For the 15th year in a row, NAVIGATOR SHIPPING CONSULTANTS organized its annual high-level event, “The Shipping Decision Makers Forum”. The Forum was held on Thursday 5 th of November2015 and was attended by 400 personalities of the Greek Shipping Community.
Mrs. Danae Bezantakou, Managing Director of NAVIGATOR SHIPPING CONSULTANTS, welcomed the participants, presented the company and highlighted the need of proper training and education for the next generation of maritime professionals.
Capt. Dimitris Bezantakos, President of NAVIGATOR SHIPPING CONSULTANTS, welcomed the forum’s delegates and introduced them to the topics of discussion of this year conference. With reference to the importance of the climate change and the Ice-Melting phenomenon in the Arctic territory, Capt. Bezantakos encapsulated his thought with a quote from Jacques-Yves Cousteau:
“During the entire history of the world, the man had to struggle against nature in order to survive.
Nowadays man has started realizing that in order to survive, he has to protect nature”. Furthermore, the president of NAVIGATOR SHIPPING CONSULTANTS emphasized the importance for the Greek Ministry of Shipping to take all necessary actions for helping well-educated officers and trained crew to always be available to govern the largest merchant fleet of the world.
Mrs. Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament and Mr. Mitiadis Varvitsiotis, the Former Minister of the Hellenic Ministry of Shipping and the Aegean, made the opening addresses of the Forum.
As the unique Platinum sponsor of the forum, the managing Director of MacGregor Greece Ltd., Mrs. Athena Kanellatou, had the opportunity to present the company and the solutions MacGregor offers for a wide range of maritime transports.
The Foreign Ambassadors Panel, moderated by François Lafond, Executive Director of EuropaNova, was dedicated this year to “the climate change and the shipping community”, with in perspective the COP21 International conference to be held in Paris at the end of November. Two main issues were under scrutiny by the H.E. Margus Rava, Ambassador of Estonia in Greece, H.E. Kyriakos Kenevezos, Ambassador of Cyprus in Greece, H.E. Andrey Maslov, Ambassador of Russia in Greece and H.E. Pauli Mäkelä, Ambassador of Finland in Greece.
The inclusion of the shipping CO2 emissions into the global international agreement as requested by NGOs, and by the European Parliament was mentioned, in particular with the impacts such change may have on this sector. Today with 2, 5% of the total emissions, but in constant increasing trend due to the continuous growth of the International trade, the shipping activities will have to go beyond the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) targets with the possible new Paris comprehensive legal framework. The Cypriot Ambassador insisted on the role of the International Maritime Organisation in order to make sure that regulations will be applied on a global stage, and not only at the European level.
The second topic discussed was to consider in the Arctic region the promising new maritime roads, consequence of the climate change. And how these new opportunities will affect the shipping activities, both in terms of time and cost. The Arctic cooperation was precisely explained by the Finnish Ambassador who declared that “Non-Artic countries will navigate them and perhaps push their own interest in these international waters. It is high time to see whether the norms of international law at present are adequate to address the new situation or whether we need new and stronger specific regulations regarding for example sea traffic, fisheries and conservation areas”.
During this panel, what appears obvious is that climate change will impact deeply and for a long time our lives and the sooner we will adapt to it, the better will be. The shipping industry will not be apart from this evolution. Even if the technologies are not perfectly ready, the direction is clear.
As the unique Gold sponsor of the forum, the Chief Technology Officer of LAROS, Mr. Serafeim Katsikas, had the opportunity to present his company and its products of remote condition monitoring systems for the Maritime industry.
The session of “Maritime Education” was moderated by Mr. Ilias Bissias, Director of Naftika Chronika Magazine, Lecturer at ALBA Graduate Business School. With a stellar panel consisting of Prof. Thanos Pallis, Secretary General of MEDCRUISE, Ass. Professor at the Dept. of Shipping Trade and Transport, University of the Aegean, Mr. Marios Karnessis, Founder and Chairman of MPK SHIPPING INC., Mr. Dionysios Peppas, HSQE Manager of PANTHEON TANKERS MANAGEMENT LTD and Mr. Emmanuel Alexandrou, Operations Manager of ALKON HOLDING INC., Ilias gauged panellist’s views on a topical issue that brings together the ultimate interest of the maritime family, i.e. Young people and the sea.
The speakers exchanged their views on the present and the future of the shipping industry, especially for preserving the tradition and leadership of the Greek mariners. The afore mentioned invited speakers analyzed the difficulties faced in attracting young people to the seafaring profession, the role of the state, especially in a period of crisis at both national and international levels, but also the modernization of maritime training needs. The speakers analyzed also the difficulties that smaller sized shipping companies face especially due to the low freight market and the bureaucratic difficulties encountered by the Greek public, to take on board Greek sailors.
The speakers stressed the need to modernize public maritime education, especially in matters of infrastructure and know-how and closer cooperation with the maritime market.
The Technical & Operational panel: “Greening the Maritime Agenda” was moderated by Mrs. Helena Athoussaki, Head of Maritime Sustainability Centre – PwC and consisted of Mr. Dimitris Fafalios, President/Director – FAFALIOS SHIPPING S.A., Capt. James B. Murray, Vice President, Sales of MORAN TOWING CORPORATION and Mr. Apostolos Poulovassilis, Chief Operating Officer of ELETSON CORPORATION.
The panel was asked to address the current environmental regulation challenges concerning the monitoring, reporting and verification of shipping carbon emissions and to answer questions regarding vessel’s energy efficiency and compliance readiness. The panel acknowledged the benefits of the MRV regulation with regards the transparency and accuracy of the data monitoring for making informed decisions, the internal processes, roles and responsibilities but also the practical difficulties to assess the energy efficiency of a vessel.
Then, Chios was the honoured island for the NAVIGATOR 2015 Forum and the Mayor of Chios Island, Mr. Manolis Vournous, referred to its huge maritime history in an accurate and informative presentation.
After the completion of the three panel sessions, in the conclusive part of Navigator 2015, Mrs. Danae Bezantakou announced the lucky delegates that won Travel Gifts offered by airline companies and well- known hotels for the Forum’s annual Lottery.