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Going green: catch 22 vs catching up

The spotlight is now on shipowners’ willingness to embrace green technologies

All eyes are on the COP26 Summit’s approach in addressing climate crisis in time, where time is certainly not on our side. Is the mad rush to go green even feasible now?

Pledges and actions are two different things

This year has been exceptionally trying for the maritime industry. Port congestions catalysed the chain of shipping disasters, aggravated by COVID-19 border restrictions. Many businesses are struggling to not profit, instead keeping their heads above water. Manufacturers are known to bite the bullets dealing with exorbitant shipping rates, or halt shipping altogether and deal with the lost opportunities – whichever is less painful.

At the Summit, Allan Dickson, Second Engineer told the Maritime Skills Commission (MSC) Green Skills Forum that there is a burning need for maritime professionals to receive training in environmental friendly skills and technologies. On the urgency of seafarers having to keep up with the transition to net zero through training, Dickson stressed, “We need to look at how we retrain the existing workforce with the skills of the future, and do not just resign generations of highly-skilled seafarers to the scrap heap (no longer interested).”

Dickson called on the UK government to develop policies to maximise the employment of British seafarers. He noted the lack of training seafarers receive on new fuels and technologies is a problem. While training is available, it is usually very expensive and does not cover the new hybrid systems that are being developed.

If the maritime industry plans to honour the pledges made towards the climate, Dickson hit the nail on the head about embracing new technologies. Balancing dollars and sense, some businesses may not have the luxury to invest. Moreover, seafarers’ ability to be accustomed to new technologies is also a major consideration. The longer they take to master, the more costs businesses would incur. If the purse strings do not allow, it is another tall order.


Crewing Online News Team
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