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Industry Talks

SMM Q&A – Sean Fernback (Wärtsilä Voyage)

What excites you about your profession and / or the maritime industry?

Without realising, every person around the world benefits from maritime transport. As rightly described by the UN, our sector is the “backbone of world trade and globalization”. With this huge context in mind, what excites me the most is the potential that digital technologies have to revolutionise the industry, making it safer, more efficient and greener.

What is the No. 1 topic on the maritime agenda for you (at the moment)? And what contribution does Wärtsilä Voyage make to this?

Decarbonisation, which is the most important challenge our industry faces right now. We believe that the ongoing digitalisation of the industry will be an important part of solving this challenge. It’s why we’re focused on helping maritime accelerate its digitalisation journey, realise improved operational efficiency, save time and money, and cut fuel use and GHG emissions.

When was your first SMM visit and what was your most memorable SMM experience ever?

This will actually be my first time at SMM. It’s going to be a great week, and I’m excited to discuss the incredible possibilities that digital technologies are currently bringing and will continue to bring to the industry as a whole.

What are you most looking forward to at SMM 2022? What are your hopes and expectations?

The maritime industry has some major challenges ahead; challenges that will require collaboration across the entire industry to overcome. I’m looking forward to connecting with my peers, customers and partners on how we can work together to solve these challenges.

What objective would you like to achieve through your participation at the Maritime Future Summit?

The key takeaway from my ‘Maritime Future Summit’ speech is all about how better connecting the dots across the maritime ecosystem will enable companies to accelerate their own digital transformation, in turn, helping them to unlock the industry’s full potential.

Thinking of smart ship control, fleet and port optimisation, are there any “analogue niches” left which still harbour major optimisation potential through digitalisation?

There is a huge latent potential for optimisation across the entire ecosystem. For those who are still operating with outdated tech, it’s time to update. For those who have embraced digital technologies, there is a lot of room for development, especially when it comes to breaking silos and sharing data. We’re focused on providing holistic solutions that work together to improve efficiency, safety and commerciality.


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  • Sean Fernback - Wärtsilä Voyage