During the 2020 SMART4SEA Athens Forum, Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, asked technology experts to choose one thing, that would have either a profound or an immediate impact, and could move the industry forward for a smarter and more sustainable shipping industry.
If you could change one thing in shipping, that would have either a profound or an immediate impact and could move industry forward, what would it be and why?
Dimitris Theodossiou, Managing Director, DANAOS Management S.A.
“Carry the gained expertise in the new era”
Being a naval architect in shipping, I would say change the way of designing ships, but being a computer expert, I would say developing a language so the business logic developed in the old times to be carried forward with all the expertise gained and not to rewrite it every year, losing all the experience and the feedback from the history. I think this is the biggest burden we are facing in the business.
Andreas Chrysostomou, Chief Strategy Officer, Tototheo
One size does not fit all, and the shipping industry is, if not fragmented, very diversified between itself. So, my answer is “education” and “spread the word”. Go around and explain to people what has come, what is coming and when they should start worrying. This will be a game-changer.
Mike Konstantinidis, CEO, METIS Cyberspace Technology
The market is the final decision-maker. What we see is that new technologies are changing business. This is something very strong, above anything else. So, we insist on “doing on time”, because the weak chain here is the human factor. It is not very obvious how fast they will adapt and be able to use the technology. So, I would say, as soon as you do it, the better for the market. This is the real change.
Jason Stefanatos, Senior Research Engineer, DNVGL
We arrived here with some conditions. If you changed something, we could have a totally different industry. I think the conditions we have now are ideal for the digital transformation of the next years, so I think we should look at the future, what we need to change. Awareness of the management and the decision makers is important for this change, so is something I would change.
Ioanna Vernardou, DPA / CSO, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd
I would remove the Port State Control from the equation. PSC is a barrier. Usually, one of the ‘fears’ we have when designing new processes is how the PSC will see it or if they are going to create any problems to us. Classification societies and flags are more open to new ideas, but PSC, in some places of the world, are not very easy to work with.
Andreas Polidis, IT Advisor, Ionic Shipping (Mgt) Inc
“Awareness and training”
I believe that we should properly educate the people not only into new technologies, but also on how to identify the right technology for their business. Sometimes they see a technology and think that their company ‘will go the stars’. This is not the case. We have to evaluate the technology based on the human factor we have in the company, average age of the people, mentality, and many things that people don’t normally do. They evaluate the cost or, probably, stick with the key factors of the technology and they end up in a decision not offering the solution they are looking for. So I believe awareness, engagement, training has to be organized, probably from a greater organization, and then all people with new technologies will have it easier to promote themselves.
Demetres Armanes, Senior Research Engineer, Engineering & Technology Dept. Global Ship Systems Center, ABS
“Promote Greek expertise”
I believe Greece is a very important element in global developments, because it has the operational experience. So, what I would change, is to take our comments back to international recognition.
Borge Hetland, Chief Commercial Officer, Navtor
There are already a lot of available technologies onboard which can improve efficiency and safety. I think it is a matter of educating the crew to really utilize all the benefits we have there. Because, very often, we rush new technologies and we don’t have the time to really implement it or really educate people to use it.
Paivi Haikkola, Ecosystem Lead, One Sea
“The business case”
To have proof of the business case, because this is one of the biggest issues we see in autonomous shipping. I think there is a skepticism to technology providers. If you are selling the autonomous systems and you say “this is a good business case for you”, it is not as reliable as having an external third party saying it. This is why we are commissioning an external naval architect to look at these business cases. I think for this to go forward, we need to have proof of business case.
John Southam, Loss Prevention Executive, The North of England P&I Association Limited
“Synchronize technology and regulation”
A potential answer to this is that the governing bodies, such as the IMO, could work at pace equal to that of the technology. Then, a lot of such questions would vanish immediately.
Capt. Kostas Karavasilis, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller Hellas
I would say two words: Situational awareness to all levels, onboard and ashore.
Chronis Kapalidis, Europe Representative, HudsonAnalytix
I would have to say, increasing the appetite and the willingness of shipping to participate in information sharing initiatives. Because, as you contribute into sharing the information on the incidents you have dealt with, the result we see is information sharing platforms that are working. And not only you learn from what others have come up against, but you also build a community, within which you can discuss and identify what are the problems what are the concerns. Someone may have an idea and if he/she is able to share it in an anonymous way, he/she will feel secure that it won’t be used as a competitive advantage.
Elina Souli, Regional Business Development Director V.P., American Club
“Deal with cyber as realistic threat”
I would say, apart from the awareness, deal with the cyber risk as a realistic threat, meaning that we don’t conceive it only as a formality. Even with the IMO resolution, some say “ok, we will just insert a document in our SMS and that will be it.” No, it should not be like this. It is a realistic risk, and everybody should focus on it.
Themistoklis Sardis, IT Manager, COSTAMARE SHIPPING CO. S.A.
I think we are lacking the education and not only within shipping. Everybody has heard instances of people getting ripped off and not only in shipping. I think it is an education issue. The web is something that has been with us maybe 20 years, so we are not ready as people to address the security risks diligently. That is my point. I think everybody, not just seamen or shipping companies, should be more aware of what the incident are like. Education is the key.
Zeppos Galanos, IT Security Officer, Conkat S.A
“Cyber security mentality”
Firstly, I would say invest in cyber security culture-managerial initiatives soon and, second, change our cyber security mentality from preventive to reactive. Threats will always exist. There will always be hardware or software threats. Some will be easy to handle; some will be very difficult. It is a cat and mouse thing. We can’t increase authentication so much. In order to prevent, we have to be reactive, vigilant on this. We have to make a stance saying: “We are going to be breached either way, how can we deal with it? How fast can we deal with it? What is our incident response?”
bove views were presented during a panel discussion at the 2020 SMART4SEA Athens Forum on 29th of January 2020, at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation.