Shipping’s tectonic shifts make safety vital - DNV GL

Jun 07 2019

Although shipping losses have declined over the last decade, challenging markets, demanding environmental regulations, and new technologies threaten to pull the industry’s focus away from marine safety.

Speaking at Nor-Shipping, DNV GL’s head of maritime, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, said: “In a time when shipping is rapidly transforming, I believe it is crucial to put our primary focus on safety, making sure it is at the core of all changes – whether it is ways of working, technology, or regulations.” 


He explained that there were tectonic shifts within the maritime industry on three fronts - shifts in the market, which are increasingly unpredictable; shifts in regulations, headed by the upcoming 2020 global sulfur limits; and shifts in technology, driven by the constant digitalisation evolution.


These tectonic shifts were creating their own safety challenges from growing ship sizes, fire risks, to environmental regulations with unintended consequences, as well as the increased risk of cyber-attacks, due to vessel automation and ship-to-shore connections.


The industry needed to be both aware of these challenges, but also embrace the opportunities they create, he said. However, a safety net was needed to unlock these opportunities, which was where class and DNV GL could be instrumental.


He said: “I have five proposals that I believe could benefit our industry and improve safety at sea. Firstly, to develop holistic regulations with safety at the core – this is a challenge to the IMO and the classification societies when they are developing rules. Secondly, to improve the safety culture within shipping companies. Thirdly, to apply barrier management lessons from other industries. The fourth proposal is to increase transparency on incident findings. And finally, to unlock data silos for deeper insights into incidents and near-misses.”


As a class society, DNV GL was also providing safety-related research and technical knowhow that was leading to informed debates and better decisions. Ørbeck-Nilssen added. “In a recent joint development project, we tested the properties of the new Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) after a series of stern tube bearing failures were reported. Based on the results, we updated our design rules, to add a viscosity influence parameter as a safety margin.”


In addition, the class society was involved in areas that would be important for the future of the industry. He concluded. “Our role as a neutral third party has never been more relevant than in time of rapid technological transformation as we see it today. For example, autonomous and remotely operated ships are beginning to emerge, which prompted the launch of our class guideline last year. Alongside our own rules we continue to support the industry to develop a holistic regulatory framework.”


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June 2020

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