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New Technologies and Soft Skills: Key Role for Shipping Decarbonization

The promotion of a safety mentality regarding the decarbonization of shipping requires the cultivation and development of soft skills, as well as the continuous training and retraining of employees in new technologies, according to the conclusions of a workshop organized by the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) in collaboration with Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), with great participation of employees and executives of the PPA and other Greek ports, as well as representatives of the wider maritime community.

In particular for ports, challenges for green transition are the electrification of ships from land (cold ironing), the properties, characteristics and safe use of alternative fuels, as well as the need for continuous training and retraining of employees. Special emphasis was given on the soft skills that employees need to cultivate or enhance, such as the importance of understanding one’s scope of control, the importance of accountability, the continuous expansion of knowledge and qualifications and the importance of adaptability. Also, data from other research programs were presented, in which the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and academic institutions participate, and ooperation with METAVASEA was agreed, as there is a need for a wider understanding of the overall framework for the green, digital and sustainable transition to decarbonization of shipping and ports.

During the above Conference “Promoting a Safety Culture for Decarbonization in Shipping” organized at the PPA facilities (April 26, 2024), the purpose, goals and results of the METAVASEA program implemented by HELMEPA with 6 main and 12 collaborating partners and the support of the British non-profit Lloyd’s Register Foundation (Georgios Markezinis, Project Manager HELMEPA), the effects of climate change on the oceans (Dr. Alexandra Gogou, Director of Research at the Institute of Oceanography (HCMR), the port framework for decarbonization in shipping (Ioannis Prousalidis, Director of the Marine Engineering Sector, NTUA), safety issues of alternative fuels (Christophoros Georgakopoulos, Global Technical Client Care Senior Specialist, Lloyd’s Register) and cold ironing technologies in ports (Dr. Manolis Nicolaidis, CEO of Premium Consulting), and soft skills to achieve the decarbonization goal (Maria Karahaliou, GTCC Executive Assistant, Trainer and Learning and Development Coordinator, Lloyd’s Register). A discussion followed with the participants and interesting views were expressed, that will be used in the context of the research phase of the METAVASEA project.

The METAVASEA Program aims to map the existing infrastructure and new skills required for the decarbonization of shipping in Greece, Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as to empower seafarers, dock workers and maritime executives through the development of flexible training tools. Its objectives will be achieved by training and retraining 1,500 workers in topics related to new fuels, strengthening safety on ships and ports, digital transition, soft skills, environmental leadership and awareness of the protection of the marine environment. Additional objectives are to strengthen the participation of shipping companies and port authorities in decarbonization initiatives, to measure the level of readiness of shipping and coastal communities to use new fuels, to identify relevant opportunities, gaps and challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, to prevent maritime accidents through improving operational efficiency in ship and port operations, as well as raising awareness of the climate crisis among 10,000 students, 750 teachers and approximately 2 million residents of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Source: OLP

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