OAC becomes part of ESA Maritime Sustainability Task Force

OAC becomes part of ESA Maritime Sustainability Task Force

"Autonomy will be a key contributor to decarbonization and zero-emission vessels. We are proud to be part of this large and important group", says Frode Halvorsen, manager of Ocean Autonomy Cluster.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has officially launched its Maritime Sustainability Task Force.

ESA's Maritime Sustainability Task Force was officially launched at EUROMARITIME in Marseille last week, where several members of the new collaboration joined ESA representatives at the event. Initiated by ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) programme, the new Task Force will see ESA working together with a number of major players in the sector, including shipping companies, maritime authorities, classification societies, and industry associations. Together they will work to leverage on space solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the maritime sector.

The global maritime industry is responsible for 95% of global trade by volume and is undergoing a paradigm shift as it seeks to mitigate its impact on the environment. The transformation, driven by economic, social, and regulatory pressures, will be a decades-long effort but has the potential to revolutionise the impact that the maritime industry has on the environment. 

Space is poised to play a vital role in this transformation, having the global coverage to connect the oceans, and the capability to generate actionable information which will underpin the green transition of the maritime sector. Supported by its Member States and partners across Europe, ESA has initiated the Maritime Sustainability Task Force as a means of identifying and agreeing on short- and long-term priority areas and fostering the adoption of space-based solutions on a wide scale, thus maximising their impact. This will include initiatives that will alleviate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, and the spread of non-indigenous species.

Speaking at the launch in Marseille, Nick Appleyard, Head of Applications and Solutions at ESA, said “We are delighted to launch the Maritime Sustainability Task Force today, marking the culmination of many months of work and the start of an important move forward in reducing the environmental impact of the maritime sector.”

The Task Force comprises representatives from across the maritime sector and continues to expand. The founding members comprise maritime authorities, including the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), classification societies, such as Norwegian-based DNV, major container shipping lines, represented by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and leading Ro-Ro ship owners and operators such as Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Grimaldi Euromed SpA. The Task Force also includes shipyards, represented by Damen Shipyards Group, foundations including the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon Shipping, industry associations, such as the International Windship Association and the One Sea Association and maritime clusters, including TMA BlueTech and the Ocean Autonomy Cluster.

The Maritime Sustainability Task Force is the third such initiative to be launched by ESA in the past twelve months, joining the Task Force for Innovation in Energy through Space and the Smart Cities Task Force which were launched in 2023 and form part of the ESA BASS strategy to generate significant green, social and economic impacts on Earth.

ESAFrode Halvorsen (Ocean Autonomy Cluster), Nil Angli (ESA), Mary Carmen Barrios (Wallenius Wilhelmsen), Nick Appleyard (ESA) and Gavin Allwright (International Windship Association) at the launch in Marseille. Photo: business.esa.int

Task Force Members:

 The article is retrieved from business.esa.int.


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