The first day of the inaugural Hellenic American Maritime Forum was successfully concluded on Wednesday 29th of May, at Megaron Athens, The Banqueting Hall. The aim of this two-day event, for which SAFETY4SEA and SHIPPINGInsight collaborated, is to bring together the Hellenic American Maritime Stakeholders to discuss, network and exchange views and ideas towards a safe, smart, green, optimized, innovative and sustainable shipping industry.
The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA and SHIPPINGInsight having HudsonAnalytix as Headline Partner. Other partners were: ABS, American Club, American Hellenic Hull, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co. Ltd., Bureau Veritas, Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, Dorian LPG, Ecochlor, Future Care, Latsco Marine Management Inc., MacGregor, Marshall Islands Registry, OceanManager, Palau International Ship Registry, PwC, RISK4SEA, SAFETY4SEA Academy, Saracakis Group, SICK AG, SQE MARINE, Subsea Global Solutions LLC, Viswa Group, Volvo Cars and WLPGA (World LPG Association).
Also, the event was supported by: American- Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, A.M.M.I.TE.C, Chios Marine Club, IBIA, INTERCARGO, International Windship Association (IWSA), SNAME, The Greek Section of SNAME, WISTA Hellas, CYMEPA, Green Award Foundation, HELMEPA, NAMEPA, Π.Ε.Π.Ε.Ν, International Propellers Club and Young Shipping Professionals (YSP).
On first day, Wednesday 29th of May, the forum opened with wide-ranging discussions on compliance issues expressing optimism that the industry is able to overcome challenges on condition that industry stakeholders promote dialogue and collaboration for creating effective regulation, adapting also to emerging technological developments. The event started with welcome speeches by the organizers – Apo Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA and Carleen Lyden-Walker, Chief Evolution Officer, SHIPPINGInsight – who highlighted the scope of this unique initiative.
Also, the evening on day one of the event, the winners of the first Hellenic American Maritime Awards across eight categories were announced at a gala dinner and award ceremony. The winners are: Viswa Lab for the Innovation Award, Star Bulk Carriers Corp. for the Dry Bulk Operator Award, Panama Maritime Authority for the Maritime Centre Award, Wärtsilä for the Investment in Shipping Award, US Coast Guard for the Guardians of Industry Award, Mrs. Angeliki Frangou, Chairwoman & CEO, Navios Group, for the Visionary Award, Mr. Nicky A. Pappadakis, Past Chairman of Intercargo, for the Maritime Advocate Award and Adm. (USCG Ret) Thad William Allen for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Session #1: Opening keynote address
Adm. (USCG Ret) Thad William Allen, Senior Executive Advisor, HudsonAnalytix opened the forum and set the tone for the day’s discussions, noting that we are living in a digital age and therefore industry needs to tackle with new and emerging issues. The way we do business is changing because of technology, he said, but expressed his optimism for the future as technology can solve many problems. As globalization continues, at the same time, technology on the one hand facilitates trade but on the other, rises many challenges such as transparency and cyber security. There is much complexity, Adm Allen concluded; therefore, it is of paramount importance to exchange information and address industry’s topics, taking into account the regulatory landscape.
Session #2: Welcome Addresses
The second session set up to discuss about current and future challenges providing the audience with thought provoking debate on meeting industry’s ambitious targets. Speakers included: Simos Anastasopoulos, President, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Cynthia Hudson, Board member, NAMEPA, Christiana Prekezes, Executive Co-ordinator, HELMEPA, George Tsavliris, Chairman, CYMEPA, Capt. Dimitrios Mattheou, CEO, Arcadia ShipManagement, & Chairman, GreenAward.
Namely, Mr Anastasopoulos noted that we are living in a period full of complexities, digital transformation is a positive development though. Trader wars have become a concern and the industry in general is facing a period of increased uncertainty as far it concerns regulations.
On her turn, Mrs Hudson, as a board member of NAMEPA, presented in brief the history of this association which was founded 12 years ago, based on the idea of HELMEPA. After 12 years of operation, NAMEPA already counts 200 members which have realised that oceans are resources that we cannot replace and sustainability is the key word.
Later, Mrs. Prekezes talked about HELMEPA’s philosophy insisting on the importance of investing in people in order to keep in track with the challenges. In this context, training can create competence and keep stakeholders motivated.
In an interesting speech, Mr. Tsavliris shared his concerns about the future of shipping and reminded that as an industry, we need to be proactive and transparent. Overall, shipping is a dynamic industry which gives many opportunities to society, he noted.
Concluding the session, Capt. Mattheou said a few words about Green Award Foundation to highlight that reducing GHG emissions from shipping is an international issue of concern. Climate change is about our public health and the protection of human and planet, he noted. Optimism is required for enhanced environmental excellence. We need regulations but everything starts within us, he added.
Session #3: The growing role of the Flag & Coast Guard in international compliance
The day continued with Rear Admiral Agis Anastasakos, Director General for Shipping, Hellenic Coast Guard, Captain Jennifer Williams, Director, Inspections and Compliance (CG-5PC), United States Coast Guard and Gregory V. Evans, Global Director, Safety and Compliance, Cayman Islands Shipping Registry who noted that key priority is to promote dialogue among industry’s stakeholders for facilitating compliance with all rules and regulations.
In particular, Rear Adm. Anastasakos presented the economic value of EU shipping industry as well as statistics and value of the Greek fleet, noting that the quality of greek flag is globally recognised and that greek shipping has proven to be a reliable trading partner.
Then, Cast Williams presented recent initiatives from USCG on the regulatory front, referring to BWMC which is an issue of concern since USCG notes many deficiencies due to inoperable BWTS. She also highlighted that we need to ensure level playing field outside ECAs; in this regard, technology (drones) can be proven very valuable.
Before continuing with questions from the audience, Mr. Evans also discussed of how technology impacts the industry and pinpointed that new technological developments are being led by two main drivers: regulation and cost. Therefore, it is important to keep an open mind and that our maritime legislation is effective and take into account of the new and future technology in a clear and transparent manner.
Session #4: Keynote address
A keynote address by Jorge Barakat Pitty, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Republic of Panama, provided feedback that proves why Panama is considered a leading maritime centre. Mr. Pitty explained how the Panama Maritime Authority is working to ensure compliance with the national legislation of the maritime and inland waters of the Republic of Panama.
As mentioned, the Authority has recently started a verification process by EMSA with a view to confirm that Panama complies with all necessary guidelines and Panamanian competency titles are recognized by EU. This action will open the doors to Panamanian seafarers to European markets which maintain high demands of trained personnel.
Session #5: Running the ship
The event continued with a panel including Theo Baltatzis, General Manager, Technomar Shipping, Dimitris, Patrikios, CEO, Kyklades Maritime Corp., Kostas Vlachos, COO, Latsco Marine Management, Basil Sakellis, Managing Director, Alassia NewShips Management Inc, Georgios E. Poularas, CEO, ENESEL S.A., moderated by Carleen Lyden-Walker, which focused on ship operators’ key challenges.
Specifically, interesting discussions took place where ship operators exchanged their views and provided real feedback on how they have experienced regulations so far. Regarding BWMC, all panelists expressed their concerns as they have felt that many are the technical problems and that this regulation cannot protect the interests of everyone. . Key concerns expressed were crew training, maintenance of the system, and the extra cost. BWM started with good intentions but as shipowners we were trapped, Mr Patrikios commented. ‘Legislation is so intense that we are losing track,’ Mr. Baltazis added.
As far as IMO sulphur cap 2020 is concerned, scrubbers are extremely challenging from technical point of view and from approval point of view, while availability on alternative fuels is also an issue, the speakers mentioned.
With respect to these issues, the speakers highlighted the need for the regulators to know for what kind of thing they regulate, to know shipping and the environment in which systems will operate.
Session #6: View from the bridge
In the last session of day one, Cynthia Hudson, CEO HudsonAnalytix, Kirsi Tikka, Executive Vice President, Global Marine, ABS, Nicky Pappadakis, President Emeritus, INTERCARGO and Adm. (USCG Ret) Thad William Allen, Senior Executive Advisor, HudsonAnalytix presented their views on the emerging topics that need to be considered for a more sustainable future.
They first analyzed the impact of geopolitical disruptions and trade war on global trade and in the future of shipping. Providing a ‘view from the bridge’ aspect on current issues facing the industry, they moved forward discussing how the regulations can dramatically change shipping of today, stressing that if we have a regulation-driven technology, we need to be able to produce better regulations.
They also commented on how the industry can be able to ‘trap’ more talents, highlighting that the industry should have a better understanding of young people’s vision for the future, in order to attract them in our industry. They also discussed the issue of role models, which should be there to help keep more women in the industry.
All sessions ended with a round table discussion in which the audience exchanged ideas with high level experts of international repute on recent developments. Finally, Apo Belokas and Carleen Lyden Walker, on behalf of organizers, thanked the delegates for their participation, the partners and supporters for their support, the speakers/panellists for their excellent presentations and though provoking discussions and also the organizing team of the event for their contribution towards forum objectives.