Greywing – From piracy to protecting people's wellbeing. – Lloyd's Register

When Nick Clarke and Hrishi Olickel set up Greywing in May 2019, the focus of the platform was solely on connecting clients in a security marketplace to maritime security solutions. However, when the shipping industry started experiencing major repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of seafarers were trapped onboard vessels, unable to travel home, the Greywing team looked to solve this crew change crisis by adding port and flight restrictions data to their platform. Following rapid development, Greywing was able to process all the information about a vessel, its crew, the nationalities onboard, their home airports, the current route, port restrictions around the world, flight availability, past crew changes and a hundred other variables to answer the question: where can I send my vessel to change crew, with minimal impact to my company?

Greywing CTO, Hrishi Olickel, reflects on this evolution: “It was a tough decision to reposition an established company and the machinery behind it towards focusing on a growing, pressing problem. This wasn’t taken lightly, but we felt this serious crisis could use all hands on deck. There was much uncertainty at the time, but we were sure our efforts were working towards solving a problem that was important to maritime, and the world.”

Greywing implemented a traffic light system to categorise vessels based on their COVID-risk, from data of the ports they have visited. This enabled the production of an accurate risk assessment, which allowed managers to plot a route and immediately see the risk level of future port calls. The platform now holds data from over 100,000 ports.

“The true surprise was the rapid pace at which we’ve seen large industry incumbents come to us, ready to contribute to a solution that was still unfinished. We’ve been humbled by the offers of help, and the feedback we’ve received on the product has been invaluable,” added Olickel. Since then, the team have deployed multiple products to enable crew managers to automate the process of sourcing flights home for on-signers and off-signers, reducing the amount of time it takes to source solutions from hours and sometimes days, to minutes and seconds.

To date, Greywing has helped over 25,000 seafarers to travel home. “We solve one thing – using data from an industry that is resistant to technological change, we turn it into actionable intelligence. Right now, it just happens to be for crew changes,” said Nick Clarke, Greywing CEO.

“A number of people have integrated their data with ours to better serve their customers and the seafarers trying to find a way home. ATPI, S5 Agency World, BIMCO have all shown incredible faith and forward thinking in moving ahead. What we have noticed from organisations like these is a bias to act and test the waters of technology, instead of the wait and see approach,” he added.

More recently, the team have also plugged in bunker consumption and time off-hire for any crew change deviations to help managers/charterers identify the most efficient route. The evolution of the platform has required a client-led approach, using technology to solve complex maritime problems centred around risk and humans. Greywing’s client base has steadily grown and they now serve more than 1,000 vessels including top ship management companies Hafnia and OSM Maritime Group.

Greywing has integrated with almost all levels of the shipping industry – from industry bodies like BIMCO and the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union, travel management companies, port agencies, the list goes on.

Olickel believes that the technology that connects these segments can allow the entire industry to be resistant to systemic shocks like the coronavirus pandemic in the future and find new efficiencies.

Additionally, in November 2020, Greywing won the Captain’s Table 2020 – an innovation in maritime pitch event – LR’s Hong Kong and Taiwan Client Care Manager, Matt Treadwell, was among the judges.

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