Digitalization has become a key priority in our agenda along with decarbonization and sustainability. Technologies such as AI, have brought enormous benefits to the industry and while the transition to a more tech-driven maritime future isn’t always easy, it is rapidly becoming a key differentiator for leading fleets today.
SAFETY4SEA webinar, sponsored by ShipIn, industry experts focused on digitalization and emerging technologies and discussed key drivers and barriers for the adoption of new solutions as well as the challenges they bring for enhanced safety.n a recent
Many stakeholders promote best practices and a lot of collaboration efforts are taking place.
Collaboration is the new fuel. The pandemic became the catalyst for more and better collaborations across industry stakeholders
…said Mr. Apo Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA.
Apart from collaborations for enhanced safety, stakeholders join forces on the technology front, for example data collection, machine learning, security, due diligence and accident investigation.
Shipping has always been a very reactive industry. In these times of ongoing change, mainstream technology is coming to our industry for the first time, transforming operations. This is mostly for good
…noted Capt. Ninad Mhatre, Managing Director, ZEABORN Ship Management.
Sometimes we see technologies designed for another industry with application to maritime industry as well; or sometimes we see technologies that can identify a problem only for shipping, noted Mr. Colin Gillespie, Director (Loss Prevention), The North of England P&I. ‘’What’s obvious to me is that emerging technological solutions help industry become more efficient.”
The trick for ship owners is to identify which technology can bring high value to their operations, whether they need to enhance safety or improve other areas’
…..stressed Mr. Gillespie as there are many different options available.
The adoption of new technologies is a hard task in general and for maritime industry even harder, since by nature, the sector is driven by compliance and is resistant to change, noticed Dr. Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director, Safetytech Accelerator.
We try to guide companies to understand problems in depth. There are problems with companies coming from other sectors to understand the nature of maritime.
…said Dr. Maurizio Pilu.
‘’I have spent many years navigating vessels at high seas. I have also spent a similar amount of time in technology companies in other industries, from agriculture to mining, but always in machine learning tools.”
After those years, it became apparent to bring those experiences together and establish ShipIn to provide a digital bridge between the ships and the shore.
…explained Osher Perry, CEO & Founder, ShipIn.
That said, we see there are many solutions already in other industries, whether is manufacturing, automotive or construction. These industries are quite ahead of maritime but it is not enough to just take from other sector their solutions and deploy them onboard vessels as there are specific barriers and challenges to consider. In that regard, ShipIn is focusing on bringing people with expertise to give the ability to owners, managers and the crew to share same information at the same time, improving their fleet performance.
With regards to key safety challenges in the shipping industry, Mr Gillespie noted that remain the same all these years, as same things are happening for the same reasons. Thus, our focus should be on keeping crew safe and healthy, encouraging and promoting safety behaviours for which technology can help, i.e. internet of things, visual tech, to monitor health performance onboard. In this context, it is important to collaborate with people onboard to make operations more effective and safer. There are also challenges with regards to fires and misdeclared cargoes for which many companies are coming to provide solutions in terms of detection and control. With regards to security challenges, Mr. Gillespie mentioned there is instability and insecurity due to geopolitical tensions and thus, technology can help operators with early warnings.
Continuing, Dr. Pilu added that technology can help with human error with great impact on safety. There are many applications from monitoring behaviour to preventing and spotting dangerous situations, coming from other sectors; computer vision, in particular, is one of the prime technologies in this area. ‘’Safety and risk challenges have a strong business pressure. Companies are looking for solutions right now for both safety and efficiency, combined together’’ Dr. Pilu said.
‘’When we have navigation issues and incidents onboard vessels, the crew is usually being seen as the fault. When we have maintenance related issues, again, we point the finger to the crew. In cases of drug smuggling onboard, we put the blame on crew. Same goes with cargo and damages issues. The fact is that crew are people extremely motivated to work under harsh conditions. So, when talking about safety challenges, we need to take it to another level and consider that ships over the last two decades are significantly bigger. If we compare the increase of vessel’s size and the increase of crew, we will see an interesting mismatch’’ Mr. Perry pinpointed and encouraged us to think if we provide seafarers with the right tools to do their jobs in a safe and productive way. Here comes automation to reduce the burden for people onboard and overcome the challenges, he added.
Considering the barriers and drivers of new innovations, Dr Pilu explained: ‘’Maritime is a traditional and cost-conscious sector, resistant to change. So, any new technology should justify its status quo’’. Key barriers mentioned are the refusal of shipping to be early adopter of a new solution and ROI (Return of Investment) for we need to find way to justify that technology is right and also that the industry is ready for its adoption.
One of the main drivers for new technologies is the appetite to move beyond compliance and manage the risk proactively
…Dr. Pilu said.
‘’A ship is not a vehicle that needs to move from point A to point B. A ship is an industrial facility; there are people working 24/7, operating cranes, engines at sea. It is a remote, disconnected asset with distant support for all people working onboard, limited connectivity and ability to get all data.’’, mentioned Mr. Perry to highlight that many barriers actually exist. Mr. Perry said that the main driver for the ship is to stay connected at the network, for profitability and the OPEX, highlighting the economic value that new solutions bring to the ship owners.
Capt. Mhatre also mentioned that a key barrier is people’s disbelief of the potential benefits that a new solution brings but they only get persuaded after an accident, which results in much higher costs for ship owners. ‘’It is better to be prepared and ensure a safer ship with preventative measures. Simply humans cannot touch the efficiency of machines; there are some repetitive tasks better done by machines and new technology combining machine learning and AI. The drivers are going to be when people start to see the benefits in accident prevention, increasing the efficiency level and in the long term in cost reduction and better maintenance’’ Capt. Mhatre commented, adding that trial and case studies will help to gain confidence.
At the end of the day, it is about cost. Cost is both the key driver and the key barrier
….Mr. Gillespie added. ‘’For me, one of the key drivers is downtime as nobody wants incidents, the hustle and the costs that even the smallest incidents bring those days’’. Mr Gillespie also noted that the challenge for technology providers is to design their solutions focusing on the end user.
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