A street pianist in York, a pagan ritual enactment in Sheffield and a timeless cliff landscape in Wales.

The variety of these motifs reflects the many sides of the person who took their images around Britain and posted them on his website.

Faig Abbasov, the shipping programme director at influential NGO Brussels-based Transport & Environment, is a name that many European maritime players and policymakers have become familiar with over the past seven years.

Green Power: Driving the transition
This article is part of the Green Power edition of the TW+ magazine, which shines a spotlight on the leaders, innovators and advocates shaping a greener future for the maritime sector.

Fewer people know that Abbasov is an accomplished hobby photographer and an astrophysics aficionado as well.

“I like taking candid pictures that focus on humanity and capture the moment,” he tells TW+.

His flirtation with photography began in his student days in the UK, where he obtained a master’s degree in international relations.

A subsequent PhD in European energy regulation made him a shoo-in for the post of EU regulatory and policy affairs manager at Socar, the state-run energy company in his native Azerbaijan.

A job at a major fossil fuels company seems at odds with Abbasov’s staunch opposition later against LNG as a shipping fuel. The two stances, however, are inextricably linked. Both his doctoral thesis and his work at Socar primarily involved energy security.

“I quickly realised that perhaps the best way to ensure energy security is through renewables,” he says.

His belief strengthened after Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Two years later, Abbasov left Socar and joined Transport & Environment.

Becoming an advocate for a no-nonsense transition away from fossil fuels, he and the environmental group concluded that LNG should play no role in maritime decarbonisation.

“We realised that given the long lifetime of ships, we cannot afford having a transitional fuel that is not better than the fuel it replaces,” he says.

Having lived in Brussels for the past 10 years, Abbasov maintains dual Azeri and Belgian citizenship and considers himself lucky to work in Europe’s capital.

“It has changed a lot it has become much more bike-friendly, especially after the pandemic,” he says. “People come and go here as well because it’s very international — just the weather hasn’t changed.”