Technology and efficiency - BIMCO Bulletin

Technology and efficiency

In-water cleaning standard progresses to test-phase. By Rasmus Nord Jørgensen, Head of External Communication at BIMCO. The in-water cleaning standard developed by BIMCO and a working group of shipowners, paint manufacturers and cleaning companies, is now in the early stages of testing. BIMCO Bulletin spoke to two of the participants who give their views on how it could benefit shipowners, cleaning firms and the environment, and the challenges that may lie ahead. Hare Ram. Sah Fleet Director, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings Limited is a family-owned shipping company based in Hong Kong with an extensive network of partnerships in mainland China, Asia, Europe and the US. It owns 20 vessels and manages a fleet of 59 bulk carriers, oil and gas tankers of various sizes. It participates in the in-water cleaning standard project, because it believes better hull cleaning is a way to protect the environment – saving fuel through better vessel performance, and thereby reducing emissions. The company’s aim is to have quality in-water cleaning in a few major port regions, where its ships – which trade globally – normally have idle time. “Our focus is to get the job done using idle time, to prevent any potential off-hire time. That is our target: to have this plan implemented without any significant loss of revenue to our owners,” says Hare Ram Sah To that end, it will be very helpful with an industry standard, he says. “First of all, working following certain standards that are given power, are very well defined and under certain regulatory control, and where cleaning companies are audited for their systems and management, is an advantage,” he says, because it will be a driving force, and an inspiration to other cleaning companies to adopt the same course. Furthermore, he says, fears could be allayed of some owners that in-water cleaning does as much harm to a vessel’s anti-fouling coating as it helps by removing fouling. “We could attract more regular cleaning, because you’re are doing it under a certain set of standards. The confidence should increase that the hull cleaning is good and the anti-fouling paint isn’t damaged, and it isn’t going to add extra resistance, because the cleaners are well regulated.” “I think the fear will be reduced, and this will result in more periodical cleaning.” However, future cleaning is not without its obstacles. Sah lists three primary challenges: 1. Collectionofresidues 2. Cleaningofcurvatures 3. Cleaningofpropeller. According to the standard, the cleaners must collect at least 95% of the residues. “So how are they [the cleaners] going to overcome this,” says Sah. He believes the ultimate aim should be to ensure that 99.5% of residues are captured and collected in the cleaning tank. Currently, the ability to do this differs from cleaning company to cleaning company, depending on their respective infrastructure and methods. “Second, the curvature areas of the vessel – the stern frame, bulbous bow, bilge keel – may remain unclean. How will they tackle this challenge? How can they develop a small cleaning tool to make sure that these areas are also well cleaned? “And third, there is a high demand among owners to have clean propellers to lower fuel consumption, but how are they going to do that? This is another challenge.” Olga Vedernikova, Fleet Efficiency Coordinator, Shell Trading & Shipping Co. Ltd. Shell commercially operates a large, diverse fleet including crude, product and LNG carriers. The company has worked diligently for years to monitor fuel performance and gather and analyse data. “By using internal metrics that go beyond an assessment of speed loss, it is possible to quantify the impact of a clean hull on the vessel performance and the extra fuel [and emissions]. We have an established system that allows us to monitor hull condition and we are starting to share it with our counterparties, working towards more proactive solutions to reduce fuel consumption,” says Olga Vedernikova. Shell has been using high-performance hull coatings on some of its managed and chartered vessels. It is important to be able to maintain and clean these coatings, without excessive mechanical damage and minimising environmental impacts. Another important aspect involves having suitable cleaning companies that are positioned around the globe to meet the global trading patterns Shell follows. Lowering fuel consumption – and thereby emissions – by optimising the operations of a ship will become even more critical when the new operational carbon intensity reduction requirement is introduced by the International Maritime Organization. That is where the BIMCO standard will assist. “A defined standard for in-water hull cleaning with capture would help ensure the quality and safety of such operations, making it easier for companies like Shell to assess and accept new cleaning participants as they would adhere to a set standard,” says Vedernikova. A global standard that requires more than 95% of fouling and microplastics to be captured would make it more likely that certain countries and port authorities would allow cleaning companies to operate in their territorial waters. Ultimately, the standard aims to encourage many more cleaning companies to share knowledge and support a strong quality assurance for the entire cleaning industry. “We keep close collaboration with our suppliers as we work towards our decarbonisation ambitions and support each other by adopting new ways of working, and standardising best practices. Working closely with both paint suppliers and cleaning companies is important. All of us have to be on the same page in driving efforts for the delivery of safe, efficient and lower-carbon shipping.” Connect with BIMCO Facebook Linkedin YouTube