Classification more relevant than ever, says DNV GL

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In an increasingly complex, fast changing, and challenging market, the role of the classification society is more relevant than ever, said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, at a press conference ahead of Posidonia trade fair in Athens. Class enables innovation in ship building, guides owners and operators through a demanding regulatory landscape, and helps the industry tackle cyber-crime, he underlined.

Leading off the press conference, DNV GL Group President & CEO Remi Eriksen explained that two megatrends are impacting the maritime industry: decarbonisation and digitalisation. On decarbonisation, he said: “The IMO strategy announced last month targets a 50% carbon reduction. This is ambitious but not unachievable. We see some companies leading the way, and more efficient ship designs and better ship utilisation will propel this.”

In terms of digitalisation, Mr Eriksen said: “It’s about connecting the hardware with services, with people and with other data streams to build better ways of doing business. And the key to unlocking the value that industrial data holds is trust. We see significant interest and demand for our open industry data platform, Veracity, from the maritime, oil and gas, and energy sectors. It is now closing in on a million service subscriptions from 1,500 different companies.”

In his presentation, Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen said that the shipping market was probably at the bottom of the cycle and looks forward to continuing modest upward growth. As part of this upswing, European yards had experienced a renaissance, on the basis of a strategy to specialise in high technology vessels. DNV GL was working with many of these yards, he said, helping to implement alternative fuels, working to improve energy efficiency and providing insight and technical expertise in high-tech segments, such as cruise, ferries and offshore vessels.

Decarbonising shipping would not impact specific ships in the short term, said Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen, but required concrete policy measures and the development of an action plan by IMO. “The 50% reduction goal will likely call for a wide-spread uptake of zero-carbon fuels, in addition to other energy efficiency measures,” he said. “These fuels are not existing today, and there needs to be a concerted effort towards developing these and making them available in the necessary quantity. In classification, working with the industry to create a safe and sustainable future is at the heart of what we do. We look forward to working closely with the IMO and the wider maritime community to reach this goal.”

Increasing digitalisation in the industry came with a host of benefits, including improving environmental performance, said Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen, but there were challenges as well. Cyber-crime needed to be addressed: “We see our industry being more exposed with cyber-attacks migrating from the IT world to operational technology, increasing the risk for shipping. To help the industry to tackle those risks, we have put cyber security high on our agenda,” he said.

DNV GL is therefore preparing to publish its first cyber security class notations – Cyber Secure – on 1st July 2018. The notation builds on the DNV GL Recommended Practice on cyber security which provides guidance on how to apply ISO/IEC-27001 and ISA-99/IEC-62443 standards in the maritime industry.

In closing, Mr Ørbeck-Nilssen emphasised the continuing importance of classification: “Our ways of working may be changing. But the purpose of classification still remains the same: To protect life, property and the environment.”

Ioannis Chiotopoulos, DNV GL’s Regional Manager South East Europe, Middle East & Africa, looked at the Greek market and how DNV GL was continuing to support local customers: “We have implemented a package of measures that have enhanced our services to the local shipping community, boosted response times and strengthened the responsibilities and capabilities in the region. Our DATE service centre is fully functional, where customers have direct access to technical experts. Additionally, the approval centre in Piraeus offers all fleet in service approvals locally and a chief surveyor who is Greek is available for 24/7 support. The Piraeus office is already one of our great hubs for maritime innovation and we will continue to work cooperatively on projects that tackle the needs of our customers. Finally, we have invested not only in Greece but in making sure that our Greek customers are at home around the globe, by posting experienced Greek speaking engineers to key locations around the world.”

Pictured (from left to right): Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime; Remi Eriksen, DNV GL Group President & CEO; Ioannis Chiotopoulos, DNV GL’s Regional Manager South East Europe, Middle East & Africa.