" OUR FLEET HAS JUST REACHED 50 MILLION GROSS TONS AND PASSENGER SHIPS REPRESENT 15% OF IT"
Name: Paolo Moretti
Position: CEO of RINA Services
Zodiac sign: Aries
Civil status and family: Married with two children
Place of birth: La Spezia, Italy
Could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your career path?
I started working with RINA in the Classification Department right after my degree. I was later assigned to the supervision of cargo vessels and cruise ships in the Far East and Europe. After being Head of the Pleasure Craft Department for five years, I became Marine General Manager, then EVP for Marine Strategic Development with a focus on cruise ships. Today, I proudly serve RINA as CEO of RINA Services, the company of the group active in the marine and certification sectors.
Ship classification represents about 27% of RINA’s turnover. How important are the cruise and ferry sectors and what’s their share in RINA’s marine portfolio?
RINA is the world-leading class society for the ferry sector and among the leaders for cruise ships. Passenger ships are complex systems that need a high degree of knowledge. We continuously invest in new services to support the sector in its path to sustainability. This is appreciated by the market and acknowledged through our newbuilding portfolio. Our fleet has just reached 50 million gross tons and passenger ships represent 15% of it.
What is currently high on the agenda of RINA’s marine division?
We’ve been focusing on increasing the sustainability of the shipping sector since the early stages. The first LNG-powered cruise ships from Carnival, and the first LNG-powered ferries in the Mediterranean, operated by Caronte & Tourist and Baleària, are all classed by RINA. The latest generation of hybrid ro-ro vessels by Grimaldi, that avoid emissions in port by using their own batteries, are also in our fleet. Digitalisation goes hand in hand with this. RINA was one of the first companies to launch an energy management system to increase efficiency.
IMO’s decarbonisation targets are rather ambitious. As 2008 is the benchmark year, some experts claim that we will have to reduce GHG emissions by 80% rather than 50% by 2050. Zero-emissions ships might be the only way forward. Is this realistic?
The shipping industry is on the transition path to decarbonisation. That’s reality, but it won’t happen overnight. The next ten years will allow us to test the innovative solutions that the sector is developing and committing to, and to work on them and extend their use to bigger and more complex ships.
LNG has become the alternative fuel of choice of several ferry operators. However, it remains a fossil fuel. For many other fuels, like hydrogen, it’s still a chicken and egg affair with both supply and international regulations missing. How to cope with this? Is there such a thing as fuel of the future?
The effort to identify alternative sources of energy must aim at continuous improvement. Right now, availability is an obstacle that needs to be overcome when looking at hydrogen. Its production must be based on renewable sources, or on carbon capture, to support the sustainability of the entire cycle. I am sure we will get to the point where the availability of green hydrogen and the regulations will no longer be ‘the future’, but instead ‘the present’.
We risk that ferries will become a victim of the EEXI rules. How to curb the negative impact on the ferry and ro-ro sector?
The guidelines for the evaluation of the EEXI are not yet fixed and should be submitted at the next MEPC in June. We are confident that a correct description of the physics underpinning the ro-ro ferry characteristics will be the solution not to penalise this sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously impacted the passenger ship sector, how can it cope with such an unprecedented situation?
Through reassuring passengers and informed behaviours. We’ve launched services to support shipowners in this task. The Biosafety Trust is a management system certification to prevent and control infection spreading. The Biosafe Ship additional class notation is a goal-based and voluntary notation that certifies ships equipped with systems and components and have a layout and operational procedures that reduce infection risk.
Europe, but also many other parts of the world, has a rather ageing ferry fleet. Especially in Europe, ferries have a safe track record, also thanks to decent maintenance. Even so, does age have any impact on ship safety?
Ferries are safe to travel with and regulations are stringent. If well maintained, as they are not exposed to structural stress like cargo ships and typically do not navigate in the high seas, their lifespan can be very long. But this doesn’t stop investments, in fact some ferries are retrofitted to be more environmentally friendly and some shipowners are active in renewing their fleet with newbuildings.
What are your favourite free time activities?
I love reading and sports.
What music do you like?
What was your childhood dream job?
I wanted to be an ambassador.
What are your plans for Christmas?
I’ll spend it with my family
What is your favourite dinner and drink combination?
Buffalo (mozzarella) pizza and beer.
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