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Greener Shipping Summit, June 6, 2024, Metropolitan Expo Organised by Newsfront / Naftiliaki, under the auspices of MARTECMA

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Half a million seafarers would have to be retrained if greener ship technology as it stands becomes the rule, the 16th Greener Shipping Summit heard last week.
Seafarer training, regulatory challenges and new approaches were explored at ‘The Greener Shipping Summit 2024,’organised by Newsfront/ Naftiliaki under the auspices of MARTECMA (Marine Technical Managers Association) as part of the Posidonia 2024 conference programme.
Summit keynote speaker, Dimitris Fafalios, Chairman of Intercargo, kicked-off the summit with a warning “we cannot achieve IMO goals without safety.” “To develop the right regulations for decarbonisation and safety we must help our regulators to understand the fundamental difference between shipping’s basic models.”
The Posidonia 2024 summit called into question the shipboard force’s readiness for the greener transition, with a focus on the quality of shipping training, digitalisation and fleet efficiency. “Seafarers will understand the new processes,” said George Skevis, General manager of CLEOS. “Who is going to train the trainers?” queried Angelos Pantouvakis, School of Maritime and Industry Dean.
Technical and managerial shipping was considered, following the eco-friendly demands. A key issue is the handling of the most promising alternative fuel, ammonia, which would require “some hard skills training,” underlined Natassa Kouvertari, Lloyd’s Register’s Maritime Decarbonisation Hub Project Manager. She noted that up to 800,000 seafarers will need re-training in green shipboard technology sectors. “Managerial skills must not be neglected,” stressed Kostas Spyrou, Professor at National Technical University of Athens.
Konstantinos Agas, Training Manager at Dynacom and Dynagas, addressed inadequate trainers and unfeasible training-time for seafarers, with the recommended monthly hours being ‘20-25.’ Andreas Hadjipetrou, Managing Director of Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd, emphasised recruiting “the right people onboard”, like officers. “Maritime operations’ fast pace regime pose difficult training conditions,” Takis Koutris, Managing Director of Roxana Shipping SA, underlined. Crew well-being initiatives, like appointing “a well-being ambassador and monthly psychological consultations” are critical, he noted.
The summit panellists debated whether AI is a tool or a threat, agreeing remote training aids seafarer well-being but questioned its regulation. Mr Agas proposed ‘virtual light training initiation,’ where trainees are given the option to conduct their training online. However, “there is no standardised remote training,” said Dimitris Fokas, Training Manager of Angelicoussis Shipping Group and Chairman of Human Element Committee, Intertanko. “How can we verify that the trainees have received certificates?” he added. It is the combination of both remote and hands-on training, the panellists concurred.
“Proper decarbonisation plans” must be made for future vessels with alternative fuels,” said Morten Lero, Managing Director Maritime Advisory at DNV. He noted that “by 2030, shipping might need to utilise 30 - 40% of the world's alternative fuel production to meet regulatory expectation.” Stela Spiraj, Senior Engineer of Regulatory Affairs at ABS underlined the rapidly changing Green regulatory challenges they face. Rapid adoption is needed and, with ammonia and hydrogen being classified as potential alternative fuels, “we expect ammonia to be adopted by July 1st 2026,” she revealed.
Though regulatory challenges persist in the use of alternative fuels, Carbon Capture has emerged as a viable solution for many ships, with it being able to capture CO2 from a vessel’s exhaust for safe and future storage. “LNG is the best fuel for carbon capture,” Antonis Trakakis, Technical Director at RINA and CIMAC Hellas Chairman noted. “With it on board, you can use the pre-combustion instead of the post-combustion systems,’’ he said as it decreases energy consumption, evidenced by Cambridge research. However, the concern on Carbon Capture Systems falls on its verification. “We don't want to give credit to the wrong industries,” said John Kokarakis, Technical Director of SEEBA Zone and Bureau Veritas. The systems won’t be verified until ‘Spring 2025,’ he revealed.
Following the eco-friendlier transitions for vessels, Kokarakis recommended focusing on three key items: improving hydrodynamic design, using silicon-based paints, and exploring biofuels compliant with the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS). For new builds, Fotis Belexis, Technical Director at Star Bulk Carriers Corp, stressed the importance of “operational optimisations”, to improve fleet efficiency. Selecting appropriate energy consumers, improving aerodynamic designs, and reducing electric energy requirements are crucial steps. However, Second-hand ships are in the spotlight now; Belexis advised “checking maintenance records, engine propulsion systems, fuel consumption records, and regulatory compliance.”
On decarbonisation and IMO regulations, the biggest concern was that of hydrogen. Despite it being a potential cleaner energy source, ‘its global warming potential is 11 times greater than CO2, over a 100 year timescale,’ said Panos Zachariadis, Technical Director at Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd. “New studies say it’s even worse than that, 60 or 200 times worse,” he warned. The question is how much of it is going to escape, he stressed.
He emphasised that “we need new technologies like nuclear fourth-generation” because ‘using renewable electricity to produce green fuels is not an efficient approach.’ Other solutions include ammonia, but he believes we need further studies to verify this. ‘Targets have been achieved, on paper though,’ he highlighted. The global warming potential of LNG is ‘28 and 25 according to CII’ (Carbon Intensity Indicator) calculations; he explained that these calculations are based on the textbook chemical reaction of natural gas in engines, which may not exactly reflect real-word conditions. Nevertheless, he underlined that ‘28 is a viable number.’

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