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SMW 2023: DNV study shows 87% of seafarers need training on new bunker fuels

Almost 87% of 500 seafarers indicated a need for partial or complete training regarding emerging bunker fuels such as ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen, says DNV.

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Classification society DNV on Friday (28 May) published a study that examines the key drivers transforming the maritime industry—particularly decarbonisation and digitalisation — and their impact on sea-going professionals in the lead-up to 2030. 

The study, titled The Future of Seafarers 2030: A Decade of Transformation was co-sponsored by the Singapore Maritime Foundation to advance the conversation on the training and development of sea-going professionals as well as the attraction and retention of the talent pool.

The findings were obtained through a combination of literature review, expert consultations, and a survey of more than 500 seafarers collectively responsible for operating dry bulk, tanker, and container vessels globally. Some 70%  of the seafarers who responded to the survey had been in the industry for over 11 years. Approximately two-third of the respondents held the rank of officers.

Key Findings

A pressing need for training in new fuels and technology

  • Broadly, both officers and ratings strongly indicated a pressing need for training in new fuels and technology—the survey results were consistent across the ranks.
  • Over 75% of seafarers (Deck and Engine Officers 78%) indicated they would require partial or complete training on fuels such as LNG, batteries, or synthetic fuel.
  • Almost 87% of respondents (Deck and Engine Officers 91%) indicated a need for partial or complete training regarding emerging fuels such as ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen.
  • A total of 81% of respondents (Deck and Engine Officers 85%) indicated that they require either partial or complete training in dealing with advanced digital technologies (such as further automation of equipment/systems, advanced sensors, artificial intelligence, remote operations etc.); only 13% (Deck and Engine Officers 11%) agreed that they were well trained.
  • 52% of Seafarers (Deck and Engine Officers 53%) indicated a strong preference for in- person training at a maritime training centre or academy, with 23% (Deck and Engine Officers 27%) indicating a blend of in-person and online training would be suitable.
  • Almost 70% of respondents (Deck and Engine Officers 74%) have used simulators, virtual reality or other digital environments when undertaking training, and 60% (Deck and Engine Officers 65%) indicated that these training methods helped develop their skills. Only 10% (Deck and Engine Officers 9%) of the respondents indicated that these training methods were ineffective in developing their skills.

Embracing new technology

  • Two-thirds of seafaring officers said more advanced technology onboard would make their job easier. This positive feedback from seafarers on the introduction of new technologies onboard fits well with the thriving maritime innovation ecosystem with increasing venture capital funding, particularly in Singapore.
  • However, only 40% of seafaring officers think shore-based remote-control centres, which can remotely operate some or all functions, would make their onboard job easier.

Sustainability and technology as talent recruitment and retention tools

  • A total of 55% of respondents (Deck and Engineering Officers 50%) indicated that new developments in fuels, automation and digitalisation onboard ships can assist in attracting new seafarers to a career at sea and retaining existing seafarers.

Key Recommendations

Corollary to the key findings, the study puts forward a number of recommendations, particularly in the area of seafarer training and development well as attraction and retention, including:

A collective responsibility to prepare seagoing professionals for the future

  • Key stakeholders such as regulatory bodies, shipowners/operators/managers and training academies should carefully assess and target the skill deficits in digitalisation and decarbonisation in the current decade to ensure seafarers have the necessary skills in place when they are needed in the future. Training could be prioritised on LNG and batteries as these fuel types are likely to be the most prevalent ‘alternative option’ in the current decade, and as the number of vessels in operations and on orders having LNG and battery or battery-hybrid has significantly grown in the last few years.
  • The industry should use the future seafarer training model where maritime training academies focus on delivering basic/generalised shipboard skills while ship operators should be focusing on delivering fuel-specific and vessel-specific training.

Opportunity to employ modern training methods to address augmented training and development

  • The industry is well placed to embrace modern training methods to fill the skills deficit and enhance seafarers’ development in the current decade. Although not all training will be suited to a single medium, the industry should be encouraged to effectively use a range of training options to enable training to be accessed universally, promptly and comprehensively. This may result in the blending of training courses to have both a digital and in-person component to make best use of the available training resources and thereby be more accessible to seafarers. There is also scope to further include technologies such as VR/AR in enhancing seafarer training.
  • Shipowners/operators/managers and training academies must ensure that the best- placed seafarers based on position onboard, experience and availability are trained at the right time to ensure continuity of operations and knowledge and skills transfer. This may result in Senior Officers being trained on new technologies and fuels first to enable an effective mentoring and on-the-job training environment onboard. The junior crew could have their onboard training supplemented by harnessing the available technology-assisted training (e.g., virtual reality, simulators etc.).
  • Future STCW courses could introduce updated fire-fighting techniques and methods into the curriculum to combat the new types of fire, posed by the adoption of new and emerging fuels.
  • It is recommended that a renewed focus on the development of a seafarer’s soft skills be made by maritime training organisations and by employers of seafarers. 

Providing a pathway for sustainable career progression for seagoing professionals, vital for talent attraction and retention

  • Shipowners/operators/managers should closely manage their seafarer’s progression opportunities from both an attraction-retention point of view and an operational capability perspective. The career development opportunities that digitalisation and decarbonisation present should be leveraged to retain and attract people to a seafaring job.
  • Shipowners/operators/managers should harness seafarers’ unique and desirable skill sets and provide them with opportunities for complementary shore-based roles such as vessel control and monitoring facilities (shore control centres), which will likely become more prevalent later in the current decade and beyond.

“As industry transformation—spurred by digital innovation and fuel transition—picks up pace, we must prioritise the training and development of sea-going professionals, ensuring that they possess the technical competencies to safely operate the more advanced ships that are coming on stream. Digitalisation and decarbonisation could present opportunities to attract a younger generation of sea-going professionals, provided a pathway to sustainable career development is visible, transiting from sea to shore based careers. I thank DNV for their partnership in developing this study, which we hope could serve to provide useful inputs to advance the discussion in the training and development as well as attraction and retention of sea-going professionals,” said Ms. Tan Beng Tee, Executive Director, Singapore Maritime Foundation.

“Emerging fuels and new technologies could pose safety risks for assets and crews, if not handled properly. Therefore, we must focus on the human factor and adequately train seafarers who operate and maintain ship systems, including carrying out bunkering operations”, said Ms. Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, Regional Manager South-East Asia, Pacific & India, DNV Maritime.

“As an industry, we have a responsibility to keep them safe and well prepared for all eventualities. Therefore, we are pleased to have helped, with this study, to identify challenges and opportunities for seafarers in an era of transformation driven by decarbonisation and digitalisation.” 

Note: ‘The Future of Seafarers 2030: A Decade of Transformation’ working document can be downloaded from https://www.smf.com.sg/resources-publications/.

 

Photo credit: DNV
Published: 2 May, 2023

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.

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Editor's note: The following article was edited on 4 March 2023 to correct PTP press release's description of CMA CGM Monaco.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership a 2024-built vehicle carrier operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.

 

Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

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Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.

 

Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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