Ship registries have to embrace technology as smart ships will continue to be the driving force for the new decade, argues Panos Kirnidis, the CEO of the fast emerging Palau International Ship Registry (PISR), in the latest interview with Maritime CEO.
“We are not completely in a digital world as far as shipping goes but we are on the cusp of real change and our investment in technology and people are both linked to the future. Ship registries have to embrace technology because there are so many issues such as fast registration, cyber-security, regulatory controls, financial clarity and operational excellence that are reliant on technology,” says Kirnidis.
The registry has been developing its own unique technologies for its fleet including a Deficiency Prevention System, monitoring all ships under the Palau flag to reduce deficiency and casualty rates.
Kirnidis reckons the interaction of crew with technology has become an important consideration in the past 12 months.
“Shipping is still a people business and seafarers are as important as ever. We may be a long way off the hoped for autonomous global shipping world but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the interaction seafarers have with developing IT systems,” Kirnidis maintains. The Palau flag is arolling out its seafarers Certificate of Competency training, allied to its IT offerings.
Kirnidis believes there is still some reticence to accept technology by some registries, but eventually all his peers will have to come around to the new reality created by rapidly developing IT. “There is no escaping technology in shipping and we believe it is essential that everything we do with shipping comes from technology. We have taken a strong position in supporting increasing use of technology and blending this to work with people in the shipping world. Paper charts and certificates have long gone and everyone needs to adopt a smarter and more accessible way of working because there are real benefits to be gained,” Kirnidis says.
Palau was one of the fastest growing registries last year, and had a very high profile showing at last month’s Posidonia exhibition in Athens. The goal is to keep growing to become one the world’s top flags, Kirnidis says, which for the moment means getting the word out that his organisation has the infrastructure and technology to support owners all the way.
“For Palau to remain a key player in the shipping sector we have to be flexible, adaptable and attuned to the concise needs of clients and technology will be that link. My belief is that growth is always associated with strength and with our latest software and recruitment we are able to compete with any flag in the world,” Kirnidis concludes.