Jens Lassen“Our overriding ambition is to create an entirely safe and secure marine platform, on which we, together with hotel operations, can deliver an outstanding guest experience,” said Jens Lassen, executive vice president of Carnival Maritime in Hamburg.
“To accomplish that we have three goals,” he explained: “To establish airline safety standards; to have the highest efficiency and the lowest energy consumption; and to have the lowest repair and maintenance costs in the industry.”

Tasked with building up a joint marine operations function for the fleets of AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises, Carnival Maritime has been fully operational since late October, monitoring 25 ships 24/7 with a staff of 150.

In an exclusive interview with Cruise Industry News, Lassen said that one of the primary functions is emergency response.

The fleet operations center provides advanced weather management, fuel consumption and stability monitoring. It has full information on all watertight doors, maneuvering and engine data, and close-circuit cameras, which allow operators to go in for a closer look. All ships sail in a predetermined corridor agreed on jointly by the center and the bridge, and there is an alarm and automatic reporting system if a ship goes out of corridor.

“We have a totally different way of supporting our ships for safety and risk management,” Lassen said. “And we have a huge amount of data available, which we can crunch to a level that has never been done before.”  

In time, he also envisions the “global ship,” a ship that will literally run itself, greatly assisted by electronics. He said that modern jets largely fly themselves with very little human interaction, so there is no reason why ships cannot do the same, both on the bridge and in the engine room.
What are his keys to running marine operations successfully? “There are many,” he said, “but the most important to me is that you never have trouble with a ship where you have a good captain and a good chief engineer.

“For me, it comes down to the whole promotion process, the development and training of people on the ships.

“If you look at the airlines,” he continued, “they started with technical developments and then went through the whole human element aspect – very, very carefully.

“And when it comes to technical solutions, when it comes to processes and procedures, the marine industry is not too bad, but as an industry we have failed to focus enough on the human element and the selection process, training, and requirements to perform.”

Another aspect that is important to Lassen is to be able to think differently and find solutions. He believes there is a solution to every problem, but it may be a matter of using an untraditional way of finding it and executing.

Apart from that it is about leadership at all levels, he said.

“In the marine industry, we have nuts and bolts, and we have focused very much on that, but I think that high-level strategic leadership and execution have been missing. And this what we are changing at Carnival Maritime.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2015/2016