.
Despite the common perception, I personally believe our sector is extremely adaptive and fast moving, when it is clear what has to be done. And when this is clear, then it will definitely happen.
S4S: If you could make one wish for the maritime industry for the year to come, what would you ask for?
AT: The environmental challenge is very big, and we cannot afford a failure. I wish that next year becomes a positive step in meeting this target. I wish that decarbonization of our sector will not be left to rely only on MBM’s, and that these will include not only shipping, but all other stakeholders in the chain of logistics. Last but not least, I also wish that the society comprehends and appreciates the contribution of shipping in the wellbeing of humans.
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.