Class Societies and Flags Launch Forum on Regulatory Transformation

regulatory form on decarbonization and digitalization
(file photo)

Published Apr 26, 2021 1:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

Seven of the leading flag states and classification societies are joining together to launch a new collaboration focused on supporting the maritime industry’s transition to decarbonization and adoption of new digital technologies. Known as the Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF), its goal is to provide technical and regulatory research, expertise, and leadership to assist the shipping sector and its regulators to bridge the gap between technical knowledge and regulatory process.

In announcing their new initiative, the group said the regulatory framework must remain up to date to support the development and use of new technology that will ensure advances in the safety of people, assets, and the environment. By bringing together expertise to offer guidance and advice on technical and regulatory challenges, the MTF will support the shipping industry and the International Maritime Organization to navigate and embrace the impact of these changes.

“The increased uptake of digital technologies and the push to decarbonize shipping represent tectonic shifts for the industry,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV Maritime and Leadership Member of the MTF Steering Committee. “This will involve a significant increase in the use of alternative fuels and a marked increase in ship complexity and the challenge to assess safety.”

Key focus areas for the forum will include energy efficiency, alternative fuels, and increasing levels of autonomy. The MTF members will collaborate on research and draw on their collective regulatory expertise to offer unbiased advice to the shipping sector. The forum’s work will be published, and members will share insight and guidance with, and invite contributions from others in the marine industry, to facilitate the effective safe testing and adoption of new technologies while also helping shape global regulation.

“Now, more than ever, shipping faces increasing technology challenges that require us to work together and pool our resources, experience, and knowledge if we are to safely harness the potential benefit for the industry. We believe success is a team sport, so we are committed to working with other leading industry partners to develop practical solutions,” said Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.”

Founding members of the MTF include the American Bureau of Shipping, DNV, Japan’s Maritime Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Lloyd’s Register, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

In the announcement for the new forum, the Maritime Technologies Forum Steering Committee said, “Our seven organizations will collectively offer technical and regulatory leadership for the benefit of the maritime industry at large. The pace of change in the maritime industry is accelerating more so than ever before and driving the need for robust and agile advice to support accelerated technology adoption. We look forward to working collaboratively to support shipping and the IMO in tackling the fundamental technological challenges facing the maritime industry.”