Specifically, the COVID-19 economic crisis remains a challenge for the industry, as half of Wärtsilä’s retrofits requiring docking or a period of out-of-service.

Giulio Tirelli, Director of Business Development at Wärtsilä Marine Power comments that

The IMO emission targets for 2030 and 2050 have not changed because of the pandemic. If it was challenging before, now it is even more so for our customers because of a strong volatility in the market. However, all shipowners still face those fixed deadlines.

In addition, concerning specific, cost-sensitive markets, like the merchant one, the recent pandemic economic crisis put even stronger pressure on exploring upgrade solutions which should be, at the same time, cost competitive and significantly improving the emissions profile.

Moreover, Mr. Tirelli referred to Wartsila's project on signing a contract to introduce the marine sector’s first hybrid installation for a bulk carrier, a solution which is capable of positively influencing both aspects. The retrofit is currently being installed on M/V ‘Paolo Topic', but is being slowed down due to the pandemic.

While the IMO’s 2030 and 2050 targets relate to CO2 emissions, the global shipping regulator has also introduced a new upper limit on the sulphur oxide (SOx) content of ships’ fuel oil at the start of the year. Known as IMO 2020, the reduced limit is mandatory for all vessels operating outside certain designated areas.

Mr Tirelli explained that in light of the industry's green efforts, Wartsila is opting fuel flexibility, with the utilisation of non-traditional fuels, like LNG and ammonia. However, the other big factor in reaching the CO2 targets is increasing efficiency.

It is added that bulkers and container vessels are active, as they need to prepare for the new emissions targets.

Concluding, since the obstacle for most segments this year has been cost, Carey advises economically cautious shipowners to use the time to research and pilot what could be done in the future.