A new cloud-based platform will be tested for ship inspection information, backed by European Union money, as Cyprus invests in digitalisation projects to optimise ship administration
A new research and development (R&D) institute in Cyprus has raised more than €40M (US$42.6M) as the nation’s Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) ramps up its support for digitalisation programmes.
Cyprus shipping deputy minister Natasa Pilides explained to Riviera Maritime Media how SDM is implementing digital tools to optimise shipping operations and administration. Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI) has raised €15M from the European Union, another €15M from the Cyprus Government, and more than €10M from industry for new facilities on the island and R&D projects.
Ms Pilides said SDM is supporting CMMI to develop a platform for electronic certification and to store and display seafarer information. “We are in the middle of implementing an online registry of vessels and fostering innovation in Cyprus,” said Ms Pilides. “We are supporting CMMI and other initiatives while funding and promoting innovation.”
CMMI chief executive Zacharias Siokouros said more than €40M had been raised by the independent institute of which €15M will be spent on infrastructure and equipment, including a new research base in Larnaca, Cyprus, and a branch in Limassol. The rest will be spent on R&D in maritime and marine sciences and digital platforms.
With this support, Ms Pilides said a user-friendly program for the online ship registry should be available later this year along with a new platform for uploading, storing and accessing ship information for inspection purposes.
She said a pilot project will also commence in Q2 on the fleet information sharing platform (FISH) being developed by Prevention at Sea. This is an online ship data repository designed to standardise, automate and reduce the time spent in the ship inspection process and collecting ship data for review by third parties.
Prevention at Sea founder Petros Achtypis said shipping companies will benefit from this online platform. “Once shipping companies see the value and the abilities this platform provides, they will gradually implement FISH,” Mr Achtypis said.
“They will adopt this platform and will find it useful in saving work hours and auditing time,” he continued. “Captains will upload documents to the cloud platform and these will be available for review by different partners and third parties.”
FISH will eliminate the administrative burden of ship inspections by allowing ship operators and crew members to upload fleet data such as e-certificates, logbooks and ship records into a central and secure online system.
“Shipmanagers could also upload images, video and check lists for compliance and items for inspections. We expect the pilot project to last three to four months depending on its findings,” said Mr Achtypis. “We will be obtaining shipping company feedback and adding new functionality.”
SDM will also provide feedback to Prevention at Sea as it will use FISH for ship inspections. “We are very supportive and we strongly believe this project will make operations more efficient,” said Ms Pilides.
“We will provide input on how FISH should work and we look forward to implementing the pilot project so the system can be perfected,” she explained to Riviera.
Cyprus has increased its flagged tonnage to more than 25M gt, has more than 1,100 vessels under its registry and more than 220 companies are under Cyprus’ tonnage tax system.