Marine Link
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

European Shipowners and Maritime Union Launch Digital Initiative

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 10, 2024

© AytugAskin / Adobe Stock

© AytugAskin / Adobe Stock

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) have launched the ‘Seafarers Go Digital’ initiative.

‘Seafarers Go Digital’ is a mutual commitment of ECSA and ETF seeking to identify and address the challenges of digitalization for shipping and seafarers.

The initiative recognizes the need to adapt international regulations, training programs and operational practices so that digital technologies are embraced while the employment rights and well-being of seafarers are safeguarded. The initiative raises awareness on key areas such as onboard digitalization, cybersecurity, internet access onboard, e-certification, digital skills and attractiveness of the maritime profession and puts forward policy recommendations for further cooperation between the industry and the unions, the policymakers, and relevant stakeholders.

Some of the aims of the initiative are to:

• Promote digitalization as a tool and not an objective.

• Mitigate the risk of over-reliance on digital tools and highlight the role of seafarers in using cutting-edge digital tools in the workplace.

• Provide user-friendly tools with built-in familiarization training for seafarers.

• Ensure seafarers’ involvement in testing and refining digital tools before full rollout.

• Move away from unnecessary paperwork and administrative workload and procedures to digital procedures, allowing seafarers to focus more on their core responsibilities and reducing fatigue.

• Collaborate on updated international standards for safe shipping digital operations.

• Support for trained personnel for remote controlled, autonomous, or unmanned vessels.

• Consider the human element in all ship-related digital interactions and take advantage of the automation process to improve seafarer employment and working conditions.

• Anticipate rise in demand for specialist crews and new digital skills.

• Collaborate with all stakeholders on updated international standards for safe shipping operations.

• Note security advantages and cyber risks of remote and autonomous ships.

“Supporting shipping and seafarers in the digital transition is a key priority for European shipowners. We need to ensure that seafarers are upskilled and reskilled to work safely with the new digital tools and technologies. Digitalization can help make the profession more attractive and more diverse, offering career opportunities onboard and ashore and enhancing the participation of women and underrepresented groups,” said Sotiris Raptis, ECSA Secretary General.

“Digitalization can be an opportunity and help improve the attractiveness of the maritime professions. Through this initiative, we commit to working together to benefit the most from the digital transition while mitigating its risks and contributing to a sustainable and attractive future for seafarers,” said Livia Spera, ETF Secretary General.