“Collaborative Science for Sustainable Maritime Practices in a Changing World”

Kotka Maritime Research Conference #komarec23 will launch a new event to generate dialogue between the academia and other sectors of society, creating rich pictures of the potential pathways to more sustainable maritime practices. The event will provide researchers studying maritime sustainability related themes an opportunity to bring out their results and ideas and discuss with stakeholders whose representatives are invited to act as keynote speakers and commentators. 

Conference aims to: 
1) map and increase awareness of the ongoing research contributing to sustainable development of maritime practices.
2) discuss about the potential societal implications of the presented studies.
3) identify current and future knowledge needs.


Day 1 – Wednesday 8.11.2023

11:00 Lunch in Satama Areena (self-funded)

Event hostess
Anna Kiiski, Executive Director, Kotka Maritime Research Centre

Toni Vanhala, Director, City Development and Communications, City of Kotka

Floris Goerlandt, Associate professor, Dalhausie University, Canada

Enhancing Arctic shipping sustainability through transformative risk governance: A Canadian perspective

13:00 Refresment break

13:20 SESSION 1

Chairs of the Session 1
Mats Björkendahl, Finnish Shipowners’ Association
Mia Hytti, Baltic Sea Action Group 

Tightening environmental rules change maritime traffic
Tapaninen, U., Otsason, R., Tombak, M-L., Hunt, T., Laasma, A.
GHG emission reduction potential of fuels
Kuusisto, S., Alve, H., Haara, R-M, Rautelin, W.  
Analysis of shipping emissions based on the sustainability index
Tanhuanpää, T., Altarriba, E., Rahiala, S.  
Existing technologies and scientific advancements to reduce CO2 emissions from ships by retrofitting
Kondratenko, A., Tavakoli, S., Zhang, M., Taimuri, G., Hirdaris, S.
Bayesian meta-analysis model for assessing bioeconomic impacts of oil spills on fisheries
Vikkula, S., Kuikka, S., Mäntyniemi, S. 
A decision support model to promote sustainable biofouling management in the Baltic Sea
Luoma, E., Laurila-Pant, M., Altarriba, E., Nevalainen, L., Helle, I., Lehikoinen, A. 

15:00 Refresment break

15:30 SESSION 2

Chairs of the Session 2
Helena Orädd, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency
Eero Hokkanen, Ministry of Transport and Communications

Energy efficiency Optimization for Ice-going ship operations: A focus on optimal power management strategies for Battery electric RoPax ships
Okonkwo, A.

Navigation modes classification using a machine learning method
Liu, C., Musharraf, M., Kulkarni, K.

Enhancing sustainability of Finnish-Swedish Winter Navigation System by intelligent icebreaking assistance
Kondratenko, A., Kulkarni, K., Li, F., Musharraf, M., Hirdaris, S., Kujala, P.

Decision-support for winter navigation operations
Musharraf, M., Kulkarni, K., Liu, C., Kujala, P.  

Annukka Lehikoinen, Research Director, Kotka Maritime Research Centre


18:00 Merikotka (KMRC) alumni meeting (requires a separate registration)
19:00 Conference Dinner (requires a separate registration)


Day 2 – Thursday 9.11.2023

Event hostess
Anna Kiiski, Executive Director, Kotka Maritime Research Centre

9:00 Opening

Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary, HELCOM
Looking beyond the surface: HELCOM’s contribution to environmentally sustainable sea-based activities
9:45 SESSION 3
Chairs of the Session 3
Päivi Brunou, Mechanical Engineering and Metals Industry Standardization METSTA
Ilkka Rytkölä, Mayer Turku Shipyard
Towards smart regulations: an analysis of the effectiveness of international maritime regulations
Olaniyi, E., Solarte-Vasquez, M. C., Inkinen, T. 
The Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Maritime Context: Legal Challenges and Implications for Sustainability
Schütte, B.
An explorative study of anticipatory infrastructural alignment for autonomous shipping
Janasik, N., Luoma, E., Knudsen, M. 
Potential of explainable AI in enhancing trust in autonomous vessels – a systematic literature review
Musharraf, M., Ranjan, R., Kulkarni, K. 
Analysis of autonomous ships’ impact on the maritime practitioners required skills
Bolbot, V. Methlouthia, O., Chaal, M., Valdez Banda, O., BahooToroody, A., Tsvetkova, A., Hellström, M., Saarni, J., Virtanen, S. 
11.10 Refresment break
11:40 SESSION 4

Chairs of the Session 4
Mirka Laurila-Pant, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency
Olli-Pekka Brunila, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

Is scientific learning effective enough in maritime risk analysis?
Kuikka, S. & Lu, L. 
Real-Time Bayesian Risk Modeling for Maritime Industry: A Hierarchical Approach for Dynamic Risk Estimation and Control
Bolbot, V., Basnet, S., BahooToroody, A., Valdez Banda, O.
Developing Fuzzy Logic Strength of Evidence and Integration for System Risk Management
Lu, L. & Kuikka, S.
Artificial intelligence -based virtual control room 
Markkanen, M., Räsänen, J., Kropsu, M. & Partanen, P. 
Comparing Low-Fidelity and High-Fidelity simulations from a pedagogical perspective
Salmi, A.
Annukka Lehikoinen, Research Director, Kotka Maritime Research Centre
Lunch in Satama Areena (self-funded)

The rights to program changes are reserved. 

Call for Abstracts opened

Kotka Maritime Research Conference aims to:

1) map and increase awareness of the ongoing research contributing to sustainable development of maritime practices.
2) discuss about the potential societal implications of the presented studies.
3) identify current and future knowledge needs.

We invite abstracts on research-driven results, ideas, and solutions that have potential to contribute to sustainable development of maritime operations in the changing world.

Here, sustainable operation means such way of operating that serves the human well-being by enabling moving of people and goods, and advancing economics, while not degrading the environment, nor compromising the human safety or equality. Any angle of entry into this definition is welcome but must be opened in the abstract.

The abstracts can contribute for example to the following questions:

Digitalization, AI, automation: Increased digitalization, machine learning and artificial intelligence in maritime operations and design has brought new opportunities in terms of achieving sustainability goals, but also additional risks and challenges e.g. related to cybersecurity, regulations and policies, work-life wellbeing, and educational needs. How to take the opportunities and avoid or control the risks?

Socio-political challenges: How have maritime practices evolved in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and under the impact of global economic crisis? How do these affect the achievement of the sustainability goals? What could be done to ensure the sustainable development despite the challenges?

Changing traffic and transportation flows: The changing world changes maritime traffic parameters and freights. How does this affect maritime risks and resilience, and further on the sustainability of the operation? What tools or measures can support risk management or improve resilience, to ensure the sustainability?

Alternative fuels and energy sources, air emissions: National and international agreements and new regulatory instruments create pressure to substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions from maritime operations. Do they work as intended? What is the potential of new alternative fuels and other energy sources here? How sustainable solutions are they?

Other maritime emissions: How do the other emission types from maritime operations prevent the sector from achieving the sustainability criteria? How could these challenges be solved? What cross- and joint impacts with other blue economy sectors, as well as intersectoral management measures and strategies, should be considered?

Consequences of and adaptation to climate change: How do the consequences of climate change, such as more frequent extreme weathers or changes in the sea ice, affect the sustainability of maritime operation? How to adapt?


Submit your abstract no later than 7 May 2023 via email to NB! ABSTRACT SUBMISSION EXTENDED TO 21 MAY.

Title of the message should be: Abstract submission KOMAREC.

Please, download and use this MS Word -template for the formulation of your abstract and attach the file to the email.

Based on the abstracts received, the organizing committee will form logical thematic sessions of oral presentations (8-10 minutes + discussion) and an interactive poster session. On 20 June, the authors will be notified whether their contributions have been selected as an oral or a poster presentation. The authors whose abstracts are accepted as oral presentations will be asked to provide an extended abstract of two pages no later than 15 September.

We’ll request from the authors a permission to publish the abstracts on the conference website as open access. From our side this does not limit the authors’ use of the material for other purposes.


For questions or additional information, please contact

The organizer reserves right to make changes to the plans.

Kotka Maritime Research Conference #komarec23

“Collaborative Science for Sustainable Maritime Practices in a Changing World”

Kotka Maritime Research Centre (Merikotka) is organising the first Kotka Maritime Research Conference #komarec23. Merikotka is a society of researchers and experts from the leading Finnish universities and research organisations with a shared mission to advance the sustainable development of maritime activities through interdisciplinary research and active societal dialogue, closely interacting with the other sectors of blue economy.

#komarec23 will launch a new event to promote this mission. The conference aims to generate dialogue between the academia and other sectors of society, creating rich pictures of the potential pathways to more sustainable maritime practices. The event will provide researchers studying maritime sustainability related themes an opportunity to bring out their results and ideas and discuss with stakeholders whose representatives are invited to act as keynote speakers and commentators.

We wish the event will increase the societal impact of scientific research, give rise to novel ideas, and generate interdisciplinary and -sectoral collaboration. Abstracts are invited from researchers representing a wide variety of disciplines, including both social, natural, and technical spheres.

Important dates

6 April 2023 – Call for abstracts opened and published
7 May 2023 – Deadline for the abstract submission
20 June 2023 – Invitations for the oral and poster presentations sent to the authors
15 August 2023 – The registration opens
25 September 2023 – Deadline for the submission of extended abstracts (2 p, oral presentations)
25 September 2023 – Registration deadline for the presenters (oral and poster)
25 October 2023 – Registration deadline for the other participants
8-9 November 2023 – Kotka Maritime Research Conference 2023


Venue: The conference venue is the brand new Event Centre Satama, located in the charming coastal city of Kotka. The city center, an island surrounded by the Baltic Sea, is known e.g. for its numerous parks, the Maritime Centre Vellamo, and the Maretarium aquarium – all within walking distance.

Connections: You can easily reach Kotka by bus or train. There are daily bus services from Helsinki, Tampere, Lahti and Jyväskylä. Check the schedules at Matkahuolto. For the train timetables and tickets, see VR.

Accommodation: The organizer has reserved a quota of hotel rooms from the Sokos Hotel Seurahuone, see Reservation information.

Other accommodation options are available e.g. in Hotel Jokipuisto, Hotel Uninen, Hotel Merikotka or via Airbnb.

Registration: The conference is free of charge. Registration is required both from the presenters and audience. The registration system will open in August. Registration can be canceled free of charge if the cancellation is made no later than 2 days before the event. No-show fee 150 €.


Functional and safe shipping, port operations, and maritime infrastructures are important enablers of international trade and passenger traffic – often providing the most energy- and climate-efficient form of transportation. In many corners of the world, the operational environment of the maritime sector is undergoing several forms of transitions in parallel, while at the same time there is a growing pressure to ensure the continuous sustainable development of the operation.

The international climate goals and ongoing green transition affect the maritime operations through diverse mechanisms, changing traffic flows, cargoes, fuels, and vessels. On top of that, the impacts of the climate change, such as more frequent extreme weathers, or the changes in ice cover, require adaptation of many types. Digitalization and the following increase of artificial intelligence in different parts of maritime systems provide promising opportunities, but also give rise to new risks. The geopolitical tensions create diverse safety and security threats as well.

While the maritime sector is struggling with the above challenges, it should not be forgotten the other blue sectors have high expectations for the use of the sea space too, including renewable energy producers, fisheries and aquaculture sector, mining and drilling companies, as well as the tourism sector and recreational users. Simultaneously the underwater life is severely threatened due to the pressures caused by the human activities. Just recently the UN member states agreed on a treaty to conserve 30% of the world’s high seas by 2030. Accordingly, there is a growing pressure to reconcile the maritime operations with the other forms of sea exploitation in a sustainable manner.

Due to all the aspects mentioned above, it can be stated the framing and structure of maritime systems, as well as their operative environments and “risk landscapes”, are undergoing radical changes in these days. Adapting to the situation and ensuring a sustainable transition to sustainable operations requires close interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration among actors with different roles in the society, including policymakers, authorities, infrastructure and service providers, companies, researchers, educational institutes, and the common public.


For questions or additional information, please contact
The organizer reserves right to make changes to the plans.

Scientific committee 

Research Director Annukka Lehikoinen
Kotka Maritime Research Centre

Assistant Professor Floris Goerlandt, Dalhousie University
Associate Professor Spyros Hirdaris, Aalto University
Professor Tommi Inkinen, University of Turku

Professor Sakari Kuikka, University of Helsinki
Associate Professor Jakub Montewka, Gdańsk University of Technology

Assistant Professor Mashrura Musharraf, Aalto University
Professor Gunnar Prause, Tallinn University of Technology
Assistant Professor Osiris Valdez Banda, Aalto University

Professor Mary Wisz, World Maritime University

Organizing committe

Executive Director Anna Kiiski
Kotka Maritime Research Centre

Tiina Jauhiainen, Research Manager, South-Eastern University of Applied Science
Ketki Kulkarni, Research Fellow, Aalto University
Annukka Lehikoinen, Research Director, Kotka Maritime Research Centre
Liangliang Lu, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki
Eunice Olaniyi, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Turku

Interested in algorithms and probability distributions? – Contact us, we are recruiting

Kotka Maritime Research Association is seeking a qualified and motivated


to automate the translation of expert-elicited causal mental maps to quantitative probabilistic Bayesian Networks (BN) as part of the Academy of Finland-funded project GYROSCOPE. The generated code will be used in a participatory foresight modelling process to help maritime stakeholders better understand their situational picture and identify key risk or resilience factors.

Key tasks are

  • Reviewing and potentially updating the current translation algorithm.
  • Constructing the R or Python code needed to generate conditional probability tables, following the agreed logic.


The ideal applicant will be someone who:

  • can contribute to the algorithm design and independently produce the code (R or Python).
  • is familiar with the concepts of conditional probability distributions and discrete variables.
  • has previous knowledge of Bayesian inference and Bayesian networks.
  • can contribute to the writing of a scientific manuscript concerning the method.

The position is available from 1 September 2023 to 29 February 2024 (6 months), with the possibility of part-time work. Salary for this position will consist of a task-specific component and a personal salary component based on the applicant’s qualifications and experience, as per the contract terms.


Submit your application no later than 21 May 2023 by email to Executive Director Anna Kiiski ( with “Gyroscope coder” as the subject line. The application should consist of a short (max 1 page) motivation letter with a statement of the desired salary level, and a CV.


Please address any inquiries to Research Director Annukka Lehikoinen.
Phone: +358 50 5519288

Read full job advetisement here (PDF)


SEMINAR: Simulator exercises for oil spill response and preparedness

Welcome to the final seminar of SIMREC -project

Simulator exercises for oil spill response and preparedness

Kotka, Maritime Centre Vellamo (Tornatorintie 99)
Tue 22 – Wed 23 November 2022

The aim of the SIMREC project has been to produce new cost-effective simulator exercises for oil spill response which are based on new risk scenarios. The simulator exercises are cost-effective and enables safe training even in extreme conditions. During the exercises decision-making process and communication between actors has been examined.

Seminar will be held in English.

TUESDAY 22.11.2022 at 13-17

Key Note Speakers
Heli Haapasaari, Finnish Border Guard
Robert Grundmann, Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services

SIMREC project researchers
Annukka Lehikoinen, Kotka Maritime Research Centre
Liangliang Lu, Aalto University
Antti Lanki, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Mirka Laurila-Pant, University of Helsinki
Ossi Tonteri, Finnish Environment Institute 

Robert Grundmann, Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services
Antti Lanki, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Johanna Salokannel, Yrkeshögskolan Novia
Kadi Kasepõld, Tallinn University of Technology 

WEDNESDAY 23.11.2022 at 10-14

Visit to the Simulator Center and to Oil Spill Test Basin. 

Upload seminar program (pdf)

Emilia Luoma to be a project researcher in VISIIRI project

Emilia Luoma, MSc, has been appointed as a project researcher in the VISIIRI project of the Kotka Maritime Research Center. She started in the position on May 1, 2022.

Luoma is transferring from the faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the University of Helsinki, where she has worked as a doctoral candidate in the Fisheries and Environmental Management Group. Her PhD thesis aims at deepening the systems understanding related to marine environmental management issues and searching for the methods and practices supporting sustainable development. Luoma has worked in many research projects of the Kotka Maritime Research Center, related to biofouling and non-indigenous species risks in shipping, the sustainable development of marinas and oil spill response.

Tools to encourage intersectoral dialogue are needed in oil spill risk governance

MSocSc Tuuli Parviainen defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of environmental social sciences at the University of Helsinki on December 16th, 2021. The opponent was Doctor Annika E. Nilsson from the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. Parviainen’s thesis work was supervised by Professor Sakari Kuikka – a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s management group, from the University of Helsinki. The second supervisor, Adjunct Professor Päivi Haapasaari was also a member of the management group in 2019 – 2020. The thesis work has been conducted as part of the KMRC research network’s joint projects, BONUS BALTIMARI and CEARCTIC.

The thesis, titled as “Coping with contested risks: Exploring how oil spill risks are governed through governmentalities”, consists of three scientific articles and a summary section. The entity demonstrates how under the current governance approach oil spill risks are made better “manageable” by reducing their socio-ecological complexity. The complexity refers to the high level of uncertainty and the ambiguity arising from different, sometimes conflicting, perceptions and understandings of risks. These and the societal values and knowledge systems related to the risks are often ignored and side lined.

In her thesis, Parviainen explores how the current oil spill risk governance could be improved by supporting novel ways of producing knowledge to inform policy and practice. She studies how boundary objects, such as risk models and assessments, could support mutual understanding and collaborative knowledge production among different stakeholders and further on turn the knowledge into actions.

“Science and scientific knowledge play invaluable roles in the governance of oil spill risks”, says Tuuli Parviainen. “However, the risks are often framed in a constricted manner, without considering the alternative framings”, she states and continues: ”The governance processes are also largely based on techno-scientific knowledge, and the knowledge from different scientific disciplines and from outside the academia are not integrated into real-life decision-making processes. The narrow scope of the framing and data have led to pre-determined solutions, where the root causes of risks are not considered.”

Collaborative and participatory approaches involving stakeholders from different fields of the society are seen to better account for the complex nature of many socio-ecological risks associated with global environmental change. The dissertation of Tuuli Parviainen indicates the global need for new, flexible marine risk governance approaches and tools that encourage deliberation and dialogue around competing goals, facilitate collaboration and co-production of knowledge, as well as promote social learning in innovative ways.

The thesis summary can be downloaded from the University of Helsinki’s publication archive Helda.


Written by: Annukka Lehikoinen

INFUTURE Final conference Tue 30.11. – Wed 1.12.2021

The INFUTURE project seeks comprehensive solutions to support sustainable and cost-effective inland waterway transportation. The INFUTURE project has been implemented in cooperation with Finnish and Russian experts in the field. The work has been funded by the South-East Finland – Russia ENI CBC 2014-2020 program.

Waterways – a step towards a green transition

Tue 30.11. – Wed 1.12.2021

The conference will focus on presenting the research results of the project through four different themes. The first theme, “Towards a Green Transition”, focuses on the EU’s Green Deal and Fit for 55 programs, as well as national emission reduction targets for inland waterway transportation. Another theme highlights the opportunities and potential of inland waterway transport today. The third theme aims to present best practices and smart solutions for the development of inland waterway infrastructure and port operations. The last, fourth session looks at visions for the future of inland waterways as a sustainable mode of freight transport.

In addition to the researchers of the INFUTURE project, the conference speakers will be high-level experts such as

  • Marta Wolska, EU Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport
  • Benjamin Boyer and Laure Roux, Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine
  • Eero Hokkanen, Ministry of Transport and Communications
  • Tomi Solakivi, University of Turku
  • Claudia Beumer, VT Group
  • Jarkko Toivola, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency
  • Ville Hinkka, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
  • Olga Ansberg, Director of Port Logistics, Port of Vyborg
  • Kevin Desmond, Inland Waterway International, Alternative Fuels Committee

The INFUTURE Final Conference will be held in Kotka, Maritime Centre Vellamo. You can attend the conference or parts of it both on site and on-line.

Program here

Sign up here

The conference is free of charge.