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CMA Shipping
38th Annual Expo & Conference
March 21-23, 2023Hilton Stamford | Connecticut, USA

Roberta E. Weisbrod, Ph. D.
Principal at Sustainable Ports, Worldwide Ferry Safety Association


Roberta Weisbrod has worked with the maritime community for over 35 years. Since 2008 she has been Executive Director of the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing ferry fatalities and expanding the use of safe ferries globally. Concurrently over the last twenty years she has been a consultant doing business as Sustainable Ports working on domestic freight and passenger transport. Before that she worked with NYC Economic Development Corporation as Director of Port and Intermodal Planning. And prior to that she served as Special Assistant to the Director on NYS Environment Conservation Department for the downstate maritime waterways, leading the effort to support harbor dredging, among other campaigns. Additionally Roberta Weisbrod has authored numerous publications about maritime issues.

Roberta Weisbrod has been in a leadership role in several maritime organizations: chairing the Working Harbor Committee, the Ferry Committee of the Transportation Research Board, and the Marine Highway panel of SNAME. She was also on the board of the National Maritime Historic Society.

Under Roberta Weisbrod’s leadership the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) has sponsored an international student design competition now in its tenth year; every year the competition is directed toward a different region of the world and type of ferry, this year for an electric ferry for the Pasig River of Manila. A panel of internationally distinguished judges decides the awarding of $10,000 in prizes. WFSA also convenes an international Ferry Safety and Technology conference, this year scheduled for April 25-27 in the metro NY area. WFSA is also currently consultant to the World Bank on inland water transport issues in West Bengal, India.

For ferries as well as all forms of maritime transport sudden hazardous weather is a key factor, after human error, in fatal accidents and casualty losses. For that reason, WFSA engaged in research to improve prediction and communication of such weather in a local area in real time. To examine the issue in depth, WFSA and colleagues in Indonesia and the US were awarded a Lloyd’s Register Foundation research grant. The results of that study led to the conclusion that a low-cost efficient way to detect sudden hazardous weather is to connect automated weather stations to the vessel’s AIS in order to inform networked mariners about the weather for their own safety as well as to inform the global weather model.

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects awarded the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association its Maritime Safety Award for 2021, at a ceremony in November 2022.

Agenda Sessions

  • A Global Network of Vessel-based Automated Weather Stations: Why and How