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Safety is rising up the decarbonisation agenda

As shipping gets deeper into decarbonisation and digitalisation, heightened risk and uncertainty demand a reassessment of the industry’s safety culture. A panel discussion explores the landscape.

DNV and Lloyd’s List look behind the number of casualties in the Safety Trends report to ask why accidents happen at all, and what might be done to mitigate risk at a time of transition

DECARBONISATION is the dominant theme of our time but alongside the meaty discussion of fuels and technologies that will achieve carbon-neutral and zero-carbon status, the industry must not overlook the obligation to keep safety at the heart of the transition.


Nothing will ever be more important than the safety of our people, our vessels and the environment. That is the key message of a panel discussion bringing together safety experts that supports the 2023 DNV/Lloyd’s List Intelligence Maritime Safety Trends report.

This analysis reveals a gradual reduction in the number of casualties for the period 2012-2022 for all sectors — for almost all sectors, most notably machinery damage/failure. The discussion seeks to understand what lies behind the trends.

While much effort is put into safety rules, guidelines and procedures, just as important is the need to deepen our awareness of human behaviour.

Why are clear guidelines sometimes ignored? What makes for good safety leadership? How should the industry encourage collaboration among all stakeholders so that best practice is shared for the good of all seafarers?

A panel discussion draws on the expertise of DNV head of safety advisory Øystein Goksøyr, DNV principal engineer Kathrine Ilje Nerland, Anglo-Eastern UK managing director Himanshu Chopra, The Nautical Institute head of safety and environment Jeff Parfitt and SAYFR chief scientist Torkel Soma.

Safety is moving up the agenda for shipowners and operators as the maritime industry moves deeper into decarbonisation and digitalisation. The panel discusses the management of change from a safety perspective, the use of data analytics to improve safety, and the role of competence standards in shipping.

Safety does not rest with any single stakeholder. It involves government, non-government agencies, vessel owners and operators, regulators, class societies and maritime actors in all sectors of the industry. These should all work closely to promote a culture of safety in shipping.

As moderator Richard Clayton, chief correspondent at Lloyd’s List, summarises: “Understanding the elements of a safety culture, how they fit together and support one another, and how the gaps between them can be covered lies at the heart of safe shipping in this era of transition.”

The panel discussion can be viewed in the above video


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