September 3, 2019

Some real food for thought from speakers who shared their insight and research at the MPA’s International Safety@Sea Conference 2019.  Clockwise, from top left: Capt Kevin Wong, Port Master, MPA; Ms Jodie Reibel,VP, Wilhelmsen; Dr Quek Boon Kiat, Director, A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing; Commander (Ret.) Itai Sela, Founder and CEO, Naval Dome; Mr Andrew Wong, Regional Manager, IMarEST.

Some of the interesting Seafarer-related subjects covered during the afternoon sessions included:

Social Media – the need to also educate Seafarers’ families as to what gets shared with them online; Risk Mitigation Programmes – instant reporting of unsafe situations and practices; DG – Estimated 10% of all containers shipped worldwide are DG, with one-third mis-declared; Cyber Threat – Not only data, but could be operational and life threatening too, eg radar, dp, navigation, autonomous port cranes (Commander Itai Sela clarified that the issue is a technical one, but that agents and crew need to be trained in handling such an attack); Autonomous Vessels – IMarEST have undertaken an extensive survey into the reality of autonomous vessels by 2030 and 2050, with a majority believing it will happen, at least with much-reduced crew numbers, but with the human element remaining for emergency and moral decisions. Full results can be found on the IMarEST website.

This discussion led to the great final panel question of the day: ‘How much technology is too much when operating a ship safely?’.  And the answer is…?