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New fuels will be late and in short supply - DNV

Informa Markets DNV's Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen at CMA Shipping 2023
In his keynote address at CMA Shipping 2023, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of maritime at DNV gave a stark appraisal of the challenges facing the industry.

“I’m sorry if I disappoint anyone in attendance today, but I think new fuels and infrastructure will be late and in short supply,” said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

“By saying that, I'm not saying that we have to push off of our ambitions to decarbonise; it's really important that we do what can be done now, rather than wait for some fantastic fuel in the future… we cannot wait for that to happen, we have to take measures right now.”

Commercial drivers will spur decarbonisation, Ørbeck-Nilssen expects, with regulation gradually taking effect. Demonstrating progress in decarbonising ship operations will become increasingly important, all built on real and tested data, he predicted.

Decarbonisation has become entwined with energy security in recent years as nations adjust to the war in Ukraine, which has disrupted some plans for renewable energy developments, said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

“I would say that even though we have a short-term setback, I would expect that in the medium to longer term, we'll have more investments into renewables, because that is also energy security,” said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

The second subject of his three-pronged keynote was on cyber security, an important topic for DNV after its ShipManager software was the target of a ransomware attack earlier this year. He recalled speaking at an industry event prior to the attack on DNV on the importance of sharing experiences from cyber security incidents.

“Little did I know then that a few months later, we would be attacked. I think it's so important that we share the experiences. If you imagine what we know about companies that have been victims of cyberattack, you can just imagine how much bigger the portion is of companies have been cyber attacked and do not share any of the information.

“If we are not sharing, we are making the dark forces more powerful… we will all be cyber victims. What matters is how we prepare and how we react,” said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

The third topic of his keynote was the importance of addressing the scale of seafarer training necessary to safely decarbonise the shipping industry. At the level of current IMO decarbonisation, around 300,000 seafarers will need upskilling by 2050. If the industry wants to hit net zero by 2050, that figure rises to 750,000, said said Ørbeck-Nilssen.

“The good news is we still have time, but this is something we cannot put off forever. Safety hangs in the balance if we don’t get this right and it’s a significant number of seafarers that need training.”