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Originally reported and published on Monday, 23 September 2019
The global requirement for the shipping industry to reduce sulphur oxide emissions under new international regulation set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) brings environmental safety to the forefront of this industry.
With just three months until January 1, 2020, the date when the new rule comes into force, shipowners are in the spotlight to beat the deadline and ensure their vessels comply with the new emissions cap of 0.5 weight per cent from the maximum fuel oil sulphur limit of 3.5 wt per cent.
This highly controversial international regulation raised major concerns among key stakeholders attending the opening session of the Seatrade ShipTech Middle East 2019, which is taking place on September 23 and 24, 2019 on the sidelines of the UAE Maritime Week
Participants of the leading regional shipping technology conference, addressed the main question and theme of the keynote debate, ‘What Lies Ahead Post January 1, 2020?’.
The panellists agreed that there will be a challenging settling in period after the IMO sulphur cap comes into force from January 2020, with fuel pricing and availability issues before the market finds a balance. The consensus was that most ship owners had now begun preparations for what Captain Mohamed Al Ali, Senior Vice President, Ship Management, ADNOC Logistics & Services described in his keynote address as “the biggest shake-up in the history of the shipping industry”. Up to 20% of the global shipping fleet is expected to be retrofitted with scrubbing technology and this has exposed a serious competency gap in terms of engineering, the panellists said, and scrubber-related problems will continue to manifest over the next 4-5 years. With the shipping industry set to face increasing environmental regulation in future, the panellists said there were important lessons to be learned concerning implementation.
Thought leaders who shed light and presented their cases during the debate include Ali Abduljalil Shehab, Acting CEO, Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC); Capt. Rado Antolovic, PhD, CEO & Managing Director, DP World - Maritime Services Division; Dr John Calleya, Technical Officer for Air Pollution, Marine Environment Division, IMO; Capt. Tony Field, Vice President, Middle East & Africa, Marine & Offshore, Lloyd's Register; and Capt. Amarjit Kauchhur, Vice President, Middle East / Regional Manager, IRI / The Marshall Islands Registry.
Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, said: “While the global shipping industry is fully committed to raising their commitments to environmental protection by lowering sulphur oxides emitted to the atmosphere, it is clear from the debate that many continue to face the predicament on how they can effectively implement the treaty while maintaining a balance in their operations. There are a few months left before the ruling takes effect and Seatrade ShipTech Middle East has provided the platform for regional stakeholders to meet and tackle this issue while exploring new options through innovation and emerging technologies.”
Other sessions discussed during the first day included exploring the key role of liquified natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel, which is considered an alternative option that would help shipowners meet environmental compliance.
The ‘Powered by LNG’ session panellists discussed the new environmental regulations and confusing claims regarding fuels have been making it difficult for ship owners to make investment decisions. But LNG offers a safe and scalable solution which is compliant with current and future regulations affecting the shipping industry. It is estimated that 10-30% of new-build ships are planned to be LNG fuelled as the liner, bulk and VLCC sectors begin to embrace the technology. By 2030, it is expected LNG will account for 12-15% of the shipping sector’s fuel consumption by volume. For that to happen, the panellists said the lack of LNG bunkering availability needs to be addressed and appropriate pricing formulas established.
Artificial intelligence (AI) also featured during the conference where industry players considered the range of opportunities and challenges in applying intelligent shipping solutions.
Seatrade ShipTech moderator Craig Eason has added: “The turn of the decade in just three months’ time is seeing our industry scramble to understand just what is in store. While the focus is on the IMO 2020 sulphur in fuel cap that is coming in, there are other changes that will be no less important, ranging from climate challenges, digital solutions, and the work to assess levels of automation and autonomy. The Seatrade ShipTech event has been a solid sounding board for the Middle East region for 12 years, and I am proud to be part of this opportunity for the industry to better understand these challenges. This event offers one of the best chances to help plan and prepare for the future.”
The second day (Tuesday, September 24) of the event, which is being held at the Madinat Arena – Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre, Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, will discuss the development of zero-carbon fuels, the latest innovations that could improve the efficiency and performance of vessels, cybersecurity risks and data threats, and the role of robotics in the future of shipping. The sessions will take place from 9.30 am to 5.15 pm.
Seatrade ShipTech Middle East, which has been taking place annually since 2007, is the only event during UAE Maritime Week focused on the latest shipping technologies aimed at driving growth and development for the maritime sector.