Monday, January 17, 2011

Now You Can Extend The Life Of Your Tanker And Bulk Carrier Fleet

EU Software Will Lower Ships Repair Costs
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Flagship, the Pan European maritime transport project part funded by the EU, claim they have now developed software that can forecast the condition of a ship’s hull over time to help improve the efficacy of surveys and reduce the amount of time a vessel is out of service. The consortium of various stakeholders from the freight and shipping and academic sectors say their new hull condition assessment is designed to accurately predict the condition of a vessel’s structure, coating and components, enabling ship owners and operators to schedule maintenance in a more efficient manner and thereby reduce maintenance costs while improving safety at sea.

The system, known as Flagship-HCA is intended to extend the life of the existing fleet of Tankers and Bulk Carriers by up to five years, with a 10% to 20% reduction in service repair costs for ships throughout their life-cycle. One of the primary concerns for ship owners and Class societies is that of corrosion of the ship’s structure and this is the target of the new system.

Flagship-HCA includes three primary tools which enable the ship owner and classifier to exchange hull data in real time, based on crew inspections and maintenance work as well as periodic measurement campaigns. Firstly, the toolset includes the Survey Advisor Tool (SAT) which advises surveyors where individual ships are most vulnerable and therefore where they should concentrate their investigations.

Secondly, the Hull Health Programme Advisor (HHA) optimises the survey and maintenance programme taking in to consideration the vessel’s work schedule and the predicted structural integrity of the vessel. Finally, the Corrosion Parameter Prediction Tool which takes the results of a survey or set of surveys and update a database if corrosion parameters associated with every aspect of a ship’s hull – based on observed rules and results.

Designed to assist ship owners and surveyors Flagship-HCA enables ship owners to schedule vessel maintenance and ship replacement more accurately than has been possible to date. Its objectives include not only optimising existing asset lifecycle and investment decisions but can also provide the Class Societies with more robust data upon which to base their rulings.

The project was led by the BMT Group in the UK and was supported, delivered and trialled in conjunction with Marintek of Norway; Bureau Veritas and Sirehna of France, Germanischer Lloyd of Germany and Portline - Transportes Marítimos Internacionais, of Portugal. Mr Herman de Meester, Coordinator of Flagship, commented:

“Flagship has pursued the twin objectives of reducing still further both risk and the environmental impact of the world’s commercial fleet whilst generating the opportunity for real commercial benefits. Flagship-HCA is a tangible example of the maritime industry collaborating to improve performance and efficiency in everyone’s best interests.”

Photo:- Dry dock treatment of a vessel courtesy of Portline. Vessels deck shown stripped with inset 1)full coat treatment application and 2) hull showing second coat.