World Maritime Day 202228/09/2022
Today, September 29th 2022, we want to join thousands of organizations in observing the United Nation’s World Maritime Day, and recognize and respect the pivotal importance of the sector and its workers to society but also reflect on the many challenges ahead.
As the first technology accelerator with a mission and focus on safety, risk and resilience in critical infrastructure sectors, we work in a number of sectors, but our heritage – and a good proportion of what we currently do – is in maritime and the blue economy.
This year’s theme is new technologies for greener shipping in support of one of the major International Maritime Organization’s and sector priorities over the coming years. I wholeheartedly endorse this year’s focus on new technologies: they are not the answer but they ought to be part of it and when they are right, they can be gamechangers.
The IMO linked this year’s theme with broader UN’s sustainability development goals (SDGs) to ensure the transition “leaves no one behind”. I believe this approach is the correct one and to that I would like to add that the transition should be safe and – in itself – sustainable.
As part of these goals, the IMO highlighted the importance of partnerships and implementation and I could not agree more: change happens by doing. And when the way forward is found and enough people follow it, tipping points may be crossed, triggering large scale adoption and true change.
Our specific role as a tech accelerator is to bring some of the best innovators and entrepreneurs out there to work closely with those with complex industry challenges. With our stakeholders and our partners, we are playing our part in supporting IMO’s ambitious goals and I wanted to highlight some examples from past 12 months.
In response to the COP26 Methane Pledge (globalmethanepledge.org) we worked with Lloyd’s Register and a number of major partners in shipping to launch the Methane Abatement in Maritime Innovation Initiative (mamii.org) , a collaborative technology acceleration programme that aims to identify and trial technologies to monitor, measure and assure methane emissions in shipping.
Together with the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonization Hub, we launched an open innovation challenge aimed at exploring technologies that could assist in the assurance of green fuels, in particular hydrogen and ammonia. This type of assurance could become a key enabler to faster transitions to these fuels. The innovation challenges resulted in the selection of two technology providers to carry out feasibility studies, which are currently under way.
In support to crew wellbeing goals we have embarked in a number of initiatives. We launched an open innovation challenge that resulted in a collaboration with startup Scoutbase through our Waypoint programme and a collaboration with HiLo and Torm to explore how audio analytics could help measure crew wellbeing. We have also been working on tech for physical wellbeing in industrials workplaces with the USA’s National Safety Council, with direct applicability in the maritime space.
Like the IMO said with respect to green corridors demonstrators (e.g. see the Silk Alliance), projects such those can and should create powerful proof points of how new technology can address complex challenges and inspire innovators and industry operators to invest more in scaling up what works.
In the end technology is a mean to achieve these goals and an enabler to change but the real catalyst is a concrete industry willingness to make a change. And that is why World Maritime Day is so important. It makes us reflect on the real driver for change: people.
Dr Maurizio Pilu
Managing Director, Safetytech Accelerator