The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having MacGregor and SQE Marine as lead sponsors. More sponsors of the event included the following organizations: The American P&I Club, American Hellenic Hull Insurance Company, Bureau Veritas, CR Ocean Engineering, Diaplous maritime services, ERMA First, Green Jakobsen, ib, LAROS by Prisma Electronics, MarineTraffic, OCEANKING, Palau International Ship Registry, RISK4SEA, SHIP MED CARE, The Swedish Club, Thomas Miller, TOTOTHEO MARITIME, UTECO, Wallem, and WORLDLINK Communications.

Supporters of the event included CYMEPA, Cyprus Naval Architects & Marine Engineers Association, Cyprus Shipping Chamber, Cyprus Union of Shipowners, Association of Merchant Marine Officers of Cyprus, WISTA Cyprus and YoungShip Cyprus.

The event focused on the main present and future challenges for shipping industry, equally divided to safety and environmental issues. First presentations touched upon the hot issue of sustainability and green shipping challenges, such as alternative fuels, BWM, fuel management and compliance amid the regulatory tsunami the industry has to face. Human element was also high on the agenda, with a dedicated panel focusing on crew wellness and training challenges. Last but not least, discussions moved to loss prevention challenges and solutions, from onboard risks for crews to losses associated with mega box ships.

Main issues discussed

  • IMO 2020
  • Fuel management
  • BWM
  • Ammonia as an alternative fuel
  • Crew Wellness
  • STCW and training challenges
  • Loss and mega container ships
  • Leadership and expertise at sea
  • Human element and behavioral safety
  • Digitalization and new technologies

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

In a keynote address to delegates, Frank Coles, Group Chief Executive, Wallem, provided an overview of the current realities shipping has to encounter, highlighting that the industry is neither special, nor immune from the revolution. The longer it resists, the greater the pain is going to be and if it wants to be special, it needs to reinvent itself and “forget the dinosaurs and their havens of denial”.

Presentations formed as follows:


Panel 1 - Sustainable Shipping

Opening the first panel, Ilias Tsakiris, CEO, American Hellenic Hull, highlighted that it is time for action for a more sustainable shipping industry and shared the key pillars of focus for the industry to reinvent the way it does business in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Discussing also how the IMO’s regulations affect the marine insurance industry, he focused on how marine insurers should respond to environmental, societal and governance risks arising from these regulations.

In his presentation, Giampiero Soncini, Marine Division – Chief Executive Officer, IB Marine, focused on fuel management on board ships, commenting that efficient fuel monitoring can be achieved through digitalization. Sharing the strengths of digitalizing onboard data, he concluded that fuel performance is different in theory and in practice, given that the majority of vessels are old, and that digitalization needs planning in order to be effective.

Andreas Chrysostomou, Chief Strategy Officer, Tototheo Maritime & CEO Marine Fields Holdings Ltd., provided his perception on sustainable shipping of tomorrow, naming the key trends that will shape sustainability transparency and noting that technology will revolutionize the way sustainability reporting is reviewed and compiled. Stressing that the impact to shipping of several new technologies is 'Closer than you Think', he concluded that sustainability concerns makes the uptake more urgent.


Panel 2 - Green Shipping Challenges

Capt. Georgios Stylianidis, Marine Surveyor A’, Flag State Directorate – Marine Environment Unit, Shipping Deputy Ministry, Republic of Cyprus referred to the challenges of ballast water management, including the implementation phase and the D-1, D-2 and D-3 Standards. He also presented main points of the experience gained on BWM, including lack of expertise by crew and additional delays followed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ioanna Kafka, Naval Architect & Marine Engineer (M.Eng., M.Sc.), Margetis Maritime Consulting shared her views on the newly implemented 2020 sulphur cap, noting that there is no ne-size-fits-all solution for compliance. She also named key threats associated with existent fuels, such as instability, compatibility, cold flow properties and chemical contaminants, stressing that there are many cases of crew negligence. She then provided recommendations for an efficient fuel management onboard, highlighting that it is important to know your fuel during bunkering operations.

Panos Yannoulis, President, OCEANKING, stood on the main retrofitting solutions for the industry to achieve a green footprint; sulphur cap, implementation of Ballast Water Convention, decarbonization and digitalization. Discussing about new technologies that ease current challenges, Mr. Yannoulis provided a presentation of efficient and cost-effective solutions in the fields of EGCS, WBTS and ESD, respectively, with special emphasis on ship retrofitting applications.

Dr. John Kokarakis, Vice President Technology & Business Development, Bureau Veritas, discussed ammonia as a potential solution for carbon-free shipping. During his presentation, Dr. Kokarakis presented the advantages of ammonia on the one hand, and the challenges on the other, adding that difficulties around ammonia can be controlled by technical and regulatory options. He concluded by noting that when the industry implements safety systems, the risks of using ammonia will be similar or lower than for the other fuels.


Panel 3 – Human Element

Opening the third panel, Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, presented key findings of the SAFETY4SEA Crew Wellness Survey, which was conducted within the Q4 of 2019. Mr. Belokas shared the methodology and questionnaire used for the survey, but he mainly focused on the conclusions, which showed that seafarers are most satisfied on their emotional wellbeing and less satisfied on their physical wellbeing. Overall, the survey revealed a satisfying level of satisfaction among the world’s seafarers, but more needs to be done.

Capt. Paris Dimitriou, Crewing Manager & Marine & Safety Superintendent, Petronav Ship Management Ltd, looked at the past through an up to date perspective on the shipping industry, aiming to adjust the sails heading into the future. The brief and comprehensive presentation also discussed what led to the introduction of the quality pillars in the shipping industry, leading to some fruitful outcomes to address questions that will improve the shipping of tomorrow.

Concluding the third panel, Dr. Louiza Shahbazyan, SafeMetrix Product Manager, Safebridge Cyprus Ltd & WISTA Cyprus Member, focused on soft skills amid the new shipping landscape, and mostly on the importance of human element in HR Management, as well as key points of training around the ILO, the Maritime Labor Convention and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and their role in the industry.


Panel 4 – Loss Prevention

Capt. Konstantinos G. Karavasilis, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller (Hellas) Ltd, provided statistics and examples of the most common causes of P&I accidents, highlighting how the Loss Prevention plays a significant role in minimizing accidents. Moving further, he emphasized that rigorous training and continuous advice are key to eliminate the human factor as an underlying cause of every accident.

Captain VS Parani, HSSEQ Manager, Tufton Asset Management Ltd, discussed the need of expertise, as the keel of effective leadership at sea. Citing maritime casualties and personal experience, Parani argued that STCW certificates are only the starting point. Seafarers and shipping companies need to take ownership of their expertise-building process. Using his ‘Porthole model of expertise’ and case-studies, Parani illustrates how maritime professionals can engage in the process of continuous professional development.

Costas Karaloizou, Director, Albatross Adjusters Limited, discussed how losses can be minimized in the Mega box ship era. He stressed that the substantial technical challenges due to the size of ultra large container ships make the handling of such casualties extremely demanding. Recent casualties were brought as examples and an inside as to the extent of the losses that can arise from situations brought forward. The need for transparency of information with all parties during a casualty and the crucial role of General Average were key points of the presentation.

Capt. Rohit Tandon, Head of Operations/ DPA/CSO, FML Ship Management Ltd Cyprus, focused on the behavioral safety as key component of an efficient safety culture. Even after best systems and procedures Incidents occur, Capt. Tandon noted, as unsafe behavior is an early warning system for accidents. As such, the key to reinforcing safe behaviors and removing or reducing unsafe ones lies in identifying those behaviors which are critical to safety and then in carrying out regular observations to monitor them.

Closing the presentations, Stavros Meidanis, DPA/CSO, S&Q Manager, Capital Ship Management Corp., provided an overview of the key trends and challenges currently facing the shipping industry. Focusing on the geo-economical tensions, new technologies and operational efficiencies as the main trends shaping the landscape of the industry at the moment, he ended up noting that leadership and adaptability are what an HRO needs to demonstrate in order to move forward.


Find photos from the event at SAFETY4SEA Flickr and explore more about the event at