As was announced at the Global Superyacht Forum, on January 1 2016 Chris van Hooren will officially step down as SYBAss’ technical and environmental director. speaks to Hans Huisman, Van Hooren’s soon-to-be successor, about SYBAss, his new role and the challenges ahead.

“Before I went to university I was a navigating officer,” starts Huisman. “My first job out of university was at a shipyard where Chris was my boss, he taught me shipbuilding ethics and naval architecture. I am very humbled to succeed him.”

Huisman’s credentials are unquestionable, from sailing to shipbuilding to commercial ownership, he has seen the industry through many eyes and, via the tutelage of van Hooren, has come to view the regulatory process as critical.

“SYBAss is the only organisation in the superyacht industry that has earned IMO accreditation,” Huisman explains, referring to SYBAss’ full consultative status within the IMO. “We are the only voice of this niche market and it is vitally important that it is heard.”

Hans Huisman

In his closing address at GSF van Hooren called on designers and naval architects to engage in the decision making process, a sentiment that Huisman vehemently agrees with.

The IMO itself, can at times, be misunderstood, with some assuming it has the power to implement legislation. It does not. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective. There is no political process that responds well to apathy, without collective engagement the winds of change find themselves reduced to zephyrs.

“I am going to visit some major client representatives and as many SYBAss members as possible to discuss what their problems are, how they are facing them and where they always have to push in order to bring decisions in line with rules and regulations,” continues Huisman.

Two of the major challenges facing Huisman, and the industry at large, is the implementation of the IMO Tier III NOx limitations and the ballast water management convention – amongst a great many others.

It is no secret that the ballast water management convention is being met with derision from both the commercial shipping and superyachting markets.

“The commercial side is not happy because there is no return on investment,” explains Huisman. “And on a superyacht it is another piece of equipment taking up precious space. Now we are close to implementing the Ballast Water Convention, IMO is able to improve the text of the convention."

The above example is merely a glimpse into the challenges Huisman faces on behalf of the superyacht industry.

“I would like to serve this very intriguing and innovative market, I feel humble to have succeeded Chris, he has done a great job. I have been in the IMO as a member of the Dutch delegation several times, I know how the IMO works. It does not always work fast, but sometimes they really can do and then you must be on the right spot to make sure the right decisions are made,” concludes Huisman.


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