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The Rise of Tech in the Time of Covid-19

Maritime London's eighth in the series of Covid-19 webinars

Posted on: 12 June 2020

Hosted by Maritime London and organised in partnership with Lloyd’s Register “The Rise of Tech in the Time of Covid-19” webinar focused on how technology has played a key role in keeping essential maritime supply chains open during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The interactive panel discussion and Q&A was moderated Phil Parry, Director of Maritime London & Chairman of Spinnaker Global, who commented: “Necessity is the mother of invention and it was very clear from the discussion that the industry responded quickly to the restrictions put upon it by Covid-19.

“The main focus was around remote surveys and … I took away the sense that remote surveys are not going away and will see regular use. Bear in mind however that they require a lot more preparation time than a physical survey so the time-cost of that must be weighed against other savings, including the surveyor’s travel costs, travel time and environmental impact.

Andy McKeran, Commercial Director, Marine & Offshore at Lloyd’s Register, said: “Trying to put time period on how far Covid-19 has pushed us ahead as an industry is impossible, but there is no question that the industry has moved further forward.

“Covid-19 has forced a global routine change and this has made us all more collaborative, adaptable and open-minded. Implementing technology involves so much more than just the technology itself – including integration with existing assets, systems, processes and procedures as well as getting people’s buy-in and wider stakeholder acceptance of the changes.”

Simon Bonnett, London-based Senior Vice President, Technical of  International Registries Inc (IRI), administrator of the Marshall Islands flag,  noted that “The current stock of technologies makes it apparent that, even when it’s physically impossible for a surveyor to access a ship, regulators, owners and other stakeholders can maintain an eye on the condition of a ship and the safety of life, the environment, and resources.

“One job for the flag State and their Recognized Organization (RO) is to make sure any remote survey is equivalent to a physical attendance from their surveyor, it is carried out without bias from the ship’s operator and crew, and meets the objectives in the Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC),” he added.

Cliff Roberts, QSE Director at James Fisher (Shipping Services) Ltd, observed that the webinar was “a useful debate on a very topical matter which all ship owners are tackling at the moment. Technologies which were already out there are being discovered by mainstream companies and put into use in imaginative ways to ensure continued shipboard operations can continue during these unusual times.

“I hope to see some of these technologies and practices continue into the future,” he continued. “We have not noticed any cost savings in the deployment of these technologies, but there is certainly a reduced travel commitment which does have a positive environmental impact which we can all share.”

You can watch a video replay of the discussion here or read the Seatrade Maritime News write-up of the webinar at here.

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