GL’s Route Specific Container Stowage Wins Innovation Award

By Peter Pospiech at October 29, 2013 05:31
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems

GL’s Route Specific Container Stowage class notation has been recognised as the technological innovation of the year at the prestigious Containerisation International 2013 Awards ceremony in London. The awards are given in recognition of companies and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the container liner shipping and logistics industry, through being innovative, proactive and pioneering.  

Traditionally rules and layouts for vessel lashing systems have been based on the stormy North Atlantic routes. This ignores the potential of tailoring plans to reflect the reduced wave and wind loads of other routes, increasing the stowage potential of a vessel.  

“We are very pleased to accept this award,” said Jan-Olaf Probst, GL Global Ship Type Director. “We have worked closely with several industry partners to develop the RSCS notation and have helped them to the increase their loading flexibility, while maintaining the same high levels of safety for their vessels and cargo.” 

GL developed, published, and implemented rules for the Route Specific Container Stowage (RSCS) class notation by combining long-term statistical wave data with advanced computations, taking into account considering current market developments, for routes with better weather conditions.  With RSCS, ship operators have greater flexibility in stowing heavier containers in higher positions on deck. This is because the centre of gravity of shielded stacks can be increased by up to 21%. Moreover, a significant increase of in-hold stack weight for 20-foot stowage – up to 25% - can be achieved. In addition to these benefits, nominal capacity can be increased and an additional tier can be added where the line of sight is not affected. 

Container stowage on a Maersk Triple-E class vessel

The implementation of RSCS is easy and offers high impact with low implementation effort. Owners and managers merely adopt an addendum to the Container Securing Arrangement plan and install or update a certified lashing computer on board, with integrated software elements from GL. No further retro-fitting measures of equipment are needed. 


Image: courtesy of GL and PPM News Service

Retractable Propulsion Tunnel in the Europort 2013 Spotlight

By George Backwell at October 25, 2013 23:37
Filed Under:

Van der Velden Marine Systems will be highlighting a new propulsion tunnel developed specifically for inland vessels at the upcoming Europort 2013 Expo in Rotterdam: what’s different about this tunnel is that it’s completely retractable, and for very good reason.

Fixed tunnels are commonly used on inland ships to provide a proper water flow into the propellers in shallow waters, but the downside of this arrangement is that it has been found that loaded inland ships sail in deeper waters about 85% of the time, where the tunnel simply acts as a drag. The increased hull frictional resistance, due to the permanently installed tunnel, results in reduced efficiency and consequent higher fuel consumption most of the time.

Inland waterway tankship: Photo courtesy of Van der Velden

Sizing up this contradiction of purposes, Van der Velden hit on the idea of a fully retractable tunnel, turning for help in the development of the concept to the German research institute DST (Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems). The outcome of this collaboration was the patented Van der Velden® FLEX tunnel, which is embedded into the hull, and only deployed when the vessel enters shallow waters.

Van der Velden® FLEX tunnel mechanism: Image courtesy of the manufacturers

It has been found that vessels fitted with the retractable tunnel remain operational for longer than other vessels in shallow waters. In addition, the manufacturers say it is possible to optimise the hull design so that the cargo space and loading capacity are increased. Smaller propellers and rudders can be installed, reducing both weight and draught in equal measure. The FLEX Tunnel is also approximately 66% the size of a conventional tunnel, resulting in lower resistance.

Another benefit comes from the way the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel is mounted on the nozzle. Conventional tunnels are installed over the nozzle in order to allow for water discharges via a vent-hole between tunnel and nozzle; an arrangement that increases the length of the tunnel and causes it to stick out behind the nozzle. With the retractable tunnel this is no longer the case; the retractable tunnel is seamlessly constructed over the nozzle, stopping any false air infiltration between the nozzle and tunnel.

The manufacturers add that to ensure  optimal efficiency and thus maximise fuel savings the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel is designed to be combined and integrated with their DOLPHIN XR rudder and spoiler.

Van de Velden summarise the following benefits:

  • Considerable fuel saving
  • Less resistance
  • Improved manoeuvrability and velocity
  • Propulsion efficiency of about 10%
  • Increased cargo space and loading capacity




New windfarm vessel concept from Norway

By Peter Pospiech at October 24, 2013 07:30
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems, General, Shipyards, Workboats

This new design has been developed by the experienced Fjellstrand shipyard, Norway, which is noted for building advanced fast passenger ferry designs. These windfarm vessel designs were developed as the yard seeks to diversify into new markets and it received orders for six of the Windserver vessels from World Marine Offshore before the first vessel had been built. The hull design is a trimaran with the centre hull designed to operate as a SWASH (Small Waterline Area Single Hull) with the narrow side hulls providing stability The first two units of a revolutionary new type of windfarm vessel have been delivered by a Norwegian shipyard. The new design combines technology from SWATH and trimaran concepts with the addition of some fast ferry technology to create a vessel that is claimed to be both fast and seaworthy and to have good low speed stability. The Windserver design was one of the concepts that were shortlisted in a competition held by the Carbon Trust to find improved concepts to support and service windfarm installations. The Windserver designs come in two sizes, one of 25m in length and one of 30m, with the construction of both designs in aluminium. The 25m version is certified to carry 12 technicians whilst the larger version will be coded for 25 people. 

The hull design is a trimaran with the centre hull designed to operate as a SWASH (Small Waterline Area Single Hull) with the narrow side hulls providing stability. The lower bulbous section of the centre hull is supported by two slim vertical struts and the hull is fitted with a ballasting system that allows the vessel to operate at a lower resistance and a higher speed when de-ballasted. This allows a transit speed of 25 knots on the outward and return passages to a windfarm whilst the vessel is ballasted down to create a stable platform when performing transfers or when the speed reduces to 12.5 knots. The propulsion is provided by four diesel engines which are coupled in pairs to provide twin screw propulsion through Servogear CP propellers. This arrangement was selected to provide a flexible propulsion system with a high level of redundancy. Fjellstrand can also offer these designs with water jet propulsion as an alternative and features such as thrusters and dynamic positioning can also be added.

Fjellstrand has used their motion control experience to develop a passive system for these vessels that is based on two fins at the bow of the centre hull. These fins act as motion dampers in waves to provide a smoother ride for passengers. In developing these designs Fjellstrand has included the possibility for them to be used in alternative roles such as surveying, search and rescue, operating UAVs and for diving support so that the vessels can be used at windfarms as they industry moves from the construction phase to the maintenance phase. The larger sizes of wind farm service vessels, with their improved seakeeping, will find employment as the industry moves from the inshore development to locations farther offshore. It can be 100 miles or more from the shore in more exposed waters. The World Marine vessels will operate from Denmark in the Danish sector of the North Sea initially.


Image: courtesy of Fjellstrand

Wärtsilä’s next generation of thruster

By Peter Pospiech at October 22, 2013 12:01
Filed Under: Azimuth pod, drive systems, Propulsion systems

Wärtsilä introduces a new series of both steerable and transverse thrusters that will further develop the current portfolio. The new Wärtsilä Steerable Thruster series (WST) is being introduced to replace the company’s Modular Thruster and Compact Thruster series, while the new Wärtsilä Transverse Thruster series (WTT) is replacing the current range of transverse thrusters. The new products have been developed in response to changing market demands, requiring competitive thruster products which are more efficient and cover a wider power range.

The latest insights in thruster design were implemented using state-of-the-art numerical simulation tools. The first product to enter the pilot phase is a 4500 kW under water (de)-mountable steerable thruster, the WST-45-U, which began its pilot phase in summer 2013. Two more products, the WST-14 and the WTT-11, are scheduled to begin their pilot phase before the end of this year. Wärtsilä will continue the introduction of different sizes of thrusters in the coming years based on market requirements and customer priorities.

The new thrusters are available for various types of vessel depending on the size and features of the product. For example, the WST-45-U is designed mainly for the offshore drilling market; the WST-14 is intended for tugs up to 45tBP, inland waterway vessels, and for river/sea going cargo ships. This thruster is compatible with both medium speed and high speed (1800 rpm) diesel engines. The WTT-11 is a 1100 kW tunnel thruster designed mainly for merchant cargo vessels.

The new WST and WTT units come with several added features, such as an increased power range, an 8° tilted propeller gearbox, and a new Wärtsilä Thruster Nozzle for the thrusters designed for offshore drilling. The new thrusters intended for tug boat applications also have the new nozzle, which improves performance and has a high level of system integration as well. The new tunnel thrusters are more compact and efficient than earlier versions.

Image: courtesy of Wärtsilä

LNG Global Bunkering Safety Standards RP Tabled by DNV GL

By George Backwell at October 19, 2013 00:26
Filed Under: Fuels & Lubes, LNG fuel

Classification Society DNV GL has published the draft of a Recommended Practice (RP) for maritime LNG bunkering which after a six-week consultation period will be published as a practical guide to help authorities, LNG bunker suppliers and ship operators undertake LNG bunkering safely and efficiently. This article overviews their initiative.

LNG bunkering: Rendering courtesy of DNV GL

Currently, 83 LNG-fuelled ships are in operation or on order worldwide, ranging from passenger ferries, Coast Guard ships and cargo vessels to tankers and platform supply vessels. Estimates put the global LNG-fuelled fleet at 3,200 by the year 2025. With the EU poised to invest in helping equip 139 seaports and inland ports with LNG bunker stations by 2025, the time seemed  ripe to DNV GL for it to set out RP’s for the design and operation of LNG bunkering on a global  scale. But roughly, what dangers are inherent in LNG bunkering?

LNG release by accident
At atmospheric pressure, LNG will boil at -162ᴼ C and represents a cryogenic hazard causing embrittlement of carbon steel structures and potential frost burns to exposed personnel. Evaporated natural gas will be cold and heavier than air, and will thereby be spread by gravity. The natural gas is non-toxic, but can threaten personnel through asphyxiation due to depletion of oxygen.

Illustration of two-phase release of LNG: Courtesy of DNV LR draft RP document

When the natural gas is mixed with air after rainout evaporation as shown above, it will gradually become flammable although  only within a narrow range of concentrations in the air. Less air does not contain enough oxygen to sustain a flame, while more air dilutes the gas too much for it to ignite. In the event of a spill, LNG vapours will disperse with the prevailing wind, but ignition will occur if the gas cloud comes in contact with a spark or flame in a suitable air concentration (typically within  the range of 5% and 15% for pure methane).

Consequently, protection from cryogenic exposure, as well as from fire exposure, is needed. Since hazardous concentration levels of LNG resulting in asphyxiation are much higher than the combustible range, this additional hazard is usually not considered.

Safety concept: ’Layers of Defence’
The consultation document enlarges upon an earlier ISO guideline concept of concentration on so-called ‘layers of defence’ (LOD) at both the equipment and procedural levels of the bunkering operation, briefly as follows:

1st LOD
Requirements for operations, systems and components aiming at prevention of accidental releases that could develop into hazardous situations.
2nd LOD
Requirements to contain and control hazardous situations in the case that a release occurs and thereby prevent/minimize the harmful effects.
3rd LOD
Such matters as:
    •    Rescuing casualties
    •    Safeguarding /evacuating others
    •    Minimising damage to property and the environment
    •    Preventing escalation / bringing the incident under control

Illustrating the global reach of this DNV GL initiative, the draft RP consultation is being presented in the following countries: seminar in Melbourne , Australia hosted by Australian Shipowners Association;  in Perth, Western Australia hosted by DNV;  in Tokyo, Japan, hosted by Norwegian Embassy; in Seoul, South Korea, hosted by DNV (alongside the IBC LNG bunkering conference), and in Singapore hosted by DNV.

Source: DNV GL (Request registration at to view the comprehensive Draft RP paper)



Fleet in service – exploit its potential, control costs: Lesser Power for Big Engines

By Peter Pospiech at October 17, 2013 10:28
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems, General, Marine Diesel Engines

De-rating of prime mover reduces fuel consumption

In today’s environment of slow steaming, a permanent engine reduction can increase remarkably the economy of existing vessels and reduce the fuel consumption under these new engine load conditions. Main engines are normally designed for a specific high speed. However, for Slow-Steaming another Power-Speed-Course is decisive. A throttling of the engines reduces the engine specific maximal continuous power (MCR) and with this, the designed maximal speed of the vessel permanently. This leads to a higher economy with lower specific fuel consumption (sfoc).

MV Cap San Nicolas (9.600 TEU) in service since May 2013

Measures for throttling include the modification of the injectors, plates between crosshead and piston rod as well as a new set-up of the turbo charger. This means, that always the engines technical data have to be changed. In addition also cylinders can be cut-off - this has to be done in connection with a new torsional vibration analysis.  

The most important step with a throttling project is a comprehensive analysis of the expected operational profile as well as the conceived vessels speed after the modification. Very often is the limitation of the engine power combined with an exchange of the propeller. The propeller diameter optimization for higher performance at lower engine speed can reduce the payback period of the throttling project. Certain throttling measures, particularly at mechanically controlled engines, can require additional NOx-measures, which may have negative results on the specific fuel consumption (sfoc). At the end of the day everyone knows that de-rating is worth doing so.

Vessels main propulsion engines must last a lifetime

Throttling is suitable for all vessels, particularly for container vessels.


Images / source: Hamburg Süd, MAN, GL

Rolls-Royce powers world's first tug driven by natural gas engines

By Peter Pospiech at October 15, 2013 03:31
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems, Fuels & Lubes, LNG fuel, Shipyards, Workboats

Rolls-Royce has congratulated Sanmar Shipyard for the completion of the world's first gas powered tug, in a ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, this weekend.

Sanmar has completed the first of two tugs for Norwegian customer Buksér og Berging, which each feature two Rolls-Royce Bergen C26:33L6PG engines fueled purely by natural gas (stored as LNG), with a combined output of 3,410kW (1,705 kW each) at 1,000 rev/min.The lean-burn engines operates on the Otto cycle with mixture compression and an external ignition source.A rich gas/air mix in a precombustion chamber is ignited and forms a strong ignition source for the very lean mixture in the cylinder for knock-free combustion. The engines are direct coupled to Rolls-Royce azimuthing Z-drives mounted aft in ASD configuration with controllable pitch propellers. Also, the new hull and propulsion system will achieve up to 20% higher thrust efficiency compared to standard designs. The LNG system is designed by AGA Cryo and comprises an 80m3 LNG tank, two cold boxes and bunkering system. The system is fully redundancy (i.e. no diesel back up is required). The tugs will obtain DNV Gas fuelled notation. 

View-cut of the natural gas propulsion drive-line

The first boat, named Borgøy, will enter service next month following a series of sea trials. It will be operated by Norwegian state oil company Statoil at its Kårstø gas terminal. The second tug, Bokn, will enter service in 2014.

1. Natural gas powered tug,Borgøy

The Rolls-Royce scope of supply includes the gas tank and supply system and two newly-designed 65t bollard pull US35 azimuth thrusters with 3,000mm ducted CP propellers in a new compact design with shorter stem length that ensure the tugs have rapid manoeuvring and positioning capabilities – which is essential for tug operation. 

Neil Gilliver, Rolls-Royce, President - Merchant, said: "The completion of this vessel is highly significant for Rolls-Royce, Sanmar Shipyard and Buksér og Berging. Gas is gaining in popularity as a maritime fuel, and its environmental credentials, combined with lower costs are seeing many operators select it over traditional fuels, across a range of ship types. Most of the world's tug fleets operate close to shore, where emissions regulations are most stringent. As LNG becomes more widely available, there is no doubt that many major ports will soon opt for this clean, lower cost and smoke-free fuel to power their tugs." 

The combination of Rolls-Royce gas engines and the latest thruster design, mean that the Borgøy and its sister vessel's CO2 emissions, will be around 30 per cent lower than conventionally-fuelled tugs. They will also comply with all known future emission regulations.


images: courtesy of Rolls Royce

Marine Diesel Engine Fuel Savings With ETI’s UltraBurn®

By George Backwell at October 11, 2013 23:19
Filed Under: New Technology

Fuel saving with cost-effective exhaust gas emissions reduction was recently documented by two American ferry operators who installed the UltraBurn® Combustion Catalyst System in vessels plying routes in the Pacific Northwest. Houston-based Emissions Technology (ETI) provided the system for the main and auxiliary diesel engines of the three public authority ferries.

M/V Guemes Island Ferry: Photo credit CCL Dustin Creviston

Skagit County Ferry Operations Division reported a reduction in black smoke of over 43% and double digit reductions in other emissions aboard their M/V Guemes Island Ferry earlier this year. More recently Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Division recorded fuel cost savings of  32% during a six month working period (ending September 2013) by their ferries M/V Steilacoom II and M/V Christine. How does the system work?

Basically the UltraBurn Combustion Catalyst System improves heavy duty diesel engine performance by stimulating a more complete burn through the pre-combustion injection of a special blend of platinum and other metals similar to those used in catalytic converters. Nano-sized particles of this mixture are injected as a mist into the engine’s air intake chamber, where they are quickly drawn into the combustion chamber to achieve a more complete fuel burn in the power stroke. The result is more useful power from each stroke, lower emissions and substantially less fuel consumed.

Diesel engine fitted with UltraBurn®: Image courtesy of ETI

Patented Aerosol Chemistry
Emissions Technology has developed two systems to introduce the UltraBurn catalyst into an engine. For smaller diesels, UltraBurn systems use a patented aerosol technology, which draws air bubbles through a liquid catalyst. This creates a mist that is injected into an engine’s air intake and then pulled into the combustion chamber where it combines with diesel fuel to stimulate and enhance the burn.  The manufacturers say that more than 2,500 engines have benefited from this “pull-through injection” approach.

For larger engines, Emissions Technology has now developed a ‘direct injection’ delivery system that converts liquid catalyst into a fine mist using proprietary spray nozzle technology. By this method the company is able to market this technology for application to the large marine diesel engines of ocean-going ships.

Independent System Testing
ETI say they have compiled reams of test data covering almost every aspect of engine performance, making Ultraburn one of the most thoroughly tested of add-on systems in the market sector. For instance, the well-respected Olson-Ecologic Engine Testing Laboratories put UltraBurn through the rigorous California Air Resources Board test protocols. The result? 42.8% reduction in particulate matter emissions. 58.3% reduction in total hydrocarbons, and 13.6% reduction in nitrogen oxide.



Fleet in service – exploit its potential, control costs: Bunker saving with fast vessels

By Peter Pospiech at October 10, 2013 04:05
Filed Under: Company News, drive systems, General, New Technology, Propulsion systems

Propulsion improvement adaptations achieve fuel consumption decrease, depending on ships type, of up to six percent.

To reduce fuel consumption on vessels, different propulsion improvement adaptions can be done – according to type of vessels and operating range. While pre-swirl-equipments increase the propeller force, boost nozzles the drive efficiency by an effective propeller force. Post-swirl-equipments are leading partly the torsional energy back into forward speed. Because of these pre-swirl-equipments or nozzles fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 5% and by propeller fins and rudder bowls of up to 2%.

The following adaptations can be used: pre-swirl-stator, post-swirl-fins, nozzles, propeller fins, German Leitrad and Costa-Bowl. Which adaptation leads to an efficiency increase depends on the operating profile of the vessel. To evaluate the potential as well as the interaction with the ship’s hull and also other components, an analysis by the help of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is highly recommended. The completion of towing tests makes an evaluation, based on the adaptation equipments, possible.

The Becker Twisted Fin

One of the remarkable products is the “Becker Mewis Duct” which has been tailored perfectly to the target group of bulker and other “slowpokes”. The company reports of results of up to six percent by this system. Since December 2012 already more than 150 units have been sold and installed worldwide.

For fast ships the company has developed the so called “Becker Twisted Fin”, a nozzle with integrated fin-system, which is installed in front of the propeller. This component results in a propeller efficiency increase. 

As a well-known reference customer shipping company Hamburg-Süd could be obtained. They installed the “Becker Twisted Fin” meanwhile on ten container vessels of the “Santa”-class (7.100 TEU, speed 22.2 kn). Thanks to the innovative component up to 4% fuel could be saved according to the company.


Image source: Becker


European Inland Waterway Shipping in search of the ultimate propulsion

By Peter Pospiech at October 08, 2013 05:36
Filed Under: drive systems, General, Marine Electronics, Propulsion systems

MV GOBLIN navigates variable

Willy Vranken, owner of Scheepvaartbedrijf VrankenBV based in Maasbracht, Netherlands, has put a lot of thoughts into a propulsion system for his new inland waterway ship, which ensures the maximum benefit for him. At Boost-Shipyard, Trier / Germany, the hull was built: “I want to have a ship which is of high quality. The imported hulls do not fulfill my requirements”. The complete interior has been done by Dutch company Koedood Dieselservice. The bulker, named GOBLIN, features 135 m in length, 11.45 m in width and a max draft of 3.79 m. With this the ship can load 4.400 to.

Bulker GOBLIN ready for unloading 4.000 to corn at Cargill-Krefeld

The hybrid propulsion

Willy Vranken has decided to go for a two propeller ship. “With this, I have the possibility to navigate also in low water periods, because both the propellers have a smaller diameter”. The drive line consist, for each shaft, of a 12 cyl Mitsubishi Diesel Engine of type S12A2-PTA with a max output of 634 kW at 1.940 rpm via a Masson Marine reversible reduction gear unit with a ratio of 1:5,913. On each shaft, between gear box and propeller, one Baumüller water cooled torque electric motor of type DST2 has been installed. These electric motors create a power of 285 kW with a torque of 9.100 Nm each. With this the propeller speed is of 230 rpm. A separate genset – featuring also a Mitsubishi 12 cyl Diesel Engine of type S12A2-PTA, adjusted at 634 kW at 1.800 rpm supplies via a Stamford Generator, type HCM 634 K2, 815 kVA mainly for the two torque motors. At low load requirement this genset can run also at 1.350 rpm. Consequently the noise emission is drastically reduced. All three Diesel Engines feature a SCR catalyst of company Emigreen BV, Netherlands. If later on necessary, a particulate trap system can be installed in the exhaust line.

Mitsubishi S12A2-PTA diesel engine with Masson gear and Baumüller electrically torque motor

With this propulsion configuration the ship’s officers have, according to load and water conditions, variable propulsion possibilities:

1. Pure diesel mechanical: diesel engine – gear - propeller. Propeller hereby is of 328 rpm (the torque motor runs on idle, but can be used as a generator)

2. Diesel mechanically and electrically torque motor. With this the total output of the two systems is 919 kW ending in a propeller speed of 347 rpm.

3. Pure diesel electrically: genset – torque motor with a propeller speed of 230 rpm.

The different propulsion systems are controlled via a Baumüller PLC (programmable logic controller). This PLC contains multiple control and monitoring functions.

Exhaust Aftertreatment System

Willy Vranken decided to choose diesel engines according to Step 0 of the EU-RL 97/68/EC, but with an additonal SCR system for each engine. With this the actual European Exhaust Limit Values are fulfilled. The additional required AdBlue (for the SCR systems) consumption is around 5% of the diesel fuel consumption.

In different publications it is mentioned that “with beginning of 2016 a CCNR 4 regulation” will come in force! But this is not true: According to the EU commission for emission regulations the current exhaust limitations are under a process of revision and this includes also possible more stringent limit values. But due to the long lasting internal discussions of the commission it will not be announced before 2018.

Source / images: PPM News Service

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