Columbia Group boss Mark O’Neil believes shipping is getting ahead of itself by focusing too much on decarbonisation.

The chief executive of the Cyprus-based vessel services company told the Capital Link shipping forum in New York that fossil fuels are going nowhere, so more emphasis needs to be placed on carbon capture and fuel optimisation.

O’Neil said the narrative must change.

“When you talk to the energy majors in the Middle East, there is definitely an upswing, not a downswing, in their dedication to the extraction and processing of fossil fuels in the short to medium term, which means shipping must question whether a fossil-free, carbon-zero future is what is in front of it,” the CEO added.