Cruise Shipping Companies like to bunker in Hamburg

By Peter Pospiech at November 21, 2013 05:39
Filed Under: Fuels & Lubes, General, Ports

Exactness and reliability at maritime services are important

One factor of the great success of port of Hamburg as a cruise shipping venue is the extremely reliable working port service segment.

In the cruise industry it is very much essential that the ships are precisely on time. This is particularly important for the short trips. The universal port of Hamburg has gained its very good image in the time-sensitive container shipping segment and has now transferred it also into the very ambitious cruise vessels. “It must be a precision landing”, says Stefan Frommann, member of the board of the Friedrich G. Frommann GmbH. The worldwide active company belongs to a small circle of companies who are selling and supplying fuels and lube oils in Hamburg. The company uses, among others, four bunker boats. The latest and newest, “Seeve” and “Dresden II” supplied recently fuel and oils to the “Queen Mary 2”. The huge cruise liner moored in Hamburg in the morning and left the berth in the evening for a mini-cruise to Oslo. Already three days later, the much-loved cruise liner, which has had its very first visit to the Elbe-City in 2004, will be back in Hamburg. At this time the annual cruising balance of the British Cunard Line will be presented on board the company’s flagship. In the evening on the same day the 345 m long vessel leaves the port of Hamburg.

Allways an eyecatcher: the sistership "Queen Elizabeth" of the "Queen Mary2" in Hamburg

That much is clear: “The visit by the “Queen Mary 2” to Hamburg on 6November 2013 will go down in the annals of Hamburg’s cruise industry and become an unforgettable ship’s call for everyone concerned,” said Frank Horch, Senator of the Ministry for Economic, Transport and Innovation Affairs. The visit was not only the 168th call of the current season but also marked the arrival of the 500 000th cruise guest in the city. “For the first time ever Hamburg has achieved this magical mark in a single season and, moreover, done so two years earlier than planned,” announced the visibly proud senator.
This year the Hamburg cruise season will, for the first time, be ending on 31. December. “Initial estimates by the association forecast some 555 000 passengers by the end of the season,” said Gerd Drossel, HCC Managing Director. This represents 29 per cent growth over the previous year (2012: 430 329). In total 177 cruise ships called at the Port of Hamburg (+ 10 per cent over the previous year). 167 of the calls were by ships beginning or ending their cruises, including 32 calls during which there was a partial turn-around, ten were transit calls. The percentage of turn-around guests beginning or ending their cruise in Hamburg increased to 94 per cent (2012: 89 per cent). “According to these figures Hamburg was Germany’s most frequented embarkation or disembarkation port in 2013, once again topping the German cruise port rankings, as was already the case in 2012,” stated Drossel.


image: courtesy of Hamburg Cruise Center

Cracks in hull area

By Peter Pospiech at November 19, 2013 06:00
Filed Under: General, Research & Development, Shipyards

First results presented about MOL COMFORT’s sea damage
Reasons for the severe sea damage of the container vessel MOL COMFORT still not finally cleared.
Together with both the Japanese classification society ClassNK and Mitsubishi Shipyard the shipping company Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) currently investigates the disaster last summer where the 8.110 TEU-container carrier damaged in heavy sea and finally broke in two while underway from Singapore to Jeddah. The crew could escape in life rafts and were picked up by another vessel. Now preliminary results have been released.

Experts conclude, based on the very serious water ingress at the center part of the hull, that a crack in the ships bottom has been occurred. In the course of investigations on board the sister ships of the MOL COMFORT deformations of up to 20 mm have been detected. But there exist still not a clear statement if these deformations have been the reason for the water ingress. Because of this the shipping company, shipyard and the classification society decided on all sister ships – MOL CELEBRATION, MOL COURAGE, MOL CREATION, MOL CHARISMA, MOL COMPETENCE and MOL COMMITMENT – to stiffen this area. On a few of them the repair works meanwhile have been finished. According to MOL the hull in this area is now stiffen twice as ClassNK originally asked for.
Already shortly after the sea damage were repeatedly misconstructions as reasons of the sea damage afloat.

Power Failure Engine Re-start Speed-up in New Maersk Drillships

By George Backwell at November 15, 2013 22:51
Filed Under: Azimuth pod, Gensets

If power is lost to a DPS-controlled drill-ship’s thrusters there is a risk that the rig will drift off its position, which can potentially give rise to huge impacts and the risk of damage to the subsea equipment (Blow Out Preventer (BOP), Riser, and associated equipment). Along with such an unfortunate occurance also will come significant financial impacts; the cost of repairs, new equipment and lost day rates. Clearly, in the event of a power loss, the speed of engine re-start is of critical important.

Drill-ship building scene: Photo courtesy of Maersk Drilling

Since 2011 Maersk Drilling has invested USD 4.5 billion in seven new drilling units; three ultra harsh environment jack-ups at Keppel FELS in Singapore and four ultra deepwater drill-ships at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. In the design of the drill-ships’ electrical propulsion system, Maersk say that their engineers, set the engine emergency start-up time bar higher, looking for a decrease in the usual 30-40 second blackout start-up time. In response engine designer MAN Diesel & Turbo in Germany, the licensee Doosan (which is building the engines), Samsung and ABB (generator manufacturer) put their heads together and delivered: the modified engine is now able to re-start in less than 10 seconds, more precisely, in just 8.5 seconds. How was this achieved?

Drillship image backdrop & technicians: Photo courtesy of Maersk Drilling

Fast Emergency Start-up
The fast start mode (only to be activated during emergency situations) was obtained by optimising and tuning the existing engine systems, that is, the turbochargers, jet assist system, starting air system, governor control system and the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) of the generator.

As a result of these modifications, the engines’ optimum now matched the generator output. This was achieved by de-rating the engines and introducing smaller turbochargers, which has improved the load step performance (the ability to take up load quickly), and this will result in improved performance of the MMC (Multi Machine Control) mode during drilling operations.

As an important spin-off from the work done, decreased fuel oil consumption during low-load operations will result in a yearly fuel saving of circa 5.3% compared with a standard engine set-up.

Interestingly, according to Maersk Drilling, the modified engines now  meet the starting-time requirements for an emergency generator at a nuclear power plant.



Viking launches new evacuation system

By Peter Pospiech at November 14, 2013 06:32
Filed Under: Company News, General

A new super-sized, super-flexible evacuation system from Esbjerg-based company Viking Life - Saving Equipment has just been launched globally. It is a revolutionary hybrid that combines the best of life-boats and life-rafts in one.


"Today, the larger and wider ships, the number of passengers and variation in trim height and angle can be huge in an emergency. The Life Craft is a hugely flexible evacuation system that can handle such extremes," said Vikings Vice President Niels Kinsman.
Life Craft system consists of two main elements: Life Craft itself - a self- floating inflatable boat with four engines with a high degree of maneuverability and safety as well as storage and flotation device, either placed on the deck or built, containing up to four Life Craft - with a capacity of 200 people each, with a total capacity of 800 people.
In 2009, Vikings development teams asked themselves: Is it possible to build a life-saving vessel that combines all the benefits of modern lifeboats, such as self-maneuverability, with the flexibility, convenience as today's life-rafts have? And can such a vessel ensuring a rapid mass evacuation with maximum safety for passengers and crew?
After four long years found the answer: The Viking Life Craft ™ System that changes the discussion about what is best, lifeboat or life-raft, at least when it comes to evacuation systems with large capacity.
There are several advantages of this hybrid solution. For example, the new Life Craft System ensures a whole new level. A specially designed chute system helps evacuees with special needs, such as children, the elderly and people on stretchers.
The system also takes up less space than lifeboats, freeing deck space for companies that are eager to provide their passengers with several cabins, shopping and other travel improvements.

Source: Viking Life - Saving Equipment/Maritime Denmark



Damen: Two Fast Crew Suppliers for Naviera

By Peter Pospiech at November 12, 2013 06:11
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems, General, Offshore, Shipyards

Fleet grows up to ten vessels – On duty in the Gulf of Mexico – “Sea Axe Bow” reduces fuel consumption.

Dutch based Damen Shipyard will deliver two new builds to Mexico.

The 50 m crew boats, designed with the Damen patented Sea Axe bow, are currently under construction at Damen yards in Vietnam. Delivery for the first vessel is expected late November 2013, whereas the second vessel will be handed over to Naviera Integral mid-January 2014. The crew suppliers are the ninth and tenth of this type Damen has delivered to its long-time Mexican client.
The ship type, in the form of Naviera Integral’s ‘Doña Angela Maria T’, was awarded ‘Ship of the Year’ in 2009, at the Dutch Maritime Awards Gala. The main reasons were the proven success of the Sea Axe bow concept, the resulting improved seakeeping in heavy weather (-70% slamming), the Wide Operating Speed Range engines in combination with fixed propellers (allowing for more thrust and higher maximum power at lower cost) and the tested and proven reduction of fuel consumption of 18% (compared to other, conventional crew supply vessels).

The FCS 5009 is outfitted with a smart ventilation system for the Engine Room, leaving the aft deck free of ventilation ducts, which reduces possible accidents when operating the on-board crane. Furthermore, the ergonomical lay-out of the bridge and the second helmsman seat at the aft steering position, offering high visibility on the aft deck, are instrumental in improving crew-safety. Last, thanks to its seakeeping behaviour, crew remains brisk for a longer period of time and passengers arrive less worn at their destination.


Image: courtesy of Damen

New Helicopter-Competitive Offshore Crew Boat

By George Backwell at November 09, 2013 05:00
Filed Under: Offshore, Propulsion systems

A hi-speed offshore crew transfer catamaran is under construction in the Incat Tasmania shipyard whose speed and passenger comfort, designers Incat Crowther say, will make it more cost-effective for transfers of crew and cargo supply operations to offshore platforms than a helicopter. A bold claim and worth looking at.

Helicopter replacement Hi-speed crew transfer cat: Image courtesy Incat Crowther

The new 70-m (230-ft) vessel due for launch in 2014 will be capable of carrying 150 passengers and 14 crew, along with 200 metric tons of deck cargo, and is the largest so far to be fitted with HamiltonJet propulsion. Power comes from four 2880 kW MTU 16V 4000 series M73L engines rated at 2050 rpm, driving two 900mm diameter waterjet pumps to give an expected top speed of 36 knots with an efficient service speed of 30 knots at full load and 90% MCR.  In conjunction with the propulsion water jets, four azimuthing drop-down thrusters forward will help take care of the maneuvering demands of the DP2 control system.

A larger HamiltonJet HT1000 unit in the NZ factory: Photo courtesy HamiltonJet

The semi-SWATH hull design of the catamaran, along with active ride control, is intended to give 150 passengers as comfortable a journey to offshore sites as possible even in up to 40 knots of wind and seas 3-m (9.8-ft) high. Nevertheless, essential to the whole operation in such bad weather, if this distinctive catamaran is to compete with a helicopter service, is some means to keep the boat positioned in exactly the right spot for safe boarding operations.

With this in mind the designers decided on a DP2 system with no less than four control stations each utilizing HamiltonJet’s MECS control system integrated with a DNV DYNPOS-AUTR dynamic positioning system.  This in combination with a stabilized access platform is intended to allow crew transfers in up to sea state 4. Just in case, and for operations in higher sea conditions, a crane lifted personnel transfer system is provided for up to two groups of 9 offshore workers.

Whilst the primary function of the vessel is crew transfer, the vessels arrangement provides flexibility with over 100 square meters of cargo deck, rated at 2 tonnes per sq metre. This capacity will allow the vessel to complete cargo hot shots for up to 110 tonnes of specialized equipment to a range of 300 nm.

The new crew transfer vessel will be delivered to Caspian Marine Services Ltd (CMS) in Baku, Azerbaijan, via a transit through the Volga-Don Canal. Once deployed, CMS will put it to work on  crew and logistic service provision to platforms in the Caspian Sea.



New Allianz Study: Worldwide more than 100 ship’s lost

By Peter Pospiech at November 07, 2013 06:00
Filed Under: General

Main reasons are cost pressure and poor education

During the last year 106 vessels have been sunken according to accidents at sea or have been damaged so badly on the global oceans that they had to be scrapped.

Main reasons are, according a study, fatigue, cost pressure and an unsatisfactory education. In comparison with last year the number of unsuccessful vessels increased by 15 (effective date: 25. of November). Recently this was published by the Allianz-Insurance group in Munich, Germany. The most spectacular disaster was the average of the Costa Concordia on 11. of January 2012 with 32 dead. Much more human beings died at the sunk of the ferry Rabaul Queen next to Papua New Guinea on Feb. 2. with more than 110 dead.  But the most heavily averaged vessels are freighter.

One main reason for the fatal disaster on sea is human error, says the study. “A number of shipping companies, particularly in the very strong competitive segment of bulker or tanker, cannot afford anymore maintenance or training for their crews”, says Sven Gerhard, maritime expert at the Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). The group belongs to the worldwide leading ship insurance companies. In spite of the last years negative balance, the expert see improvements on the way for more ships safety. The average per year of the last ten years shows that 146 vessels have been lost – the actual number lays around a third below. Because of new technologies, better education, increasing regulations and safety initiatives of this line, ships losses for some time are basically declining. 

The most ship disasters happen in south of China, Indochina Peninsula, Indonesia and the Philippines. With some 30 disaster this region features double that much as compared to the second dangerous region: the easterly part of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. “Sinking Ships” count for around 49% of all losses during the last year, followed by 22% of grounding. Collisions are comparatively, with only 6%, seldom.

Everybody still remembers the catastrophically disaster of the Costa Concordia which was obviously based on pure imprudence


image: PPM News Service Archiv

Evermore Slow Steaming

By Peter Pospiech at November 05, 2013 08:00
Filed Under: General, Ports

Container Shipping Companies reduce capacity by 7.4 % - longer port laytimes also helps

Along with longer port laytimes and evermore lower voyage speeds container shipping companies reducing continuously the transport capacities. In order to tone down, to increase the round-trip time and to lift the rate level vessels reduce their speed. Since beginning of 2009 a total of 1.27 million TEU capacities have been taken off the market, says the actual market report of the branch service Alphaliner. During the last twelve months alone it has been 260 000 TEU. A further instrument played an important role: shipping owner extended their port laytime, inter alia because the meanwhile larger vessels need more clearance times. Together with the longer round-trip times it was possible to absorb 7.4 % of the existing fleet. According to Alphaliner it has been 6.2 % last year. 

Speed will be reduced evermore. After Slow Steaming with speeds around 18 knots came Extra Slow Steaming and Super Slow Steaming. Container vessels partly navigate with less than 14 knots. Based on this the round-trip times on the Far Eastern-North Europe Routes – here the taken measures are influencing factors – have been extended, between 2006 and 2013, from three to eleven weeks. In the Far East – Mediterranean Service the analysts recorded an increase from seven to ten weeks.

Another important factor is that the shipping companies are reducing drastically their fuel costs by this measure. A typical 7.000 TEU vessels, originally designed for 25 knots, which is now navigating with 12 knots, saves around 210 ton per 24 hours. This corresponds to a reduction of almost 85% at half-speed. Considering the actual fuel price, with fuel of RMK 500 and 700, of around USD 600 per ton shipping owner save around USD 126.000 per day!

Because of the development of larger vessels port laytimes are extending - also this helps against over capacities

Image source: PPM News Service 


Super-Slow Steaming: VTI Turbocharger Retrofit Pay-Off

By George Backwell at November 01, 2013 23:20
Filed Under: Marine Diesel Engines

What to do when the tanker markets are depressed? Maersk Tankers has taken a hard look at bunker fuel consumption, which on their Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) makes up about 85% of the voyage costs. They found that the key to improve earnings is super slow steaming, which they’ve taken to a whole new low with giant VLCC’s ambling over the oceans at speeds as slow as 8.5 knots.

Super slow steaming requires engine load to be decreased down to 10%, which is equivalent to 50% speed, but the company recently decided to further economise on fuel consumption (and not by reducing the speed of its ships yet more) with the retrofit of a Variable Turbine Inlet system (VTI) onboard the 318,000 dwt crude oil carrier Maersk Ingrid. Manufacturers, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Engine (MHI-MME) say that their VTI turbocharger system has been been fitted to more than ten new buildings, but never before retrofitted to an existing unit, a job that took just four days during the Maersk Ingrid’s first dry-docking.

Photo courtesy of Maersk Tankers

VTI technology & slow steaming
Ship’s engineers normally employ turbocharger cut-out during slow-steaming, so that in an engine equipped with several turbochargers one of them is stopped at slow engine speed. Then, when say one of four turbochargers is stopped, exhaust gas is distributed to the remaining three, which serves to increase the scavenging air pressure and improves fuel efficiency. MHI-MME set out to redesign the turbocharger hardware to improve on that operational procedure and came up with  their VTI technology.

This system which was developed for the manufacturer’s MET turbocharger series, incorporates a gas inlet passage, which is equipped with an on-off valve. This changes turbine capacity  in  two  stages  by  admitting  the exhaust gas into two separate  concentric segments  of  the  nozzle  ring.  When the vessel is operating in slow steaming mode, the scavenging air pressure of the main engine is increased by closing the on-off valve, thereby decreasing the fuel consumption rate and CO2 emission levels.

VTI turbocharger components: Image courtesy of MHI-MME

Opening & closing nozzle throat: Image courtesy of MHI-MMSE

Maersk Ingrid's main engine is a Wärtsilä, type 7RTA82T diesel fitted with Mitsubishi MET71MA turbochargers, and after the VTI retrofit NOx emission levels were measured during sea trials. The results confirmed that the vessel was compliant with IMO Tier 2 exhaust gas emission regulations; moreover MMH-MME  demonstrated that the  expected  fuel consumption reductions during low-load operation could also be achieved without sacrificing performance in the high-load range.

Tests are said to have showed that the fuel consumption reduction was  around 1.6 - 3.2%  in  a  load  range  of  10 to  50% MCR and the manufacturers consider that the pay-back period for the retrofit will be attractively  short. 




Fleet in service – exploit its potential, control costs: Extension of ship’s hull

By Peter Pospiech at October 31, 2013 10:21
Filed Under: Company News, General, Shipyards

More stowage space with new hull segment

On a few ships of the current fleet exist the possibility to extend the hull, to increase the capacity and efficiency of the ships operation. With such an extension load capacity, carrying capacity and contractually project loading increases – whereby transport costs per shipping unit decreases. Speed of the vessel is practically not influenced by this capacity extension.

To do this the ship’s hull will be separated midships and extended with a new longitudinal segment. This is a very common conversion process and offers the advantage that the new ships segment can be completely prepared before the vessel arrives at the shipyard.

The extension of the "Tor Ficaria" at MWB shipyard in Bremerhaven lasted a few weeks

By this the time for docking can be shortened as much as possible. In order to establish whether such an extension is practicable and make sense, the execution of a pilot study is advised. As a basic parameter for the fleet in service the smooth water bending moment (SWBM) should be considered. The calculation of the structural strengthening, load line, tonnage, position of the collision bulkhead as well as intact and leakage stability belongs to the analysis preparation. 

The equipment of anchor, anchor winches, anchoring element and rudder systems should also be checked. The loadability of the ship’s hull can be, in case of necessity, determined by finite element method. For all the preparation e.g. analysis, construction of the new segment, a lead time of around 6 months can be calculated. The extension of the hull is mainly suitable for younger vessel, which can benefit from the extended load capacity.


image: courtesy of Eckardt

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