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Alternative Fuels

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


Photo credit: DNV
Published: 2 May, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

DNV paper outlines bunkering of alternative marine fuels for boxships

Third edition of its paper series focuses on LNG, methanol and ammonia as alternative bunker fuel options for containerships; explores bunkering aspects for LNG and methanol.





DNV paper outlines bunkering of alternative marine fuels for boxships

Classification society DNV recently released the third edition of its paper series Alternative fuels for containerships, focused on LNG, methanol and ammonia as alternative bunker fuel options for containerships.

In its updated paper series, DNV examined the different alternative marine fuel options and provided an overview of the most important technical and commercial considerations for the containership sector.

It explored the bunkering technology for LNG, bunkering infrastructure for methanol, and availability and infrastructure of ammonia. 

Building on the foundation laid in the second edition, which focused on the most important aspects of methanol as a fuel, this latest third edition delves deeper  – exploring the technical intricacies and commercial considerations associated with adopting methanol as an alternative fuel for containerships.

Furthermore, it provides an overview of crucial aspects related to ammonia and discusses its potential as an alternative fuel for containerships.

Amongst others, the new edition of the paper looks at the following aspects:

  • Technical design considerations for methanol
  • Commercial implications of adopting methanol as an alternative fuel
  • Ammonia's potential as an alternative fuel
  • Availability, infrastructure and ship fuel technology for ammonia
  • Major updates based on the latest IMO GHG strategy decisions at the MEPC 80 meeting

Note: The third edition of DNV’s full paper titled Alternative Fuels for Containerships can be found here.

Related: DNV paper outlines bunkering infrastructure of alternative fuels for boxships

Photo credit: DNV
Published: 29 November, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

EDF, LR and Arup launch tool scoring ports’ potential to produce and bunker electrofuels

Tool is also applied to three different port scenarios, including ports exploring fuel production and bunkering, ports exploring fuel exports, and ports exploring fuel imports and bunkering.





EDF, LR and Arup launch tool scoring ports’ potential to produce and bunker electrofuels

Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in collaboration with Arup, on Tuesday (28 November) introduced the Sustainable First Movers Initiative Identification Tool, a system to help shipping stakeholders align investment decisions that support the maritime energy transition away from fossil fuels.

The tool, which is presented in a preliminary findings report – The Potential of Ports in Developing Sustainable First Movers Initiatives – scores a port’s potential to produce and bunker electrofuels while delivering local environmental and community benefits in alignment with the global temperature target of 1.5 degrees Celsius set by the Paris Agreement.

“Ports can play an important role in kickstarting shipping’s decarbonisation process even before global policies are established,” said Marie Cabbia Hubatova, Director, Global Shipping at Environmental Defense Fund.

“By considering the impact sustainable first mover initiatives can have on port-side communities, climate, environment and economies, resources can be better directed to locations where these initiatives will make the biggest difference.”

With close to two billion people living near coastal zones globally, the role of, and impacts on local port communities must be intentionally considered as the sector decarbonises globally. Ports can play a crucial role in ensuring shipping decarbonisation efforts are done in a way that has positive impacts on port communities.

The preliminary phase of the Sustainable First Movers Initiative Identification Tool analyses 108 ports in the Indo-Pacific region according to five criteria including land suitability, air quality, renewable energy surplus, economic resilience and ship traffic.

It is also applied to three different port scenarios, including ports exploring fuel production and bunkering, ports exploring fuel exports, and ports exploring fuel imports and bunkering. The combined criteria and scenario evaluation determines which ports have the greatest potential (high potential) for sustainable first mover initiatives to lead to significant emissions reductions and positive impacts in nearby communities, such as improved air quality and economic resilience.

“The transition to clean energy supply for shipping can be achieved only if stakeholders act together. Identifying potential port locations is the first step in this process,” said Dr Carlo Raucci, Consultant at Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub. “This approach sets the base for a regional sustainable transition that considers the impacts on port-side communities and the need to avoid regions in the Global South lagging behind.”

Regions in the Global South are fundamental in driving the decarbonisation of shipping. To make this transition effective, the rate at which different countries adopt and scale up electrofuels must be proportional to the difference in capital resources globally to avoid additional costs being passed on to local communities. Sustainable first mover initiatives can play an important role in making this happen by ensuring the sector’s decarbonisation is inclusive of all regions and by engaging all shipping stakeholders, including port-side communities.

“There’s a huge opportunity for early adopter shipping decarbonisation initiatives to unlock benefits for people and planet – shaping the way for a more equitable transition in the 2030s,” said Mark Button, Associate, Arup. “Our collective approach shows that taking a holistic view of shipping traffic, fuel production potential and port communities could help prioritise action at ports with the greatest near-term potential.”

The tool can be customised according to stakeholders’ needs and goals and is dependent on scenario desirability. The next phase of this work will include the selection and detailed assessment of 10 ports to help better understand local needs and maximise the value offered by sustainable first mover initiatives. 

LR and EDF carried out a joint study on ammonia as shipping fuel, and LR and Arup have collaborated on The Resilience Shift study focused on fuel demand for early adopters in green corridors, ports, and energy systems, amongst many other projects.

Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 29 November, 2023

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Wärtsilä signs agreement for first zero-emission high speed ferries in US

Group has signed a strategic partnership agreement to provide its Fleet Electrification and Systems Integrator Services for a project to build the first zero-emission high speed ferries in the United States.





Wärtsilä signs agreement for first zero-emission high speed ferries in US

Technology group Wärtsilä on Tuesday (28 November) said it has signed a strategic partnership agreement to provide its Fleet Electrification and Systems Integrator Services for a project to build the first zero-emission high speed ferries in the United States.

The fully electric vessels will be built for San Francisco’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the operator of the San Francisco Bay Ferry system.

The project, and several others Wärtsilä will work on under this partnership, are a part of the agency’s Rapid Electric Emission-Free (REEF) Ferry Program, a phased decarbonisation of high-speed, high-capacity ferry service in the San Francisco Bay. 

Wärtsilä will work within the WETA project team to finalise vessel and charging system concepts.

“We’re proud to operate the cleanest high-speed ferry fleet in the nation, but a zero-emission future for our system is within reach,” said WETA Executive Director, Seamus Murphy. 

“Wärtsilä’s expertise and experience will be incredibly valuable given the complexity our ferry decarbonisation program entails.”

“This is a major project within the maritime sector’s journey towards decarbonisation, and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Hanno Schoonman, Director of sales for AMER region, Wärtsilä Marine Power. 

“Wärtsilä joins an industry leading team tasked to develop newbuild battery electric vessels that combine innovative technology and sustainable practices. Wärtsilä is well qualified to provide this project support, and this agreement is a clear endorsement of our strong track record in systems integration and emission-free propulsion.”

After completing the conceptual phase, WETA will move on to the initial construction phase of a multi-vessel programme. This phase will involve the building of three smaller ferries with a capacity of approximately 150 passengers each and two larger ferries capable of carrying at least 300 passengers. 

Additionally, the scope of this phase will encompass the inclusion of battery charging floats. The construction of the first electric-powered vessel is slated to commence before the conclusion of 2023, with commercial operations expected to launch in 2025.

Photo credit: Wärtsilä 
Published: 29 November, 2023

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