Yee Yang Chien has presided over some of the industry’s most trailblazing decarbonisation moves during his tenure as head of Malaysian shipping giant MISC.

MISC subsidiary AET was among the first tanker operators to order LNG dual-fuel vessels, and it has since pushed forward with other initiatives, including partnerships seeking green industry-wide fuel solutions as the International Maritime Organization’s emissions deadlines loom ever closer.

Yee, through MISC, played a critical role in the launch of the Castor Initiative, an industry coalition that aims to put the world’s first ammonia-fuelled tanker in service and has a goal of greater industry collaboration.

‘Greater momentum’

“I would like to believe I’ve given birth to that initiative, and the next leadership will take over from there,” he said, referring to his successor, Captain Rajalingam Subramaniam.

“I see a greater momentum among the shipowners to try and do something and for the first time lead the way.

“We’ve got one uniting factor now. It’s called the energy transition. The common challenge we face is not an enemy, it is something you can embrace. If we see it as an enemy, we will never change. We have to see it as a common necessity for everybody.”

Yee has been outspoken on the need for the entire maritime ecosystem to collaborate on decarbonisation, and not leave it as a challenge for shipowners to overcome alone.

“As shipowners, we cannot succeed with this on our own, because this transition costs money,” he said. “The cost cannot be borne by a single section of the ecosystem — the shipowners. Everyone needs to get in the same room to do this, we’re all in the same boat.”

‘Willingness’ of banks

The Castor Initiative coalition comprises MISC, Lloyd’s Register, Samsung Heavy Industries, MAN Energy Solutions, Yara International, Jurong Port and the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore as regulator.

Yee laments that what is still missing is a bank and a charterer, although he indicates the coalition is in discussions with two banks that are “showing a willingness”.

“If they come in, it will complete that ecosystem that I hope will tell a story about how we as an industry will transition,” he said.

“This coalition becomes a model for the entire industry to follow. It is my hope that this sort of cooperation will spread further in the industry. I hope that we willingly want to work together and realise that we can do so much more together.”