Standard aims to measure makers’ claims
Mandatory coatings, their application and maintenance are not yet things that operators need to worry about but since 1 January 2013 ships have been required to implement a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). Each ship’s implementation date was linked to its survey cycles which would mean that all ships should now have a SEEMP in place.
According to the IMO, poor hull and propeller performance is often due to fouling and accounts for around 10% of the world fleet’s fuel consumption. This costs owners an estimated $30Bn in additional fuel costs annually.
Since hull fouling has an obvious detrimental effect on a ship’s efficiency it is evident that the matter of anti-fouling should be covered in its SEEMP. Taking voluntary action on biofouling is something that many operators do as a matter of course but formalising procedures could make a ship more attractive to potential charterers and an obvious concern for environmental matters is likely to influence official inspectors in a positive way.
The various claims made by makers of hull coatings with regard to performance and fuel saving potential have long been treated with some jaundiced suspicion by operators and with no universal method for measuring the savings achieved this is understandable. However, the development of ISO 19030 as a new standard, Measurement of changes in hull and propeller performance, is considered a major step forward. This standard complements ISO 15016 (for sea trials) focusing on in-service monitoring. ISO 19030 uses a three-tiered approach, reflecting different levels of accuracy.
ISO 19030 was finalised in 2016 following three years of development by a wide range of industry stakeholders including coating and propeller manufacturers, academics, shipowners and data analysts. It became effective in March 2017 and enables shipowners and operators to compare hull and propeller solutions and to select the most efficient option for their vessels and fleets. As well as outlining general principles for measuring changes in hull and propeller performance, the standard also defines a set of performance indicators for hull and propeller maintenance, repair and retrofit activities. It is not mandatory and for it to apply to any product, the ship operator must establish a monitoring regime which may well deter many operators from making use of the standard.
The general principles outlined and performance indicators defined are applicable to all ship types driven by conventional fixed pitch propellers, where the objective is to compare the hull and propeller performance of the same ship to itself over time. Support for additional configurations such as variable pitch propellers or podded propulsion systems will, if justified, be included in later revisions.
ISO 19030 is not the only initiative aimed at verifying the performance of antifoulings. In 2018, classification society DNV GL announced that along with coatings manufacturer PPG it had identified a market demand for methodologies that go beyond ISO 19030. The two organisations said that as more owners invest in more sophisticated sensors, tools and systems to collect operational data, performance can be measured more precisely over time. PPG will provide data from the many vessels using its products and use DNV GL’s Fleet Performance Management Platform ECO Insight to analyse the data.