By HiLo Maritime Risk Management | July 21st, 2023
Mark Warner, Director – Maritime Performance Services, Lloyd’s Register
Mark has been working with maritime data analytics for the last 20 years.
He used his digital risk knowledge to highlight some key trends, including:
Artificial intelligence in the maritime industry
Mark explained that Lloyd’s Register have just published a report, called ‘Artificial Intelligence in Maritime – a learning curve’. This paper concludes that artificial intelligence adoption in the maritime industry is still at an early stage, but is increasingly rapidly in terms of both investment and knowledge.
‘Artificial intelligence’ as a term means a lot of things to different people: many terms are bandied around, including machine learning, neural networks, knowledge, knowledge-based systems and digital twins.
However, Mark clarified that artificial intelligence for the maritime industry is using computer science and systems to replicate human intelligence. This makes it a very effective technology for the industry, as the report outlines:
Companies specialising in AI are also going to receive a huge increase in investment – they’ve broken through the 2021 investment figures already this year (May 2022). There may be as much as a trebling in investment in start-ups that are coming up with innovative AI and AI-related systems.
Mark noted that Lloyd’s Register have also developed their own AI register – a directly certified application providing AI and AI services – and are working on it with shipping companies including Marina Hellas.
Maritime safety scanner
Mark explained that Lloyd’s Register have also worked with InterManager, using a safety scanner (a root cause analysis AI/ML tool) to gather all their lifeboat data, and delve into the information about managing lifeboats. The aim was to discover whether more incidents came from manufacturing /equipment or human error. They concluded that more incidents are equipment related.
This is just one example of where Lloyd’s Register is working with associations, using machine learning to delve into safety data and pull out findings. Using these findings, they work with organisations, such as insurance providers, to develop safety guidance for shipping companies.
Collaboration moving forward
Mark spoke of his encouragement at the growing collaboration in the industry. He recalled there were very few proof-of-concept or pilot projects going on 20 years ago; now there are a number in progress, as well as accelerator programmes.
Further, he noted, shipping companies are now spinning off their own IT departments. There are over now 30 companies with internal IT, where they’re taking data, being responsible for data use, and really pushing the boundaries of what they can do from a data perspective.
One thing he explained Lloyd’s Register is doing with its charity foundation – “our own stakeholder at the heart of Lloyd’s Register”, is the establishment of Safetytech Accelerator. This is a non-profit technology accelerator focused on safety and risk in industrial sectors, looking at ways organisations can come together and take on challenges.
HiLo and leading shipping companies are among the organisations involved with Safetytech Accelerator. There are a number of projects, ranging from looking at container ship fires to improving seafarer wellbeing. Mark confirmed they are proving very successful and offering mutual benefits for the organisations involved by bringing valuable data sets together.
The Human Factor – Implementing Data and Digital Processes
Mark closed by exploring another critical area that is often forgotten when a shipping company starts digital transformation: the human factor.
A maritime organisation, he said, may get high-speed data; implement AI and workflows; initiate collaboration; establish spin offs and examine data quality. However, they still need to bring in digital talent who are experienced and understand how to make all this work.
He gave an example of a shipping company he was talking to in 2019 who were reluctant to talk about digital transformation initiatives. 2 years later he spoke with the same company, and the conversation completely changed. The difference was that they had successfully recruited a digital head and related talent, in order to undertake digital transformation.
Existing personnel also need to be trained in the new technology. Mark recalled how, when new systems or conversation came in when he was at sea in the mid-1990s, they were learnt by reading / referring to manuals. That is much harder in a digital, fast-paced environment and this needs to be factored in.
Lloyd’s Register therefore has a human factors team who advise on:
Huge thanks to Mark for explaining the importance of sharing data and analysis across the industry to stop incidents that sink ships.
We were delighted to have him on HiLo’s panel at the Posidonia conference: ‘Using Data and Analytics to Prevent Maritime Incidents’.
You can also read presentations from our other panellists: