Operators eyeing opportunities to improve vessel performance


Ship operators getting to grips with measuring hull and propeller performance, but there’s no one solution that fits all. Hull Performance & Insight Conference highlights developments, challenges and advances that could help to further improve vessel performance.

The conference attracted a wide range of industry stakeholders including ship operators, technology developers, equipment suppliers and data analysts.

At a time when market pressures and regulatory developments are forcing the maritime industry to focus on energy efficiency and meeting environmental challenges, ship operators are now eyeing opportunities in efficiency-based solutions and technologies.

So it is little surprise that a significant number of operators gathered at Redworth Hall in Darlington UK last week to participate in the Hull Performance & Insight Conference (HullPIC), which attracted over 100 industry professionals from around the globe.

“This is our third HullPIC and it’s encouraging to see the growing industry interest in performance management,” said Geir Axel Oftedahl, Business Development Director at Jotun Marine Coatings. “The adoption of performance monitoring is on the rise and it’s likely to continue as ship operators push to achieve performance improvements and meet the upcoming new environmental regulations.”

Industry insights

The three-day conference, co-organised by Jotun and DNV GL, included presentations and insights from leading experts and practitioners. The sessions covered a broad range of subjects, including the ISO 19030 standard, operator experiences, separating hull and propeller performance, vendor developments, on-board insight from Japan, game-changing robotics, fouling, changing ambient conditions and other technical matters relating to vessel performance monitoring.

In his opening address, Oftedahl focused on the ISO 19030 and its relevance as the standard approaches its first revision after its creation in 2016. While the standard is welcome, some believe it has flaws and is holding back the development of better methods for measuring hull and propeller performance. “Some may argue that the standard is already past its expiration date. We, however, find the standard to be as relevant as ever and that, used in the right way, the standard can help serve to accelerate the development and uptake of new methods, especially in these times of rapid technological change,” said Oftedahl.

Entering a mature phase

Volker Bertram, senior project manager at DNV GL, emphasised that performance monitoring is entering a mature phase. “Performance management is an evolving field, especially in light of the ISO 19030. It is a process where we have progressed significantly over the past three years and continue to develop. Clearly, the familiarity of the standard is growing in the industry, helping to raise awareness of the importance of a standardised and transparent approach.”

Expanding on progress made, Bertram said “hull performance monitoring continues to develop dynamically, both from a technical and a business point of view. On the business side, we see small players fading, and larger players emerging, either through mergers & acquisitions or alliances and cooperation. On the technical side, there is progress in data acquisition, for instance, in thrust measurement. Data correction in relation to corrections for waves and current is another area where progress is being made, as is post-processing, for example, more intelligent filtering of data increasing accuracy in shorter monitoring periods.”

One view is that hull performance predictions should go beyond the ISO 19030 and this subject was covered in a presentation by Daniel Schmode (DNV GL). “ISO 19030 provides a solid basis for performing hull performance prediction. However, there are proposals to deviate from the default method (ISO 19030-2) to improve accuracy and practicability, in relation to filtering and correcting for environmental conditions. We have proposed simple extensions to the default method to address these improvement areas.”

Sharing practical experience

In a session dedicated to sharing practical experience with the standard, Johnny Eliasson (Chevron) echoed Oftedahl’s comment that the ISO 19030 standard is evolving. “ISO 19030 is an important step in the right direction. It might not be perfect in its present form but it represents a good starting point to help improve hull performance management.” Eliasson went on to inform the audience about the collaborative project between Chevron Shipping, Jotun and AkzoNobel, which has been set up to optimize the hull and propeller performance on Chevron ships.

The ongoing project involves using noon report data for a sub-set of Chevron’s fleet. Barry Kidd (AkzoNobel) expanded on the scope and interim results of the project. In his summary he pointed out that the performance indicators in the ISO 19030 standard do provide value as regards dry-docking, service and maintenance triggers. “If owners want to perform ISO 19030 compliant analysis they need to consider investing in the necessary equipment and software.”

Exploring new opportunities

Jørgen Abrahamsen (Jotun) went on to explain the methodology, data quality and results of the analysis work carried out by Jotun, and covered possible improvement areas relating to noon data reporting. His takeaway message was clear: “The ISO 19030 standard is a very useful tool; use it as a guideline – not a limitation.”

Jorinna Gunkel (Maersk Line) wrapped up the session with a presentation on trim optimization. Maersk Line is working on a fleet wide fully automated performance system using high frequency data to plan and optimize the performance of the vessels during sea and port operations.

Jotun and DNV GL representatives, seen here at Redworth Hall.

“Digitalization is working its way into the shipping industry, and we are putting a lot of effort into exploring new opportunities,” said Gunkel and added, “The transformation from a manual to a data-driven performance world requires continuous sharing of learnings, the development of new competencies and procedures, and the adjustment of existing tools and mindsets. As an example of the work we are doing, we are addressing the first steps towards improved trim optimization on the fleet level, which is of special relevance for operators due to its direct link to fuel savings.”

Using new methods and data analytics to improve performance monitoring was also highlighted by Francesco Bellusci (Scorpio Ship Management and member of Intertanko). Explaining why tanker operators are interested in performance monitoring, Bellusci said, “Historically there’s the focus on speed and fuel consumption for commercial reasons. Also, it’s a way of ‘surviving’ fuel cost spikes. New regulatory pressures relating to GHG emission reductions and the industry trend towards big data approaches for new vessel designs, and energy efficient solutions (including hull coatings) are also drivers,” he said.

Intertanko working group

Intertanko recently set up a working group to address performance monitoring issues and future challenges. “Currently there is not an agreed methodology and a reliable baseline for monitoring vessel performance with the accuracy needed,” said Bellusci and added, “there’s also a continuous need to develop an agreed, simple yet effective, emissions metric for industry’s use that properly addresses the fragmented responsibilities of fuel consumption amongst shipping stakeholders.”

He continued, “We also anticipate an increasing demand from stakeholders (banks, lenders, charterers) to have relevant data promptly available. With these and other industry needs in mind, it was decided to create a working group to investigate the potential of establishing a model for performance monitoring. As part of the terms of reference, the group will look into the possibility of expanding the concept of ISO 19030 to cover ship efficiency measures beyond hull and propeller performance.”

Turning to technical and operational aspects, Nicolas Bialystocki (Antares Shipping) presented his thoughts on “commercial considerations in vessel performance analysis”. Antonis Tzamaloukas (Eastern Mediterranean Maritime) informed about “different approaches in vessel performance monitoring, balancing accuracy, effectiveness and investment aspects”. Global hull performance, propulsion power optimization and operational diagnosis tools were addressed by Panos Deligiannis (Neda Maritime)

Separating propeller and hull performance

Another debated topic is separating propeller and hull performance. The scale seems to tip slowly in favour of splitting them according to Van Ballegooijen (VAF Instruments) who shared experience with full-scale thrust measurements in dynamic trim optimisation. But even if thrust can be measured, can it be measured accurately enough for performance monitoring assessment? This question was discussed in Jan Wienke’s (DNV GL) presentation which addressed “thrust measurements during sea trails – opportunities, challenges and restrictions.”

Sergiu Paereli (Jotun) opened the first vendor developments session with his presentation titled: quantification of changes in propeller performance – method validation and practical use. In his summary, Paereli pointed out that “identification and quantification of propeller cleaning/retrofit actions are possible, but challenges exist, including variability in environmental and loading conditions, as well as sensor uncertainties and changes in hull surface.” Commenting on the approach, he said “it is useful if focusing on the propeller. However, if thrust data is not available then splitting of hull and propeller performance will be even more challenging.”

Andre Kauffeldt (DNV GL) looked at Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as an option to enhance performance analysis and benchmarking with CFD baselines. “Today, efficient operation of commercial vessels is crucial to survive in an increasingly competitive market. After harvesting the low hanging fruits by adopting slow steaming and trim optimization first, many operators now focus on performance analysis to further increase their fleet performance by monitoring and benchmarking their vessels individually. CFD is an option that’s attracting interest,” said Kauffeldt.

Achilles heel

A traditional Achilles heel in performance monitoring is the correction for added resistance in waves according to Bertram. “Contrary to researcher and vendor lore, there is no cheap and simple way to predict added resistance in waves. Even worse, the traditional estimates by ‘experienced crew’ have been shown to be way off objectively measured wave heights. The pragmatic approach of ISO 19030 has been to filter above low sea states.” There seems to be a silver lining on this particular horizon. Rune Gangeskar (Miros) described radar-based wave and current capturing. This is an important milestone on the way to better correction methods for changing ambient conditions.

In a separate session, HullPIC covered the latest developments of robotic underwater inspection and cleaning. Alex Noordstrand (Fleet Cleaner) described how remotely controlled robots remove fouling while the ship is loading and unloading. Knut Lyskett (Blueye Robotics) presented live streaming of underwater drone inspections. The Blueye Pioneer underwater drone can be controlled by the crew and send video images in real-time, allowing web-based telepresence for customers virtually without delay on the screen. Using for instance smart-phones, ship owners can then monitor and guide the inspection without having to leave their location.

What’s next?

Clearly, the issue of performance is critical to sustainable operations and an increasing number of operators and vendors are taking important initiatives to improve performance monitoring. But what is next? This was the theme of the final session which brought together a panel of operators and developers.  Moderated by Alexander Enstrøm (Jotun) the panelists shared their thoughts on future developments.

No silver bullet was the general consensus; no single solution or technology fits all due to the complexity of measuring performance. “But change and transformation is necessary to meet future challenges,” said Bellusci who also highlighted the “increasing importance of transparency and alignment between industry stakeholders.”

“The ISO 19030 standard is helping to create awareness of advancing hull and propeller management. It might not be perfect yet but it’s vital that it is being used, implemented and tested. Constructive feedback can then be given as part of the revision process to help upgrade the standard further,” opined Eliasson.

Collaborative approach

Summarising the session and conference, Enstrøm said, “Despite the complex, technical challenges involved, it’s encouraging to see industry professionals coming together to share operational experiences and discuss common challenges. There are a lot of good initiatives underway to advance hull and propeller performance management, and progress is being made as evidenced by the presentations here at HullPIC.”

The active exchange of knowledge and best practice between industry stakeholders has been key to the success of HullPIC, with the organisers, together with its supporting sponsors, working together to take a more proactive role in shaping next generation hull and propeller performance management.

The conference proceedings and papers are shown here - www.hullpic.info. empty