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DNV GL Maritime ceo Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen plots the way ahead

DNV GL Maritime ceo Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen plots the way ahead
Safety and quality will continue to head up the DNV GL Maritime agenda under ceo Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, who took over the position from Tor Svensen in the second half of 2015 after having served for two years as coo.

“Safety is the core of our being while quality is what we’d like to be known for,” Ørbeck-Nilssen told Seatrade Maritime News during an exclusive interview earlier this month.

Questioned about the changing role of class, the Maritime ceo maintained that this has “more to do with the times themselves than any different approach by class.”

Ørbeck-Nilssen gave the example of environmental issues - another of DNV GL’s top priorities. Here “it’s quite a natural development that class societies have expanded beyond their traditional role … when you think of all the new regulations, for example on emission controls and ballast water, that are driving the industry to seek alternatives,” he said, adding that the finding of practical and good solutions for compliance served as “a new stimulus for class.”

Fuel efficiency has been another focus for classification societies of late. “We went through a phase where fuel prices were very high so naturally class advised on how to adapt to that,” said Ørbeck-Nilssen, where “again we were trying to capitalize on the competence and experience that sits within class societies.”

The current situation for shipowners, especially those involved in the dry bulk, container and offshore sectors, is extremely challenging, which is why the Maritime ceo pledges that DNV GL will be “trying to introduce better and faster service” for customers at the same time as maintaining the emphasis safety and quality.

In the offshore sector, Ørbeck-Nilssen spoke of opportunities as well as challenges in the continuing low oil price, with DNV GL able to “cross-fertilize’ expertise from its Oil & Gas and Maritime divisions.

The current difficult business climate calls for greater standardisation within the offshore sector to try and reduce costs, he suggested, as well at the application of solutions from the maritime side “such as production units on FPSOs and Floating LNG rather than high-cost subsea and fixed drilling platform activities.”

In fact, Ørbeck-Nilssen made the wider point that “innovation is one of the important factors (needed) for these different times, and something I shall be trying to accelerate especially in terms of digital and data-smart solutions.”

“If we move forward, we see that more and more vessels are now becoming connected and having sensors installed, and in this very competitive environment it makes sense that class advises clients on how to use that data,” he observed.

“So we’re moving into that digital space and looking at how you can have good data quality and have it transferred in a safe and secure manner. Here again class has a significant pool of competence on the technical side and it’s one of the areas where we will continue to expand and support our customers. It’s also one of the areas that gives us a lot of optimism as there are a lot of benefits to be drawn.”

“The really important thing is to be able to connect as many data sources as possible,” he added. “Combining these is becoming more and more important.

Asked about “disruptive technologies" Ørbeck-Nilssen quipped that by definition these are “difficult to predict”. But he alluded to the fact that DNV GL will be bringing out a New Technologies report in “just a couple of weeks”, meaning it’s a case of watch this space.