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HANSA 08-2020

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Schifffahrt | Shipping Guest commentary: Christopher J Wiernicki, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) »Where we go from here: the challenges that shipping must address« Exclusively for HANSA, Christopher J Wiernicki, President, CEO and Chairman of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), takes a profound look at an potential »new normal« in a post-Covid-19-era From the perspective of the halfway point of 2020, the maritime industry faces a confluence of challenges unlike anything experienced in over half a century. Shipping already had at least two sources of disruption on its radar; the potential of digital technology to re-shape operations and the long-term impact of decarbonization. No one could have predicted the emergence of CO- VID-19 and the impact it would have on communities and businesses; for many a return to normal is still a distant prospect. Among those most impacted we must count the seafarers on whom we rely to keep the supply chain moving. We recognised early that digitalisation was a trend that would have a profound reshaping effect on our activities. The impacts cut across everything we do, before a ship is built, once it is delivered and across its working life. The advanced tools we are developing and deploying will enable our clients to adopt new ways of working that drive efficiencies and advance safety. Digitalisation is a key enabler of the decarbonization agenda too. The ability to access data streams, monitor asset health and manage systems remotely is a key plank of the new era of performance management that sustainable operations demand. The increased use of IoT enabled sensors enables class to inspect and assess remotely, from hull condition to machinery performance, safely and consistently. Our recently updated Low Carbon Pathways publication is designed to help Christopher J Wiernicki, President, CEO and Chairman of American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) owners understand the choices they face on the road towards low and net zero carbon operations. The Coronavirus pushed our remote and advanced survey services into overdrive and that genie is out of the bottle for good. ABS is now able to conduct almost all classification annual surveys remotely on eligible vessels, providing the most comprehensive set of remote survey options in the industry. What we must remember as we move into a post-COVID world is that the health protection of people and assets is critical to safe operations in the short and long term. This means that while hull and machinery spaces and systems are inspected for safety, we must also protect crews while restarting operations in complex environments with unique requirements, where decontamination is considerably more challenging than on land. ABS has launched comprehensive guidance on sanitizing and decontaminating marine and offshore assets © ABS exposed to COVID-19 in a publication that provides best practice guidelines and helps maritime leadership address the many challenges the virus brings. That the human factor remains the most important link in the chain for shipping was starkly illuminated by CO- VID-19 and the issues around safe crew changes continue to test our ability to support those on whom we depend for so much. We must also consider crew when looking at all the top line issues; the impact of new, game-changing technologies that digitalisation brings and decarbonization demands. The industry has not always been good at putting our key workers in the centre of the model and working outwards. Instead we have tended to burden them with additional demands and limited training, with consequential risks to safety. If we are to successfully navigate the restarting and reopening of our industry post-lockdown, grasp the clear benefits that digital offers and embrace the challenge of decarbonization, we need to recognise once again that our people are the most precious commodity of all. They deserve our support and will need it as we move into a very different future. n HANSA – International Maritime Journal 08 | 2020 21

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