Watch out for further interviews as we work to support a push towards sustainable equality of treatment and opportunity for everyone within maritime.
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What is your current position and how long have you had the role?
I’ve been International Business Development Senior Executive in Turk P&I since September 2021. I’m also a legal maritime expert employed under the project “Analysis of the Transport Legislation of Turkey in the Process of Harmonisation with the Eu Acquis” at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey and DG of the EU and Foreign Relations (ERA).
How did you get involved in the maritime industry?
When I was doing my LLB I had a Maritime Law course and one day there was a guest lecturer, Prof. Dr. Özlem Gürses. She was working at the University of Southampton and, I have to admit, inspired me so much that I decided to pursue LLM at Southampton in the field of Maritime Law.
After becoming a qualified lawyer in Turkey, I went to work as a Research Assistant at the University of Augsburg. In 2019, after completing my Ph.D. thesis, I became a visiting researcher at the University of Dubai. In June that year, I was invited as a speaker at the Risk and Insurance Conference in Seville, Spain. One of the attendees was Prof. Yoneyama Takau, who later invited me to work at the University of Gakushuin in Japan – it had been a dream of mine to work in Japan, so I jumped at the opportunity.
Throughout my stay at the University, I focused on a comparative perspective of the differences between Turkish and Japanese Marine Insurance Exclusion Clauses. I had also the honour to attend and present a paper at the University of Tokyo during the 6th Asian Business Law Symposium. I think this is an industry where opportunities, and miracles, can happen all time!
Why do you believe people should consider a future within the maritime industry?
Around 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries. Maritime is so developed you can transport just about anything that comes to mind! Therefore, I see this as an industry that will never end and, in my opinion, its needs qualified, ambitious people with a broad perspective and fresh ways of thinking.
What key lessons have you learnt during your time in the industry, and what advice would you give to others?
Perhaps it will be cliché to say this, but what I have learnt is never give up and pursue your dream.
Nowadays, especially after COVID, information is accessible at the touch of a button. If you want to do a course, you can easily do it online; if you want to learn a language there are many options you can access for free.
Therefore, ignorance in the age of information has become a choice. So, be curious about new topics, and intentionally put yourself in a position to get new stimuli from people you admire.
What do you think are the industry’s key strengths and weaknesses?
It’s maybe easier to list these, So:
Strengths: Opportunities for increased technology investment in relation to autonomous shipping; potential for investments in newly built vessels; and the green shipping transition is a real opportunity for developing countries in Africa, that have access to solar power, or South America, where there’s plentiful natural resources.
Weaknesses: Maritime security issues, for instance in dealing with maritime piracy and hijacking; regulations on private security; the regulatory changes required for green shipping; and the lack of availability of the greener fuels shipping companies need to make a difference to their carbon footprint.
What do you like best about a) your current role and b) the industry in general?
As a lawyer with experience from the academic sector, the business field is new to me. It’s a challenge, but a very positive one that reminds me that I am stronger and more capable than I thought. My role has helped me discover new skills and jump into new experiences, while still utilising all the skills I gained throughout my years in academia.
What I like about the industry is the fact that it is constantly evolving, and digital technology is key to that. The future will be digital, no doubt. Both onshore and offshore, shipping companies will have to digitalize their operations as much as possible in order to operate more efficiently and profitably.
What are your personal ambitions within the industry?
Climate change is the biggest issue in the industry. Within the next five to ten years my ambition is to specialise in green shipping and work closely with the IMO, which has already started with its regulatory framework enabling the transition towards a sustainable future. The new era requires all industry actors to upgrade to a greener way of doing business, and my personal ambition is to be part of this change.
Any key messages you’d like the reader to take away?
I believe the only way to achieve a greener industry and zero emission future is collaboration and openness to new strategies. That means shipowners, operators, government, local authorities, businesses, as well as all other stakeholders, need to work together. We need strategic alignment throughout the industry, and beyond, to tap into each other’s strengths and partner to reach net-zero targets.
Now is the time to collaborate to accelerate sustainability!