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2021 Marine Operations Virtual Seminar

“Marine Operations in a Disrupted World” Looks at how to tackle problems today

March 1, 2021–– On February 25th, the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) held its annual Marine Operations Virtual Seminar, "Marine Operations in a Disrupted World." The seminar featured experts throughout the maritime industry who dove into issues centering on decarbonization, workforce and regulatory challenges, cybersecurity, OPA 90, sustainability and even the need for human-made coral-reefs.

COVID-19 was still a central talking point for panelists as the pandemic has wrought dramatic changes and presented challenges to the maritime industry for the past year, with seafarers continuing to face a crew change crisis. However, the event's overall tone was one of resolution as multiple sectors of the industry tackle issues head-on.

"These last 12 months have been the most disruptive in recent memory, but what we have achieved in that time is nothing short of amazing," said Joe Hughes, NAMEPA Chairman and Chairman and CEO of Shipowners Claims Bureau (The American Club).

Panelists were determined and optimistic when discussing plans, both near and long-term. They cited increasing digitalization and cooperation across sectors to get the industry on the right path.

"The industry is moving away from fragmentation into communication," CEO of HudsonAnalytix, Cynthia Hudson, said. "This is here to stay."

Though speakers presented a wide range of fuel alternatives from LNG to molten-salt reactors, there was a consensus on the need to deal with climate change immediately.

"Shipping cannot simply wait for zero-emission fuels to emerge," said Krishna Achuthanandam, Marine LNG Business Development Team Lead for Shell LNG Marketing and Trading.

More than one panelist made the comparison between a running bath and climate change, stating that, whether the flow of water is slowed down or not, it needs to stop before it overflows.

Despite the hurdles the industry faces in the coming years, the panelists showed positive trends for the increasing demand for cleaner technology. Secretary-General for Zero Emission Ship Technology Association (ZESTAs), Madadh MacLaine, stated the market for cleaner technology "grows by 400 percent per year."

"Decarbonization initiatives have gained more traction, sustainability has gained more traction, in everything that we do, the importance of sustainability has never been greater––it is front and center," said Hughes.

Although the event was held virtually, that did not stop participants and speakers alike from asking questions, networking, and debating on the numerous challenges facing the industry. Delegates included shipowners/operators, regulators, service providers, the conservation community and more. To view the event, go to 2021 Houston Marine Operations Virtual Seminar - NAMEPA.

"If we can openly work together, the sky's the limit," Jason Kelly said, Executive Vice President of Moran Shipping Agencies.



 The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) was officially launched in 2007. NAMEPA is a marine industry-led organization of environmental stewards preserving the marine environment by promoting sustainable marine industry best practices and educating seafarers, students and the public about the need and strategies for protecting global ocean, lake, and river resources. For more information, go to


Media inquiries: Andrea Durán, +203 255 4686 or

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