During Posidonia 2014
S4S: Tell us a few words about your company's activities. Which services and products you provide?
G.S.: Spec Tec is the leading entity in IT in shipping. We were born 30 years ago, actually on 14th January next year we're going to turn 30! We provide software solutions for ship management.
S4S: How has the modern software changed for the better the life of those on board?
G.S.: With the advent of the new rules and regulations during the last twenty years, modern software has made it possible to the crew on board to better comply and work in a more efficient way and also shipping companies to operate in a more cost-effective way.
S4S: What was the biggest shipping industry challenge over the last 10 years?
G.S.: The changes in rules and regulations. If you look into the shipping market thirty years ago there were five rules only whereas today there is an enormous number of rules which they don't apply international anymore. It's not only IMO which issues new rules but it's also EMSA, AMSA etc, it has become enormously complex. It all started in 1996 with the introduction of the International Safety Monitoring code; since then has gone from bad to worse from a regulatory point of view as there are too many rules on the market today that has been the complete different challenge than that the shipping market had to cope with.
S4S: This year IMO WMD theme is "IMO Conventions: effective implementation". Do you think we need to improve rules or enforcement? How could we improve?
G.S.: Rules so far have been really imposed to the Maritime world because, in my opinion, the maritime world was not good enough in adapting to the changing world. We as sailors, because in fact I'm a seafarer, we are always being late, we are always receiving the rules as an imposition. Well, I think that we need to become much more proactive. The market and the world are not going to get easier for us. We will get more and more rules and regulations from Garbage Management to the pollution emissions and so on and this is not going to change, so we have to become more proactive and try to consolidate and go back to IMO and say ''please let you guys be the only one issuing rules'' . Today if you go to any port in the United States, the ballast water management is a complete different from one port to the other and that becomes a nightmare.
S4S: Despite all good efforts industry wide, recent accidents like MOL Comfort, Costa Concordia, Sewol indicate that there is more to be done. What are your views on that, what should be done for the industry to improve?
G.S.: The reason the accidents happen is because the human factor. Due to the fact that we take rules as an imposition, we don't really believe that we have to do things better or that we have to train and organize ourselves better, so that's why they happen. If we feel that rules are going to be imposed on us, we just try to do the minimum and we don't try to make them proactive in order to work for us and for the benefit of the company. Therefore, the ship owners have to understand the rules will make life better for everybody and also they have to become more proactive with the crews. For example, if you look at the Costa Concordia, you may have all the written rules in the planet but if the crew in the ship is not convinced about them and people on board are not following them then you have accidents.
S4S: What is the main message for Posidonia this year? What is your assessment of the Posidonia mood this year?
G.S.: The main message here is that the shipping is coming back as we are seeing such a large exhibition in the Greek market. The Greek ship owners, being excellent with two thousand years of experience, they feel that the market is going to pick up slowly. It's not going to be very fast but however they have already bought a lot of ships so there is confidence that things can go better in the future.
Above article is an edited version of SAFETY4SEA Interview video with Giampero Soncini during Posidonia 2014
More details may be found by viewing his Interview video