Over the course of a decade, Jotun has been increasing its after sales service to customers by developing new solutions aimed at ensuring customers are confident that they are being aided to make the most out of the coatings purchased.
The development and introduction of the HullKeeper program is a further example of innovative approach to support its customers. At the heart of HullKeeper is Jotun’s trusted analytical and technical services, digital capability and ROV inspections. This combination allows for well-informed and timely decisions on hull efficiency enhancing measures, and to enable verification of the decisions and actions taken.
Piloting the HullKeeper program
One of the ship operators taking part in the pilot development of HullKeeper is South Korea’s leading container liner operator HMM. The company is participating because it believes the COVID pandemic may result in some long-term idling for its vessels, and it wishes to understand the extent of any hull fouling accumulations that may result.
HMM has been supplying data of the antifouling used on the vessels involved, their last drydocking and service information as well as other information needed for the HullKeeper monitoring service to be carried out. The operator is anticipating improved accuracy on fouling and a risk assessment sufficient to allow countermeasures to be put in place.
It has said that it is beneficial to gather this information without the need for diver inspections and we are anticipating savings in fuel costs as a result of the better predictability of the hull condition.
Another pilot participant is Maran Tankers Management. Zoran Lajic, PhD, Head of Fleet Performance commented that the report provided by HullKeeper has proven to be very useful and the company uses it very frequently to determine which vessels are idling – as well as the specific fouling factor for each vessel based on the fouling conditions. “We find this particular feature of the report to be extremely insightful and reliable and we use it as additional guidance when evaluating the performance of the vessels and need for cleaning” he said.
Welcoming the new HullKeeper program, Michael Rasmussen, general manager and responsible for Hafnia’s fleet performance, said the HullKeeper has come at a crucial moment considering the increasing regulatory and commercial pressures in the industry. “We think the collaboration agreement is a good thing. We here on land don’t know what’s going on and neither does the crew, they don’t see what’s going on beneath the surface of the water so it’s good to get support and advice from Jotun - it’s another piece of the puzzle to improve efficiencies.”
Monitoring and inspection paying off for Hafnia
Michael Rasmussen explains further that monitoring the performance of the company's owned, chartered and pool-managed fleets is an important way of achieving ship efficiency.
Hafnia’s approach to management combines the economic and environmental performance of its owned and managed vessels. The company operates close to 200 ships and sees that a tonne of fuel saved is both a cost saving of about USD 500 in today’s market and 3 tonnes less CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Hafnia is well aware of the impact of fouling on performance and recognises that money spent can be money earned. Rasmussen sums this up by saying “If you use a cheap or inexpensive anti-fouling, that impacts performance. We have seen people think that the dry-dock was quick, happy days, the ship sails and then, after a year or even half a year, things really start to go south and they have 4.5 years of pain with performance only getting worse. If you take a portfolio management view, you should look at investing in a premium anti-fouling, be it Jotun’s or some other quality product. You pay money up front like all investments but you gain in the longer run by minimizing the day-to-day fuel consumption and the pain at the end of the docking cycle, benefiting the environment and your wallet.”
In an effort to more precisely gauge the impact of biofouling on vessels under its control, Hafnia is happy to participate in the HullKeeper pilot development. The company already collects lots of data, so it knows what its ships are doing, their condition, and where they are performance-wise in terms of the dry-docking cycle. Depending on that information, it has different ways of taking corrective actions.
“As we all know, different antifouling also needs different treatments, so we are engaging with Jotun and have agreed to monitor the ships we operate that have a Jotun anti-fouling product applied (that’s about 60 ships) to see what we can do. This is where we are at the moment, and now we are setting up a system in connection with the HullKeeper pilot development,” explains Rasmussen.
Rasmussen highlights some of the issues that could be resolved. “For instance, we’ve handled recently built ships that have had Jotun anti-fouling applied but there’s actually a difference in the ships' performance levels – that shouldn’t be the case because they’ve been trading the same amount of time and in the same places, so there’s a need to find out why there is a difference in these levels.”
He continues, “It could be the way we monitor and track the vessel, it may have been sailing in unfavourable currents or bad weather for a considerable amount of time, so we decide to take it easy and wait to see if the data corrects itself. There is no reason to panic and do a hull cleaning because that may compromise the anti-fouling, and we it’s often hard to know what the guys are doing to remove the fouling - they could be using a hammer and chisel or steel brushes, so it’s best not to do it.”
“It’s therefore important for us to get good feedback and advice. We believe that we’re good at operating ships, we also believe we’re better than average when it comes to corrective actions, and we’re obviously aware of the ship's docking cycle. In practice, this means we don’t involve Jotun in a ship which is, for example, four years into its docking cycle. If the ship has been staying off say West Africa 3-4 times over 4-6 months, then it’s a no-brainer, we get the hull cleaned. But if the ship is like 1.5-2.5 years into a docking cycle and it’s using a premium anti-fouling, we consult with Jotun and check to see what they see in their system - they track the ship and recommend what to do. All the cases we have are dealt with ad-hoc to get the right correction action,” explains Rasmussen.
Adding to the commercial pressure, Rasmussen sees increasing regulatory pressure and thinks that the HullKeeper pilot has come at a very crucial moment. “We think the collaboration agreement is a good thing. We here on land don’t know what’s going on and neither does the crew, they don’t see what’s going on beneath the surface of the water so it’s good to get support and advice from Jotun - it’s another piece of the puzzle to improve efficiencies.”
Hafnia has collaborated with Jotun for just over a year and already sees that this has paid off. “We’ve had a few inspections done already and their results have been extremely valuable to us. We believe that regular monitoring could bring down the costs associated with inspections and that would encourage us to undertake more such inspections. If the price for an inspection is just the same as for a few tonnes of fuel, it would be a no-brainer to have inspections at very regular intervals because we would recoup the money very quickly. Also, regular inspections would allow us to know what we’re dealing with and what actions to take,” concludes Rasmussen.
Benefits of Jotun's HullKeeper program
Jotun HullKeeper can help ship owners take hull control by enabling better decisions faster to maintain hull efficiency and environmental performance while also saving costs.
As ship operators struggle to address regulatory and market pressures, Jotun is committed to supporting its customers and making a positive difference. Transitioning from a position of paint and coating supplier to solutions provider, we are developing concepts and services that meet customer needs and solve business challenges.
There is growing pressure on the shipping industry to address sustainability issues. We try to make a positive difference by developing products and services that help our customers meet the new demands.