Our eighth day started off at 9am with a short bus ride to the University of Nicosia (UNIC). There, we listened to a lecture from the head of Fleet Management Limited’s (FML) Cyprus branch. As with any ship management company, they act as a middleman between the owner of the ship and the client. Since they are the world’s second largest ship management company, with over 600 ships, they play an important role upholding the global supply chain, and were especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since their seafarers were in isolation on the ship, none of their seafarers contracted the virus for nearly 7 months, and FML was able to continue operating almost normally during the pandemic. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine heavily affected FML, since they cannot transport sanctioned cargo, and blacklisting would occur if they did. Therefore, the invasion caused FML more work by having them strictly check each container for sanctions or not. Additionally, the war caused personnel losses, as many of them come from the Russia and Ukraine region. These personnel could not go to work on the ships since they either had to fight or could not travel due to the war.
Afterwards, we had lunch at UNIC’s cafeteria, and again the food was pretty good. After lunch we had another lecture from the CEO of UNIC on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Because I had not known much about these topics beforehand, it was interesting to hear about what blockchain and cryptocurrency are and the real-world applications of these technologies. For example, currently paying for a large sum of money internationally is problematic during a medical emergency, when time is of the essence. That’s where cryptocurrency like Bitcoin comes in, where the money requester can receive a non-reversible transaction within an hour. I also found it interesting that UNIC was the first university in the world to accept tuition money in Bitcoin, back in 2013. After the CEO’s lecture, we had another lecture from the world’s leading data forecaster. A data forecaster’s role is to predict the flow of supply and demand so that the shelves of your local Walmart, for example, always have the items you need. He described how through data forecasting competitions, they found that machine learning systems are the best predictors of accuracy and uncertainty within data forecasting. Overall, it was an interesting yet tiring day full of lectures.