MAN agrees use of DSME HP gas system

By Peter Pospiech at August 21, 2013 06:01
Filed Under: Company News, LNG fuel, MAN Diesel&Turbo

TOTE’s 3,100TEU container ships, the world’s first Natural Gas-fuelled boxships, will be powered by MAN ME-GI engines with DSME’s HP-FGS technology

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has announced a patent license agreement with MAN Diesel & Turbo for use of the DSME high pressure-fuelled gas supply (HP-FGS) system.

Under the terms of the contract, details of which are being kept confidential, MAN will use DSME’s HP-FGS system patents and licenses for its two-stroke Natural Gas propulsion based commercial vessel projects. 

DSME believes this to be a significant development in gas fuelled ship technology, as with a claimed 80% market share, MAN Diesel & Turbo enjoys a leading position in large two-stroke marine engines. As the first orders for two-stroke marine engines using Natural Gas fuel have been for MAN’s ME-GI engines, DSME says that “this patent contract is expected to bring out great ripple effects to related industries.” 

Although the ME-GI has been available for over 10 years, its high pressure gas compressor system was too bulky and too power-hungry to make it viable for ship power applications. DSME says that the development of the high pressure pump-based fuel system, offering a radical improvement in efficient use of power and space, has made dual-fuelled two-stroke engines into a realistic commercial proposition. DSME developed and patented its system in 2007, and now, with increased interest in Natural Gas as ship fuel, the company believes the combination of its gas fuel system and MAN’s two-stroke technology will open the gateway to more dual-fuelled two-stroke orders from the commercial shipbuilding industry.

The DSME technology has been successfully used on MAN’s ME-GI test engine in Copenhagen, and is being supplied to NASSCO in the USA for the MAN ME-GI engines for the first Natural Gas-powered container ships, being built for TOTE to a design by DSME subsidiary DSEC.

DSME says that it is discussing license agreements for its HP-FGS technologies with various companies including engine builders. “DSME will provide designing, engineering, commissioning and training services about FGS system to licensees” said Brandon Jung, senior executive vice president of DSME. 


iamge: courtesy of MAN

Austal Celebrates Keel Laying for further Cape Class Patrol Boat

By Peter Pospiech at August 19, 2013 10:30
Filed Under: Company News, General

Australia has 36,000 kilometres of coastline and an offshore maritime area of nearly 13 million square kilometres. The new Customs and Border Protection Cape Class Patrol Boats will play a significant role in border security by maintaining a presence around Australia’s coastline and responding to reported or suspected border incidents and illegal activity.

Customs and Border Protection vessels perform strategic patrols and tactical surveillance and enforcement for various agencies to address maritime security threats within and beyond Australia’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic Zone (eeZ). 

Demonstrating the rapid progress of the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program, Austal hosted on August 14 the keel-laying ceremony for the third vessel, Cape Nelson, one of eight 56-metre patrol boats that Austal is designing, building and supporting for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Cape Class is a program of work that underpins Austal’s strategy as a global defence prime contractor of Ships, Systems and Support. It’s a program that has also enabled Austal to reposition and strengthen the Henderson facilities as a defence-focused operation. This total solution capability represents the future of the Australian business as Austal continues to expand and enhance the strategic industry capability necessary to meet the current and future defence needs of Australia and other nations.

In doing so, the Cape Class Patrol Boats play a significant role in protecting Australia’s borders from multiple maritime threats, and have been designed to have greater range, endurance and flexibility, as well as enhanced capability to operate in more severe sea conditions than the current Customs and Border Protection fleet.

The patrol boats have capacity to accommodate future upgrades in surveillance technology and response capability. It is intended that these vessels will be connected to the Australian Maritime security operations Centre via an Australian Maritime Identification system terminal 

onboard each vessel.

The Cape Class Patrol Boats are able to:

•  undertake 28 day patrols

•  sail 4,000 nautical miles before having to refuel

•  sail to 50 degrees south, in southern ocean waters

•  Combat the full range of maritime security threats

•  Carry a larger crew than the Bay Class vessels to more effectively 

and safely manage boarding operations

•  Identify,  track,  intercept  additional  threats  in  the  maritime domain and gather intelligence and store evidence for matters 

that may proceed to the courts

•  launch two Tender response Vessels simultaneously 

The CCP-Boats feature two Cat engines of type 3516C with each 2.525 kW at 1.800 rpm. This enforces the ships to reach a max speed of 26 kn.


images: Courtesy of Austal

New Bunker Fuel-blending S3 Device: A Scrubber Alternative For Some Trades

By George Backwell at August 17, 2013 00:49
Filed Under: Fuels & Lubes, Marine Diesel Engines, New Technology

The S3 switch (a marketing acronym for ‘Smart Sulphur Switch) is a prototype developed by Denmark’s Insatech in cooperation with O.W. Bunkers, to blend and adjust two fuels (HFO and MDO) to a desired sulphur content enabling monitoring and control of marine diesel engine exhaust gas emissions without fitting expensive scrubber units.  The S3 is presently on trial aboard ships belonging to some of this major bunker supplier’s customers in Northern European waters, and commercial production is planned for later this year.

S3 Fuel Switch Skid: Image credit Insatech

Fuel Switching and Blending
On most modern ships two service tanks are provided: one service tank contains the higher sulphur fuel oil and the other may contain low sulphur fuel to ensure MARPOL Annex VI emission regulations are met. This arrangement will involve a fuel changeover at some point during the ship’s engine operation, normally achieved by means of a three-way valve, and it is at this point that the S3 takes over, enabling both switching entirely over or a blending of the fuels to accord with operator-selected SOx limits.

S3 Fuel Blending: Schematic: courtesy of Insatech

Installation and maintenance

Maintenance of the S3 Smart Sulphur Switch is negligible apart from an annual calibration to ensure that the documentation generated will be accepted by authorities worldwide.

A retrofit is very simple as the unit is supplied as a small skid so only a gas oil line and a HFO line need to be connected at one end, and a discharge line at the other end. The skid has a foot print comparable to a standard pallet. Electrically all that is required is a standard power plug connector. In reality the installation can be accomplished in a few hours and with minimum costs.

S3 Features & Benefits

  • Regardless of what fuel is in the tank, it can always be mixed and adjusted to the desired sulphur content
  • The price for a mounted Smart Sulphur Switch is less than 5% of the price of a complete scrubber solution
  • Operating expenses are estimated to be less than 0.1% of the operating costs of a scrubber
  • Cost of maintenance is limited to one annual calibration
  • Savings in fuel costs alone give a ROI of 6-12 months
  • Monitoring the sulphur content of the fuel line within limits of reproducibility limits stipulated in MARPOL Annex VI
  • Recording and reporting of fuel consumption, sulphur content, density, viscosity with vessel position (optional)
  • Automatic reporting and logging
  • Stored data is encrypted and password protected
  • Integration with the vessels  SEEMP system

Insatech say that they expect their device mainly to be of interest for use in vessels that occasionally need to enter an ECA so that the investment in a scrubber solution is not viable. The secondary market being for vessels like Baltic Sea ferries whose operators choose to install scrubbers that cannot handle more than say 2% sulphur content due to space considerations: with the S3 system such vessels can purchase the cheapest available HFO and blend it down to the sulphur content that their scrubber can handle.



MAN-Power solution for offshore construction vessel

By Peter Pospiech at August 15, 2013 04:57
Filed Under: Company News, MAN Diesel&Turbo

The multi-functional construction and pipelay vessel Ceona Amazon, which will be built by Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven AG for the British operator Ceona, will be equipped with two 9L32/44CR engines and four 8L32/44CR main gensets, providing a total output of 28MW. This was recently announced by MAN Diesel & Turbo who had won the order.

Based on a drill-ship design, the 33,000gt, 199.4m-long and 32.2m-wide Ceona Amazon boasts exceptional sea-keeping characteristics, making it ideal for operations in remote and challenging locations, the engine manufacturer noted.

The construction vessel has a large, under-deck storage capacity for line pipe or umbilicals, together with a large deck area that allows the further storage of line pipe and standard, flexible installation reels. 

It is fitted with two heave-compensated mast-head cranes, and a single heave-compensated knuckleboom crane. The pipelay system consists of an inclinedlay system and a rigid, pipeline firing-line system. The vessel can lay rigid pipelines, flexible pipelines and umbilicals, and can install large, subsea structures using one or both of its cranes in tandem-lift mode to depths of up to 3,000m. It does not require a spool base to support its operations and can be remotely operated, making it extremely well-suited to overall field development, MAN said. Keel laying is planned for this month. Fabrication of the hull will take place at Polish yard Crist SA, and the vessel will be outfitted at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven. Delivery is scheduled for December 2014.

Each engine will be manufatured at MAN Diesel & Turbo’s Augsburg production facility in southern Germany, and later transported to the company’s Frederikshavn, Denmark site for a full electrical test before the gensets’ delivery to the shipyard. 


Image: Courtesy of Lloydwerft-Bremerhaven

Wärtsilä receives first two orders for new Wärtsilä X62 engine

By Peter Pospiech at August 12, 2013 10:56
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems

Wärtsilä has received its first two orders, a total of seven engines, for their X62 2-stroke low speed engine. The X62 is a midsize engine tailor made for Panamax Bulk Carriers, Aframax or Long Range 2 (LR2) Tankers and Container feeders. It is part of the new engine generation X 2-stroke engine family which was recently introduced to the market. According to the contracts, the main engines will be supplied to power: 

- Four new LR2 tankers being built for Kyklades Maritime Corporation, a Greek ship owner, at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd (HHI) in South Korea. 

- Three bulk carriers for Suisse-Atlantique, the Switzerland based global fleet operator, to be built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard's (HMD) facilities in Vietnam.  

The vessels will be of the new Ecodesign developed by the yards to reduce fuel consumption and emissions substantially compared to previous tonnage. Both orders were signed during the second quarter of 2013 and the engines will be manufactured by Wärtsilä's licensee, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. - Engine & Machinery Division (HHI-EMD), in South Korea. 

The Wärtsilä X62 engine suits the new Ecodesign vessels as it meets the fuel efficiency and emission targets for the ships. The new engines give significant benefits to ship designers and yards by being, acc to Wärtsilä, the most compact and lightest engine in its class. With this engine, designers have more freedom to optimize hull lines and design vessels with higher pay loads and better chartering competitiveness. Compared to earlier generations of main engines, daily fuel consumption savings of as much as 10 per cent can be achieved, while lubricating oil consumption has also been optimized. 

Delivery of the engines to the four 115,000 DWT tankers is scheduled for June 2014, and the vessels are expected to be in global operation by the end of 2014. The ships will fully comply with the International Maritime Organization's Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), which aims at promoting the use of more energy efficient and thus less polluting equipment and engines.  

The engines for the three 88,000 DWT bulk carriers are to be delivered in April, July and October 2015, and the ships are scheduled to be launched in June, September and December 2015 and will operate worldwide.  

The Wärtsilä X62 engine 

The Wärtsilä X62 is part of the recently introduced Generation X engine family and has been designed as a main engine for Aframax tankers, Panamax/Kamsarmax bulk carriers, as well as Feeder container vessels. 

The new engine offers high propulsion efficiency in a unique combination of low engine revolutions and an engine design with a minimum physical width. This results in a slimmer aft vessel hull design leading to further propeller efficiency improvements. One of the main targets when designing the X62 was to allow for slim hull lines to provide the ship with greater efficiency. 

The X62 has a cylinder bore of 620 mm and its power output is in the 6,360 to 21,280 kW range. It comes in 4 to 8 cylinder configurations. 

The Wärtsilä X62 is fully compliant with IMO Tier II requirements. It can also be equipped with a SCR catalyst to meet IMO Tier III NOx emission levels, and a scrubber to reduce SOx emissions to 0.1% - even with high sulphur fuels. 

The introduction of the EEDI index also puts an emphasis on CO2 emissions and total vessel efficiency. The internal engine efficiency of Wärtsilä X62 and the possibility to apply various Power Take Off (PTO) arrangements for onboard electricity production, make it easy for shipyards to meet these new requirements. 


Image: courtesy of Wärtsilä

New Fireboats With Voith Propulsion Amongst World’s Most Powerful

By George Backwell at August 09, 2013 23:29
Filed Under:

Voith Schneider propellers and turbo couplings will be propelling two fireboats designed by Robert Allan Ltd. for the Port of Long Beach, USA. With a water pumping capacity of more than 40,000 gallons per minute they will be among the world's most powerful fireboats.

Fireboat Design
Robert Allan Ltd. has in recent years designed a significant number of emergency response vessels for major port cities around the world. Primarily configured as fireboats, these platforms also frequently serve as Command and Control centres or as primary response vessels for local emergency actions, such as pollution response and search and rescue. They have a diverse array of configurations and fire-fighting performance.

RAnger-class 4600 Fireboat: Image courtesy of Robert Allan Ltd.

Based on the successful operation of numerous prototype fireboat designs, the Vancouver-based naval architects have created the RAnger Class of fireboats in a range of lengths and Fi-Fi capacity. These are intended generally to be used simply as the starting point for each new fireboat design, in response to each port's unique operational needs. The current series design goes upward from RAnger 2000  to the RAnger 4600.

The New Long Beach Fireboats
The vessels are currently being built by the Foss Maritime shipyard in Seattle. Delivery to the Long Beach port authority is scheduled for spring 2014 and autumn 2014 respectively. They will replace the two older fireboats Liberty and Challenger.

These new powerful fireboats will be equipped with two Voith Schneider Propellers VSP 26GII/165 AE45 (driven by two 1,350 kW diesel engines) each in the forward half of the vessel. The relatively short VSP blade length of 5.4 feet makes it possible for them to enter shallow areas of the port without compromising maneuvering safety and consequently they can also support onshore firefighting.

VSP 26GII/165 AE45 Image courtesy of Voith Schneider Propellers

For each fireboat, the Voith scope of supply includes not only two VSP but also two 866 DTL Voith turbo couplings as well as a twin control stand unit. Its positioning in the wheelhouse is such that the captain and crew benefit from a 360 degree panorama view.

The numbers are impressive: With a total of ten monitors, each of the two identical fireboats is able to throw more than 40,000 gallons of water per minute. The water jets reach a height of up to 236 feet and a distance of up to 580 feet. 

Two of the total of four fire pumps are driven by the diesel engines which supply propulsion power to the VSP. When fighting a fire, the VSP propulsion power is limited to approximately 25%; the remaining 75% is available to the fire pumps as pumping power. This allows the fireboats to be positioned fuel-efficiently using the VSP while at the same time increasing the vessels' pumping power without requiring additional engines. 




Is methanol the future of maritime fuels?

It’s not a secret anymore that the shipping industry today is facing some serious challenges with respect to meeting upcoming exhaust gas emissions regulations. The contribution from shipping to sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions today is considerable, thus the need for reductions. Three main alternatives – switching to low-sulphur fuels, installing exhaust after-treatment devices, e.g. scrubbers, or using natural gas – have been investigated to some extent, but very little information is available on methanol as a marine fuel.
Methanol is a clean fuel
Methanol does not contain sulphur. Emissions of particulate matter and NOx from methanol combustion in marine engines are expected to be lower than those resulting from the combustion of conventional fuels. Methanol is widely available, can be safely transported and distributed using existing infrastructure, and in 2012 it is currently much cheaper than marine distillate fuel based on energy content. It can be produced from both renewable and non-renewable feedstocks, as well as by recycling CO2 from flue gases or capture and recycling of atmospheric CO2. When “green” methanol becomes more widely available it will help ship operators meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and move shipping to a fossil fuel free and low-carbon future.

Methanol as a marine fuel
The Baltic Sea is part of a designated Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) where the maximum allowable sulphur content in marine fuels will be reduced to 0.1% in 2015. To help meet these requirements, as well as for other environmental reasons, in 2012 several companies and governmental agencies partnered to form SPIRETH (“Alcohol (SPIRits) and ETHers as marine fuel”), a full-scale pilot project for testing the application of methanol and DME as sulphur-free marine fuels. The project is expected to be completed in March 2014, less than one year from now. Should project results be positive, as expected, another driver of the fuel methanol market is likely to emerge, broadening the base for methanol producers around the world. The main goal of the project is to test methanol and di-methyl ether (DME) in a full scale pilot project, to contribute to finding the best environmental and economic alternative for a sustainable and successful maritime transport industry.
But before the shipping industry can use methanol fuel two preconditions must be fulfilled: the respective engine must be available and new rules for low flashpoint maritime fuels must be developed.
MAN developing methanol engines for Methanex ships
On 1 July, 2013, MAN Diesel & Turbo announced the development of a new ME-LGI dual fuel engine for Waterfront Shipping, which is wholly owned by the world’s largest methanol producer, Methanex. The engine expands the company’s dual-fuel portfolio, enabling the use of more sustainable fuels such as Methanol and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The engines will run on a blend of 95% Methanol and 5% Diesel. Should Methanol-based marine fuels deliver the anticipated emissions and fuel cost reductions, it could usher in a new era in shipping and bolster demand for methanol around the world.
MAN developed the ME-LGI engine in response to interest from the shipping world in operating on alternatives to heavy fuel oil. Methanol and LPG carriers have already operated at sea for many years and many more LPG tankers are currently being built as the global LPG infrastructure grows. With a viable, convenient and economic fuel already on-board, exploiting a fraction of the cargo to power a vessel makes sense with another important factor being the benefit to the environment. MAN Diesel & Turbo states that it is already working towards a Tier-III-compatible ME-LGI version.
The four G50ME-LGI units are targeted for the end of 2013, with engine delivery to follow in the summer of 2015.
DNV first with new rules for low flashpoint maritime fuels
DNV (Det Norske Veritas) release rules for using low flashpoint fuels such as methanol for bunker fuel. Interest for methanol as ship fuel is growing in response to the need to reduce NOx and SOx emissions. However, with a flashpoint of just 12°C, it poses safety challenges, and DNV’s new notation, an industry first, covers every aspect of safe design.
Methanol is most commonly produced from natural gas but it can also be produced from a wide range of biomass. It has a lower flashpoint than conventional fuel, so additional safety barriers are required. Flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which a volatile liquid can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air.
Methanol has a relatively low flashpoint, is toxic when it comes into contact with the skin or when inhaled or ingested and its vapour is denser than air. As a result of these properties, additional safety barriers are required by DNV.
The new mandatory notation LFL FUELLED covers aspects such as materials, arrangement, fire safety, electrical systems, control and monitoring, machinery components and some ship segment specific considerations.

MAN ME-LGI engine


Image / graph: courtesy of MAN and DNV

Cavotec wins breakthrough MoorMaster™ automated mooring project in Norway

By Peter Pospiech at August 05, 2013 08:18
Filed Under: Company News, General, Ports

Global engineering group Cavotec, based in Lugano, Switzerland, has secured a significant order for its MoorMaster™ automated mooring technology at a new bulk handling application in Norway. The project has a substantial financial value — it is the largest single MoorMaster™ order in Europe to date — and indicates the potential for Cavotec's automated mooring systems at ports worldwide.

Cavotec is to supply 18 MoorMaster™ 200B units for international minerals group LKAB's new iron ore berth in Narvik, northern Norway, on behalf of the PEAB construction and civil engineering group.

The scope of the order includes manufacture of the mooring units, installation and comprehensive technical support. The units will moor bulk carrier ships of up to 185,000 DWT and 305m.

This is the first MoorMaster™ bulk handling application in Europe, and the first located within the Arctic Circle. As such, the MM200B units for this project will be built to withstand the harsh winters and demanding operational conditions common to its location.

The technology is already in use at three bulk handling berths in Western Australia, where it is delivering substantial improvements in operational efficiency and safety.

MoorMaster™ is also used at frequent-use passenger ferry, container handling, Ro-Ro and lock applications around the world. In addition, Cavotec is seeing interest in the technology for offshore applications.

The LKAB facility at Narvik ships 15-20 million tonnes of iron ore every year. The MoorMaster™ units will ensure vessels will be moored quickly, safely and remain in position to ensure fast and efficient loading operations.

Traditionally mooring ships has always been done by using ropes. This practice has remained unchanged despite strong technical developments within ports and shipping over recent decades.

The automated mooring solutions developed by Cavotec MoorMaster bring mooring up to speed with the pace of the modern shipping industry. By using vacuum and hydraulic based technology instead of ropes the whole operation of mooring a ship is reduced to a simple press of a button Average time for a ship to be secured is reduced to within 12 seconds and is completely automatic. Ships can moor almost immediately without the need for mooring gangs, meaning cargo operations can commence sooner and the vessel will enjoy a faster turnaround. MoorMaster introduces enhanced safety for ship and shore personnel as the hazards associated with mooring lines are no longer present.  

MoorMaster has advanced real time monitoring features ensuring the mooring operator, ship captain and port authority are constantly well informed of the status of the mooring. Once the system is activated, the vacuum pads extend and secure the ship. The units are designed to allow for the majority of hull types easily accommodating typical surface irregularities. The units connect close to the waterline and counteract ship movements at the berth providing a significant improvement over mooring lines in surge affected ports. 

Moormaster installation in Denmark


Images: Courtesy of Cavotec

Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit System Links Boat Driveline & Navigation

By George Backwell at August 02, 2013 23:48
Filed Under: Marine Electronics

‘Glass cockpit system’  – though a term likely not familiar to sailors – was chosen by Volvo Penta to describe a new driveline and navigation display system, which they say changes the design of the boat driver’s environment from scratch.

Basically, ‘glass cockpit’, as understood by aviators, features a large LCD or LED electronic instrument display on a single screen that can be adjusted to show information of interest from flight management systems;  a development designed to allow pilots to put their focus on only the most pertinent information rather than on numerous mechanically linked dials and gauges. This is the concept Volvo Penta has developed and ‘sailorized’ in conjunction with Garmin International’s marine business segment.

Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit Information & Control System: Rendering courtesy of Volvo Penta

Offered in 8-inch, 12-inch and 15-inch multi-function display or a 15-inch, 17-inch and 19-inch monitor with accompanying black box processor, a Remote Input Device and SD Card Reader, the Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit System is versatile for installation in any boat type or location.

The display itself is built with the all glass, flat-mounted design of the current GPSMAP® 8000 Glass Helm Series offered by Garmin to boaters worldwide and incorporates a Volvo Penta user interface to Engine Vessel Control (EVC), Volvo Penta’s electronic platform.

The Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit displays are designed with ease of use and intuitive handling in mind, with touch and pinch-to-zoom functionality. The driver decides what functions should be displayed on the screens and how they should be distributed. Depending on boat type and size, one or more displays can be mounted on the dashboard.

Fully integrated with the EVC
The system is fully integrated with the Electronic Vessel Control (EVC), Volvo Penta’s unique electronic platform. That means that all Volvo Penta’s Easy Boating options such as Dynamic Positioning System, Interceptors and Autopilot can be monitored and controlled through the displays.

It also means that when the boat is powered up, all screens are lit up simultaneously, in an automobile-like manner. All settings that are made, including instrument dimming, are carried out concurrently at the helm and the flybridge.

Auto Guidance From ‘A’ to ‘B’ –  Automatically

The unique Auto Guidance function is one example of the many extremely useful features in the Glass Cockpit System. By searching through all relevant nautical charts, it creates a route that guides the driver to avoid shallow water, buoys and other obstacles. Coupled with the Volvo Penta Autopilot, the Auto Guidance will not only show the way, it will actually take the boat there!

The Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit System will be exclusively sold through the Volvo Penta distribution network, while compatible radar, sonar and additional marine network accessories can be purchased from any Garmin retailer.  The new system will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013. 



Enhancing life boat safety

By Peter Pospiech at August 01, 2013 06:33
Filed Under: Company News

DNV (Det Norske Veritas) is taking lifeboat safety one step further. The company claims that maritime lifeboat safety will be enhanced by transferring offshore lifeboat design practices to ships.

The shortcomings of existing free fall lifeboat designs were revealed in a number of incidents related to structural safety, human loads and headway back in 2005. A joint industry project was initiated by OLF (the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association) to find the reasons for these incidents.

The project revealed that the SOLAS requirements, on which the design criteria were built, were based on lifeboat performance during test launches into calm waters and from heights significantly smaller than those encountered on host facilities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. With larger waves and drop heights than those presumed, the lifeboats were exposed to greater loads and damage, which explains the shortcomings revealed in 2005.

As a result of these findings, DNV was asked to develop a new standard for the design of free fall lifeboats. The new “Design of Free Fall Lifeboats – DNV-OS-E406” standard was launched in 2009 and revised the year after. Based on modern limit-state design methodology (rather than performance during drop tests), the standard was quickly embraced by the Norwegian offshore industry. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway refers to the standard as the norm for the design of free fall lifeboats.

Lifeboats on the Norwegian Continental Shelf are now being built according to the DNV standard.

The standard is currently being revised to include new calculation methods, such as computational fluid mechanics, to estimate extreme loads in an even more robust way.

Examples of Life Boats

Maritime lifeboat safety

Today, maritime lifeboat release and retrieval systems are being developed according to design criteria based on SOLAS requirements. DNV suggests that maritime lifeboat safety may be enhanced by transferring offshore design practices to ships. DNV-OS-E406 can with a few amendments easily be transferred to apply to free fall lifeboats on board ships.


“If the shipping industry decides to implement our Free Fall Lifeboat standard, I believe maritime lifeboat safety will be taken an important step further,” says Olav Rognebakke, the head of DNV’s Ship Hydrodynamics and Stability Section.


Images: Courtesy of DNV

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