Shipbuilding forum agrees industry goals

Dec 01 2017

Carbon emissions, safety and cyber security were on the agenda at the annual Tripartite Shipbuilding Forum, which attracted more than 100 delegates.

At the end of the debate, it was agreed that the industry needed to design ships differently and be more technologically innovative to reach world climate goals and counter cyber security risks.


For over 16 years, shipowner representative associations, classification societies and shipyards have come together to discuss issues related to design, construction and operation of new and future ships.


This year's themes were de-carbonisation of ships, safe design and digitalisation. These issues are interlinked, as they are all relevant to the creation of a more efficient seaborne transport system, the forum said.


At its most recent meeting in Nantong, China, hosted by China Classification Society, the forum reached several general conclusions on ship design and technology.


Working to reduce CO2 emissions - Shipping urgently needs new ship designs, equipment, propulsion systems and alternative fuels to achieve the CO2 reduction goals established by the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the specific objectives to be established for international shipping by the UN IMO as part of its GHG reduction strategy.


It was agreed that the shipping industry needs to use all available technology to a much greater extent, and increase technological innovation to reduce CO2 emissions to the ambitious degree required by the international community.


As a result, the Tripartite forum has established inter-industry working groups with the aim of developing a better understanding of current R&D efforts for the new technologies needed by the shipping sector to realise its vision for zero CO2 emissions this century.


Safety - The critical importance of the safety of seafarers and the ships, which they operate were also discussed.

There are increasing concerns that new regulations governing ship designs aimed at further reducing CO2 emissions could potentially have adverse effects on the safe operation of ships.


One example would be any legal requirements that led to a further reduction of engine power, resulting in ships getting into problems during bad weather if the engine is not sufficiently powered, putting both the crew and the environment at serious risk.


Design cyber resilient ships - Recent cyber attacks have increased awareness of potential threats facing the industry.


For ship design and construction, it was agreed that the industry needs to adopt new methods and standards to create more resilient digital systems on board. A more layered approach to a ship's digital system and greater segregation can increase safety, so that a single attack cannot readily spread to IT and other systems both on board the ship and onshore.


The forum agreed that ahead of its next meeting in the Autumn of 2018 in South Korea, the industry partners will work together to develop new design standards, which will help raise the resilience of ships' digital systems and make them more resistant to possible cyber attacks.


The organisations present at Tripartite also re-confirmed their ongoing collaboration towards industry self-regulation as an important complement to the statutory regulations developed by IMO.


The Tripartite forum consisted of representatives from BIMCO, ICS, Intertanko, OCIMF, IACS, ASEF and SEAEurope.  


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