Not my memory, or ever, has the maritime industry been confronted by so many demands for change—nor options. On the decarbonization side, fleet managers are being presented with a cornucopia of choices for future fuels that range from the “traditional” LNG to the modern MSR (Molten Salt Reactor) nuclear option. While all are intended to meet the GHG reduction goals set by IMO, all need to be examined in light of “net environmental impact” on the planet.
A more imminent issue is the condition and welfare of our mariners. Between the crew change crisis due to COVID-19 and the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Straits of Malacca, strains are being felt on board the vessels and in the corporate offices as strategies for mitigating the risks for seafarers, and therefore vessels, are emerging. Sorting out the best path forward is an even greater challenge as the cottage industries around these areas build up. While piracy may feel like the Somalian days, the rules of engagement differ and the “business model” has changed; the actual impacts of the crew change crisis on our mariners need to be measured in order to manage them—and many of the issues, particularly around mental health, are relatively new to maritime.
So, what is a fleet manager to do? How do you source and deploy the best approach? How do you identify all the risks—and all the rewards???
Let’s hope today’s decisions are being based on a more reliable foundation than “eeny, meeny, miny moe…”