Reshaping the industry during the global pandemic

Hans Eivind Siewers from DNV GL says Covid-19 has turbocharged the digitalisation journey

Reshaping the industry during the global pandemic
DNV GL has traditionally carried out in-person inspections but it is now using digital technology to carry out remote surveys

By Lindsay James |

DNV GL is no stranger to advanced digital technologies. In fact, the organisation was the first class society to introduce remote surveys across its fleet. It has also used digital platforms and offered remote assistance for a number of years.

According to Hans Eivind Siewers, DNV GL’s segment director for passenger ships and ro-ro, this experience has put the organisation in a good position to expedite a remote offering during the pandemic. “The number of remote surveys performed has risen 33 per cent since the start of the year,” he explains. “Remote surveys in particular have been critical to mitigating operational disruption for our customers and maximising staff and customer safety throughout the process, where physical attendance has been problematic.”

Siewers believes the pandemic has turbocharged DNV GL’s digitalisation journey by at least five years compared to normal rates of industry progression. “This has thrusted the maritime industry into a period of renaissance where the old ways of working are now constantly being challenged,” he says. “80 per cent of surveys are now booked online using our Smart Survey Booking system and we can now survey a 50-ship fleet in a matter of hours via our new Machinery Maintenance Connect service. In the past this would have taken days, even weeks.”

These aren’t the only new services that DNV GL has introduced during the pandemic. A new Certification in Infection Prevention – Maritime (CIP-M) has been established to offer the industry a way to prepare for the present challenges of Covid-19, as well as other emerging pathogens.

“As part of the CIP-M certification, DNV GL assesses vessel operations, including enhanced sanitation procedures, food preparation and handling, physical distancing requirements, use of personal protective equipment by crew members, maintenance of public health essential systems, emergency response plans, pre-boarding screening, the embarkation and debarkation processes and itinerary or port planning protocols,” says Siewers. “Annual surveys onboard and company audits ashore are conducted to verify continued compliance and improvement.”

The CIP-M assessment of Genting Cruise Lines has already kicked off with a pre-assessment of the company’s management system, to be followed by a certification survey of cruise ship Explorer Dream. The company is hoping to complete the certification programme in the coming months.

Meanwhile, ‘My Care’ is DNV GL’s new infection risk management approach that has been developed to assess, manage and mitigate infection risk in management systems, business processes and operations. My Care incorporates local regulations and guidelines – it can be applied to any vessel type, as well as terminals. The Finnish cruise and ferry company Viking Line is the first maritime business to complete a My Care readiness assessment, covering seven vessels as well as six terminals.

Siewers says that while these new services will help shipowners to focus on business continuity, they should not lose sight of the regulatory challenges ahead. “The pressure on the shipping industry to continue reducing its environmental impacts is only going to grow, even if the International Maritime Organization may have had to pause its in-person meetings,” he explains.

Looking ahead, Siewers believes there are several areas where the industry can expect further, and tightening of existing, regulations to improve sustainability. “Emissions to air will of course continue to be a focus, with a shift from carbon dioxide to all greenhouse gasses a strong possibility. Particle emissions are also likely to be addressed.

“An area where DNV GL have focused on for a long time – noise and vibration – would also be a key component. There is also a growing trend towards regulating other types of emissions such as biofouling, scrubber water discharge, general waste and of course the end of life questions associated with recycling.”

Siewers thinks some of the areas could be seen in a combined sustainability index or standard. “For maximum effectiveness, we believe that international business needs universal and international solutions,” he concludes.

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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