Evolve ,Sail, Sustain Together.


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Everyday world pursues a green future. Urge for adopting sustainable practices rewrites  rules in all the industries, and maritime transportation is no exception. The durability and  profitability of the operation rely on how proactively you approach sustainability. And today  most consumers demand sustainable products as they are aware of the impact of pollution  on the environment and human health. Therefore, maritime management systems must  deliver reliable, seamless, safe, and secure service while diminishing environmental  pollution, maximizing energy efficiency, and ensuring resource preservation. The article  focuses on how to accomplish a sustainable maritime mnagement system, which has been  recognized as one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Today maritime management system faces various kinds of sustainability challenges.  According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Chamber of  Shipping (ICS) global maritime merchant fleet is liable for about 3% of global carbon dioxide  emissions. If no action is taken, it will be increased up to 17% by 2050. (Solar Impulse  Foundation, 2021) Therefore meeting global environmental standards has become a  challenge.

Human resource is crucial for a sustainable maritime management system. How to attract an adequate number of flexible and qualified maritime industry professionals and seafarers  along with the proper knowledge, skills set, and motivation has become challenging when  the worldwide market proceeds to expand and maritime activities boost accordingly. (Seafarers and Professional development cluster, 2021)

Security is also crucial for a sustainable maritime management system. But today security of  the shipping sector has been threatened by Global Terrorism, modern-day piracy on sea  lanes, and conventional armed robbery against ships in port or anchor. (Seafarers and  Professional development cluster, 2021) Moreover, Cyber-attacks and data theft are also  more likely to occur and it will have greater consequences on safety as companies are least  prepared for such situations.

Lastly, to cope with modern-day challenges and to adopt trends, companies should  continuously invest. Hence, a sustainable maritime management system requires a reliable  financial system to empower social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

To embrace a sustainable management in the maritime industry, certain practices need to  be implemented. The following are some of the practices IMO has set to establish a such  system.

Technical Cooperation 

Technical cooperation should extend to the improvement and maintenance of all  hydrographic, oceanographic, and meteorological information, which will aid the  development of maritime and related sectors. Furthermore, sustainability can be

achieved by creating partnerships for technical cooperation, assisting developing  countries to propose laws focusing on competitiveness, educating all maritime  stakeholders about the upkeep of ship and shore facilities, and developing capacity building delivery mechanisms. (Seafarers and Professional development cluster,  2021)

New Technology and Innovation 

The maritime sector is seeking sustainable alternative solutions for existing shipping  solutions, and technology is the greatest differentiator. For example in Uljanik  shipyard, scientists researched innovative ways to reduce the weight of heavy cargo  vessels to increase the efficiency after cutting the propulsion systems, in Spain ships  are experimented in artificial hydrodynamic environments under reproduced ocean  and sea conditions to find the impact on ship stability. (shmgroup, 2019a) Hence,  stakeholders must implement certain actions to transfer such knowledge between  involved parties such as encouraging partnerships between academic and research  institutions, promoting scientific research and developments, exhibiting current  technology, and improve new standards that assist the growth of better technology,  inspiring stakeholders to utilize newer technology and provide feedback based on  results and their experiences. (shmgroup, 2019a)

Ocean governance 

With boosting economies, people consider the ocean’s profitability, and ecological  concern creates the requirement of ocean governance. Principles have been set by  relevant bodies to ensure that competing interests do not have negative impacts on  trading forms. Cooperation between competing interests is essential to uphold unity  among users. Issues arising from conflicting marine activities should be discussed  and settled to maintain seamless functioning in the ocean. Several initiatives can be  launched to maintain better governance to achieve sustainability. (shmgroup,  2019b)

Education, Training, and Support 

Education and training should be frequently updated with the continuous developments in the maritime sector to create proficient and tech-savvy  professionals. Seafarers’ education and training must be based on STCW Convention,  inter alia, and incorporate with retraining and education upgrades, as required.  Safety and ecological awareness must be prime concerns. (Seafarers and  Professional development cluster, 2021)Due to the exhausting lifestyle in the  maritime sector, there is a huge drop in the number of individuals joining the  maritime sector. Hence, favorable policies should be created to enable happier and  less stressful lifestyles for seafarers. Apart from training seafarers, onshore maritime  professionals must be trained and educated regarding legal, engineering, ship  management, and port careers.(shmgroup, 2019c)

Safety Culture and environmental Stewardship

Promoting a safety culture based on global standards and obligatory enforcements is  a primary goal of achieving sustainability. Safety culture should go beyond  compliance with regulations and deliver added benefit for the procedure via  encouraging safety. In addition to that environmental stewardship must be  considered in the enforcement and development of global standards for preventing pollution and saving the marine environment. (Seafarers and Professional  development cluster, 2021)

Ship-port interface 

The efficiency of the ship-shore interface should be increased. Standardization and  streamlining documents for the reception and delivery cargo using electronic  systems for the clearance of ships, passengers, and crews, improving coordination  will increase the efficiency. Once the efficiency is achieved, it should be kept functioning at the utmost level. By upkeeping logistics infrastructures, it will allow  ships to sail at ideal speeds for energy conservation for their charted trajectories.  (Seafarers and Professional development cluster, 2021)

Energy Supply 

Future fuel demand should be properly assessed, and ports must arrange facilities to  provide fuel. Clean energy such as low-sulfur fuel oils and LNG should be used. The  cost of these relatively expensive fuels must be borne among the entire maritime  community, rather than the users. A great way to increase the use of such fuel is by  promoting Partnerships between the shipping industry and fuel suppliers. Suppliers  can produce innovative fuel types while the shipping industry can provide bunkering  facilities for it.

Maritime Security 

By continuously improving international and national regulations, it will solidify the  foundation of global maritime security. Coordinated networks must be created  among the stakeholders who are engaged in reducing risks in the maritime domain. Terrorist attack scenarios must be examined at the international and national level  and need to determine whether responsible safety enhancements can significantly  increase security. (‘Maritime Transportation System Security Recommendations’,  2005) To achieve cybersecurity, network security must be ensured. Systems must be  regularly monitored, and malware prevention systems must be there. Users should  be privileged with the responsible level of system privileges and rights. Removal  media policies must be set up to control import and export data. (safety4sea, 2018)

Finances, liability, and insurance 

Feasible financial systems must be there to construct new ships and to refurbish  existing ships to maintain safety requirements. In the event of a maritime incident,  compensations must be provided for damage or loss as, a sustainable maritime  transport system depends on it in these sorts of incidents. (Seafarers and  Professional development cluster, 2021)

Maritime traffic support and advisory systems

Developing optimal systems for navigation is required. These systems should be  incorporated with pilotage and icebreaking services, intelligent routine systems, and  aids for weather routing, including e-navigation to enhance fuel efficiency and  safety. traffic information systems such as the Marine Electronic Highway concept,  must be expanded. (Seafarers and Professional development cluster, 2021)

A sustainable maritime management system must consist of well-structured administration,  Skilled personnel, good security, a sound financial system, Onshore facilities, equal global  standards new technology, and so on. Therefore, the above-mentioned measures in the  article must be given ample consideration to achieve sustainability in the maritime  management system.



Vinu Nethmi
Faculty of Engineering
University of Moratuwa

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