Hapag-Lloyd and ZeroNorth Forge a Strategic Path to Decarbonised Bunkering

Hapag-Lloyd, a global leader in container shipping, is teaming up with digital solutions provider ZeroNorth to revolutionize bunker planning and procurement. This partnership reflects a strategic push to integrate advanced digital tools to enhance efficiency and drive decarbonization efforts across Hapag-Lloyd’s operations. By digitalising the bunker procurement process, the collaboration aims to set new industry standards for sustainability and operational efficiency.

Strategic Digitalisation for Environmental Leadership

The initiative is designed to optimise Hapag-Lloyd’s fuel expenditure and streamline operational processes. Features of the new digital system include enhanced contract and port planning capabilities, contract tender functions, and a sophisticated pricing algorithm, which together promise a transformative improvement in how maritime fuel is managed. These tools are expected to provide a more transparent, accountable, and efficient approach to bunker procurement, a critical component in reducing the shipping industry’s carbon footprint.

Jan Christensen, Senior Director of Global Fuel Purchasing at Hapag-Lloyd, emphasised the importance of finding the right partners to advance their decarbonisation strategy. ZeroNorth’s expertise in developing top-tier digital solutions is seen as crucial for Hapag-Lloyd to achieve its environmental goals. Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director of ZeroNorth Bunker, also highlighted the significance of collaboration to tackle the industry’s challenges, pointing out that partnerships like this are essential for meaningful progress in digitalisation and decarbonisation.

About Hapag-Lloyd and ZeroNorth

Hapag-Lloyd is renowned for its extensive fleet and global reach in the container shipping sector, committed to innovative solutions for sustainable shipping. ZeroNorth, meanwhile, specialises in optimising maritime operations through data-driven insights and cutting-edge technology, aiming to reduce emissions and enhance vessel performance.

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Wärtsilä Advances Maritime Sustainability with Ammonia-Fueled Vessels for EXMAR

Wärtsilä Gas Solutions is set to equip two new EXMAR LPG gas carriers with state-of-the-art ammonia fuel supply and cargo handling systems. This initiative underscores a significant advancement in maritime sustainability, supported by a collaboration between Wärtsilä, EXMAR, and Seapeak. These vessels, being built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyards, are at the forefront of the industry’s shift towards decarbonized operations.

Innovating for a Cleaner Maritime Future

Carl-Antoine Saverys, CEO of EXMAR, highlighted the importance of ammonia in achieving decarbonized operations, stating, “Ammonia utilization is vital in our pursuit of decarbonized operations. Achieving this requires fuel handling and supply systems tailored for ammonia, and Wärtsilä possesses the expertise and capabilities to provide these solutions.”

Patrick Ha, Sales Manager at Wärtsilä Gas Solutions, echoed this sentiment, noting, “This latest contract win is a significant achievement for our company and demonstrates our expertise in providing innovative and sustainable solutions for the maritime industry.”

About Wärtsilä Gas Solutions Wärtsilä Gas Solutions excels in maritime gas handling, offering cutting-edge, sustainable technology solutions. They support the industry’s transition to sustainability through high-performance solutions that manage gas efficiently across maritime applications.

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Marlink Group boosts its cyber security offering with acquisition of Diverto

Integration of Diverto will see Marlink Group create a global cyber security leader for remote operations and critical infrastructure

Oslo, Paris and Zagreb, 2 July 2024. Marlink, the leading managed services provider of business-critical ICT solutions, has closed the 100% acquisition of Diverto, a pioneer in the provision of advanced IT and OT security solutions for enterprise and critical infrastructure.

The combination will significantly strengthen the Marlink cyber security portfolio and capabilities. It will create a group-wide asset to deliver best-in-class cyber security solutions and services to Marlink’s global customer base in maritime, energy and humanitarian markets and to Diverto’s enterprise customers with critical infrastructure.  It will furthermore set new standards in responding to the increasing IT and OT security needs of Marlink customers operating in remote locations.

Based in Zagreb, Croatia, Diverto is an expert in the delivery of cybersecurity services and solutions. Its portfolio covers professional services including penetration testing, red and purple teaming, security audit, risk management, compliance and other cybersecurity services. Agnostic to the technologies deployed by its customers, Diverto’s advanced Security Operations Centre (SOC), including incident management and forensics, can protect both IT and OT customers.

Diverto’s customers operate in the public and private sector, recognise the value of information security and view it as an asset in managing their business risks. It employs more than 50 highly experienced security professionals with more than 150 security certifications.

Diverto’s capabilities are highly complementary to Marlink’s portfolio of cyber security solutions, which combines (SOC) managed services for remote operations, together with a suite of solutions providing protection at all network and end-user levels.

Marlink’s innovation in cyber security solutions was recognised in February 2024 when it won the eighth Smart4Sea Cyber Security Award for its CyberGuard Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution based on a ‘Firewall as a Service’ model.

“We welcome very much Diverto and its expert staff in Marlink Group. Demand for expertise and resources to meet the increasing needs of our customers in both IT and OT security is growing fast and this acquisition is an important step in strengthening our capabilities and expanding our reach in cyber security,” said Nicolas Furgé, Director, Digital, Marlink. “The integration of Diverto will enable Marlink to capture growing market opportunities in IT and OT security and to build together a cyber security powerhouse for remote operations and critical infrastructure”.

“Diverto is delighted to join the Marlink Group and we look forward to the ways our customers and employees will benefit from a leading provider of business-critical ICT solutions, with global reach, financial strength and access to new market segments,” said Boze Saric, CEO, Diverto. “Diverto will contribute considerable cybersecurity expertise and engineering capability that will enable the creation of a complete and unique portfolio of best-in-class  cyber security solutions to meet to increasing needs of Marlink customers.”

About Marlink
For companies operating in the world’s most challenging environments – from merchant vessels to offshore and onshore energy operations, from humanitarian organisations to cruise ships and superyachts – Marlink creates and delivers possibilities, anywhere.

Marlink is a managed service provider and global leader in remote ICT solutions with annual revenues surpassing $800 million and 1,500 employees operating in more than 30 countries.

Wherever our customers are in the world, we deliver them possibilities to work smarter and to operate more effectively, more safely, more sustainably – without the limitations of technology.

With our possibility platform, we enable a comprehensive suite of end-to-end managed solutions (Connectivity, Network, Cyber Security, Cloud & IT, IoT & Apps), supported by professional services, unmatched global operations and delivery capabilities and local support teams.

As a global company with a local focus we help make tomorrow’s possibilities today’s realities.

For further information please visit www.marlink.com.

About Diverto

Diverto is information and cybersecurity company that provides a high level of information security to companies, institutions and other organisations in an information-centric world. We protect our clients against security threats that can cause data breaches, financial loss and damaged credibility.

Founded in 2007, we are considered one of the pioneers of cybersecurity and have only continued to grow in strategic and technical expertise. We employ a highly skilled and motivated team of professionals who have affection for information and cybersecurity, as well as deep technical background in this field.

For further information please visit www.diverto.hr.

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The Workboat Association

Leading the Way: Kerrie Forster, navigating The Workboat Association’s Future

In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Kerrie Forster, the CEO of The Workboat Association, to explore his dynamic leadership journey and the strategic role he has within maritime. With over 20 years of maritime experience, Forster has navigated the complex landscape of the industry, rising from a part-time workboat crew member to the helm of The Workboat Association. Under his leadership, the association has seen significant growth and transformation, tripling its membership and expanding its influence and outreach.


Join us as Kerrie Forster shares insights into his leadership approach, the association’s mission to promote trade, skills, and safety standards, and the challenges and opportunities facing the workboat sector today. Discover how The Workboat Association is championing advancements in maritime safety, sustainability, and technological innovation, and learn about their vision for the future as they celebrate their 30th anniversary and prepare for the next phase of growth and development.


Click below to access the digital version

Professional Journey and Leadership: With a 20-year career in maritime, transitioning each-rung of the ladder from a part-time workboat crew member to CEO of The Workboat Association, how have your onshore and offshore experiences shaped your leadership approach?


Patience – quite simply. We all have different backgrounds, expectations, and thought processes. There is more than one way to skin a cat.


Having worked with many different nationalities in remote environments and thousands of miles away from home, you quickly learn that leading, working, managing, and behaving all require someone to remain adaptive, professional, thorough, but also amicable.


‘Collaboration without bigotry or prejudice’ is ultimately something that continues to go through my mind when making operational and leadership decisions. How can the decision I am making be influenced by any of the stakeholders around me? Are my eyes closed to something right under my nose? These are the questions I ask myself when considering the effects of my actions. ‘Can somebody that will be key to the success of my expectations either positively or negatively affect the outcome of the shared objective beyond my own experience or interest?


Maybe this means engaging early with front-line employees, pulling together key influencers and ‘best practice ambassadors’ for their opinions, re-assessing your internal skill sets, or when necessary, reaching out for help without feeling ashamed.


There are lots of people out there that do not willingly help others to succeed; maybe it is a fear of being overtaken, or simply that they struggle to have this connection with others. I found the right role models around me, with the right mentality and skill sets to show me everything they could. All I had to do was turn up, with a willingness to learn and an eagerness to do my best and achieve. The rest is simply a matter of time.


Workboat Association’s Mission: As CEO, how do you interpret The Workboat Association’s mission to promote trade, skills, and safety standards, and what are your top priorities for the association?


As a not-for-profit organisation run by constitution, our mission and objectives are clearly defined. However, turning these into ‘SMART’ based actions is the key. Transforming a broad objective such as ‘promoting skills’ into something specific takes some doing, but the key is focusing on the combination of such activities. Again, I return to asking myself the same questions: What are others doing? What has already been done? How do our needs differ from others? Where can we collaborate? Who can we learn from? Who are the role models?


I place myself in the shoes of different stakeholders: members, other key organisations, and non-members. I try to look at my thoughts through their eyes: How would I feel if I were them? How would I react? Would I want to engage? Would I share my opinion? Is there something for me?


Our priorities remain to support our members and their industry, to ensure that the workboat sector is thriving and well-regulated with suitable, but achievable rules and policy. We aim to ensure that the employees of the sector have good opportunities, a challenging but safe work environment, and sustainable operations achieved by the sharing of best practices and an emphasis on the evolution of technology, all pinned together with appropriate training, education, and certification.


We host regular workgroups and networking events, write guidance, exhibit at exhibitions and conferences, organise training and stakeholder sessions, support government and stakeholder organisations, and stand by to help any of our members with their business concerns. With over 200 member organisations, this keeps us all very busy!

Collaboration with Maritime UK: The Workboat Association’s membership with Maritime UK represents a significant step. Can you discuss the synergies between the two organisations and the benefits of this collaboration?


The Workboat Association joined Maritime UK in 2020, seeking to increase our political understanding and presence. Facing the uncertainties of Brexit negotiations, we played our role in shaping the future relationship between the UK and the EU. With the looming Brexit date and discussions of soft and hard Brexit, along with a rapidly decreasing timeframe and intense competition from other sectors, we knew we needed to be part of a larger coalition.


In 2020, as much of the world was in lockdown due to Covid-19, our seafarers continued to work at sea and in ports, part of a wide but often uncelebrated group of key workers. They ensured that the lights stayed on, supermarkets were stocked, cars had fuel, and hospitals had power and resources to operate.


Joining Maritime UK during this politically sensitive time was immensely beneficial for us. Maritime UK is an alliance of key UK maritime industry membership organisations. It serves as a focal point for government interaction and a conduit for excellent collaboration and networking.


Challenges in the Workboat Sector: What are the current challenges facing the workboat sector, and how is The Workboat Association addressing these challenges?


While I write this, the top four challenges for us are:


  1. Supporting UK business and trade in our sector following Brexit
  2. Developing and nurturing the small commercial vessel seafarer skills pool
  3. Steering industry to meet the global and national decarbonisation objectives
  4. Guiding and educating members and government on applicable policy and regulation


International readers may be surprised to see Brexit still at the top of the list, but it is the gift that keeps on giving… Five Prime Ministers later, countless Ministers, a huge number of civil service changes, and a continually changing rulebook—Brexit will remain one of our top challenges for a number of years to come.


Workboats (in majority) operate under domestic regulations, falling out of the convention vessel application due to their smaller size. Therefore, it is down to each country to decide what their applicable rules are in their waters and who they choose to let in and operate.


The UK’s departure from the EU, a significant workplace for many of our members, means that the expectations, intentions, and strategies of the EU/UK flag states have been given a good shake-up. The belt of “unity” has been unbuckled and expanded a few holes, giving more room for change, with each country’s Port State Administration and Immigration teams busy setting new policies to ensure that they put their own country’s workers and businesses first.


As a result, we see increased troubles for non-UK vessel owners and crew to work within the UK, and a forever-changing landscape for UK stakeholders to work in the EU, with each country setting different and evolving rules.

Advancements in Maritime Safety: Safety is paramount in the maritime industry. Could you highlight some key safety initiatives or advancements that The Workboat Association has championed or implemented recently?


Championing safety is a significant part of our work. In recent years, we have run annual safety campaigns on topics such as mental health, fatigue, recovery from water, access and egress, passage planning, PPE, dangerous goods, and emergency preparedness.


Sometimes we join forces with like-minded organisations, while other times we go alone, depending on the objectives set by our stakeholders and the target audience. We have previously collaborated with organisations such as The British TugOwners Association, IMCA, CHIRP, The Seafarers Charity, Port Skills & Safety, Marine Safety Forum, MAIB, and the MCA. Together, we have produced toolkits, poster campaigns, training sessions and webinars, guidance documents, flashcards, conference sessions, live drills, and much more. Many of the (downloadable) outputs of our safety campaigns are available free to both members and non-members via our website or through our stakeholders’ websites.


One of the most effective and long-lasting efforts we have been a part of regarding safety advancements is our committed and continued partnership with the UK’s flag state, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). If there is any work being undertaken by the MCA related to small commercial vessels, we are always invited to take part, provide expertise or opinions, help draft documents, organise or co-host events, and be a part of training sessions, consultations, roll-outs, or campaigns. Additionally, we have a great relationship with many of the various departmental staff, which means we know exactly the right internal subject experts to liaise with or ask questions. This is something we are very appreciative of.


Sustainability and Environmental Initiatives: Sustainability is a growing focus within the maritime sector. How is The Workboat Association contributing to the industry’s move towards more sustainable practices?


I would say our role is as ‘Enablers’. We work with both industry and government to enable sustainable practices, technological evolution, and the necessary sharing, education, and networking to make it happen on time and effectively.


We host regular sustainability and decarbonisation events, support a wide number of applications and Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) for financial grants and exposure, and steer regulators to ensure the correct policies are in place to enable new technology to safely and successfully enter use.


Through partnerships and collaboration with various industry and government-backed research and funding offices, innovation centres, and task forces, we take a proactive approach to helping the whole industry meet global and national environmental objectives. I think we are very fortunate in maritime, especially within Europe, that the majority of us share the same enthusiasm for making a positive difference. Aiming high and committing to new investments is always made a lot easier when you are not doing it alone.

Impact of Technology: Technology is rapidly evolving in every industry, including maritime. What technological advancements do you see as most impactful for workboats, and how is the association facilitating technological adaptation among its members?


One of the biggest technological advancements in our sector within the last decade has been data digitalisation. Intelligent data recording and processing have significantly transformed maritime operations. It’s not just about artificial intelligence initially but the digital developments that have been changing and integrating into our world over the past 10 years. The ability to capture data and then turn it into something we can actually see and use has been revolutionary.


Data is being used in more clever ways across all maritime sectors, whether it manifests or stores records, deck logs, hours of work, planned maintenance systems, chart systems, NMEA data processing, safety management systems, communications, mechanical system displays, and reports. We now use advanced data processing and display systems to gauge wave heights before they even hit the ship, show how changes in certain mechanical conditions affect vessel performance live, provide more accurate weather and route forecasting, enable quicker and more effective incident reporting and mitigation, facilitate remote fault finding, monitor seafarer fatigue or activity patterns, guide training needs, improve and allow focused offshore communications, enhance stability analyses, and innovate mechanical deterioration and fuel usage tracking, whole body vibration, air quality monitoring, and much more.


Digital data advancements are one of the most powerful changes in the current maritime industry. When I started working commercially offshore in 2008, one of my duties was to take the vessel’s logbooks, tear out all the carbon copies of each log entry, and post them back to head office at the end of every month. Apart from a lucky or very broken phone call once or twice a week from the vessel’s superintendent, this was about the limit of the vessel’s connection with management. Ten years later, I was managing a globally operating fleet of vessels and staff, and I could hear colleagues getting upset that WhatsApp messages hadn’t been answered, even though they could see the messages had been read!


The evolution in data processing has been remarkable. Purchasers now can pick up their phone from bed, access all their emails, photos, and documents from their smartphone, go onto a webshop, order the parts directly, and inform the crew the part is on its way with an accurate delivery time without even having eaten their morning toast. The incredible data being collected and processed means that the next time the part needs ordering, a Planned Maintenance System will most likely pre-empt the item’s requirement and order itself, requiring somebody to just agree to the purchase and enter a delivery address.


The Workboat Association facilitates technological adaptation among its members by hosting regular events, workshops, and training sessions focused on the latest technological advancements. We also provide resources and support to help our members integrate these technologies into their operations, ensuring they stay competitive and efficient in a rapidly evolving industry.


Skills Development and Education: Given your role in nurturing a safety culture and responsible work ethics, what initiatives or programs does The Workboat Association offer for skills development and continuing education within the industry?


We are active members of the Maritime Skills Alliance and Maritime UK skills programs, and I am personally a registered Director of both organisations. I was recently also part of the UK Government’s UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce.


Skills, education, and the employment pool are significant and continuing challenges for all businesses – it is a never-ending, looping cycle, where all parts of the system are active at the same time!


For every worker at the end of their career, there is somebody at the beginning, somebody in the middle, somebody not reaching their potential, and somebody going unrecognised.


It is a matter of continuous resource, enthusiasm, and planning. It is never easy, and if it is, it is probably because something is being overlooked.


There are four quotes I like to remember on this subject:


  1. Lord Nelson: “We cannot control the weather, but we can prepare for it.”
  2. Anon: “What happens if you train your employees and they leave? What happens if you do not train your employees and they stay?”
  3. Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
  4. Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft’[en] awry.”


There is always a chance, even in the simplest recruitment scenarios, to the most complex but most professional, that something will change and serious action needs to be taken. What happens if a pivotal employee suddenly goes off sick (or worse)? What happens if they suddenly, out of the blue, say they are leaving? What happens if that vital contract holding your company together suddenly goes ‘pop’? These are all big challenges for recruitment and skills, but with a good plan that encompasses all four of the quotes above, you are sure to be on the front foot.


Nobody is indispensable, but sometimes they are pretty significant!

International Collaboration and Standards: How does The Workboat Association engage with international counterparts to harmonise standards and best practices across the global workboat industry?


It normally starts with a telephone call or an email, and in a lot of situations it is reactive, directly requiring an answer or some work for a situation already in hand: “Good morning, I am one of your members and I need some advice…” or “Hello, you are talking with _____ from _____ flag state, I am on board a workboat and….”.


Quite often it is either a translation or interpretation issue or a difference in expectations. Maybe someone used to inspect larger convention vessels is used to a certain type of certificate that workboats do not carry or maybe a rule which small vessels are not required to implement. The crew and/or operator are trying to convince the surveyor that everything is ok, but the surveyor wants some kind of additional evidence etc. We step in as a third party to help the vessel crew/operator understand what the Surveyor is looking for (it can often be something completely unheard of before to many), or we are networking different government representatives together to get the information clarified directly.


Of course we would rather work proactively, spotting opportunities for confusion or gaps in policy/regulation and fixing them before an issue evolves, but it is not always possible. We take part in, and help secretariat many consultations and workshops – all with an eye to steer, rather than upset. Naturally we do our fair share of lobbying, but efforts and resources are normally best used if we can be a part of a process early on. I would much prefer to ease things into a better starting place, rather than having to get political or opposing once bills have already been passed. It isn’t nice for industry, and it isn’t nice for the regulator (who more often than not are doing things with the best intentions in mind).


Vision for the Future: Looking ahead, what is your vision for the future of The Workboat Association, and how do you plan to navigate the evolving landscape of the maritime industry?


2024 marks the 30th anniversary of The Workboat Association, and the General Committee is diligently developing a five-year plan to guide us from 2025 to 2030. This is my sixth year as CEO, and before that, I volunteered with the organisation as a Workgroup Chairman and General Committee member since 2014. Over the past decade, I have witnessed significant changes within The Workboat Association, both in terms of membership and activity. In 2014, our membership consisted of roughly 60 companies; today, we have just over 200. Previously, we employed my predecessor for ‘up to’ two days a week, and he worked alone, supported by an ad-hoc treasurer who contributed as needed. Today, we have a team of five working diligently behind the scenes to deliver on our members’ interests and objectives.


While our new strategy is still in the brainstorming phase—comprising pages of scribbles, doodles, brainstorming notes, and wish lists collected from members and stakeholders—it is now being translated into a strategic plan. This plan will be discussed by our General Committee at our next meeting. The work will continue throughout the year, with the intention of delivering a proposal at our AGM in late November 2024.


Until then, we have much to celebrate from our past 30 years. We are holding a celebration event, featuring a luxury river cruise on the Thames in September, for members and guests. This is a perfect opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us reach where we are today and those who continue to support our work. Ultimately, it is a chance to bring the membership together for a memorable event and remind them that ‘together, we achieve great things.’

Shark Seating

Innovating Safety: Exploring Shark Seating’s Maritime Solutions

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of maritime safety with Shark Seating, a pioneering company revolutionising marine seating solutions. Led by a commitment to ergonomic design and sustainability, Shark Seating has carved a niche in the industry with its innovative approach to marine seating. From high-speed naval craft to tour boats, Shark Seating’s products are designed to enhance safety, comfort, and performance for both operators and passengers alike.


Join us as we explore the strategic vision, sustainability initiatives, and future outlook of Shark Seating with Owner, Paul Zwaan, shedding light on how the company continues to make waves in the maritime sector.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

Company Genesis and Mission: Shark Seating began with a focus on ergonomic design in the marine seating industry. Can you share the story behind the inception of Shark Seating and your mission in transforming the industry?


The formation of Shark Seating happened at a time when the NZ Navy faced delays and rising costs from inflexible suppliers dominating a small market. There was a need for agile and cooperative suppliers offering lighter, more adaptable products and services. This challenge appealed to me, having handled over 500 freelance projects with a focus on finding the most elegant solutions and implementing them with the most appropriate and scalable technology.

Design Philosophy: Your design consultancy started in 1996, leading to Shark Seating’s establishment. How has your background in ergonomic design influenced the development of Shark Seating’s products?


The core principles guiding our work are simplicity, modularity, and versatility. These principles enable us to tackle any ergonomic challenge. It’s a process where all the hard work rests on the designer rather than the user. We work tirelessly to ensure that our solutions are ever more simple, self-adjusting, and intuitive.


Achieving simplicity is like seeking the Holy Grail. Once found, everyone can recognise it but uncovering simplicity is a relentless process of ideation, screening, and refinement. In the words of Michelangelo, ‘The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.

Impact on High-Speed Naval Craft: Shark Seating has been recognised for its suspension seating solutions in high-speed naval boats. How do Shark Seating products enhance the safety and performance of these vessels?


Shark Seating’s suspension seating solutions have garnered recognition for their impact on high-speed naval boats. These products play a pivotal role in enhancing both the safety and performance of such vessels.


In the realm of high-speed craft, the ultimate goal is to achieve maximum performance with minimal inputs. This entails prioritising safety, comfort, and durability while minimising weight, complexity, and cost. At Shark Seating, we achieve this balance through our three design pillars.


Simplicity lies at the core of our approach, ensuring that each component is streamlined to its essential functionality without any unnecessary elements. Modularity further reinforces this principle by ensuring perfect compatibility among components, thereby maximising safety and comfort for occupants. Additionally, our products offer versatility, allowing various modules to be seamlessly combined to meet diverse ergonomic requirements.


Each of our modules is assigned a NATO stock code, enabling navies to configure suspension seats tailored to their specific needs. This bespoke approach not only ensures unprecedented impact protection but also enhances weight efficiency, crucial factors in the demanding environment of high-speed naval operations.

America’s Cup Contribution: Shark Seating’s involvement in the 36th America’s Cup significantly boosted the brand’s visibility. How did this event impact Shark Seating’s business, and what was it like seeing your products on all the chase boats?


Shark Seating’s participation in the 36th America’s Cup marked a significant milestone in enhancing the brand’s visibility and impact on the maritime industry. Reflecting on this event sheds light on its profound implications for our business and the exhilaration of witnessing our products on every chase boat. https://youtu.be/-94T9u5-UHU


Having followed the America’s Cup fervently since its arrival in our neighbourhood in 1987, I never imagined, thirty years later, that our seats would grace the decks of every chase boat and media vessel at the America’s Cup and SailGP events. It was a moment of pride to see our seats accommodating royalty, sailing legends, VIPs, and support crews—a total of 140 seats, a remarkable feat at the time, though now surpassed by our expanding customer base.


An unexpected benefit emerged five years later, during the 2021 America’s Cup in New Zealand, providing an opportunity to assess the wear and tear on 100 seats. Additionally, during the event’s visit to Christchurch in 2023, we conducted the 5-year service on 40 SailGP seats, leading to an extension of our product warranty to three years.


Furthermore, the legacy of our involvement extended beyond the event itself, with a majority of New Zealand Coastguard boats now equipped with Shark Suspension Seats, having adopted 26 retired America’s Cup RHIBs. This integration underscores the enduring impact of our participation in the America’s Cup, solidifying our commitment to innovation and safety in maritime seating solutions.

International Expansion: Following Shark Seating’s expansion into Europe and increased sales, what strategies have you employed to maintain and grow your international client base?


At Shark Seating, our passion is deeply rooted in our mission: to significantly reduce the number of people affected by spinal injuries on boats. Central to our success is a customer-centric approach that drives our strategies for maintaining and expanding our international client base.


We recognise that our mission remains critical as long as there are customers who lack adequate protection from wave impacts. This drives our continuous efforts to innovate and improve our products, ensuring they remain accessible to all who need them.


Additionally, we are committed to tripling our investment in the 5 P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, and People) every three years. This bold strategy has yielded remarkable results, with sales increasing thirty-fold over the past decade.


Looking ahead, we have a robust plan in place to achieve another thirty-fold increase in sales over the next ten years. Our aim is to make suspension seating a standard in the maritime industry, bringing safety and comfort to the forefront. We invite you to stay tuned as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and accessibility in maritime seating solutions.

Innovations in Seating Design: Shark Seating is known for its innovative approach to marine seating. Can you discuss a recent product innovation that you’re particularly proud of?


Shark Seating’s commitment to innovation in marine seating design is exemplified by our recent breakthrough in addressing the pressing issue of back injuries among tourboat passengers. Six years ago, reports surfaced of tour boat operators facing severe financial repercussions, including bankruptcy, due to the denial of public liability insurance claims stemming from passenger back injuries. This alarming trend prompted us to develop a solution that would benefit both passengers and operators alike.


To meet this challenge, we set out to create a suspension seating system that was compact, lightweight, and cost-effective enough to be installed in large numbers on tourboats. The result of our endeavor was the development of the ULTRA-lite and EVO suspension seats, crafted using injection-molded technology. Weighing in at a mere 7kg each and priced comparably to standard unsuspended jockey seating, these seats offer unparalleled comfort and safety for passengers without imposing significant financial strain on operators.


Our innovation has not only revolutionised the tourboat industry but has also paved the way for enhanced safety standards across marine transportation sectors. For a detailed account of this groundbreaking development, we invite you to explore the full story in our article: Link to the article.

Sustainability Initiatives: Sustainability and environmental responsibility are key concerns for many businesses today. What steps is Shark Seating taking to reduce its environmental impact?


At Shark Seating, we recognise the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility in today’s business landscape. To reduce our environmental impact, we have implemented several initiatives, with a focus on innovative materials and carbon sequestration.


One notable achievement is the development of our FLEXANITE material, which is used in all our suspension seats. FLEXANITE is composed of 100% bio-plastic, designed to consume its own weight in carbon dioxide. This not only reduces our reliance on traditional plastics but also contributes to carbon sequestration, even if the material ends up in a landfill. Furthermore, FLEXANITE is recyclable, ensuring a circular lifecycle for our products.


To learn more about our sustainability initiatives and how we’re harnessing carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate environmental impact, we invite you to visit our website: Link to the article.

Challenges and Achievements: Every business faces its set of challenges, especially when it comes to innovation. Can you share a significant challenge Shark Seating overcame and what it taught you?


Every business encounters its share of challenges, particularly in the realm of innovation. One significant challenge Shark Seating faced underscored the importance of rigorous testing and adaptability.


As Albert Einstein aptly stated, ‘If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.’ A decade ago, we embarked on the ambitious endeavor of crafting all our suspensions from plastic, fully aware of the immense forces they would endure—nearly 1 tonne. Despite subjecting prototypes to rigorous lab testing, simulating up to 1 million full impacts, we recognised that real-world conditions would provide the ultimate test, especially in defense and rescue boats.


The reality soon set in as we encountered variations in plastic batches, highlighting the need for meticulous quality control measures. Embracing Shane Parrish’s wisdom that ‘it’s not the failures that define us so much as how we respond,’ we made a pivotal decision to implement 100% testing of all production parts six years ago.


This decision was not without its challenges, as we faced the necessity of recalling a batch at considerable expense, requiring personnel to travel to Iceland on two occasions.


However, this proactive approach proved instrumental in averting potential safety hazards. Despite thousands of our seats being subjected to harrowing conditions—such as boats free-falling up to 6 meters in rough seas—our commitment to quality assurance has yielded an impeccable safety record: zero injuries in ten years.


This experience has taught us the importance of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to safety and quality. It serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence in maritime seating solutions.

Customer-Centric Approach: Shark Seating emphasises a strong connection with its customers. How do you ensure that your customer service stands out in the industry?


At Shark Seating, we recognise the dual layers of customers inherent in our mission to safeguard backs across the maritime industry. Our customer-centric approach extends beyond boat owners and operators to encompass boat builders, forging symbiotic relationships that drive mutual success.


We pride ourselves on fostering exceptionally strong connections with boat builders who integrate our seats into their vessels. This partnership is founded on a shared commitment to excellence, where we enhance their offerings with cutting-edge technology, and in turn, they amplify our brand recognition.


In our experience, boat builders fall into two categories: those who prioritise offering the best and safest technology to their customers and those who only consider safety options upon request. Fortunately, within the realm of professional boats—such as government tenders, sea rescue, and defense—the specification mandates the inclusion of suspension seats. Leveraging the weight and cost advantages of Shark Suspension Seats, we’ve observed that whenever boat builders opt for our seats in tenders, the resulting vessels not only meet safety standards but also benefit from enhanced range, capacity, and performance, to the delight of end users.

To reflect our unwavering dedication to achieving tangible outcomes for both boat providers and end users, we’ve rebranded our customer service as ‘customer success.’ This shift underscores our commitment to delivering results and ensuring the success of our customers at every stage of their journey

Future Outlook: Looking ahead, what new markets or innovations is Shark Seating exploring to continue its growth and influence in the marine industry?


While we have ambitious plans for the future, we recognise the importance of strategic discretion. Rest assured, Shark Seating remains dedicated to our core principles of affordable performance, usability, lightness, simplicity, and customer success. These values will continue to drive our growth and influence in the marine industry, enabling us to achieve our goal of a thirty-fold expansion every decade.


As Forrest Gump famously said, ‘and that’s all I have to say about that.’ Rest assured, our commitment to innovation and excellence remains steadfast, propelling Shark Seating into exciting new markets and pioneering groundbreaking innovations. We invite you to stay tuned as we embark on the next phase of our journey


In Association with:

Springfield Group is a leading manufacturer of marine seating, pedestals, and mounting systems. They provide a wide range of products, including removable and fixed pedestals, mounting systems, tables, and accessories, catering to the needs of boat builders and marine enthusiasts. Springfield Group is committed to quality and innovation, ensuring durable and comfortable solutions for marine environments. They also offer extensive support and resources for their products, enhancing customer experience.


DM8 Composites specialises in the construction and repair of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) boats, including pleasure yachts, passenger ferries, and patrol boats. Located in Danao City, Cebu, their modern boatyard aims to lead in FRP vacuum-bag construction, adhering to international standards. Established in 2018, DM8 Composites focuses on innovation, quality, and advanced engineering to deliver world-class vessels and services in new builds, repairs, and refits.


Hypro Marine, since 1976, designs and manufactures high-quality power-assisted steering systems for luxury motor yachts and commercial vessels. They provide bespoke hydraulic control solutions and distribute top marine products like Zipwake and Lectrotab. Known for innovation and reliability, Hypro Marine also offers extensive technical support and is ISO9001 accredited, ensuring superior performance and service.



GSR Services

Ensuring Maritime Compliance: Henning Gramann’s Vision for GSR Services

Join us in an insightful conversation with Henning Gramann, Managing Owner of GSR Services, as he discusses the complexities and challenges of IHM compliance in the maritime industry. Henning sheds light on the strategic innovations and technological advancements that GSR Services employs to streamline IHM maintenance, enhance compliance accuracy, and minimise risks for shipowners. He also offers valuable advice for companies navigating IHM compliance and shares his vision for the future of sustainable practices in maritime operations. Discover how GSR Services is leading the way in ensuring safe and environmentally sound ship recycling while promoting industry-wide improvements and collaboration.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

IHM Compliance and Challenges: Given the complexities of IHM compliance, what are the most significant challenges that shipowners and suppliers face today in maintaining compliance?


Generally, the complexities are not well understood. If IHMs would help save fuel or reduce emissions, it would be taken much more seriously and time would be spent digesting the rules and required actions.


Since the end of 2020, a certified and maintained Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) contained in the structure and equipment of ships (IHM Part I) is required for EU-flagged ships above 500GT and all ships regardless of flag when visiting an EU-port. In the summer of 2025, the International Hong Kong Convention on safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships of IMO will enter into force, affecting more ships with mostly similar requirements than already with the EU regulation.


IHM is generally a quite exotic topic in the maritime industry. While getting the IHM developed and initially certified is a single effort, the maintenance of IHM applies for the entire ship’s life. This is often seen as a “necessary evil” without adding value. Various inconsistent practices for development and maintenance of IHMs have developed, also by service suppliers. The maintenance is sometimes even totally forgotten or ignored.


Due to lack of control, such incompliances remain undetected so far! The IHM is also to be re-certified at least every five years and as most have been developed in 2019 and 2020, the wave of re-certifications is coming. It will be interesting to see what will happen if an IHM is found not to have been properly maintained.


The core aim of IHMs is to support the planning of safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships by the recycler. If the IHM is faulty, incomplete, or too vague, either due to poor development or maintenance, this goal can’t be achieved and potentially even more risks are created than without any IHM. The IHM is not just a report but a technical file belonging to the ship. That means if it is of poor quality, substantial claims may be initiated against the seller by future owners or recyclers besides hefty fines for detected IHM incompliances during Port State Control Inspections.


In addition, recycling planning is also not part of daily operations as ships have a long lifespan. As such, related activities, including the development of IHM Part 2 (hazardous wastes onboard) and Part 3 (hazardous materials in stores), often happen spontaneously and without a proper strategy at hand. The outcome is either a top-dollar/low-quality approach, using greenwashing solutions, or trying to do it right but risking falling short on considering all relevant aspects and evaluating the options at hand.

Strategies for Efficient IHM Maintenance: You’ve emphasised the need for efficient IHM maintenance. Can you elaborate on the strategies GSR Services employs to minimise risks and costs for shipowners while ensuring compliance?


Most importantly, we carefully review all order data of a ship to identify the “IHM-relevant order items.” This creates a focus and prevents unnecessary workload for suppliers, shipboard crew, and service suppliers like us.


The challenge is that applicable rules are scattered across various regulations in the Hong Kong Convention, EU Ship Recycling Regulation, and IHM Guidelines of IMO. These regulations describe the general approach to “properly maintain and update the IHM Part I throughout the operational life, reflecting new installations and changes in structure and equipment containing hazardous materials of ships according to requirements for new ships.” This means activities causing a change in hazardous materials onboard need to be documented. Related details, such as hazardous materials contained in a product (i.e. Table A & B of IHM Guidelines for non-EU flagged vessels, Annex 2 substances for EU-Vessels), must be provided by suppliers in the form of a general “Suppliers Declaration of Conformity” (SDoC) and product-specific “Material Declarations.”


In addition to “causing a change,” various exclusions apply, such as loosely fitted items, metal and metal alloys, consumables, identical spare parts and coatings, items falling under the scope of IHM Part 2 or 3 (Table C of IHM Guidelines), and regular consumer products (Table D of IHM Guidelines) like TV sets, light bulbs, and furniture.


Due to these exclusion rules, it must be emphasised that always an order item counts, not an entire order, and the entire process has to reflect this. If an IHM Maintenance report only reflects PO numbers, it is cumbersome, and often nearly impossible, to identify the IHM-relevant order items contained therein. This causes an unacceptable level of intransparency, making recertification much more difficult and creating risks during PSC inspections. Unfortunately, this approach is more common than many think. As the wave of re-certifications is ahead of us, let’s see how this will be handled.


Supplier documents are required for all “IHM-relevant order items,” including non-hazardous products. Even for IHM maintenance, only hazardous material-containing products need to be tracked onboard. Without supplier documents, neither presence nor absence of hazardous materials can be verified. Related Maintenance Reports of the IHM should reflect changes, including locations and quantities, and provide related documents for both “non-hazardous” and “hazardous order items.” Otherwise, there is no transparency, and potential questions about why an item is not reflected due to either the absence of hazardous materials or the lack of documents from the supplier will be more difficult to answer over time.


A proper understanding and application of these rules and exemptions to individual order items are necessary for efficient IHM maintenance. If done properly, less than 5% of all order items are identified as “relevant,” for which only about 1% of Material Declarations state that a hazardous material is contained and the item requires tracking onboard. All this must be reflected in reports, and the crew only needs to track 0.05% of all order items for IHM maintenance. Such performance cannot be achieved with half-hearted approaches or when a purchasing system only has generic rules for categorization integrated.


What we see is that suppliers are first confronted with many unnecessary requests, making it more difficult to maintain focus. Despite this, the required information is not always at hand and needs to be gathered from their own supply chain. Sub-suppliers might not be focused on the maritime market or even aware that their products are sold to ships. As such, maritime requirements like Material Declarations (MDs) are unknown to them, and they are unprepared or unwilling to spend time and accept liabilities for this specific market. Consequently, related tasks can be as time-consuming for maritime suppliers as IHM maintenance is for ships.


Besides unnecessary requests creating more efforts and costs for all, they also increase the risk of documentation gaps. Even when artificially created by various shortcomings, they must be documented black on white in the reports, a great source for questions and trouble during recertification and PSC inspections.


GSR puts a lot of effort into careful relevancy checks, smooth processes, and supportive follow-up activities. Our motto is that “we’re all rowing in one boat,” and it doesn’t make sense to make compliance aspects bigger or more cumbersome than necessary. Smart solutions and the right attitude help all of us, reduce risks, and save costs for everyone.

Role of Technology in IHM Maintenance: How does GSR Services incorporate technology and digital tools, such as NautilusLog, to streamline IHM maintenance and enhance the accuracy of compliance documentation?


IHMs are to be developed prior to the delivery of a ship by the building yard using supplier documents. After delivery, IHM maintenance is required for the entire operational life. This means tens of thousands of individual files must be collected, managed, kept, and described items tracked (new installations, relocations, removals), with the whole process certified at least every five years. This alone makes it clear that an Excel-based approach will not be sufficient.


On top of that, crucial tasks like evaluating order items, exchange with suppliers, sending reminders, controlling provided documents, keeping them available, following up onboard, updating IHM, and transparent maintenance reporting including item-specific histories make it obvious that only dedicated software can keep this task manageable. Updated IHMs must also be available in case of a PSC inspection. Manually, this task would be nearly impossible or at least extremely time-consuming and resource-intensive.


At GSR, we started looking into all these aspects in 2006 and developed the necessary processes for efficiently fulfilling the requirements, at that time still in the drafting stage at IMO. The managing owner was directly involved in the related developments at IMO and is familiar not only with the outcomes in writing but also with the discussions and considerations behind the rules. Seven years ago, GSR started collaborating with the startup NautilusLog, and all experiences have been incorporated into their software solution. We continue to learn and implement further improvements in the system to enhance efficiency.


Most order data from clients is automatically uploaded into the tool via API connections; others are manually imported. Each order item is cross-checked with the IMPA catalogue, which we have fully categorised, plus our more than 4,500 word-rules carefully developed over the years. Whatever item is not categorised automatically is then managed manually by us. The results of categorizations are recorded, and for relevant order items, a request is sent out to the related supplier. GSR Services and Sinwa Singapore also joined hands to develop a freely accessible categorization tool for order items to ease the process for all involved.


Each supplier gets an individual landing page showing all open requests, where documents can easily be uploaded. Once this is done, a task appears in the system for us at GSR to review the document. If found to be inaccurate, it is not accepted, and the supplier is notified with our individual message explaining the reasons for rejection. If the document is accepted, parameters are set regarding the presence of hazardous materials in the specific product. If absent, the document is archived; if present, the system generates a task for the crew to label and track the item by specifying locations and quantities stored or installed. Then, a new or modified entry in the ship-specific IHM and maintenance report is generated.


An up to date maintenance report can be generated on demand 24/7 with a simple click in the system by any of the registered users. We suggest finishing all tasks and generating a report prior to arrival at a port. As we don’t charge for this, it comes at no extra cost, and ships are always well prepared for inspections and audits.

Impact of Incorrect Material Declarations (MDs): What are the potential consequences for shipowners and suppliers when incorrect MDs are submitted, and how does GSR Services work to prevent these errors?


If suppliers do not take proper care when developing and providing MDs to their customers, they can be held liable for false information for as long as the product exists onboard. That is a long time, and liability means that any subsequent damage caused by false documents, for instance, the presence of a heavy metal in a product must be compensated for. Over time, ship-specific IHMs become more inaccurate if suppliers fail to perform their duties. As mentioned, an IHM is a technical file and may lead to disputes between buyers and sellers of ships when it is not accurate. It is also important to remember that the aim of IHMs is to support the planning of safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. The risks and potential consequences are most significant in this context.


Considering the risks involved, we strongly warn against using converter tools that transfer POs into separate MDs for each order item contained or signing “nothing contained-MDs” provided as attachments to the requests sent to suppliers. Such approaches only increase the risks of false MDs, even though they might seem like a convenient quick fix. Any supplier who wants to remain in the market should avoid these practices. Instead, and when known well, other regulations and standards can be utilised for evaluating the presence and absence of hazardous materials in products.


GSR Services works diligently to prevent these errors by ensuring suppliers understand their obligations and the importance of accurate MDs. We provide clear guidance and individual support to suppliers, emphasising the critical role that MDs play in maintaining accurate IHMs. Our processes include detailed checks and follow-ups to verify the information provided in MDs. By fostering a thorough and transparent approach, we help minimise the risks of incorrect MDs and ensure that all parties involved can rely on the accuracy of the IHM documentation.

Education and Support for Suppliers: Given the intricate requirements of IHM maintenance, what support and education does GSR Services provide to suppliers to ensure they understand and meet these obligations?


We achieve a high return ratio of MDs on our requests, often well above 90%. Besides maintaining a clear focus on required documents, we also provide a hands-on manual on the landing pages for suppliers. Frequently, we offer workshops and webinars, including Q&A sessions, to raise awareness and find individual solutions within the legal framework. Additionally, GSR always provides personal support of up to one hour free of charge to all suppliers of its clients via phone, emails, and video calls. We also run a YouTube channel with webinars on demand.


We strive for cooperation and raising awareness, as this helps to lessen related efforts for all and increase compliance throughout the industry. This approach is far more helpful than threatening suppliers with reporting their “uncooperative behaviour” to their customers. As we also support suppliers by taking care of their MD management, we have experienced these challenges firsthand. In cases where we reject MD requests from shipowners or their service suppliers when supporting suppliers for items excluded from IHM maintenance by the rules, we inform the requester with a clear justification.


In instances where service suppliers do not understand the rules properly or interpret them differently, we have been pressurised and accused of bending the rules. This has even led to suppliers being reported, risking damage to their reputation. In such cases, we had to approach the shipowner the service supplier was working for to clarify the situation and elaborate the rules.

Improvements in Industry Practices: You’ve noted industry practices that complicate IHM maintenance. What improvements would you like to see implemented across the industry to address these issues?

A significant step towards unified processing and understanding are the industry guidelines for shipowners and suppliers on IHM maintenance. These guidelines have been developed by major associations such as ICS, BIMCO, ISSA, and others. Many of the same individuals active in the working group on ship recycling at IMO, which developed the IHM Guidelines and the Hong Kong Convention, also contributed to these industry guidelines.


When the associations discussed and reviewed current performance in regards to IHM maintenance, they jointly decided to develop industry guidance due to the immense demand and confusion. Henning Gramann of GSR Services participated in this development and was asked to share its process description. After a detailed review by the experts involved, including various lawyers from the associations, our process was fully incorporated. As such our understanding and practices have been independently verified and found to be fully compliant.


The most significant improvements can be achieved when all stakeholders – shipowners, their service suppliers, ship suppliers, as well as Porst State Control (PSC) and classification societies – carefully consider the industry guidance and act in compliance with it. This collective adherence will help streamline processes, reduce confusion, and ensure a higher standard of IHM maintenance across the industry.

Compliance Data Management Approach: Could you explain the concept of ‘Compliance Data Management’ and how it differs from the expertise traditionally found among IHM experts?


First of all, IHM experts are often class-approved specialists who go onboard ships to investigate the presence of hazardous materials. This involves visual checks and sampling. However, this approach is not suitable for newbuildings or IHM maintenance. As such, the related class approvals do not cover IHM maintenance, even though some claim to be approved for this as well.


Compliance data management, on the other hand, involves a transparent and traceable exchange of product data within supply chains, ideally down to raw materials, and the aggregation of such data for finished products. These products can be as complex as cars, electronics, medical equipment, and ships. The goal is to ensure traceability and automatic updates throughout entire supply chains, maintaining transparency and assigning related liabilities for the information provided.


Everyone involved is responsible only for the information they provide and combine, not for the details from others. This approach ensures that data is managed in a way that supports compliance with regulations and maintains the integrity of the information throughout the supply chain, differing significantly from the traditional methods used by IHM experts.

Partnership and Collaboration in Recycling: Can you discuss a specific case where GSR Services successfully facilitated compliant ship recycling, and what were the key factors that contributed to this success?

Besides a few projects, there are two ships and their owners worth highlighting. With the owners of a New Zealand Navy Tanker and a Campaign Vessel of Greenpeace, we jointly developed their ship recycling policies and tender requirements. We identified ship-specific hazardous materials and set requirements for the recycling of their assets. Interested ship recyclers were requested to prove their capabilities to comply with international and individual requirements and show willingness to accommodate individual criteria. These facilities were then inspected by GSR experts.


The outcome of the due diligence inspection was a rating that ensured commercial aspects could not compensate for shortcomings in quality. We accompanied contract negotiations, planned the last voyage including certifications, and then supervised the entire process from the arrival of the ships at the ship recycling facilities until the last disposal of wastes. The Navy vessel was recycled in India, marking the first-ever recycling under full compliance with the Basel Convention, while the Greenpeace vessel was recycled in Spain under EU-rules. Both projects ensured full traceability of all materials and were completed without any pollution, accidents, or incidents.


It’s also important to mention the many projects we have carried out with ship recyclers since 2013. We were the first to achieve full compliance with the Hong Kong Convention for ship recyclers in India. Such facilities look and operate very differently from what others claim is common “beaching.” Over the years, we have worked with more than 60 ship recyclers in various countries, helping them to substantially upgrade their practices.


Future of IHM Practices: Looking forward, how do you see IHM practices evolving in the maritime industry, especially with potential new regulations and global standards?


The IHM, including its maintenance, is sometimes interpreted as a means to support material circularity—in other words, to increase the recycling of valuable materials. This interpretation is not entirely accurate as it only covers one aspect of material circularity, or Cradle2Cradle. As such, we challenge this interpretation.


What is true is that the basics, like gathering and tracking material information over the lifecycle of a ship, are helpful, but the scope of IHMs needs to be extensively widened. When properly combining material compliance data exchange and tracking for ships, not only Cradle2Cradle but also sufficient ESG-Reporting and compliance with CSRD can be achieved. Today, we often see only partial reporting, which is far from comprehensive enough to meet the new legal requirements in the EU and UK.


In other words, extended data processing can be utilised for substituting SVHCs (substances of very high concern), ensuring the circulation of materials and resources, preventing downcycling and wastage, increasing the efficiency of using resources, and elevating sustainability. New requirements on sustainability reporting and financing are based to a very great extent on this data, and we are soon to release a complete service to support companies in their sustainability efforts and fulfilling related requirements.


This is a complex topic that could fill many further pages, so let’s keep it short for now.

Advice for navigating IHM Compliance: For companies struggling with IHM compliance, what practical steps can they take to improve their processes, and how can engaging with a service like from GSR Services benefit them?


As a first step, the Industry Guidance is great for clarifying the required steps, roles, and responsibilities of the different stakeholders, including relevancy checks. Seeking advice from classification societies may not be as helpful, as many are not necessarily better informed.


Various service suppliers offer different approaches, and their methods should be evaluated. For example, check whether they report on an order item-level, provide a converter tool, or pre-filled documents and the percentage of “IHN-relevant order items” is an easy KPI to consider. It’s also enlightening to ask suppliers about their experiences with the various service suppliers in terms of total costs, not just the service fees should be compared but also external costs and efforts generated is important.


Additionally, we at GSR Services are always happy to share our information and experience through platforms like YouTube, our website, LinkedIn, and in articles like this one. Taking a few minutes to digest this information will help all to make the right decisions. Engaging with a service like from GSR Services can provide practical insights, ensure compliance, and streamline the entire IHM process, ultimately minimising risks and costs for shipowners and their supply chains.


In Association with:

Bansal Group, established in 1999, is a major corporate house in Central India with diverse interests. They operate in sectors including education, healthcare, FMCG, iron and steel, infrastructure, and media. The group is known for its commitment to care and empathy, offering services such as a multi-specialty hospital, educational institutions, and the redevelopment of Rani Kamalapati Railway Station. Bansal Group combines visionary leadership with innovative practices to drive growth and community development.


JRD Industries, established in 1993, is a leading ship recycling company based in Alang, India. They hold compliance certificates from Lloyd’s Register and Class NK, ensuring adherence to the Hong Kong Convention and EU regulations. With a focus on environmental sustainability and worker safety, JRD Industries provides high-standard ship recycling services. Their business model emphasizes single-ship recycling with minimal handling for maximum safety and quality.


High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Co Ltd

Enhancing Maritime Services: Insights from High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Leadership Team

High Seas Marine & Industrial Services Co Ltd stands at the forefront of the maritime industry in Saudi Arabia, offering a comprehensive range of services including vessel chartering, ship chandelling, technical support, and marine agency services. In this exclusive interview, we engage with key members of the High Seas leadership team: Vladimir Poddubnyy, Managing Director; Ahmed Nagmar Marine Operations Manager; Rovelyn Camagong, Supply Chain & Chartering Contracts Manager (Vessel Chartering); Mohammed Hussain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager; Tamer Younis, TSS Manager (Technical Support Services); and Shaiju Shajahan, Agency Manager. Together, they provide valuable insights into the company’s vision, strategies for growth, sustainability practices, and their commitment to excellence in service delivery. Discover how High Seas Marine is navigating the complexities of the maritime industry and setting new standards for quality and efficiency.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

Questions for Vladimir Poddubnyy, Managing Director

Company Vision and Growth: Can you provide an overview of High Seas Marine & Industrial Services and discuss the company’s vision and strategic goals for growth in the next five years?


High Seas Marine & Industrial Services is a leading provider of marine and industrial services since 2010 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. High Seas is aggressively engaged in providing our customer a full service like a “one stop shops” for all marine services like chartering offshore support vessels, Marine agency services, ship chandlery services and Technical Support Services to clients which are carried out at (though not necessarily limited to) Ras Tanura, Dammam Port, Khafji port and Jubail commercial, industrial port, Ras Al Khair, and Aramco Fields.


The vision of High Seas Marine is to become the premier provider of marine and industrial services in the region, known for its excellence in safety and service delivery, innovation, and customer satisfaction. The company aims to achieve this vision by focusing on strategic growth initiatives that will drive expansion and increase market share in the next five years.


One of the key strategic goals for growth at High Seas Marine is diversifying our service offerings to meet the evolving needs of our customers and expand our customer base and entering new markets to drive revenue growth. We’re investing in state-of-the-art equipment and training program to ensure that our team members are equipped with the skills and expertise needed to deliver superior service to clients. By improving operational efficiency and expanding our service offerings, we aim to reduce costs, increase productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and attract new customers and increase revenue streams. With a strong commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, High Seas Marine is well-positioned for success in the years to come.


Sustainability and Compliance: How does High Seas ensure compliance with international standards and what sustainability practices have you implemented to minimise environmental impact?


Sustainability and compliance are crucial aspects of our operations, especially in the marine industry. At High Seas Marine, we prioritise both environmental sustainability and strict adherence to international standards. We understand the delicate balance between maritime operations and environmental well-being.


One of the key ways High Seas ensures compliance with international standards is by adhering to regulations set forth by organisations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We have implemented our Safety Management System and HSM policy, and our commitment is demonstrated by achieving certifications such as Document of Compliance in 2022, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and ISO 25001:2018 standards, along with the implementation of OVMS. These certifications ensure that our operations meet the highest standards of safety, environmental protection, and sustainability, while also enhancing our reputation in the industry and opening new opportunities for growth.


High Seas employs eco-friendly technologies and materials in our operations. We use biodegradable materials and environmentally friendly cleaning products to reduce our impact on marine ecosystems. We have implemented strict waste management practices to prevent marine pollution and regularly conduct environmental impact assessments to identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. By minimising our carbon footprint and contributing to the preservation of marine ecosystems, we aim to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Question for Almed Nagmar, Marine Operations Manager

Vessel Chartering Operations: Can you elaborate on the vessel chartering services provided by High Seas and how you ensure the reliability and efficiency of these operations?


High Seas offers a wide range of vessel chartering services for various purposes. Our chartering operations include crew vessel chartering services for transporting personnel to and from offshore installations, oil rigs, and other maritime locations. Our crew vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features and amenities to ensure the comfort and well-being of crew members and passengers. We have a team of experienced and skilled crew members who are trained to handle all types of situations and provide excellent service to our clients. We prioritise safety and customer satisfaction in all our passenger vessel operations.


In addition, we offer offshore support vessel chartering services for various offshore operations, including delivering provisions offshore, surveys and diving operations, maintenance, and construction activities. We work closely with our clients to understand their specific requirements and provide customised solutions to meet their needs.


We follow strict quality control measures and safety protocols to ensure the reliability and efficiency of our vessel chartering operations. We conduct regular maintenance checks and inspections on all our vessels to ensure they are in optimal condition for operation. Our crew members undergo rigorous training and certification programs to ensure they are well-prepared to handle any situation that may arise during a chartering operation.

Question for Rovelyn Camagong, Supply Chain & Chartering Contracts

Client Relationship Management: How do you manage client relationships and ensure satisfaction in both vessel chartering and taxi boat services, especially in a competitive market?


Client relationship management (CRM) is crucial for building strong relationships with our clients, ensuring repeat business, and maintaining a competitive edge in the market. We use personalised service as a tool for relationship management. We take the time to understand the unique needs and preferences of each client, whether they are chartering a vessel for a long-term offshore project or using taxi boat services for transportation and other various offshore operations.


We have a dedicated customer service team available 24/7 to address any concerns or issues our clients may have. We prioritise open communication and transparency in all our operations to ensure our clients are informed and satisfied with our services. By tailoring our services to meet the specific requirements of each client, our commitment to excellence and professionalism sets us apart as a trusted provider of vessel chartering services in the maritime industry.


Question for Mohammed Husssain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager

Quality and Timeliness: How do you ensure the quality and timely delivery of food provisions, machinery, and other materials to vessels, and what challenges do you typically face in this process?


Ensuring top-notch quality is our priority, and we enforce stringent quality control measures at every stage of our operations. Our dedicated team meticulously inspects all incoming materials to verify they meet our rigorous standards before they are dispatched to our clients. Collaborating closely with trusted suppliers allows us to procure the finest products available, and we consistently assess and enhance our processes through ongoing monitoring and evaluation.


Our logistics system is designed to ensure that we meet deadlines consistently and reliably. By working closely with our clients to understand their individual requirements, we are able to customise delivery schedules that align with their timelines. Our team of experienced logistics professionals is dedicated to coordinating shipments, tracking deliveries, and ensuring that goods arrive at their intended destinations on time.


While we may encounter unexpected obstacles such as inclement weather that could impact delivery schedules, we are proactive in communicating with clients to explore alternative options and mitigate any potential delays. Our commitment to open communication and proactive problem-solving ensures that we consistently deliver on our promise of timely and reliable service.


One of the obstacles we encounter is the intricate web of international shipping regulations and customs procedures. The complexities involved in navigating these regulations can be daunting, but our team is highly knowledgeable in these areas and works tirelessly to ensure that all required documentation is complete and that shipments pass through customs seamlessly.


Although these challenges can be demanding, we are dedicated to overcoming them and delivering top-notch service to our clients. Our team’s expertise and commitment to excellence enable us to navigate the complexities of international shipping regulations, ensuring that our clients’ shipments reach their destinations without unnecessary delays or complications.


Questions for Mohammed Hussain Mulla, Ship Chandelling Manager

Comprehensive Chandelling Services: Can you describe the range of ship chandelling services offered by High Seas and how you meet the diverse needs of vessels in terms of provisions and materials?


High Seas Marine is your go-to provider for all your chandelling needs. We offer a wide range of services to meet the diverse requirements of vessels, ensuring they are well-stocked and equipped for their journeys. Our provisions are of the highest quality, with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and dry goods available to keep your crew well-fed and satisfied. Additionally, we provide a variety of materials and supplies, including fresh water, deck store items, safety equipment, and spare parts, tailored to meet the operational needs of different vessels. With High Seas Marine, vessels can rely on personalised service and top-notch products to navigate the seas with confidence.


At High Seas Marine, we understand the individuality of each vessel, recognizing that they have their own distinct requirements and preferences. This is why we prioritise close collaboration with our clients to gain a deep understanding of their needs, allowing us to deliver tailored solutions that align with their specific demands. Whether a vessel requires provisions, materials, or any other chandelling service, we are dedicated to offering exceptional service and ensuring our clients have all the necessary resources to operate seamlessly and effectively.


With our team of knowledgeable experts and an unwavering commitment to excellence, we are confident in our ability to address the needs of every vessel, no matter the level of uniqueness or complexity. Trust High Seas Marine to deliver personalised and top-tier solutions that support your maritime endeavours.

Questions for Tamer Younis, TSS Manager (Technical Support Services)

Scope of Technical Support: Can you provide details about the technical support services offered by High Seas, including the expertise and qualifications of your technical team?


Our Technical Support Services provide a wide spectrum of afloat repair services to shipowners and operators, both alongside the port and offshore, from our facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are recognized service providers by various classification societies such as ABS and DNV for inspection, maintenance, and certification of LSA/FFA, SCBA, services of life rafts, inflatable lifejackets, HRU, marine evacuation systems, general maintenance, ship repair/maintenance and certification, calibration, GMDSS Radio Survey, UTG NDT Survey, and diving operations.


Our technical team is comprised of engineers, naval architects, qualified technicians, welders, divers, and other professionals who have undergone rigorous training and certification to ensure they are up to date with the latest industry standards and regulations. This expertise allows us to provide comprehensive technical support services to our clients, helping them navigate complex regulatory requirements and ensure the safety and compliance of their vessels.


Innovations and Safety: How is High Seas integrating new technologies into its technical support services to improve efficiency, and what safety protocols are in place to ensure high standards?


In today’s fast-paced world, businesses are constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency and productivity. High Seas is at the forefront of integrating new technologies to enhance our operations by using advanced technologies and automating routine tasks and processes.


We place a strong emphasis on safety protocols to ensure high standards of safety for our clients. We are implementing rigorous training programs for our technicians, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle any technical issues that may arise. Furthermore, High Seas adheres to strict safety guidelines and regulations set forth by industry standards, ensuring that all work is carried out in a safe and secure manner.


We also conduct regular safety audits and inspections to identify and address any potential hazards or risks. By prioritising safety, High Seas is able to provide its clients with peace of mind, knowing that the technical support services are being handled by a company that places safety as its top priority.


Questions for Shaiju Shajahan, Agency Manager

Marine Agency Services Overview: Can you explain the range of marine agency services provided by High Seas and how these services benefit your clients?


High Seas offers a comprehensive suite of marine agency services designed to support our clients’ needs effectively and efficiently.


Port Agency Services: We handle all aspects of vessel arrivals and departures, including coordinating pilotage and tug services, managing customs and immigration formalities, and assisting with cargo operations. By managing these critical tasks, we ensure that our clients’ vessels are efficiently processed in port, saving time and reducing costs.


Husbandry Services: Our husbandry services include arranging crew changes, providing medical assistance, and addressing any other requirements that may arise during a vessel’s stay in port. Our team is available 24/7, ensuring continuous support for our clients whenever they need it.


Cargo Agency Services: We coordinate the loading and unloading of cargo, arrange for storage and transportation, and handle all necessary documentation. By managing these operations, we streamline our clients’ processes, ensuring their cargo is handled with utmost care and efficiency.


The range of marine agency services provided by High Seas is designed to deliver substantial benefits to our clients. By entrusting their maritime needs to us, clients can concentrate on their core business activities while we take care of the complexities involved in port operations, crew changes, and cargo handling. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to delivering services that meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency. When it comes to marine agency services, High Seas is the partner you can trust.


Coordination and Logistics Management: How do you manage the coordination and logistics of services such as crew changes, custom clearance, and port access, ensuring smooth and efficient operations for vessels?


At High Seas, we prioritise meticulous planning, effective communication, and the utilisation of advanced technology to ensure smooth and efficient operations for vessels. Here’s how we manage the coordination and logistics of essential services:


Strategic Planning: We develop comprehensive plans for crew changes, customs clearance, and port access, detailing each step and the associated timelines. This proactive approach allows us to make all necessary arrangements well in advance, minimising the risk of last-minute issues that could disrupt operations.


Effective Communication: Maintaining open lines of communication with all stakeholders—including crew members, port authorities, customs officials, and service providers—is crucial. By keeping everyone informed and updated on the status of services, we can prevent misunderstandings or delays that could impact vessel operations.


Leveraging Technology: We utilise digital tools and software to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and provide real-time visibility into the status of services. Our technology solutions help automate tasks, track progress, and identify potential bottlenecks or issues that need prompt attention, ensuring smooth operations.


Skilled Team: We have a dedicated team of professionals with expertise in coordination and logistics management. Our team members possess a deep understanding of the maritime industry, regulations, and best practices, enabling them to navigate complex logistical challenges effectively and ensure that services are delivered seamlessly.


By integrating these strategies, we ensure that vessels operate smoothly and efficiently, minimising disruptions and maximising productivity. Our proactive and assertive approach to coordination and logistics management upholds the highest standards of service and safety in the maritime industry.

Exportadora São Francisco

Anchoring Excellence: Gustavo Heleno on Leading Exportadora São Francisco in the Maritime Supply Industry

Explore an engaging discussion with Gustavo Heleno, the Commercial Director of Exportadora São Francisco, as he shares his insights on guiding the company through the evolving maritime supply industry. Since its inception in 1990, Exportadora São Francisco has transformed from a pioneering family business into a key player in the market. Gustavo elaborates on the company’s strategic innovations, sustainability practices, and dedication to customer satisfaction. Learn how Exportadora São Francisco continues to adapt and thrive in the dynamic global shipping supplies market under Gustavo’s leadership.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

Company Evolution: Exportadora São Francisco has been a key player since 1990. How has the company’s approach to the maritime supply industry evolved over the years?


Since our inception in 1990, our approach to the maritime supply industry has undergone significant evolution. At the time, my father, Iran Machado Heleno, the company’s founder, was the sole employee and a pioneer in this market in our region. He personally visited the port of São Francisco do Sul and engaged directly with the captains of the vessels to gain a deeper understanding of their immediate needs. As the market and our company grew, our approach also evolved to adapt to the changes. With the advent of new technologies and market expansion, we are better positioned to anticipate vessel needs. We leverage technology to track vessel arrival schedules and establish strategic partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, including captains, fleet managers, shipowners, and catering companies. These partnerships enable us to offer a more comprehensive and efficient service to our clients. Additionally, we have invested in internal systems and processes to improve operational efficiency and ensure that we can meet our customers’ demands in a timely and effective manner.


Product Range Expansion: With a diverse product range from food items to chemical products, what strategies do you use to maintain quality across such varied offerings?


Due to the diverse range of goods on offer, it is necessary to implement a strategy to ensure that customers receive the goods they have ordered. To this end, we have established a categorisation strategy for buyers according to the type of goods, with each buyer responsible for a specific category. This includes buyers for frozen and chilled products, provisions and their quality, chemicals and spare parts, and other categories. Furthermore, with a specific buyer for each type of merchandise, we can ensure that the goods arrive as requested and within legal criteria. Additionally, upon arrival at the company, a check and separation of edible from non-edible items are performed to prevent any risk of contamination. Moreover, the quality and inventory departments monitor and record any non-conformities for evaluation and the creation of corrective actions to ensure continuous improvement. We are committed to ensuring that each item of merchandise is delivered as requested and meets customer expectations, while adhering to all legal standards.

Sustainability Initiatives: Given the wide array of products, including chemicals and gases, what sustainability practices does Exportadora São Francisco implement to minimise environmental impact?

At Exportadora São Francisco, we are committed to adopting sustainable practices to minimise our environmental impact and promote environmental responsibility in our operations. One of the most significant initiatives we have implemented is the installation of solar panels at our warehouse. These solar panels provide a reliable source of renewable and clean energy, reducing our dependence on non-renewable energy sources and contributing to the reduction of our carbon footprint.

In addition to our efforts to reduce the use of disposable plastic, we have also committed to the IMPA SAVE initiative. Through this collaboration, we have pledged to phase out disposable plastic water bottles on global fleets by 2025. This measure aims to reduce plastic waste and promote more sustainable practices in our industry. Additionally, we collaborate with a network of partners specialised in collecting and properly disposing of a variety of materials, from recyclables to electronic waste. This partnership ensures that materials discarded during our operations are managed responsibly and in an environmentally conscious manner. We also encourage all of our staff to implement this initiative in their homes and help us put it into practice.


Supply Chain Management: How does Exportadora São Francisco ensure efficient supply chain management to meet client demands promptly?


Our current structure allows us to process orders in a clear and efficient manner, ensuring that our customers receive the best possible service. However, maintaining good relationships and effective communication with suppliers from the initial quotation stage to the purchase order is crucial for us to meet our customers’ expectations regarding the delivery of goods. From the moment of the purchase order, we purchase the goods according to each client’s needs to meet each requirement.


Furthermore, within supply chain management, different aspects of the merchandise are evaluated to ensure they arrive in the best possible condition for the customer. This includes factors such as delivery time, packaging, temperature, visual appearance, validity, and storage conditions. Therefore, the inventory and logistics departments work to ensure that goods are checked, packaged, and handled correctly to achieve the ultimate goal. Consequently, we fulfil our company’s mission, which is to “deliver the best quality to our customers, without neglecting ethics, punctuality, and transparency, always seeking the satisfaction of all.


Innovation in Operations: What innovations have been significant in shaping Exportadora São Francisco’s operational processes?


We have implemented several significant innovations to enhance our operational processes at Exportadora São Francisco. Firstly, we have invested in advanced software systems, such as CRM and ERP, to optimise the efficiency and accuracy of our operations. These tools have allowed us to effectively address bottlenecks in our processes, especially in transitioning information between different departments. Now, with an integrated process management system, we can access and address relevant information in real-time, streamlining our operations.


Furthermore, we recognise the importance of ensuring continuous quality and efficiency in our processes. To this end, we have established a department dedicated to quality assurance and efficiency, responsible for standardising and closely monitoring compliance with established processes. This has not only allowed us to standardise our operational practices but also helped us identify areas for continuous improvement and take proactive measures to further optimise our processes.


In summary, these innovations have been instrumental in enhancing our operational effectiveness and enabling us to effectively meet the evolving demands of our customers while maintaining our agility and adaptability in response to market changes.

Market Adaptation: How has Exportadora São Francisco adapted its business model to stay competitive in the dynamic global shipping supplies market?


Our company has adopted a proactive approach to remain competitive in the ship supply market. One of the main strategies is the diversification of our product portfolio. We understand that ships have crews from different parts of the world, so to better serve them, we include local products from different cultures in our offerings. These include a variety of masalas, which are widely consumed by Indian crews, and halal meats, often requested by Muslim crews. This approach not only benefits us by allowing us to fulfil the client’s order in full but also helps crew members feel closer to home, even from a distance. We bring not only healthy food but also well-being at work at sea.


Another area where we excel is in customer service. We always seek to understand the needs of each client during the quotation process and offer personalised solutions that not only solve their problems but also add value to their businesses. Finally, it was crucial to expand our port coverage to enhance our flexibility in responding to unexpected changes in vessel schedules and to strengthen our competitiveness in the market.


Customer Relationship Management: Can you discuss your approach to building and maintaining strong relationships with your diverse customer base?


Our approach is highly personalised and tailored to the specific needs of each client. For clients with whom we already have an established relationship, our approach is based on mutual trust and a deep understanding of their operations, needs, and requirements. Conversely, when engaging with new clients, our approach is more proactive and customer-focused. We invest time in researching and fully understanding the clients’ companies, their needs, and specific challenges before any contact is made. This preparation allows us to offer tailored solutions that meet their needs and add value to their business from the outset.


We believe that negotiation is a two-way street, where it is essential to understand the customer’s needs and expectations and provide solutions that add value and resolve their pain points. Our goal is not only to satisfy but to exceed our clients’ expectations in every interaction. To achieve this, we are committed to providing exceptional services, high-quality products, and personalised support to ensure that our clients feel valued, respected, and satisfied in all aspects of our relationship.


Challenges in the Industry: What are the current challenges facing the general ship supply industry, and how is Exportadora São Francisco addressing these?


One of the main challenges facing the ship supply industry is the diversity of standards and regulations at different ports and port terminals throughout Brazil. The disparities between the operational requirements of each region can significantly complicate service provision for suppliers, making it difficult to implement standardised and efficient processes. Despite these challenges, at Exportadora São Francisco, we are committed to finding solutions to overcome these complexities, ensuring that our clients receive high-quality service, regardless of their location, whether at sea or anchored.


Furthermore, currency volatility and price inflation in Brazil present another significant challenge to our industry. To mitigate these risks, we have adopted proactive risk management strategies and are always vigilant about market conditions, seeking ways to protect our company and clients against the adverse impacts of these fluctuations.


In summary, although we face significant challenges in our industry, at Exportadora São Francisco, we are committed to overcoming them through a proactive, flexible, and customer-centric approach. We will continue to seek opportunities for improvement and innovation to ensure that we can meet the ever-evolving needs of our clients and remain competitive in a dynamic and challenging business environment.

Future Goals: What long-term goals does Exportadora São Francisco have, and how do you plan to achieve them?


As with all companies, our objective is to grow our revenue and, in particular, our margin. This is challenging in a competitive market, particularly when we wish to maintain our well-known quality and values. Until the end of the year, our goals include increasing our cold room space (tripling the number of pallets we can store), expanding our fleet of trucks, and obtaining ISO 9001 and HACCP certification. We believe that achieving this will help us maintain our revenue growth year on year.


For our HR department, we have set some goals to improve our organisational atmosphere, including offering more benefits to our employees and implementing new processes to reduce rework and stressful situations in our line of work. We are also looking to minimise turnover.


Leadership Insights: As Commercial Director, what key insights have you gained about leading in the maritime supply sector, and what advice would you offer to others in the industry?


The opportunity to assume a position of such responsibility has enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of the maritime industry as a whole, while also allowing me to leverage my experience in a meaningful way. I am a curious individual, always seeking new and improved ways of doing things. I am continuously exploring new opportunities to enhance our processes, and we embrace the testing and changing of processes as a means of improving ourselves and maximising our capacity for work.


During my university studies, I was repeatedly informed that networking is one of the most important skills in the job market. I have since come to realise that this is indeed true, as it is the fastest way to learn and understand the ecosystem in which you are inserted. Talking to people with different backgrounds helps me develop new ideas. Therefore, I would like to share my advice with everyone: meet new people and talk with everybody, not just someone that you already have an affinity with. Even someone from a completely different field can provide a fresh perspective on your challenges. I have learned to be a more communicative individual over time, which has been a significant accomplishment in my professional journey.



Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH

Charting a Greener Course: Christoph Witte’s Vision for Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe

We engage in an insightful conversation with Christoph Witte, Managing Director of Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH, as he shares his innovative approach to transforming ferry operations on Lake Constance. With a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, Christoph discusses the strategic decision-making behind adopting fully electric ferries, the challenges of implementing sustainable energy solutions, and the vision for decarbonising the entire fleet. Discover how Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe is setting a pioneering example in the decarbonisation of German inland navigation, aligning with the broader goals of sustainability and technological advancement.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

Strategic Innovation: Could you explain the decision-making process behind choosing fully electric ferries for short routes, such as the MS ‘Insel Mainau’ operation?


Almost exactly five years ago, the city of Konstanz declared a climate emergency and subsequently decided to become carbon neutral by 2035. As a municipal company, we were naturally among the first to be called upon to implement this initiative, and we were happy to do so.


The first Corona season gave us a lot of time to think about fleet development. Normally, we replace old vessels with new ones of a similar size. However, it was clear at the time that there were no alternative propulsion solutions, especially for the large vessels, that we could invest in sustainably. To avoid losing more time on the path to decarbonisation, we considered where we could use a fully electric ship sustainably, also from an investment point of view. The result is the design of the MS INSEL MAINAU, which sails between Uhldingen, the island of Mainau, and the town of Meersburg.


However, we have never lost sight of the bigger picture – the decarbonisation of the entire fleet – and have continued to refine our concepts in parallel.


True to our motto: Think big, start somewhere!


Operational Efficiency: How does the operational profile of 15-minute crossings with quick turnaround times enhance the efficiency and attractiveness of your ferry services?


First and foremost, electric drives are significantly more effective, with much lower losses, than combustion engines. The efficiency of a modern all-electric drive system is around three times higher than that of a conventional diesel drive. Additionally, we had the ship’s lines optimised for our application using computational fluid design (CFD) to reduce the ship’s resistance and required propulsion power. The MS INSEL MAINAU can transport up to 300 passengers with just 2x60kW drive power.


As the distance to be travelled is relatively short, we decided to travel more slowly than before. The cruising speed has been reduced from 23 km/h to 15 km/h. This was another major gain in efficiency. Our passengers now have a wonderful little cruise: gliding across Lake Constance in complete peace and quiet, without any emissions. The new passenger compartments are designed to enhance this experience.


Charging Infrastructure: What were the key factors in setting up the 3MW transformer stations and quick-charging batteries for the e-LODI ferries?


The good results with the MS INSEL MAINAU, and further developments in battery technologies, motivated us to consider the electrification of other lines. The ferry operated by Stadtwerke Konstanz GmbH has a 15-minute crossing time, with an equivalent time for charging. Meanwhile, the fast-charging capability has developed to a point where it is possible to recharge the energy required for the crossing during cargo handling. Together with the required drive power, this necessitates a charging station capable of providing 3MW.

Sustainable Energy Solutions: Can you discuss the integration of the E-TABOR for Stadtwerke Konstanz GmbH system with solar power installations at gateways to Constance and how this contributes to the ferries’ energy needs?


The project would become really attractive if we were to cover the entire forecourt, which is already sealed with asphalt, with solar cells. These areas are so large that at peak times, i.e., under optimal conditions, they would cover the energy requirements of the ferries to be loaded. Even in less ideal conditions, a considerable proportion of the energy could still be generated on-site. It would also serve as a great new landmark for the city of Constance, which was the first to declare a climate emergency: The city’s gateway as a kind of solar tunnel via which I can enter the city by ferry.


We expect to produce 20-30% of the energy we need ourselves. We would still need to draw most of our energy from the grid. But since the entire country wants to become climate-neutral, energy production will also have to move towards renewable alternatives. Within our sphere of influence, we have done everything we can to turn the ferries climate-neutral.


Environmental Impact: What impact do you foresee the solar power installations and the battery system having on Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe’s carbon footprint?


For Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe (BSB), self-produced solar power holds secondary importance. BSB mainly operates on long routes with long harbour times and large ships. Additionally, we have a significant number of traditional ships that need to be preserved, as it is precisely because of them that guests come to the beautiful Lake Constance. The energy density of batteries is not sufficient in this context, and we have been investigating solutions involving hydrogen or methanol, which is a hydrogen carrier, for some time. Methanol, in particular, seems very interesting to us, and initial conversion concepts have already been developed. We are, of course, talking about green methanol here.


System Architecture Challenges: What are the biggest technical or logistical challenges you’ve faced while implementing the SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE E-TABOR for your ferries?


The biggest challenge has been and continues to be the charging infrastructure. We have to transfer 3MW of power in a short time, which cannot be done with a simple plug system. Therefore, we need to develop a special and certifiable solution for this. While the on-board systems are demanding, there are now standards that we can build on, making it somewhat easier to manage these complexities.

Policy and Economic Support: How critical is economic and political support for transforming Lake Constance into a model region for climate-neutral shipping?


This support is extremely important for us; we need it, it’s as simple as that. No shipping company is in a position to bear these high costs itself. Incentives in the form of support programs must be created. Currently, the funding rate for ship conversions is too low. For the MS INSEL MAINAU, it was just 9% of the total costs, for which we are really grateful, but that will not be enough for the larger projects. The funding rate for electric buses in Germany was once 80%, and the CO2 savings here are significantly lower. If we were to start talking about the costs of decarbonisation, i.e., where to get the CO2 reduced with as little money as possible, then we would very quickly end up with shipping and invest in a greener future here.


Long-Distance Decarbonisation: Could you elaborate on the methanol concept for decarbonising the entire BSB fleet and the timeline for its implementation?


Yes, methanol is the concept for our large vessels, while the smaller ones will be supplemented with fully electric ships. The goal is to decarbonise the entire fleet by 2035.

Vision for Future: What are your long-term goals for BSB in terms of technological advancements and fleet expansion?


We are not currently thinking about expanding the fleet, but are focused on how we can decarbonise the existing fleet and use it more effectively. We are always keeping our eyes open for new technological developments that we could leverage. However, we believe that development will move strongly in the direction of methanol drives, as major global players are already relying on this technology. What is primarily still missing is the necessary infrastructure.


Leadership Philosophy: What drives your passion for leading environmentally friendly transport solutions at Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH?


Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe GmbH operates shipping in Germany’s largest drinking water reservoir. Large parts of the shore regions are under nature conservation protection. BSB has voluntarily subjected itself to environmental certification for years, and the regulations for shipping have been leading in Germany for many years in terms of environmental protection. We have long been committed to these values, having put the first EUV-certified ship in Germany into operation on Lake Constance, and built a gas ferry that can be operated with BioLNG. Now, we want to play a pioneering role in the decarbonisation of German inland navigation. What could be better suited for this than the Lake Constance region? We want to be a role model and motivator for other shipping companies.

In Association with:

TECHNOLOG provides specialised maritime consultancy and engineering services, focusing on innovative ship design, marine consulting, and advanced maritime technology. Their expertise covers concept development, project implementation, conversion, and retrofitting of ships, ensuring high efficiency and compliance with industry standards. With over 30 years of experience, TECHNOLOG supports global clients with customized solutions for various maritime needs, from new builds to modifications.



A World of Evolving Threats: Joshua Hutchinson confirms Ambrey is on a mission to protect every seafarer

In an era marked by unprecedented geopolitical instability and global maritime threats, effective risk management and intelligence are crucial for the maritime industry. Joshua Hutchinson, Managing Director of Intelligence and Risk at Ambrey, brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to this vital role. With a background that spans from serving as a Royal Marine Commando to leading intelligence operations, Hutchinson provides invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of maritime security. In this interview, he discusses Ambrey’s approach to tackling the most pressing security challenges, the impact of technological advancements, and his personal leadership philosophy that guides the company’s mission to ensure safety and security at sea.


Click below to access the digital brochure version

Experience and Background: Can you describe your journey from a Royal Marine commando to leading intelligence and risk management in the maritime industry?


I have been very fortunate to have a broad experience during my professional career, which started with being pushed to take early leadership positions in the Royal Marines. Following a few arduous operational tours, I was looking for a different challenge and went on a journey from founding companies that developed maritime risk products to owning and operating vessels that functioned in high-risk areas. Now, I am helping clients understand global threats and the best practice measures to mitigate their risks. After a decade of working in the industry, and with a passion for problem-solving, intelligence and risk management is a natural place for me.


Challenges in Maritime Security: What are the most pressing security challenges facing the maritime sector today, and how is Ambrey addressing these challenges?


In modern times, we have not seen the amount of geopolitical instability and global threats outside of a world war. I cannot answer this question without mentioning the events that have taken place in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean with the newly evolved threat from the Houthis and the return of Somali piracy. The industry finds itself at a turning point. Over the last 10 years, there had been a regional decline in events taking place in the Indian Ocean, and the High-Risk Area was removed at the request of the shipping industry in January 2023. However, in November 2023, the Houthis started their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, and Somali piracy re-emerged around the same time. This has reset the threat landscape for that entire region.


Additionally, we have seen hundreds of vessels stranded in port following the breakout of war in Ukraine, triggering huge losses in the hull market. Commercial vessels have subsequently had to navigate the unilateral Ukrainian grain corridor to keep cargoes moving at significant risk. The need for precise, real-time maritime domain awareness has never been greater; many of the war risk incidents we have seen are avoidable.


Our daily challenge is to raise awareness across the shipping industry and ensure that everyone understands the threats relevant to their crew, their vessel, and their operation each and every day. A huge part of this is also building resilience through our Loss Prevention team. They promote Best Management Practice and conduct quality control and assurance for owners and insurers, encouraging preparedness to breach War Risk areas.

Leadership and Role Introduction: As the Managing Director of Intelligence and Risk, what are your main responsibilities at Ambrey?

I lead the strategic direction and services that we provide through our intelligence and risk business units. This encompasses a broad range of activities, from maintaining an understanding of emerging and current global threats to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence related to geopolitical, security, and operational maritime threats. Additionally, I support our Loss Prevention team and coordinate potential responses to critical incidents and crises affecting our clients or Ambrey operations.


“No day is ever the same.”


Impact of Technology: How has technological advancement shaped the approach to risk assessment and security in maritime operations at Ambrey?


Technology is increasing both in capability and affordability, and the maritime industry is being pushed every day to adapt. Greater connectivity has enabled us to provide more information to crews, allowing them to act dynamically as threats evolve. This has literally changed the game.


The availability and affordability of information about vessels and their operations have improved significantly. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) has been a significant advancement over the last decade, helping us understand vessel locations and operations at the touch of a button. However, AIS is a double-edged sword; while it provides valuable information, it also means that everyone, including potential adversaries, can track vessel locations. This increased visibility has led to information breaches, more vessels adopting “dark” operations, and unfortunately, the misuse of AIS data to target vessels accurately with ballistic weapons and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).


UAVs, once considered high-tech equipment, are now low-cost disposable commodities that can be used as weapons. The rapid pace of technological development in this area means that our ability to combat such threats at sea has not yet caught up.


While the future is not here yet, we do hold extremely powerful computers in our hands. I believe we are transitioning into a world where predictive learning and technology will enable us to make safer and more secure decisions each day. Global trade will continue to grow, and we must provide the tools and services to ensure that while the industry continues to evolve, it does so with the seafarer’s welfare at the heart of its development.


Strategic Initiatives: What strategic initiatives have you implemented at Ambrey to enhance maritime security services?


In an age of information overload, and in an industry that never stands still or sleeps, we believe in getting relevant information to the people who need it, as quickly as possible, to save lives, time, and money. Our vision is to provide the best commercially available real-time maritime domain awareness and intelligence globally.


Our mission is to ensure that our clients, the Company Security Officers, and Masters are given the information, intelligence, and advice they need when they need it to achieve ‘net zero’: zero losses from preventable security incidents. The commercial value this adds to the owner, operator, and insurer is self-evident.


For the seafarer, we aim to be their ever-present and reliable support wherever they may be. We can’t always do this by ourselves, so we believe in the power of partnerships. Working together across the industry ensures that any operation on our oceans is prepared and executed as securely and safely as possible.

Client Relationships: How does Ambrey build and maintain trust with its clients in the highly sensitive area of maritime security?


We support our clients through some of their most challenging and difficult times. This level of support during an incident or a crisis inevitably builds trust through shared experience. Ultimately, trust is built over many years and can be lost in moments, so we always focus on upholding our key business values of reliability, morality, and teamwork, as well as demonstrating humility in our actions.


We aim to build relationships that last decades, and we have many clients who have been with us for that long. Therefore, we always act with a long-term perspective beyond any immediate commercial or operational issue for a particular voyage.


“We treat our clients as we would hope to be treated.”


Career Highlights: What are some of the career highlights or most memorable moments you’ve experienced in your role at Ambrey?


In my relatively short time at Ambrey, I have been involved in some amazing operations, from rerouting vessels around missile attacks, to helping a liner remove narcotic incidents during their operations in Latin America, and many more complex, lifesaving, and life-changing operations.


One standout event was how an incredibly passionate and focused team was able to support the evacuation of families in Hawaii from the beaches following the outbreak of fires on the island of Maui. The speed with which everyone worked, from the other side of the world, over several nights alongside the United States Coast Guard, was incredible. Several sleepless nights later, we were sent a photo from one of the families, a group of seven, including women and children. They will never know who we are or what we did, and that doesn’t matter. The sense of achievement and purpose is something you cannot forget.


Future Trends: What trends do you foresee impacting maritime security in the next five to ten years?


The global tensions we see today aren’t going away any time soon. The forces of geopolitics, poverty, finite natural resources, and the pressures of global trade will continue to influence tensions, terrorism, and civil unrest. Therefore, unfortunately, the pressure on the maritime industry will continue. We will remain in the crosshairs of these tensions and threats across migration, activism, crime, war, and narcotics.


All eyes are on the instability in Latin America, from Ecuador’s struggles to Venezuela’s claims on natural resources across the border. On the other side of the world, the tensions between China and Taiwan are predicted to come to the forefront soon, which will see international sanctions and pressure on industries like never before.


While the industry may sometimes react slowly, we need to remain agile and collaborate to achieve positive outcomes.

Advice for Professionals: What advice would you give to professionals looking to enter the maritime security field?


The maritime industry is so vast that it doesn’t matter if you are a seafarer or not. From shipbuilding to technology development and equipment that assists the maritime industry; to the insurers, reinsurers, recruiters, cadets, ship managers, and everyone else. The industry is your oyster.


To offer a perspective, one of my friends was involved in building the gas pipe system for an FPSO project that was being built in South Korea. Their work concluded three years before mine, and we were appointed to provide a vessel ship security plan and implement all the security equipment just before it set sail to Africa. I can only imagine the hundreds of thousands of other people involved in the delivery of that one vessel.


Maritime security plays a crucial role in making sure that millions of seafarers and trillions of dollars’ worth of assets and cargo stay safe every single day. It’s extremely rewarding but also very challenging, and not a decision I would expect anyone to take lightly.


Personal Leadership Philosophy: How has your experience influenced your leadership philosophy at Ambrey?


I have been surrounded by some incredible leaders over my career and some very bad ones as well. As a leader, if you want to keep learning, then surround yourself with people that are smarter and more experienced than you.


Lead by example. Learn from your failures. No one is perfect, but the best people are the ones that turn up each day and aim to be a better person than they were yesterday.


I believe that Ambrey has the vision and ambition to do great things and it’s fantastic to be a part of that.



In Association with:

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) offers comprehensive maritime solutions, including port agency, marine services, and digital innovations. With a presence in over 2200 ports worldwide, ISS ensures efficient and cost-effective operations. Their global network and local expertise provide tailored support for various sectors, enhancing operational efficiency and reducing costs. ISS also offers advanced digital tools and services, ensuring seamless port call management and compliance.


Spire Maritime provides comprehensive AIS data solutions for vessel tracking, utilizing a proprietary satellite constellation to deliver real-time and historical data. Their services enhance supply chain tracking, route optimization, and maritime safety with high-frequency AIS data and machine-learning powered insights. Spire’s platform ensures reliable, accurate, and actionable maritime data accessible through modern APIs, supporting diverse applications from environmental monitoring to fleet management.