SAFETY4SEA: Do you think there was a significant success and/or progress made with respect to smart shipping during 2016? Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry developments within 2016?

Kirsi Tikka: There has been progress in the sense that the concept of ‘smart shipping’ has been accepted by the industry as an emerging reality rather than a future possibility. The industry is evolving and class can be a facilitator of change.

In the area of classification, perhaps the most important development was the decision by IMO Maritime Safety Committee that IACS Common Structural Rules for tankers and bulk carriers are in compliance with the IMO’s Goal Based Standards. This decision will enable the industry to focus on continuous improvement and presents the opportunity to benefit from a robust technical audit process on construction standards.

Regarding the regulatory environment, the ratification of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and the agreement that the global sulfur cap will be implemented in 2020 were highly significant developments.


S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that it will be the biggest smart shipping challenge(s) for the industry for the 2017?

K.T.: With IMO ballast water regulations now formalized, EU CO2 Monitoring, Reporting and Verification requirements in place and the looming IMO sulfur cap for fuel, owners and operators are feeling pressure to find environmental compliance solutions that match their unique fleet profiles. Now, more than ever, industry is looking to both comply with regulations and find innovative ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Although these are challenges today, how we address them as an industry will help define what smart shipping will be in the future. As a trusted technical advisor to industry, ABS applies its knowledge and experience to develop solutions that tackle the current challenges, but also guide the industry to a safer and more sustainable future.  


S4S: What would be the 2017 resolutions for your company/ organization? What are your goals and aspirations to assist industry towards its transition to a ‘smart era’? Do you have any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans for 2017 that you would like to share?

K.T.: As a class-centric organization, ABS is committed to a core mission that remains unchanged, and we will support the industry in what continues to be a challenging business environment.

On the regulatory front, we will continue to provide guidance in support of compliance with the Ballast Water Management Convention, help clients understand the implications of the global sulfur cap, and work with industry to help organizations meet the EU’s Monitoring, Reporting and Verification program for CO2 emissions.

Our big resolution is to show industry the value of the ABS FutureClass program, which applies technology, products and services that keep pace with an evolving industry.

FutureClass is an umbrella that will transform class services from a time-based and corrective process to a condition-based and preventive system that links class, asset health and performance management.

By addressing current needs and future capabilities throughout an asset’s lifecycle and by using new inspection technologies, data analytics and diagnostics, class services can be delivered with an increased level of accuracy and efficiency. An example of this is Vessel Performance Analysis which leverages collected data to better predict performance and support more informed operational decisions.


S4S: What is your overall forecast for smart shipping in 2017 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?

K.T.: We are already on the journey to ‘smart shipping,’ which is a concept based on data connectivity and data analytics generated from automation, sensors and control systems. With ‘smart shipping,’ more data is captured and turned into useful information that can support a more efficient and safer ship.

Remote monitoring, remote maintenance and autonomous operations are the three evolutionary stages that will result from the ‘smart shipping’ trend and will drive changes to ship design and construction. With ships as the platform that enables automation and digitization, we’ll likely see more attention to standardization and modular designs to help make design and construction more cost effective.

The idea of ‘smart shipping’ represents a positive shift, but does not come without challenges. Reliability of systems, cyber security and safety, regulatory hurdles, gaps in the required skills, and cost represent some of the challenges the industry will have to address.


The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.