During Posidonia 2014
S4S : What was the biggest shipping industry change/challenge over the last 10-15 years ? How did it changed the industry and how did this affected shipping business?
K.V.: I believe that the biggest shipping industry challenge over the last 10-15 years is the new environmental requirements for air emissions plus the introduction of the BWTS convention. These new requirements have led the most of the prudent owners to place new orders , that will be in full compliance with all those requirements while on the other side I believe that the rate of scrapping because of those requirements will be accelerated.
S4S: What is your opinion on the growing momentum for ECO SHIPs : is it a step in the right direction or another bubble ?
K.V.: I think that it is in the right direction but it needs a great cautious in order to avoid a compromise of the safety in favor of energy savings.
S4S: Regarding Environmental Legislation, there is a tsunami of requirements entering into force over the next 5-10 years especially in way of Energy Efficiency, Market based Measures, Ballast and Fuels : How are you planning to finance these projects and what is your strategy for compliance?
K.V.: Our decision is to make a good plan for an early compliance for two reasons. Firstly because we believe that the nature of shipping has chanced and the protection of environment get a front seat and secondly because we strongly believe that an eco design vessel is more competitive.
S4S: What do you think of the future fuels ? What do you think it will be the preferred option for compliance in ECAs (distillates, scrubber, LNG) and why?
K.V.: I think that the best solution for the time being for the ECA area is the distillates. This is the most cost effective solution and the most technical sound solution. With the increase of the ECA areas in the future the scrubber solution seems to me to acquire more supporters bearing in mind the increased of the price of the distillates oils and the logistic problems of the LNG bunkers.
S4S: What is your strategy with Ballast as ship owners have to comply with different set of standards ? (IMO, USCG, EPA, Other not published so far).
K.V: Our strategy is to fit the BWTS while the vessel is under construction by making a selection of a maker who most probably will meet tomorrow the criteria of USCG and will take the USCG approval.
S4S: This year, IMO WMD theme is “IMO Conventions: effective implementation” : Do you think we need to improve rules or enforcement (or both) ? How could we improve ?
K.V.: We need to improve the enforcement. The industry cannot afford any other rules . There are a lot of them that either are ignored or cannot be implemented.
S4S: There is an ongoing debate on the Human Factor : Are you happy with the quality of the seafarers serving onboard vessels ? Is it easy to find, develop and retain ?
K.V.:This is the most difficult issue. It is very hard today for every company to find qualified personnel. You need time and effort to build up your pool that will assist you tomorrow in the better enforcement of the rules and requirements. Culture, training and familiarization are the key words for success in that field
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 ?
K.V.: As I said before the industry today has focused on energy savings and environmental matters. We have forgotten completely the safety issues and this is a great mistake that we are currently pay and we’ll pay even more hard in the future if we not change immediately our route giving a greater attention again to the safety issues onboard rather to the energy.
S4S: Re MLC approx. 1 year in implementation : What is your feedback ? What are the key changes observed ? Has MLC achieved its goal to improve seafarer’s working conditions?
K.V.: I think that traditional owners was not of the need of MLC convention in order to improve the seafarers working condition. Up today I think that the MLC convention has assisted to the direction of tidying some issues relating to the contracts of seafarers
S4S: What will be the biggest challenge in terms of Safety & Environmental protection up to 2020 ? How this will affect the industry and how should we prepare to face this ?
K.V.: The biggest challenge will be the full implementation of Nox, Sox, CO2 and BWT requirements. All these regulations combined will change the nature of the shipping industry.
S4S: What do you think of the Posidonia tone this year ? What is your assessment of the market climate in the Greek Market?
K.V: I think the main issue today is the oversupply. I do not think that we’ll see many deals for new orders in the Posidonia of 2014.