Photo: MTF/ABS

Seven industry partners launch Maritime Technologies Forum

Seven flag states and classification societies have united to launch the Maritime Technologies Forum (MTF) which will seek to bridge the gap between technology knowledge and regulatory process.

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

As informed, the partners will provide technical and regulatory research, expertise and leadership to assist the shipping sector and its regulators address technology challenges.

The regulatory framework for the development and use of new technology must remain up to date to ensure advances assure 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 (IMO) to navigate and embrace the impact of these changes.

Key focus areas for the forum will include energy efficiency, alternative fuels and increasing levels of autonomy and 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.

The MTF is run by a governing body that includes a representative from each of the founding members. This steering committee is responsible for making decisions and overseeing the work and direction of the MTF. Leadership members of the governing body include Christopher Wiernicki, ABS, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, DNV, Hideaki Saito, MLIT, Nick Brown, LR, Lars Alvestad, NMA, Hiroaki Sakashita, ClassNK, and Brian Johnson, MCA. A permanent working group has been set up that reports into the main governing body as well as a secretariat to run the administration.

 “Our seven organizations will collectively offer technical and regulatory leadership for the benefit of the maritime industry at large,” the MTF steering committee said.

“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.”

“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 … industry partners to develop practical solutions,” Christopher J. Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO, commented.

“The increased uptake of digital technologies and the push to decarbonize shipping represent tectonic shifts for the industry,” Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV Maritime, pointed out.

“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.”

“To support the industry through this transformation we need a new collaborative effort. One that can both offer expert advice and information from an independent perspective, while also supporting a regulatory environment that keeps pace with these technological advances. I believe the MTF can fill this vital role, and as a founding member DNV is committed to support the industry safely manage the transition.”