Wednesday 12th Dec, 2018

Marine sector faces technology gap says IALA secretary-general

IALA secretary-general, Francis Zachariae. Photo: David Sexton
IALA secretary-general, Francis Zachariae. Photo: David Sexton

INTERNATIONAL shipping and maritime is lagging in terms of technology when compared with other key business sectors, IALA Secretary-General Francis Zachariae says.

Mr Zachariae spoke at NAV18 on the Gold Coast, an event organised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

“One thing I think is clear is and for sure is that in the maritime sector there is a technology gap between the maritime sector and many other sectors of the world,” he said, noting it lagged behind aviation and banking.

He used as an example a container ship he visited in Copenhagen.

“The ship was full of all kinds of modern technology,” he said. “But when I went to the bridge, I could actually see the same things that I learned at the Naval Academy thirty years before so we have this technology gap in the maritime sector.”

Mr Zachariae also cautioned against what he termed the “hype cycle”.

“My experience has told me that (things are) never going as fast or as radical as we wish, or hope or fear,” he said.

“It is always going a bit slower and the result is never what was predicted when we are on the top of this ‘hype’ curve.

“I think it’s very true that we have this ‘hype’ and it’s going up and everyone is talking about it… but the truth will be something much less ambitious.”

He used the example of autonomous ships.

“So where do you think autonomous ships are on the ‘hype curve’? Are we on the way up or are we actually on the top?

“I already feel that we are not that ambitious with unmanned ships anymore. We are probably on the way down.”

Mr Zachariae also noted some focal points for IALA.

“We have worked quite a lot in the Pacific and the small Pacific Island states that were in need of help and we have worked there for some years now.

“Also in the Caribbean, small states there, and our focus in the future will be in Africa.”

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