Last month the Felicity Ace caught fire in the mid-Atlantic and had to be abandoned. The cargo ship was carrying over 4,000 luxury cars, including Porsche, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini models, which insurers estimated to be worth £295 million. It was adrift somewhere south of the Azores for some weeks, assumed to be still burning, before it finally sank. The hazardous lithium-ion batteries, oil and gas contained onboard now sit on the ocean floor.
Felicity Ace reached mainstream news but it is just one incident of a much larger number that have plagued the sea freight industry in recent years. More than 3,000 containers were accidentally dropped into the sea in 2020, while another 1,000 fell overboard in the first quarter of 2021 alone. This year has proven just as difficult for the industry, with a string of other large ships also running into serious trouble in different parts of the world.
Safetytech Accelerator will aim to tackle costly accidents like these through its latest programme Waypoint 3: Maritime Risk. The company is the first fully dedicated technology accelerator focused on safety and risk in industrial sectors, with its latest initiative focusing on the different challenges found across marine environments.
Waypoint 3 seeks new companies that are developing the next generation of risk management tech solutions, as well as leading maritime figures who can mentor successful applicants as their product is brought to market. Start-ups must have completed a proof of concept and have the potential to scale quickly. In return, they will receive £25,000 and access to over 6,000 clients across Safetytech Accelerator’s network. Waypoint 3 will also give mentors the chance to tackle industry issues that matter to them by working alongside relevant innovators in their field.
However, it is not just lost or damaged containers that Safetytech Accelerator aims to address through its programme. The company is also looking to work with digital entrepreneurs who can introduce innovative technology to manage some of the ‘softer’ maritime challenges, such as the mental health of seafarers and risks associated with worker fatigue. Research shows these are areas in need for urgent attention. One study from charity Sailors’ Society and Yale University, for example, found that more than 25% of seafarers showed signs of depression, with 45% of those reporting symptoms not asking for help.
Dr Maurizio Pilu, Managing Director at Safetytech Accelerator, said: “Recent events have shown there is now an urgent need to innovate how risk is managed at sea – not only because it hits the balance sheet but also because it damages the environment. Waypoint 3 is an exciting initiative that will transform the sector, helping to minimise losses, promote sustainable business practices and improve the lives of those working offshore. Start-up tech businesses often have great ideas but they need help introducing them to the right decision-makers. Safetytech Accelerator can speed up this process through a proven framework, in turn helping to address important issues in a complex market.”
Safetytech Accelerator is a non-profit organisation established by Lloyd’s Register. Its mission is to make the world safer and more sustainable through wider adoption of safetytech. The final call for Waypoint 3 has now been issued. Start-ups and industry experts have only a few weeks left to submit their applications before 8 April deadline.
Find out more and apply here:
Find out about Waypoint 3: Maritime Risk https://safetytechaccelerator.org/work-with-us/join-waypoint-3-maritime-risk/
To join as a mentor, visit: https://safetytechaccelerator.org/challenges/join-waypoint3-mentor/
For start-up applications, visit: https://safetytechaccelerator.org/challenges/join-waypoint3-startup/