Q & A With
KNUT ØRBECK-NILSSEN CEO, DNV GL Maritime By John R. Snyder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
arine Log had the opportunity to sit down with Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL Maritime, to discuss how the increasing use of digitalization and automation are not only reshaping shipping, but class as well. ML: How did you get started in the industry? KØN: Back when I was 12 or 13 years old, I was out boating with my friends. I could see the DNV office from the seaside and I thought that that would be a fantastic place to work. At that time, all the boats had DNV certification labels. I didn’t really think about it much afterward. I always intended to go into civil engineering, but there weren’t many jobs. By contrast, the offshore market was quite hot. So, I applied for jobs and got an interview with DNV. That was 27 years ago. I never planned my career. I’ve always been open to opportunities and taking on new challenges. I think it has turned out pretty well so far. ML: The shipping industry has been under a lot of stress. The industry is not only in a downturn, but it faces quite a number of environmental compliance challenges. How is DNV GL supporting its clients? KØN: Let’s take a step back for a moment.
26 Marine Log // May 2017
Society at large has different expectations. IMO is trying to balance international regulations against regional political pressures. This is not an easy job for IMO; it’s trying to create sensible regulations and sensible timelines for compliance. We’ve seen regional regulators take an active role in this, thinking that the IMO is not moving fast enough. This has created an extremely difficult situation for shipping. Regional specific regulations are not a very effective way of getting things done. I think the industry realizes that shipping needs to improve its environmental footprint. However, it’s also fair to say, all things considered, that shipping is still the most environmentally friendly way of transport. What is also a big challenge now is that regulatory pressures to reduce the environmental footprint are coming at a time when shipping is in one of the longest downturns ever. There are companies that are fighting for survival. Having to address these issues now is a real strain on them. The world fleet of vessels that need to be fitted with ballast water treatment technology is about 70,000 to 80,000 vessels. This is a huge undertaking. The actual world fleet stands at 115,000
sea-going vessels, but not all of them (only > 400 GT require BWT). So when you talk about ballast water management—leaving aside regional specifics—there are now almost 70 IMO type approved systems. Now it is a matter of implementing and installing them on board. For us, we have about 8,000 vessels in our class that need to be fitted with a ballast water treatment system. That’s not only a huge undertaking for each owner, but also for surveyors who come onboard to test it and class societies to approve it. But we have an extensive advisory portfolio to help owners develop their ballast water management plans. We also introduced an app that assists owners in developing a ballast water management plan. ML: Are you going to add surveyors to handle the surge? KØN: No, we have enough capacity in the organization. We have planned for this carefully and knew this was coming. We are having a sensible dialogue with owners and are ready and prepared. ML: Another environmental challenge is IMO’s 0.5% Global Sulfur Cap. KØN: Yes, that is big! We realized after having so many conversations with owners that there is no real ‘one solution that fits all.’ Some owners will use heavy fuel oil with scrubbers, others will go for gas, while others will opt for distillates. The oil majors and the downstream activities are in the best position to answer as to whether there will be enough low sulfur fuel available. As for LNG, there are more than 100 vessels on the order book and another 100 in operation. There are also quite a few owners that have chosen the Gas Ready notation. That will let them make the preparations on the vessel to later install LNG tanks, piping and systems— a good sign that they are building with the future in mind. We revised our forecast to between 400 to 600 gas-powered vessels by 2020 from our [initial] bold predictions in our Shipping Outlook 2020 (published in 2011). At that stage we estimated that there would be about 1,000 vessels by 2020. Things, however, have taken more time and there has been a lot of discussions about the infrastructure. This has slowed the uptake. Now, though, several key ports are offering or developing LNG bunkering capabilities. There is quite a lot in the planning stage, so our 400 to 600 vessels is a reasonable estimate depending on the