Ahead of the 2019 Nautical Institute Singapore Conference, Singapore Solutions spoke to some of the speakers to offer a preview of what they will be discussing.
Themed 'Dealing with Tomorrow’s Challenges Today,' the one-day event takes place at the Suntec City Convention Centre on 15 May. Over four sessions, the conference will address topics including disruptive technology, new legislation and requirements including IMO's 2020 sulphur cap, cargo issues and loss prevention. The Nautical Institute's president Captain Nick Nash is the keynote speaker and MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon is guest of honour.
DNV GL’s digital hub Asian regional manager Mathias Steck is taking part in Session 1: Disruptive technology. Topics under discussion will include cyber security, electronic charts versus paper charts, autonomous and automated vessels, and the future of container handling.
Mr Steck plans to focus on the issues of data maturity, data security and cyber security, and how standards and regulation will help advance these matters within the industry.
He said “With the increasing dependence on data as a basis for automated processes, the quality and security of data is a direct prerequisite that safe and sustainable operation of an asset needs to be based on – to safeguard life, property and the environment.”
“With the shift from a physical to a cyber-physical world, assurance of asset integrity needs to entail cyber security as well.”
Commenting on the challenges in getting the shipping industry to embrace disruption, Mr Steck said noted that there is a tendency to stick with established processes that all stakeholders have found a comfortable role in.
He cited as an example a blockchain-based solution for bunker-fuel trading DNV GL is currently developing with a Singaporean/Australian startup, noting that the technical aspect appears to be fairly straightforward. “Getting buy-in from the industry is the complicated part, since the change in technology also comes with a change in workflow and shift in powers – let alone the required trust in the process.”
Mr Steck also identified blockchain as potentially one of the most disruptive technologies for shipping due to the ability to address many issues in the industry such as certification, port clearance, traceability and auditability.
Jurong Port’s senior operations manager Captain Leo Vincent is a member of the panel for Session 3: Cargo issues. He said “Lives matter and everyone in the supply chain plays a vital role to achieve this.
“Everyone to varying levels of influence and accountability must step up and do better than what is currently being accepted especially when it comes to general cargo and steel cargo specifically.”
Commenting on the biggest challenges for port and vessel operators when it comes to loading, stowage and safe carriage, he explained “The loading standards and practices from various load ports is the root cause to challenging and unsafe stowage in cargo holds.” He added that standards set out are brief, with cost a key driver behind stowage standards.
Jurong Port is working with vessel owners to improve this, launching a cargo planning management system that will allow consistent submissions of stowage plans and cargo details, Captain Vincent added. This will be used to form port policy, guiding how the port engages with users such as shipowners. Shipowners will benefit by being able to use the information for planning their own operations, and by being able to measure the cargo handling performance of each of their vessels that call at Jurong Port, he said.
Captain Vincent noted he is especially interested in understanding owners’ and charterers’ thoughts in terms of developing efficiency and safety in cargo handling including drybulk and breakbulk, while embracing technological solutions as enablers against prevalent diminished margins, excess tonnage and low freight rates.
Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO)’s safety and marine assurance director Ian Offland is a panellist in Session 4: Loss prevention – upcoming issues. He will be addressing issues including recruitment, nurturing and retaining talent, the importance of engagement and accountability and development of leaders, investment in people and training, workplace safety and health and wellness.
“SPO places strong emphasis on our people, both shore-based and seagoing employees,” Mr Offland said, explaining how the company is working to improve crew lifestyle and welfare. This includes producing publications aimed at promoting health and welfare, such as a brochure aimed at helping seafarers reduce their risk of diabetes and an inhouse monthly newsletter, as well as providing gym facilities on some vessels and reviewing and controlling food options by encouraging cooks to prepare healthy meals and ensuring food choices and living conditions are of a consistently high standard through audits. The company also offers training to seafarers at a dedicated centre, and provides long service awards to long-serving employees.
Mr Offland added his own areas of interest at the event will include IMO 2020, which he sees as “a huge step-change in the industry with regard to environmental controls”, and the importance of training in ECDIS use, particularly encouraging deck officers with understanding of ECDIS systems to “teach” senior officers who may be less familiar.