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Seatrade Cruise Global 2019: Change is what we’re here for

by Esa Henttinen, NAPA Safety Solutions

How does change happen? The same way that a year passes: one moment at a time. To some people this definition is too simplistic. They’re probably right. They’ll also tell you that unless you change the way you look at things or the way you act it’s difficult to achieve real change. They’re probably also right about that too. But the reality is that you don’t need perfect information to make that first step, only a willingness to do things differently and better.

When I first started coming to Seatrade Cruise event, the only times I heard about artificial intelligence or virtual reality were during discussions of science fiction. Now they’re terms so universal that it almost seems as though everyone’s solution involves them.

Forward thinking in technology and leadership

One of my favourite parts about working with the cruise market is this forward-thinking and forward-looking optimism. To take ideas which only existed in the imaginations of futurist authors and make them a reality.

However, that’s not only happening in terms of its technology. Cruise was the first maritime sector to publicly share the IMO’s vision for carbon reduction, and last year announced a historic commitment to reduce the rate of carbon emissions across its fleets by more than 40% by 2030. We’re seeing this in LNG becoming almost the defacto standard for cruise newbuildings, and cruise companies testing fuel cells, and exploring the potential for hydrogen-fuelled propulsion.

Moreover, it has been one of the first areas of shipping to understand the damage a glass ceiling was causing and do more to recognise the talents of women. Shipping as a whole will be a much more accomplished and successful sector when it has more leaders like Christine Duffy, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, and Jan Swartz. In 2018, 28.5 million travellers chose a cruise vacation, almost 7 percent more than in the 2017. In 2019 CLIA estimates that this total figure will rise to more than 30 million passengers. I’m not saying it was all down to their leadership, but how many other maritime sectors are seeing growth like that?

I firmly believe that one of the core aspects of this growth is the well-founded perception that the cruise and passenger sector is a safe one. We are products of our past, but not imprisoned by it. As my NAPA colleague Jussi Siltanen noted in a blog earlier this year, “Thinking and acting together enables us to go beyond just basic minimum requirements and make safety a common advantage”.

In the Titanic’s era about one ship in a 100 was lost every year. In 2017 only 94 ships over 100 GT were globally reported lost according to the specialist marine insurer Allianz. But it’s not magic. It’s the cumulative result of the people who work in cruise and their commitment to doing better. Change happens and change is what we’re here for.

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