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Koninklijke Vereniging - Société Royale

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Hull performance monitoring for operational efficiency


The downward cycle continues to plague the tanker marke t with freight rates touching a five-year low recently.*

The global fleet keeps growing with an estimated 20 VLCCs, 20 suezmaxes and 24 aframaxes delivered thus far and another 40 suezmaxes and 50 aframaxes still to be delivered before the end of this year. This additional tonnage coupled with OPEC’s recent decision to cut production is continuing to put pressure on freight rates.

As a result, owners and operators are strengthening their search for sustainable solutions to achieve more efficient operations. One area that is coming into sharper focus is a vessel’s hull performance. It is well known that improved hull smoothness reduces fuel consumption and associated emissions. Fouling organisms such as barnacles and biological slime will attach to the hull to create extra drag, which requires additional fuel to move the ship through the water.

Fuel is one of the most significant costs. Even a small decrease in the bunker bill as a result of a drop in fuel consumption through a reduction in fouling and hull roughness can significantly impact an owner’s bottom line and their environmental performance.

Here is where investing in a top performing hull coating is vital, but with many factors impacting fuel consumption it can be hard for tanker operators to determine the exact performance, and subsequently the return of investment (RoI), of their choice of hull coating.

In November 2016, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published the ISO 19030 standard, providing shipowners with a foundation for hull performance monitoring. Hempel played a significant role in the development of these new standards from their inception and over the three years they took to finalise.

Offering a two-layered, three-part approach to performance monitoring, the most advanced, and with the greatest measurement accuracy, is the ISO 19030:2a-2016. This defines the method for measuring changes in hull and propeller performance, calculating a set of basic performance indicators and providing guidance on the expected accuracy of each performance indicator.

At Hempel, we offer our customers ISO 19030 compliant clear, comprehensible and verifiable analytics to track and assess hull and propeller performance through our in-house hull performance team that comprises experts in hydrodynamics, physics, chemistry and others with data science backgrounds.

Performance monitoring is also offered in partnership with third party suppliers, including DNV GL with whom we have a particularly close relationship. This allows us to accurately determine the relationship between hull and propeller performance and the actual fuel consumed. We do this not only from a relative performance level over a specific time period, but also by benchmarking current performance against the newbuild condition. Our customers can also benefit from computational fluid dynamic (CFD) studies to show a vessel’s hull degradation over time.


Insight into RoI

In 2013, we launched our most advanced hull coating to date, Hempaguard X7. We work with a range of vessel owners and operators and Euronav was keen to test our new technology. Initially a 300 sq m test patch was applied to the VLCC ‘Famenne’ and following a dive inspection at 23 months and then again at 45 months, it was confirmed that Hempaguard was still giving a slime and fouling-free performance.

The uniqueness of Hempaguard is that it combines two proven technologies in one coat, delivering 6% fuel savings compared with other antifoulings over the entire docking interval, even if the vessel is idle for extended periods (up to 120 days) or changes trading patterns. This offers tanker owners and operators unrivalled flexibility over their fleet utilisation.

Following ‘Famenne’s’ excellent performance, Euronav took the easy decision to switch a number of its vessels to Hempaguard X7. These vessels also saw a significant increase in fuel efficiency and we were keen for Euronav to utilise our performance monitoring service to determine the exact performance and RoI of our innovative hull coating.

Three VLCCs - ‘Hakone’, ‘Hirado’ and ‘Sara’- were the first vessels that our hull performance team began monitoring for Euronav - six months before Hempaguard X7 was applied. Six months after application it was clear that there was an increase in propulsion efficiency, of which a large proportion was directly attributable to Hempaguard X7.

As a result, Euronav decided to apply Hempaguard X7 to a further three more of its vessels – VLCC ‘Sandra’ and Suezmaxes ‘Maria’ and ‘Captain Michael’.

Services such as our monitoring system provide tanker operators with a full analysis of how well the hull, and consequently the coating system, is performing. When considering hull coatings, it really is a matter of “you get what you pay for” and by investing in an optimal solution tanker operators have the potential to realise the benefits of enhanced operational efficiency backed up with accurate data to prove a significant return on their investment.


*This article was written by Andreas Glud, Group Segment Manager, Marine, Dry Dock, Hempel A/S.

 

 

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