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ECSA Appoints its First Female President

Karin Orsel (ECSA)
Karin Orsel (ECSA)

Published Jan 4, 2024 8:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA), the representative voice for EU shipping, has appointed Karin Orsel as its first-ever female president. Orsel takes the helm at a pivotal moment for European shipowners, as the EU begins to implement its carbon emissions trading system for merchant vessels for the first time. 

“Our commitment is clear: to promote the energy transition of shipping, meet our climate targets, and foster the sector’s competitiveness amidst rapidly evolving geopolitical and security challenges," Orstel said. 

She also emphasized seafarer training - particularly for digitalization and green technology - as a major area of focus for her two-year term as ECSA president. 

Orstel has been CEO of her own ship management company, MF Shipping Group, since 2001. She is a past president of the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR) and holds an honorary doctorate in public administration from Massachusetts Maritime. 

Orstel takes over from Philippos Philis, CEO of dry bulk shipping firm Lemissoler Navigation and past president of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber. 

The European Union is moving faster towards maritime decarbonization than any other jurisdiction, and ECSA has an advocacy role as that process unfolds. The organization calls for EU support for decarbonization R&D; "vast" improvements in port-side infrastructure for clean fuels; and global rules for low-carbon shipping to level the playing field. 

ECSA has also advocated for EU protection for European shipping abroad, including recent contributions to the defense of Red Sea traffic from attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels.