In an exclusive interview with AllAboutShipping, Ms Papageorgiou responds to the challenges the shipping industry faces on the growing environmental demands and tackles neatly the methane slip issue, particularly on the LNG- fuelled fleets. Moreover she explains the importance of the Safetytech Accelerator with regard to cases that might arise from a fire – such as one involving electric vehicles which recently occurred on a pure car truck carrier (PCTC), as well as giving a straight and well-argued answer on the non-mandatory goal-based Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Code which takes effect in 2025. The Artificial Intelligence issue and the vital role of Class as we are entering a new situation management and process-wise is well covered. Finally we receive a pragmatic view on the need for LR to future-proof its business during times of change, the current Russian sanctions and the women factor in the shipping industry.
Q.The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee is keen that shipping shows progress towards full decarbonisation, with ship emission targets having been heightened; but this will need co-operative efforts across the industry. How is Lloyd’s Register playing its part in such endeavours and monitoring the many technologies being advocated for this ‘green’ drive? Are you worried over forecasts that fossil fuels will retain a significant market share in shipping?
The maritime industry is very much aware that net-zero by 2050 can only be met through cooperation. Having recently moderated a Capital Link panel on future fuels and retrofits, it is evident the industry is collaborating and is determined to rise to these challenges through actual commitments. There is uncertainty, however, on how or when to take the first steps and which technologies / fuel options to choose.
Lloyd’s Register recognises these challenges and is well placed to support the industry with trusted advice. The Silk Alliance green corridor cluster, which focuses on the intra-Asia container trade, is one example of this and involves stakeholders from across the maritime value chain. The LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub is also tracking industry sentiment around future fuels, evaluating their technology, investment and community readiness.
It is important to shift the focus from fossil fuels to zero-carbon fuel options. LR’s work on new vessel designs, for example, the methanol-ready Kamsarmax bulk carrier design in collaboration with, are imperative to encourage first movers to safely adopt future fuels technology.
Q.There are concerns about the rapid growth of the LNG-fuelled fleet, in regard to so-called methane slip, where unburnt methane is dispersed in a ship’s exhaust. Is this concern diminishing to a significant extent because of improved marine engines and technologies?
Methane slip, where unburnt methane releases into the atmosphere, is an important issue. Methane is estimated to have a Global Warming Potential (GWP) score of 27-30x more than Carbon Dioxide over 100 years.
Safetytech Accelerator, which was established by Lloyd’s Register, leads the Methane Abatement in Maritime Innovation Initiative (MAMII), an industry collaboration that seeks to identify, accelerate and advocate technology solutions for measuring and managing methane emissions activity. It was launched in September 2022 with seven members, but that number has more than doubled in the past year and includes a number of leading Greek shipping companies
Q.There are increasing worries about the carriage on car carriers of electric vehicles, with their lithium-ion batteries a fire risk. How is LR developing its guidance and strategy over this new phenomenon?
The fire risk of electric vehicle carriage onboard car carriers is very real, as shown by the recent fire onboard the Pure Car Truck Carrier (PCTC) Freemantle Highway.
Safetytech Accelerator is working with some of the biggest containership operators through the Cargo Fire and Loss Innovation Initiative, to explore the potential for new and emerging technologies for early-stage fire detection. The Initiative was launched in February 2023 and is already supported by COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Line, HMM, Maersk, the Offen Group, ONE and Seaspan, which together represent around 50% of the total liner shipping market.
Q.Last November, the 106th Session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee met to adopt a non-mandatory goal-based Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Code to take effect in 2025 with a mandatory code expected to enter into force in January 2028. How is LR preparing by way of certification and other action for the advent of such ships?
LR has been at the forefront of certification for uncrewed vessels and has already developed its UMS (Unmanned Marine Systems) Code, which assesses unoccupied vessels against a set of safety and operational performance requirements. The UMS Code is one of the first sets of rules and regulations to have been applied to AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) and USVs (Uncrewed Surface Vehicles).
LR is also an active member of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which is making progress to adopt a non-mandatory goal-based MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships) Code. The industry could see a mandatory goal-based MASS Code enter into force in 2028.
This in-depth understanding of the Code and experience in the use of goal-based requirements in a range of applications, will enable LR to assist customers in adopting this Code coherently alongside their more general operational needs.
Q.Similarly, how will LR cope with the application by ship operators of artificial intelligence to their management and processes?
LR’s work on autonomy and AI is linked to the rules and regulations it has developed and continues to update on autonomous and remote access ships. The role of class is vital here, as with effective assurance, we can ensure that the autonomous systems employed by ship owners are effective, correct and safe. According to LR’s Out of the Box report published in April, AI and autonomy are estimated to be worth a joint $3.7billion to the maritime economy. With this in mind the assurance of AI applications is more important than ever. LR has also created an AI register to help clients track and assess existing technology and solutions.
AI embedded into a safety critical asset is identified under the draft EU AI Act. Under the draft, Maritime AI will require independent assessment and LR is already positioned for this.
It’s not just about adopting and implementing technology into the workplace or onboard ship, LR can also support owners and operators to become digitally mature and set foundations to enable the effective use of digital solutions and data analysis within their companies, as well as help develop a digital strategy and culture.
Q.Is LR monitoring the entry of certain ships trading with Russia into the “dark fleet”?
LR disengaged from the provision of all services to Russian owned, controlled or managed assets or companies in March 2022. Lloyd’s Register is committed to facilitating compliance with sanctions regulations on the trading of Russian oil. Where supported by evidence, we withdraw class and services from any vessels found by the relevant authorities to be breaching international sanctions.
Q.How is LR future-proofing its business during these times of change?
LR is transforming the way it delivers its services and is building capability across its global network, while investing in technology and tools. As part of these changes, Theodosis Stamatellos has taken the role of global technical client care director where he can use his many years of trusted partnership activity in Greece to ensure LR’s technical teams deliver high quality and consistent technical support for our clients as and when they need it.
Further, LR has positioned itself as a maritime professional services organisation, providing advice and assurance to stakeholders as they consider and implement their decarbonisation and digitalisation pathways.
Digitalisation is a key enabler for decarbonisation and with this in mind, LR has combined its core class knowledge and expertise with the insight available through platforms such as LR OneOcean – the organisation’s recently launched digital solutions platform. LR OneOcean brings together market-leading compliance, management and performance software to help shipowners, operators, charterers and crew drive stronger growth and efficiency in a safe, sustainable way.
and finally: Q It is well known that women are under-represented in the maritime industries. What are you and your colleagues at LR doing to encourage greater female participation in this sphere?
As a female leader in maritime, I am proud to be in a position to encourage and advocate for women in our industry. I say this as part of team of marvellous female colleagues that can be found across Lloyd’s Register and as part of an organisation focused on addressing diversity and inclusion. The strong female presence in the LR Athens office is also testament to LR’s commitment to driving this change.
Our Re-writing Women into Maritime History project, with collaboration from Lloyd’s List, International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), was showcased at London International Shipping Week, with great success. It shone a light on the impact women have had on shipping over the past few hundred years.
But the work does not stop here. There is still a huge amount of work to be done to ensure that maritime opens up to more diverse recruitment opportunities so that it is accessible and welcoming to all who seek a career in this wonderful industry.