Meet the maritime researcher - Zoi Johansson Nikopoulou

About once a month, Lighthouse will introduce you to a maritime researcher and their field of interest.  Zoi Johansson Nikopoulou is a PhD student at School of business, economics and law at Gothenburg University. Her area of research is shipping and the environment and more precisely the prevention of air pollution from ships.

- My research contributes to provide the shipping industry, the relevant stakeholder as well as policy makers with economical and logistical aspects of what it is and what it takes to comply with the relevant regulation of Marpol Annex VI.

Marpol is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions. It was developed by the International Maritime Organization, IMO, in an effort to minimize pollution of the oceans and seas, including dumping, oil and air pollution. Marpol is divided into different sections, Annexes, and Annex VI introduces requirements to regulate the air pollution being emitted by ships.

- I hope my research is useful, I am trying to spherical look to into the aspect of compliance within the Marpol Annex VI air pollution standards from the perspective of ship owners by taking the example of the Swedish cluster.

What do you see as the big challenges?

- As I see it, maritime is within historical times, they need to plan and adapt and adopt new ways that take in pollution and the environment in an unprecedented way, which makes it very interesting for a researcher in the area.

- It has been a slow process, within previous decades, of taking in environmental aspects. But now, this rate is accelerating and it goes deeper and more technical and it includes even natural science and marine biology, for example, as we saw with the ballast water management convention. So, things are getting more complex for shipping companies to organise their business.

How does your research contribute to tackle these challenges?

- What I try to create was a costing model that would internalise externalities, in this example I do it with air pollution costs. But hopefully the cost modelling could extend to other polluters and try to internalise, for the shipping companies, the cost of different ways of becoming environmentally friendlier or environmentally compliant with regulations.

What do you see as the next step?

- The next step would be to expand the cost structure to different samples and different polluters. Another application would be to put it in a more practical sense and provide it as an application for ship owners, which I assume this is what classification societies is also interested in doing.