The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA, having MacGregor as lead sponsor. Other sponsors included ABS, American P&I Club, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd (BPS), Capital Shipmanagement Corp., XChandris (Hellas) Inc., ClassNK, Costamare Shipping Company SA, DNV GL, Dorian LPG, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Limited, HudsonAnalytix, Latsco Shipping Limited, METIS Cybertechnology, MINERVA Marine Inc., NAVTOR, Neptune Lines, North of England P&I Club, Orpheus Marine Transport Corporation- Lyras Maritime Ltd., RISK4SEA, SQE Marine, Tototheo Maritime, Tsakos Group of Companies and UK P&I Club. Supporters of the event included A.M.M.I.TE.C., CIRM, Chios Marine Club, Hemexpo, WIMA, and WISTA Hellas.

The event gathered experts across the maritime industry who shared their contributions on key smart shipping trends, including the digital transformation of the maritime sector, pushed by big data, artificial intelligence and software applications.

Moreover, the issue of e-Navigation occupied a dedicated panel, further progressing industry discussions on the hot debate of autonomous ships.

Last but not least, presentations and discussions touched upon the increasingly challenging topic of cyber threat, in terms of implications for the shipowners and from the P&I perspective.


Key outcomes of the 2020 SMART4SEA Forum

  1. Rising wave of digitalization can transform crews’ everyday tasks, enabling ship-to-shore connectivity
  2. Digitalization is the means and not the target
  3. Big data collection and processing enables better decision-making
  4. AI can reduce the impact of human error and even cut down emissions
  5. Crew training is critical for cyber resilience
  6. Autonomous technologies could reduce costs, increase safety and sustainability
  7. e-Navigation could enable bigger environmental compliance
  8. Regulatory framework on autonomous ships is tricky for P&I


Presentations were given in four panels as follows:

Panel #1 – Digital Transformation

Opening the event, Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, welcomed the delegates and provided a short recap of Tuesday’s SMART4SEA Awards that took place at the Yacht Club of Greece, Piraeus. He also made a short introduction to shipping digitalization and then gave the word to the panellists of the SMART4SEA Forum.

Continuing, Mr. Dimitris Theodossiou, Managing Director, DANAOS Management S.A., shared key highlights of IT in shipping roadmap: Blockchain, AI, satellite communications, mobile devices, augmented reality, virtual reality, and autonomation have created a new era for shipping and can transform ship-to-shore communication, while big data collection and processing has enabled decision-making flexibility, but more can be done, he stressed.

In his presentation on Port Call Data Sharing Platforms, Mr. Andreas Chrysostomou, Chief Strategy Officer, Tototheo, questioned whether vigorous analytical and real time methods are enough to help shipping companies improve the efficiency of their fleet. Highlighting that in today’s interconnected world, every detail in the logistic chain is important for optimization, he argued that data sharing platforms provide a significant benefit for a holistic situational awareness and, subsequently, ensure performance to overall shipping.

With his presentation, Mr. Mike Konstantinidis, CEO, METIS Cyberspace Technology, addressed briefly the necessity for the digital transformation in the maritime, as well as the contribution of smart technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the development of a new era in shipping. For instance, he stressed, AI will enable fleets of the future to dramatically improve efficiencies by reducing the impact of human error, and even cut down on emissions by improving the efficiencies of various onboard systems.


Panel #2 – Best Practices

Opening the second panel, Mr. Jason Stefanatos, Senior Research Engineer, DNV GL, touched upon the future class for a digital world, focusing on future class development and barrier management for improved safety. Digitalization is the means and not the target, Mr. Stefanatos highlighted, and we need it to become smarter; greener and safer. In this regard, barrier monitoring models are currently applied to cruise and offshore platforms, as well as simple cargo vessels, guiding on where to put the focus on and how to avoid risk.

Meanwhile, Ms. Ioanna Vernardou, DPA / CSO, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd., discussed how software applications should be designed in order to assist crew on their everyday work onboard. Shipping situations require decisions and actions by the crew; they are on the front line and it is far more important to make them safer, more efficient and happier. So, shipping should forget about autonomous ships at least for deep sea and focus on improving crew working conditions for the time being. She also shared examples of digitalized inventorying and planned maintenance workflows. The bottom line was to simplify and digitalize Safety Management Systems considering always the human element.

On his turn, Mr. Andreas Polidis, IT Advisor, Ionic Shipping (Mgt) Inc, addressed the digital transformation for onboard operations, stressing that the very demanding and competitive environment, that the shipping industry operates in these days, requires high IT infrastructure with highly efficient processes, reliability and performance for all operations onboard, while cyber security awareness and training is the key element to resilience, to achieve and maintain business competitive advantage.


Panel #3 – Shipping 4.0

Mr. Demetres Armanes, Senior Research Engineer, Engineering & Technology Dept. Global Ship Systems Center, ABS, opened the third panel focusing on international standardization efforts for smart shipping. The smart shipping revolution, he underlined, relies on collaboration across organizations and amongst key stakeholders, requiring effective cooperation on a global scale. In this regard, ABS is working with Greece and other flag states to support ISO standards development for onboard data servers; onboard networks; ship-to-shore communications and data naming schemes for shipboard machinery and equipment.

Mr. Borge Hetland, Chief Commercial Officer, Navtor, discussed how e-Navigation can help compliance with the increasingly number of environmental rules and regulations. IMO’s environmental rules require that Masters and crew make certain that the vessel they are operating remains compliant in all jurisdictions. Any failure to these complex regulations can be costly, so the need for clarity is real. Addressing this, e-Navigation can assist owners and operators by providing updated and reliable relevant information in an easily accessible and user-friendly way, providing the clarity needed to avoid violations and fines.

Mrs. Paivi Haikkola, Ecosystem Lead, One Sea, introduced the audience to the work and achievements of One Sea, an initiative launched in late 2016 aiming to provide the world’s first autonomous maritime system in operation by 2025. The biggest operational costs for the ship owners of today are fuel and manning, she noted, and autonomy affects both. As such, One Sea is looking for business opportunities in advancing the use of autonomy related technologies in maritime traffic, by looking at drivers to use autonomous technologies as a means to reduce costs and increase safety and sustainability.

In addition, Mr. John Southam, Loss Prevention Executive, The North of England P&I Association Limited provided a short discussion on some of the more prominent potential issues and risks that remote control and autonomous vessels may bring to the P&I insurance providers. The issues covered training levels and requirements for the people involved in remote control vessels, the effectiveness of current codes and conventions such as the COLREGS and STCW in relation to the operation of such vessels, and working out where liabilities lie with regard to the use of AI.

Closing the third panel, Capt. Kostas Karavasilis, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller Hellas, shared his insights for the future of shipping, focusing on the legal aspect of smart shipping. Capt. Karavasilis answered to  questions concerning the current state of legislation available on autonomous shipping. As he explained, there is no legal definition on what an autonomous ship is and due to this absence of harmonized descriptions, it is thus difficult for these will come together internationally.


Panel #4 – Cyber Security

Mr. Chronis Kapalidis, Europe Representative, HudsonAnalytix, talked about the proactiveness, predictiveness and pre-planned response mechanisms as a way forward when aiming to tackle cyber threats in the maritime sector. Mr. Kapalidis highlighted that existing cyber security solutions for shipping are built around responding to cyber attacks and grading risk based on past events, but not preventing them in the first place. In today’s connected world, it is not a matter of when you will be attacked, but when you will be attacked again, he pointed out, so there is the need to stay ahead of the curve and prepare in advance.

Ms. Elina Souli, Regional Business Development Director V.P., American Club talked about cyber security, from a P&I perspective. As the maritime industry increasingly depends on automation and new technologies to improve efficiency and reliability, it is vitally important that all market players develop appropriate contingency plans to ensure an effective response to a cyber incident and conduct regular exercises of those plans. She further noted that the P&I club’s role remains vital for providing assistance in dealing with cybercrime incidents- working to mitigate their adverse effects as well as protecting Members’ interests.

Concluding the fourth panel, Mr. Themistoklis Sardis, IT Manager, COSTAMARE SHIPPING, and Mr. Zeppos Galanos, IT Security Officer, Conkat S.A, contributed to the discussions with their experience on cyber security. Among others, Mr. Sardis addressed the need for change in education regarding cyber threat; noting that everybody, not only shipping companies, “should be more aware of the dangers out there”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Galanos said that cyber risk may not always be manageable and identified the situational awareness of staff onboard as the biggest concern with respect to cyber in the maritime. He also touched upon the need to invest in cyber security systems and change mentality, noting that we have to be more reactive with respect to cyber risks.


Explore more about the event and find photos at Flickr.

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