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Collaboration between ACG and HELMEPA – BiG Focus Event

A Collaboration between ACG and HELMEPA – Deree students and maritime leaders showcase best practices for the conservation of the marine environment

On May 24, a joint Event co-organized by ACG and HELMEPA was held at the ACG Events Hall. The event was held in collaboration with HELMEPA and powered by the Center of Excellence in Logistics, Shipping and Transportation, the Center of Excellence in Sustainability and the Office of Public Affairs, ACG.

Deree students together with shipowners and maritime leaders (all HELMEPA members) work together to identify best practices that foster smooth decarbonization, protection of marine environment and sustainable development.

In the framework of the BiG Focus initiative (launched in March 2022), students presented their work – so far, and debated the findings with shipowners and maritime executives.

In his opening remarks, Professor Jay Samons, Senior Vice President & Chief Academic Officer at The American College of Greece, appraised the collaboration between HELMEPA and ACG: “Such alliances of the industry with the academic world, should serve as a model for others. Industry and academy both have responsibilities to work to preserve the environment and none of us can afford to simply depend on government policy or state agencies to do all the work that needs to be done.”

In the context of ACG’s long history of offerings to education and the society, Professor Samons spoke of the ACG 150 Strategic Plan and the role of the Centers of Excellence and Units of ACG150 in fostering Greece’s economic growth and promoting research and innovation: “Today, we all proudly witness how young researchers — our students — have been mobilized and engaged under the guidance of the 2 Centers of Excellence, into addressing critical issues for the maritime industry, the marine environment, the society and the economy and into contributing towards shaping a better future”, he concluded. As a responsible academic institution educating the “leaders of tomorrow”, ACG is very interested in further enhancing the public dialogue and awareness on a topic of both local and global concern.

Students were warmly congratulated by HELMEPA Chairperson, Semiramis Paliou, who commented: “One of the main reasons why Greek shipping has reached and remains at the top of the industry is because it acknowledges the importance of education, experience, and the skill sets its people bring. To this end, shipping needs to maintain an open communication channel with young scientists and students. It needs to attract them to the industry, after having equipped them for current challenges and future demands. In this context, HELMEPA constitutes a unique participatory platform and a facilitator for this interaction”.

Students presented their findings on the decarbonization of the maritime industry, sustainability and pollution prevention at ports, as well as the impact of the 4th industrial revolution on the shipping sector. Addressed areas included the use of alternative fuels and propulsion systems for vessels, means and methods to create sustainable ports, as well as novel technologies, which can transform the maritime industry and lead to more efficient operations while enhancing safety.

The discussion also focused on the human-induced impacts on the marine environment. More specifically, students presented findings of their research on overfishing, human activities from the urban and agricultural areas, shipping, coastal development and tourism, as well as from oil spills. The problems associated with those issues, impact on biodiversity and solutions were outlined. In addition, the results of two surveys applied by students, regarding perceptions on water pollution and oil pollution, were presented.

Presentations were followed by lively discussions with maritime executives: Mr. George Kallianis, CEO of Kallianis Bros Shipping SA and HELMEPA Board Member, Mr. Konstantinos Samaritis, Divisional Director of the Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association Europe Britannia P&I, Ms. Alexandra Couvadelli, Senior Claims Director of Thomas Miller P & I Ltd., Ms. Vera Alexandropoulou, Vice President of Thalassa Foundation, Mr. Vasileios Dimoulas, Technology & Innovation Manager, Greece, Cyprus & Malta, Bureau Veritas Ltd., Ms. Natassa Triantafyllidou, Climate Change & Sustainability Manager, V Group and Mr. Constantinos Triantafillou, HELMEPA Head of Strategy and Development.

Discussions were moderated by ACG professors, Dr. George Kokosalakis, Executive Director at the Center of Excellence in Logistics, Shipping and Transportation, and Dr. Stella Apostolaki, Executive Director of the Center of Excellence in Sustainability.

Parallel to the main presentations and panel discussion a series of posters and presentations illustrating ongoing students’ research were also projected. Indicatively students’ projects presented: a) The competencies required by maritime professionals to exploit the benefits of the new technological era; b) A comparison table for alternative fuels, illustrating in a consolidated form the corresponding technological development and maturity, barriers, and benefits for each alternative; c) Decision-making criteria for selecting a decarbonizing strategy; d) The novel technologies leading to the creation of smart ports; e) Factors that affect the Caretta caretta population: The Case of Greece; f) Anthropogenic factors that negatively affect the dolphin species in Greece; g) Marine pollution from industrial pollution; h) Microplastic pollution; i) A collection of underwater photos from the Saronic Gulf.