Ian Millen033a

Change is in the air – a view from the COO

This year has taken off at a good pace for us in Dryad, following a busy and productive 2014.  New maritime legislation, continued maritime crime activity, emerging concerns over new threats and a busy internal programme of technology-enabled change promise to keep us busy throughout the year.  Change is literally in the air and in every aspect of our business in supporting our clients in their global operations.

This particular New Year was one of significance for shipping as the ECA sulphur cap finally came into force on 1 Jan, marking a huge step for the industry in terms of its environmental and social responsibility.  Adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the 2015 sulphur cap requires shipping companies to switch to expensive low-sulphur fuels, such as Marine Gas Oil (MGO) and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), when operating inside the world’s Emission Control Areas (ECAs).

There is still some uncertainty around who will monitor and police non-compliance, but there can be little doubt that this spotlight on sustainable shipping is here to stay. Therefore it is important to prepare by considering how these new regulations will have an impact on your operations and take practical steps to make these changes a reality.

Looking at ways that we could help ease ECA 2015 compliance for our customers, from both a cost and emissions perspective, some of you will remember that last year saw the launch of Dryad’s Voyage Efficiency Service (VES). This allowed us to apply our knowledge and expertise in the field of risk mitigation into a new, but equally important, area for our customers.

Dryad’s VES combines environmental factors to take advantage of optimised oceanic effects, enabling fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions and real-time operational performance.  Karen Jacques, our Director Asia Pacific, has written an excellent article that explains the implications the cap has on shipping and why now has never been a better time to look at efficiency across your fleet.

Turning our attention to risk, the issue of our year end maritime crime statistics in January has been followed by a couple of months of activity consistent with the report’s forecast, as well as some new and emerging concerns from the media and our clients. Here you will find a link to a special report that examines those figures, the trends and the tactics adopted by criminal gangs in 2014, plus a look at what this year could bring and, for that matter, has already brought!

The tragic events of the Vietnam-flagged M/T Asphalt 2 in December, a fatal pirate hijack which resulted in the death of a crew member, and the more recent attack on the M/T Lapin product tanker by an armed gang who stole 2,000 tonnes of bunker fuel and left behind a fake bomb in their wake, are unfortunate reminders that maritime crime is something that is likely to remain an issue for the foreseeable future.

Beyond the ambient levels of maritime crime, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia, we have recently looked at the Libyan ISIS threat, following some worrying media reporting and the related concerns of some of our clients. Whilst there may be no hard evidence of an existing threat, with ISIS fully occupied in fighting ashore, you can be sure that we will be monitoring developments very carefully.  Some insight from an interview I gave to Seatrade Global can also be found .

On the outreach and relationship building fronts, the year has begun in earnest already.  One of the highlights was being invited to speak at the V-Tracks London conference in February, where I made the case for the judgements of the technology-enabled (human) analyst over pure technology-generated answers, stressing the value of the 500+ years of operational maritime experience we enjoy in our team.  The conference was also a great place to meet a large number of innovative and driven professionals who are making their own strides in the field of maritime domain awareness and to share ideas and insights.  I invite you to read a blog piece written by our Singapore-based Business Development Manager, Mark Thomas, on the ways that technology and people can combine to provide the service our clients need.

Further ahead, I’m very much looking forward to visiting Malta later this month to speak at the Quaynote Superyacht Conference and for a number of other engagements later in the year; Danish Maritime Week, Nor-shipping and London International Shipping Week to name a few.  I hope to meet some of you at these events, so please keep an eye on our website for any details of upcoming events where Dryad’s team will be present.

On the home front, we are busily engaged in an ambitious programme of continuous improvement with investment in technology-enabled change, alongside some new hires to enhance our capabilities across our range of services.  From technological improvements to our own geo-spatial capabilities and improved ways of generating our paid for and free content to new products that both make the job of the CSO/DPA easier and help our clients to save many thousands of dollars in operating costs, we anticipate a very busy year ahead.

I hope that you enjoy reading our regular updates and would encourage you to keep abreast of what’s happening at Dryad and in the field of maritime security by putting a regular visit to our website on your list of things to do.  If you want to go the extra mile to keep in touch with events as we see them, then please follow us on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, where I hope you will find items of interest and, very importantly, engage with us with your own comments and ideas.  We know the value of dialogue and would be delighted to have conversations with anyone who’s interested in the things that we are.

All that remains is for me to thank you for your continued interest in Dryad Maritime. For those of you that are our clients, we never take your custom for granted and continually strive to improve our service to you and, in particular, your seafarers.  For those of you who are prospective clients or simply supporters of what we do, I encourage you to keep in touch and investigate how we might add value to your day-to-day work, particularly in the field of keeping your seafarers safe and your profit and loss accounts healthy!

On behalf of all of the Dryad team, I wish you all a prosperous and safe 2015!

Ian Millen,

Chief Operating Officer, Dryad Maritime