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IMO names seven candidates vying for Secretary-General position

Seven IMO Member States have each nominated a candidate for IMO Secretary-General post; election will take place at IMO Headquarters on Tuesday (18 July).

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Monday (3 April) said seven IMO Member States have each nominated a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The term of the current incumbent, Mr. Kitack Lim of the Republic of Korea, expires on 31 December 2023. 

The nominations received by the deadline set for receipt of nominations of 31 March 2023 are listed below in alphabetical order by candidates' name.   

  • Mr. Moin Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh) 
  • Mr. Suat Hayri Aka (Türkiye)  
  • Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Panama)  
  • Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Dominica)  
  • Mrs. Nancy Karigithu (Kenya) 
  • Ms. Minna Kivimäki (Finland) 
  • Mr. Zhang Xiaojie (China)

The IMO Council at its 128th session (December 2022) approved the procedures for holding the election of the Secretary-General at the July 2023 session of the Council (C 129).  

The election will take place at IMO Headquarters on Tuesday, 18 July.   

Following the election in July 2023, the decision of the Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023. The Assembly will be invited to approve the appointment.  

The elected Secretary-General will take office on 1 January, 2024.  

 

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 4 April, 2023

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Events

18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme

MPA will be making several announcements related to developments on low- emission maritime energy transition technologies, maritime artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and manpower, over the five-day event.

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18th Singapore Maritime Week opens with ‘Actions meet Ambition’ theme

The Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), returned in its 18th edition with more than 50 events from 15 to 19 April 2024 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Themed ‘Actions meet Ambition’, MPA said SMW is organised around four pillars - decarbonisation, digitalisation, services, and talent development. More than 10,000 maritime professionals from close to 40 countries, including delegates from governments, port authorities, international organisations, as well as industry experts and thought leaders are expected to attend SMW. 

In addition, the inaugural Expo@SMW trade exhibition, taking place from 16 to 18 April 2024 as part of SMW 2024, will showcase maritime solutions by close to 50 companies and startups.

SMW 2024 was launched by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Finance. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Mr Chee highlighted that Maritime Singapore has continued to grow year-on-year – a mark of the industry’s vote of confidence in Singapore, and the strong tripartite relationship between business, workers, and the government. 

Looking forward, Mr Chee said that Singapore aims to be a global hub for innovation, reliable and resilient maritime operations, and maritime talent, to better serve the current and future needs of our stakeholders and allow Singapore to contribute to global development and sustainability goals effectively.

A maritime dialogue was held on the topic of Supply Chain Resilience, Digitalisation and Decarbonisation. The panel, comprising Dr Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Germany, Mr Even Tronstad Sagebakken, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway, and Mr Francis Zachariae, Secretary-General, International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) was moderated by Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs. 

The panel discussed the challenges the maritime sector faces when dealing with these changes and disruptions, the efforts and measures undertaken by them to prepare the maritime industry and its workforce, and the potential for various stakeholders to work together to address these challenges and capture new opportunities.

Other participants of SMW 2024 include Mr Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary- General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); and Mr Sergio Mujica, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Speaking at his first maritime event in Singapore since his appointment as the Secretary-General of the IMO in January 2024, Mr Dominguez delivered a keynote speech at the Singapore Maritime Lecture that was moderated by Ambassador Mary Seet-Cheng, Singapore’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to the Republic of Fiji and Non-Resident Ambassador to the Pacific Islands Forum.

Secretary-General Dominguez emphasised the importance of ensuring seafarer safety and wellbeing, particularly in the light of geopolitical changes impacting shipping, and highlighted his vision for IMO to flourish as a transparent, inclusive, diverse institution. 

He also noted the rapid green and digital transition unfolding in the maritime sector, driven by the targets set by IMO Member States in the IMO 2023 GHG Strategy. 

Mr. Dominguez said: “IMO is on track to adopt mid-term measures by late 2025 to cut GHG emissions, to reach net zero targets. Alongside this regulatory work, there is a need to consider issues such as safety, pricing, infrastructural availability to deliver new fuels, lifecycle emissions, supply chain constraints, barriers to adoption and more.”

“Seafarers will require training to be able to operate new technologies as well as zero or near-zero emission powered vessels safely.”

“We need ‘early movers’ in the industry as well as forward-looking policy makers to take the necessary risks and secure the right investments that will stimulate long-term solutions for the sector. In this regard, we welcome the efforts being undertaken by Singapore to facilitate collaboration among maritime stakeholders, including the MPA-led Maritime Energy Training Facility.”

SMW 2024 will also bring together MPA’s Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) partners, namely Australia, six ports in Japan, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Port of Rotterdam, and Tianjin, to discuss GDSC initiatives to support IMO’s Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission reduction targets for international shipping.

These include the development and uptake of zero or near-zero GHG emission fuels at scale along corridor routes, technologies to accelerate decarbonisation, collaboration to enhance operational and digital efficiencies, as well as updates on key milestones achieved for the Singapore and Port of Rotterdam and the Singapore and Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach GDSCs.

MPA will ink several partnerships and agreements with more than 30 partners during SMW 2024 in areas such as training and cybersecurity. These partners comprise international organisations, foreign governments and agencies, classification societies, maritime partners, institutes of higher learning, tech companies, trade associations, and unions. 

MPA will also be making several announcements related to developments on low- emission maritime energy transition technologies, maritime artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and manpower, over the five-day event.

MPA and 22 partners , including the leading global marine engine manufacturers, today also signed a Letter of Intent to establish the Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF). The METF, supported by the tripartite maritime community in Singapore, aims to close the skills and competencies gap for the safe operation of new zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

Facility will be anchored by new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative marine fuels such as methanol.

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MPA to set up facility for maritime workforce to train in handling new bunker fuels

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Monday (15 April) said it will establish an industry-supported facility to address the current competencies gap by training the global maritime workforce in handling and operating vessels using clean marine fuels. 

MPA said there is a need for more maritime personnel and seafarers to be trained and equipped to operate these ships safely and efficiently as the number of ships operating on zero or near-zero emission fuels grows. 

With hundreds of crew changes conducted daily here, Singapore’s Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF) is well placed to support the training of international seafarers. Ship owners and operators can expect time and training cost savings by tapping on METF’s training facilities. 

Around 10,000 seafarers and other maritime personnel are expected to be trained at METF from now to the 2030s, as the facilities are progressively developed by 2026.

The Letter of Intent to establish METF was signed by MPA and 22 partners comprising global marine engine manufacturers, international organisations, classification societies, trade associations, unions, and institutes of higher learning, at the SMW 2024 opening ceremony. 

The setting up of METF follows from recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Advisory Panel, formed in early 2023 by SMF and supported by MPA, to identify emerging and future skills and competencies to build for the maritime workforce.

METF will be established as a decentralised network of training facilities in Singapore. It will be anchored by a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on the safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative fuels, such as methanol and ammonia. 

Other training facilities supporting METF include the integrated engine room and bridge simulator by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as the bridge and engine simulator at Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI)2 for crew resource management training. 

For emergency response training, METF is supported by gas and fire safety training facilities at Poly Marina operated by the SMA, as well as AR-enabled scenario- based training developed by SP’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety.

METF will also tap various partners’ assets and training technologies to upskill the global maritime workforce, including seafarers, on the operations, bunkering and management of zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels. New training courses and curriculum will be developed by METF’s partners, and progressively rolled out from this year.

MPA also aims to support and contribute to the work of the Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTTF) as one of the institutions rolling out the Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization – which is under development – through METF. 

This will directly contribute to the joint International Maritime Organization (IMO)–MJTTF work to develop training provisions for seafarers in support of decarbonisation of shipping, and complements the IMO's ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention and Code on Standards of

Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Singapore is currently chairing the IMO Working Group on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, established in 2023 under the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping.

As part of the METF curriculum, SMA has launched one of the Asia Pacific’s first training courses focused on handling methanol as fuel for ships. The training course, accredited by MPA, covers operational and safety protocols during methanol fuelling developed by MPA following the first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. 

The course also includes a methanol firefighting practical component covering both shipboard and terminal fires. SMA currently offers two sessions of the Basic and Advanced courses every month, with plans to scale up based on the industry’s demands. The course will be open to all maritime personnel and seafarers starting in April 2024.

With strong demand signalled by the industry for such common training facilities, METF is expected to catalyse investments by the industry to develop other training facilities and solutions in Singapore to tap into this growth area. MAN Energy Solutions, one of the leading global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, recently opened a new mixed-purpose facility. 

The facility includes a new MAN PrimeServ5 training academy for customers and employees on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment. METF is also expected to benefit corporate training academies set up by shipping companies, such as those from Eastern Pacific Shipping, to train their global seafaring crew and shore-based personnel.

The MPA – SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills (Joint Office) was established in March 2024 to coordinate and drive the tripartite efforts by the government, industry, and unions to upskill the Maritime Singapore workforce across shore-based and seafaring jobs and to ensure Singapore continues to have access to a diversity of maritime talents and experts.

To provide workers with greater flexibility in the acquisition of new skills, the Joint Office will work with IHLs and industry to review and progressively convert relevant short-term courses, or on-the-job training into accredited competency-based micro-credentials. These will focus on emerging skills such as maritime cybersecurity, digitalisation, and sustainability. 

The micro-credentials could potentially be stacked towards formal or industry-recognised qualifications and to fill the gap in quality and flexible upskilling or reskilling opportunities for working adults while they remain in full employment. The Joint Office plans to expand the micro-credential pathway, allowing recognition of more courses and workplace learning as micro-credentials over time.

Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 15 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor partners to implement first-mover pilot projects

Partners will carry out projects and testing out commercial structures to accelerate uptake of zero and near-zero emission bunker fuels, such as synthetic and bio-variants of methanol and ammonia.

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The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Port of Rotterdam Authority (PoR) on Monday (15 April) said the Singapore-Rotterdam Green and Digital Shipping Corridor (GDSC) has commenced the implementation phase and aims to enhance operational efficiencies and lower barriers for first movers to ensure availability, acceptability and affordability of alternative marine fuels. 

The corridor will accelerate transformation efforts for maritime decarbonisation and digitalisation.

The GDSC partners will convene for the inaugural GDSC Symposium as part of Singapore Maritime Week 2024. The partners include MPA, PoR, PSA International, A.P. Moller Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC, Ocean Network Express, BP, Shell and Methanol Institute. 

The Singapore-Rotterdam GDSC was established by MPA and PoR in August 2022 to accelerate transformation efforts for maritime decarbonisation and digitalisation.

To-date, the GDSC initiative has brought together 26 global value-chain partners across shipping lines, fuel suppliers, port authorities and operator, industry coalitions, banks, leading institutes of higher learning and knowledge partners.

Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth largest liner shipping company operating more than 260 ocean going vessels, is the latest addition to the corridor. Hapag-Lloyd joins four other leading global container shipping lines which have committed to deploying large container vessels running on zero-and near-zero emission fuels along the high-volume Asia-Europe trade lane.

Other new corridor partners include A*STAR Centre for Maritime Digitalisation (A*STAR’s C4MD), led by A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (A*STAR IHPC). A*STAR’s C4MD aims to develop advanced computational modelling, simulation and artificial intelligence solutions for a safe, efficient and sustainable maritime ecosystem. 

Encouraging the uptake of zero and near-zero emission fuels

The GDSC partners will be implementing several first-mover pilot projects and testing out commercial structures to accelerate the uptake of zero and near-zero emission fuels, such as synthetic and bio-variants of methanol, ammonia, methane, and hydrogen. This implementation follows earlier modelling studies undertaken by the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon-Shipping and the Centre for Maritime Studies of the National University of Singapore to explore multiple alternative fuels pathways and their viability as sustainable marine fuel.

Bio-methane Working Group

The bio-methane working group, led by SEA-LNG has examined relevant regulations and certification standards such as the ISCC EU certification to support the adoption of bio-methane for marine bunkering at a commercial scale. The GDSC partners plan to carry out Bio-LNG bunkering pilots over 2024 and 2025. These pilots would be based on mass balancing chain of custody principle that involves physical blending of certified bio-methane with non-certified conventional LNG across shared transport, storage and distribution infrastructure such as pipelines.

Methanol Working Group

Following the conduct of the Port of Rotterdam’s green methanol terminal bunkering operation on the world’s first methanol-fuelled container ship, and the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering at the Port of Singapore, the methanol working group, led by PoR, has worked on a clear starting point for fuel standards and knowledge exchange on chain of custody principles. The Working Group will also be addressing common challenges such as acceptability, availability, and affordability to carry out commercial methanol bunkering at both Ports of Singapore and Rotterdam.

Ammonia Working Group

The ammonia working group, jointly led by MPA, the Nanyang Technological University Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence, and the A*STAR’s C4MD will be developing a framework to assess the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of green ammonia for bunkering, and a decision-making tool for value-chain partners to optimise their green ammonia supply chain network. This study, to be completed by 2025, will support ongoing efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop the Life Cycle GHG Assessment (LCA) framework and guidelines for alternative marine fuels.

Hydrogen Working Group

With Shell’s contribution, the hydrogen working group has been assessing the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen as a marine fuel for ocean-going container vessels. Going beyond desktop-based studies, the working group aims to develop novel ship designs allowing the GDSC partners to understand the cost differential and how to practically overcome the challenges, whilst maximising the opportunities that hydrogen as a sustainable marine fuel offers.

Commercial Structures Working Group to reduce cost barriers to zero and near-zero emissions fuels

To support these fuel-based initiatives and drive commercial scalability, a working group led by PoR and the Global Maritime Forum (GMF), supported by the GDSC partners, is developing and testing commercial structures to reduce the cost barriers of using zero and near-zero emission fuels. The working group is currently exploring various demand and supply aggregation mechanisms and public and private financial levers that have the potential to collectively bring down the green premium and help bridge the cost gap.

Adoption of digital solutions for efficient and secure ship-shore data exchange and GHG emissions monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)

On the digital front, Singapore and Rotterdam have successfully trialled the exchange of port-to-port data and are now able to exchange vessel arrival and departure times to facilitate port planning and for ships to optimise their port call voyage between Singapore and Rotterdam. Following this successful trial, Singapore and Rotterdam have jointly issued a call-for-proposal (CFP) for standards-based solutions that enable efficient and secure data exchange between ship and shore.

Related: MPA and Port of Rotterdam sign MoU to form world’s longest Green and Digital Corridor
Related: Partners in Rotterdam-Singapore Green & Digital Shipping Corridor support emission reductions
Related: New progress report highlights Rotterdam-Singapore Green & Digital Shipping Corridor
Related: MPA and Port of Rotterdam sign MoU to form world’s longest Green and Digital Corridor

 

Photo credit: Scott Graham on Unsplash
Published: 15 April 2024

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