The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA and was sponsored by MacGregor and SQEMARINE (lead sponsors). Other sponsors were: Alfa Laval, ANDRITZ, Aquametro Oil & Marine GmbH, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, Argo Navis Engineers, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd (BPS), Bureau Veritas, Capital Shipmanagement, CHANDRIS HELLAS INC., ClassNK, COSTAMARE Shipping Company S.A., CR Ocean, Dorian LPG, ERMA First, Green Jakobsen, LAROS by Prisma Electronics, Latsco Marine Management Inc, Lean Marine, Lloyd’s Register, MarineTraffic, Metropolitan College, MINERVA MARINE Inc, Neptune Lines, OCEANKING S.A, Orpheus Marine Transport Corporation (OMTC), Palau International Ship Registry, P Ship Systems, RISK4SEA, SHIP MED CARE, The Swedish Club, Thomas Miller, TSAKOS Group of Companies, UTECO, WALLEM, Wärtsilä, World Link Communications and World LPG Association (WLPGA). Also, the event was supported by the following organizations: GREEN AWARD Foundation, INMARSEP, IWSA, NAMEPA, SNAME and Yacht Club of Greece.

The event gathered global experts who focused on the recent, as well as future green shipping challenges. The panels shared their views on how shipping is complying until now with the 2020 sulphur cap, noting that the transition is quite smooth so far. However, there are challenges that need to be addressed, especially concerning fuels, ballast, scrubbers, and the market which is being disrupted by the coronavirus. Alternative fuels solutions were also presented, including LNG and LPG. Nevertheless, experts also expressed their opinion for innovative technologies for propulsion, such as wind, saying that this decade will be crucial. Finally, the panels provided tips and best practices to ensure greener operations, as well as ways to optimize fuel management.

Opening the event, Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, welcomed the delegates and speakers, thanked sponsors, and gave the word to shipping experts.

Presentations and discussions formed as follows:

Panel No. 1 – Current Fuel Challenges of the Market

Mr. John N. Cotzias, Projects & Finance, Xclusive Shipbrokers, provided an overview of the developments up until the 2020 sulphur cap, as well as current developments, and estimations about the future. Mr. Cotzias explained that even if equipping all ships with scrubbers made economic sense, there is no way all these ships could be converted within reasonable time. For this reason, ship owners are focused on the price differential between LSFO and HSFO, with the vast majority of vessels expected to switch to low sulphur fuel or VLSFO bunkers.

Mr. Bill Stamatopoulos, Business Development Manager South Europe, VeriFuel, attempted to bust some of the myths about the sulphur cap, that existed prior 2020. Specifically, Mr. Stamatopoulos said that Cat fines are not a big problem for the VLSFOs, while a small number of ULSFOs had initial “teething” issues. During his presentation, Bill Stamatopoulos also presented several key problems that the industry is facing. These have to do with off-spec exceeding ISO 8217, and unusual odour which forced crew to wear masks in the engine room.

Mr. Panos Kourkountis, Technical Director, Sea Traders S.A., gave emphasis on the upheaval caused by the implementation of the 2020 sulphur cap. As he said, the transition to the new regulation has been smooth so far. However, he identified problems that have to do with the market, the quality of the fuels, as well as a gap between best practices and what is being implemented. Despite these problems, Mr. Kourkountis stated that the industry has been prepared well, in order to prevent major changes. He also estimated that in 10 years’ time, there will be less shipping companies.

In his presentation, Mr. Stamatis Bourboulis, General Manager, EURONAV SHIP MANAGEMENT (HELLAS) Ltd., stood on the transition to the 2020 sulphur cap, and the changes that have emerged. As he said, 2020 brought no catastrophe, as fuels are available, which was a major concern. Nevertheless, he noted that there are problems, which concern viscosity spread, the need for new lubricants, as well as the commercial unpredictability. Mr. Bourboulis also expressed his opinion that by 2030 some ships should be carbon neutral, while until 2030 new fuels will be close to emerge. For this reason, he called for a better view on alternative fuels.


Panel No. 2 – Fuel Options for the future

Mr. Panayiotis Mitrou, Global Gas Segment Manager, Lloyd’s Register Marine & Offshore, shared his views on LNG as a fuel, towards 2050 compliance and beyond. Mr. Mitrou called the shipping industry to consider LNG in new construction projects, saying that the major barrier to its uptake is being tackled with favourable financials. He also added that, while there are uncertainties due to decarbonization, several prospects can ensure future developments. Moreover, he urged for further research on methane slip, biogas, and carbon capture.

Mr. Antonis Trakakis, Technical Manager, Arista Shipping, said in this presentation that developments in LNG bunkering infrastructure, allow for global trade with medium sized tanks, of moderate cost, adding that the technological advances will soon minimize the methane slip. Regarding methane, he said it provides the best solution for meeting environmental targets at the lowest cost. However, he warned that adoption of any fuel other than methane, will introduce a disruption and discontinuity in the shipping industry.

Mr. Nikos Xydas, Technical Director, World LPG Association (WLPGA), gave emphasis on LPG as marine bunker fuel. According to Mr. Xydas, LPG provides an increased efficiency by approximately 11% in comparison to compliant fuels. In addition, it has lower investment costs (CAPEX) compared to LNG or scrubbers, while it also has the potential for fuel cost savings. What is more, Mr. Xydas notes that LPG provides savings on both time and fees for fuel bunkering. Moreover, taking into consideration its easy retrofit solutions, the fuel can be reliable, fully flexible and a cleaner alternative.

In his presentation, Mr. Dimitrios V. Lyridis, Associate Professor Director of the Laboratory for Maritime Transport, NTUA, explains that new policies, technology and social benefits, drive the energy upgrade of modern ports and shipping. As he described, environmental challenges and risks at ports can be tackled with greener fuels and innovative technologies. Additionally, shore-side electricity, known as cold ironing and battery propulsion for short route vessels can also provide significant environmental benefits. As for fuels, LNG and hydrogen could play an important role in making ports greener.


Panel No. 3 – Green Challenges & Best Practices

Mr. Konstantinos G. Karavasilis, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller (Hellas) Ltd., talked about sustainability and marine insurance. As he explained, through many actions, marine insurance, both P&I and Hull and Machinery, aim to minimizing maritime industry’s footprint. This can be seen during pollution incidents, where despite significant amounts, marine insurance covers them, to ensure pollution prevention actions. What is more, through its loss prevention initiatives, marine insurance ultimately aims to benefit shipping in general, as well as the society.

During his presentation, Dr. John Kokarakis, Vice President Technology & Business Development – Hellenic-BS-ME Zone, Bureau Veritas, explained how Vessel Performance Monitoring can open the path of reducing GHG emissions. This, Dr. Kokarakis explained, can happen as Vessel Performance Monitoring answers critical questions, such as what are the operating conditions of the vessel? Also, are company’s procedures properly followed? Answering such questions will eventually lead to a better operation of the vessel, as it will measure and decide when corrective actions are needed.

Mr. Giannis Moraitakis, Senior Business and Sales Development Manager, Wärtsilä, presented how shipping can increase efficiency through the use of hybrid technology. As he described, using big data, along with machine learning and simulation tools, can identify the needs of a vessel, so operators can act accordingly. For this reason, he presented the results of a case study of a ship, in which one auxiliary engine was replaced with a battery. This minimized the risk of black out, while it also improved the overall efficiency of the ship’s main engine.

With plastics being a worldwide problem, Mr. Giorgos Kyriazis, Associate, P Ship Systems Ltd, talked about stopping plastic bottled water for vessels. During his presentation Mr. Kyriazis explained that plastic bottles are almost the only usable drinking water solution so far yet they cover none of the drinking water industry/shipping regulations with yellowish tap water occurring even on fairly new vessels. With various global incidents on plastic bottled water, one of which lead to 30 billion particles / 1.8 trillion being released into the ocean and mistaken for food by zooplankton and fish as per ocean-protection group Ocean Wise. Yet there are solutions using ship’s existing infrastructure to provide instant metallic fresh drinking/cooking water, being also characterised by reputable oil majors as Best Practise for Drinking Water on companies fleet on audits such as TMSA.

Mr. Frantzeskos D. Kontos, DPA, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Prime Marine, provided an overview of green shipping best practices. With several challenges affecting the shipping industry nowadays, such as the 2020 sulphur cap, and ship recycling, Mr. Kontos focused on the sustainability factor. As he said, sustainability and especially Corporate Social Responsibility are very crucial, in order to make the maritime industry greener.


Panel No. 4 – Fuel Management Optimization

In his presentation, Mr. Dimitris Poulos, Regional Managing Director, Alfa Laval gave an insight on adaptive fuel lines, which enhance engine protection and energy efficiency by creating a single, flexible process that responds to changes and challenges. He also gave his recommendations in order companies to ensure compliance with the new fuel regulations, to avoid lubricity related engine wear, while control variations in the fuel temperature.

Mr. Mikael Laurin, CEO, Lean Marine Sweden AB, highlighted the most important points to consider on improving vessel operations. The presentation was based on his experience from 13 years of acting as CEO for a tanker operator and covered the operational process from planning a voyage to execution and follow-up. Mr. Laurin gave several examples which play a major role in achieving fuel saving, such as speed optimization, hull condition, propeller pitch optimization, waste heat recovery and power management.

Mr. Ralf Moeck, Technical Manager, Aquametro Oil & Marine provided a brief overview of old and new challenges surrounding fuel efficiency, preventing fuel sludge in booster system combustion improvement and how to control emissions. Hull performance, engine exhaust gas emission and experience in ship operations, can among others bring fuel efficiency.

On his turn, Mr. Miltos Messinezis, Sales Engineer, OCEANKING SA, presented the main technology challenges for shipping: IMO 2020 sulphur general cap for marine fuels, digitalization disruption and decarbonization. Specifically, the latter is at the basis of his presentation. In his context, he presented today’s efficient and cost-effective solutions in the field of Propulsion Energy Devices (ESD).


Panel No. 5 – Ballast and Scrubber Challenges

Opening the last panel, Mr. Klaus Bärnthaler, Vice President- Marine Solutions, ANDRITZ AG, shared several technology highlights based from his experience on scrubbers. Following technological investigations, ANDRITZ decided to use open spray scrubber design for his U-type scrubbers, as it has proved to increase safety, reduce pressure drop, scrubber footprint and weight.

Mr. Andreas Kokkotos, Partner, ARGO NAVIS Engineers Ltd. started his presentation explaining that confusion with owners’ supplied items can result misunderstandings, delays or even to missing equipment. In light of the situation, Mr. Kokkotos highlighted the reasons why the crew must be familiar with convention requirements before the ship leaves the shipyard.

Mr. Vaggelis Papalaios, Regional Division Manager, Capital Sales, Marine Division, Alfa Laval shared lessons learned from 15 years of BWM experiences. Providing statistics from ballast water in numbers for the world’s fleet, Mr. Papalaios highlighted the need of balance between price and value when retrofitting a BWTS, while focused on high power consumption as a measure of biological performance.

Concluding the event, Ms. Efi Tsolaki, Chief Scientific Officer, ERMA FIRST S.A. highlighted that invasive aquatic species are a major threat to the marine ecosystems, and shipping has been identified as a vital pathway for introducing species to new environments. Considering the situation, she presented ways for compliance with the International Ballast Water Management Convention and explained why is important to install BWTS for the environment’s protection.

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