Day two of Riviera's Asia Marine Engineering Conference in Singapore saw an especially lively marine lubricants forum with discussions around blend-on-board a particular flash point.
When challenged by a co-panellist on the economic case for installing blend-on-board equipment, Maersk Fluid Technology's managing director Jens Byrgesen gave a robust presentation on the operational, financial and technical benefits Maersk Line had reported with the systems they have installed. "Maersk is not doing this for the fun of it," he asserted.
An equally lively marine fuels session saw World Fuel Services Corporation marine technical director Bob Thornton challenge conventional wisdom that fuel quality is getting worse. In an enthralling presentation he argued that industry will return in significant numbers to the use of distillate fuels by 2020.
A special spotlight session on fleet technical management in the 21st century by chairman of Spinnaker Global Phil Parry brought welcome focus to the human element.
There was some discussion on what makes an effective leader. Today's superintendent has to be part technician, part administrator, part leader. But how many times do those skills coincide in one person? And is this in the best interest of increasingly complex and regulated operations that need to be performed by fewer crew under greater pressure? Mr Parry said that a number of shipping companies were now looking to hive off the non-technical – and even management/leadership elements of the job elsewhere within an organisation. The rationale, he said, was that this allows people to play to their strengths which in turn should boost staff satisfaction and retention and the safe running of our industry.
The concluding session was billed as a big discussion on big data. Participants included APL's Thong Sew Kait, BW Pacific's Kenneth Kaartik Dass, the National University of Singapore's Dr Qiang Meng and Rolls-Royce Marine's YuenChong Chim. The discussions certainly whetted the audience's appetite for Riviera's Marine Intelligence Conference on 24 April 2017 in Amsterdam.