Article first published on Forwarder Magazine .com on Dec. 12th 2018
MMBL, Maersk, Heidmar, PTC Holdings Corp., Mission to Seafarers, C-LOG, Navozyme, Hanseaticsoft and others to explore the use of blockchain and similar technologies in certification systems for seafarers
Copenhagen, 11 December 2018: Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL), founded by blockchain technology and governance experts BLOC and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, today announced the establishment of a consortium that will pilot a blockchain-based seafarer certification system.
The project aims to streamline and expedite processes that can be marred by a lack of verification for safety documentation, paper-based certificate management and a lack of access to validated safety and training certifications of seafarers. These factors can lead to significant issues for crew management agencies, ship operators, regulatory and port authorities for securing and insuring crew.
The second of three demonstrator projects funded by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), this consortium brings together multiple stakeholders who either rely on, or support crew certification. These include shipping companies for whom crewing is an essential concern, including the world’s largest shipping logistics company, Maersk, leading commercial tanker operator Heidmar, aiming to show the importance of crew in the smooth commercial operations of vessels, and PTC Holdings Corp., who represent crew management and training associations. Also included are technology enablers with expertise in fleet management and certification such as provider of cloud-based fleet management solutions Hanseaticsoft, maritime platforms providers Navozyme and C-LOG, as well as international seafarer welfare charity The Mission to Seafarers.
The demonstrator scope will focus on an end-to-end demonstration of a digital certification and endorsement process utilising a digital repository for verified crew documentation, training logs and approval system. Specifically, the focus will be upon the STCW certificate issuance and relevant supporting documentation from engineering officers located in multiple jurisdictions and the endorsement of recognition from a maritime authority for vessel embarkation and disembarkation.
Upon validation and scaling, the final solution would enable individual seafarers to manage their certificate repository from original issuance, for maritime administrations to manage the renewal and endorsement across jurisdictions, for crew management organizations to manage seafarers for crewing of vessels and for vessel owners to receive an overview of their crew, certificates and endorsements.
“Blockchain is essentially a collaborative technology, and so we need to build with industry rather than adopting a top-down approach, and therefore an essential ingredient to this project is to start by building a consortium that represents everyone in the value chain, from vessel owners to the seafarers themselves.
“The properties of blockchain make it uniquely positioned to deliver on these value propositions. Taken together, the distributed digital ledger, tamperproof timestamping (and hashing) of information and documentation, and the peer-to-peer verification network enable a globally available and locally accessible respiratory of verified and validated documentation.”
Gary Pogson from Lloyd’s Register Foundation said:
“In such an international and distributed industry, it can be challenging to achieve robust mechanisms for providing a single, accurate record of crew education, training and experience and this has the potential to impact on safety. A way to address this is to bring together the multiple parties involved in the processes and build a system that works for them, establishing trust throughout the network.”
Graeme Thomson, Head of Northern Europe Manning Office from Maersk commented:
“Blockchain has the potential to significantly improve the transparency, authenticity and ease of working with crew certification; both for the ship owner/operator and most importantly for the crew themselves. Building and maintaining an intuitive and user-friendly platform for the management of crew certification will bring hugely significant benefits to all stakeholders. We are looking forward to developing and building the solutions with the consortium.”