Women in shipping - Katharina Stanzel, managing director, Intertanko

Katharina Stanzel

Katharina Stanzel. Credit: IHS Markit

She may be softly spoken but this does not diminish Katharina Stanzel’s willingness to speak out on big issues affecting the maritime industry. As the managing director of tanker owner’s association, Intertanko, she frequently voices strong views on impending regulation and how this will play out for her organisation’s members.

Having started her career in marine biology, German-born Stanzel is quick to use her knowledge of ocean life to illustrate her views on some of the compliance options surrounding the global sulphur cap and the Ballast Water Management Convention.

Vehemently opposed to exhaust scrubbers as a means of complying with the low sulphur fuel requirement coming into force in January 2020, she recently addressed concerns about the limitations of existing ballast water systems at the Connecticut Maritime Association conference in Stamford in March.

Having met with her members to exchange experiences among those who have installed ballast water equipment, she told attendees that she was npt in a position to share “good news, and that’s a problem.”

Pointing again to her time as a marine biologist, she said, “Life wants to live, and killing [invasive species] is really difficult. And doing so effectively is what these ballast water systems are supposed to do.”

Stanzel, who joined Intertanko late in 2010, after having spent a long tenure with the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, was also among the handful of female maritime leaders selected to share a panel with CMA 2018 commodore Sabrina Chao, the chairman of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, for a debate on the future of leadership in shipping.

“Shipping is a very human industry and it’s small despite its global reach” Stanzel said. “But the shipping conversation needs to move beyond gender and focus on diversity. Our different backgrounds allow us to bring a wealth of experience.”