Bureau Veritas is finding solutions to the technical challenges of modern container shipping with new rules and lashing software
The results of research and development work carried out by Bureau Veritas (BV) structures and hydrodynamic experts has led to a better understanding of the forces at play in large containerships – in terms of hull structures, cargo stowage, and propulsion systems.
The class society explained that this work enables greater flexibility in container loading and allows for heavier containers to be loaded higher in a stack than was previously possible.
Due to their long, slender hulls, which result from their operating speed requirements and the need for large deck openings to accommodate container bays, large containerships present specific structural challenges, BV technical director Jean-François Segretain, told Container Shipping & Trade. As container ship size increases, so too do these structural challenges, he said.
New BV containership structural rules and VeriSTAR lashing software are the result of a better understanding of the physics and engineering requirements of large containerships, Mr Segretain said.
He explained that acceleration loads applied in the new rules (arising from the surge, sway, heave, roll, pitch and yaw motions of the ship) have been more precisely determined and, usually, reduced. “Reduced accelerations mean less force acting on the lashing rods, allowing operators to optimise cargo capacity, not just in terms of being able to add more containers, but also in how the containers are distributed within each stack. This has the potential to save significant sums of money – and time,” Mr Segretain said.
The revised design wave loads that now underpin container ship rules have optimised ship structures. But an additional and highly significant consequence of their application is that they now also allow for optimised container lashings, offering operators much more flexibility.
Within the new rules, there is now a chapter about carrying out lashing calculations based on new acceleration calculations. And to enable operators to apply these calculations as efficiently as possible, BV has created container securing and lashing software, VeriSTAR Lashing, the culmination of more than two years’ work.
“The strength of VeriSTAR Lashing is that it is linked to direct and powerful computation using state-of-the-art hydrodynamics and real sea states – the same design wave computation that underpins the structural rules. In the past, calculations for lashing were based on empirical formula,” said Mr Segretain. “Today, better calculations mean reduced accelerations and more flexibility.”
A key feature of the software is that it takes account of the additional forces on the lashing bars and rods resulting from vertical and horizontal gaps in the twist locks and between containers. “The influence of gaps is now clearly understood, though previously it had been disregarded,” Mr Segretain said.
DNV GL boosts LNG and digitisation focus
DNV GL is helping to bridge the LNG bunkering gap, while its Veracity platform is continuing to develop
The box ship sector is increasingly focusing on LNG as the cost gap compared to using a scrubber has narrowed and bunkering infrastructure development has gathered pace, DNV GL director of business development in Hamburg and executive vice president Jan-Olaf Probst told Container Shipping & Trade.
He explained that the upfront costs of building a box ship designed to use LNG used to be considerably more than installing a scrubber – but the cost gap is now narrower due to new regulations that dictate that a scrubber must be installed with a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR). Furthermore, the return on investment of applying LNG versus a scrubber is “much faster”, with an average six to seven year for LNG versus 10-12 for scrubbers.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the price gap between LNG and heavy fuel oil was narrowing.
And the “final obstacle” – that of creating an LNG bunkering infrastructure – is on its way to being erased. “The oil industry is now committing to supplying LNG as fuel.” Mr Probst added that the use of LNG by CMA CGM’s 22,000 TEU newbuilds would help boost the growing infrastructure, allowing other box ship operators to follow suit.
DNV GL is helping to bridge the LNG bunkering gap by assisting shipowners with their LNG bunkering demands and plans. “We calculate their ships’ round trips, looking at the ports and locations where they will need to bunker.” DNV GL is working with container ship owners in this area.
“We are talking about newbuilds but also about retrofits,” Mr Probst commented, pointing out that a refit was logical for a vessel of 10 years old or younger.
Meanwhile, developments are continuing apace with DNV GL’s Veracity industry data platform, which was launched last year. It is designed to help companies improve data quality and manage the ownership, security, sharing and use of data. One of its main purposes is to allow ship operators to share data anonymously and therefore be able to benchmark their own operations and equipment to increase the efficiency of their ships’ operations.
“A lot of ship operators want to compare their data with the market but to do so anonymously,” Mr Probst commented. “DNV GL’s role is impartial as we are not a ship operator. We can compare the data and share the research but make it anonymous.” This is important for ship operators as they can share the data they select but keep “gold nuggets” of information to themselves.
Some 50-60 container shipowners are using Veracity. “We cross-check the data and make sure it is correct,” commented Mr Probst.
Wilhelmsen has teamed up with Singapore’s PSA on Veracity’s platform to make port entry procedures more smooth and efficient.
Currently, Wilhelmsen Group, PSA and DNV GL are testing a pilot project on Veracity. Wilhelmsen has created a secure data container on Veracity where it can collect compliance, condition and other relevant data on their vessels. Through the platform, it is then able to grant PSA access to this data, reducing paperwork and speeding port entry.
Cyber security boost in box shipping
A COSCO newbuild is the first container ship to receive Lloyd’s Register’s cyber-enabled descriptive note. The class society explained the significance to Rebecca Moore
COSCO Shipping Aries is the first container ship to receive Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) cyber-enabled ship (CES) descriptive note Cyber AL3 Secure Perform for its energy management system.
The 20,000 TEU ship was built by Nantong COSCOS KHI Ship Engineering and COSCO safety and technology department general manager Shi Yongxin described it as “not only one of the largest container ships in the world, but also a ship with high cyber functions.” He added that COSCO has “always attached great importance to cyber enabled fleet to enhance fleet management, reduce energy consumption and control emission.”
The ship complies with the revised version of LR’s cyber-enabled ships ShipRight procedure, issued in December 2017. The descriptive note gives an Accessibility Level (AL) for autonomous/remote access for the system. This ranges from the information-only AL0 (no access) and AL1 (manual access) through AL2 (cyber access for remote or autonomous monitoring) up to the highest AL5 (autonomous monitoring and control, with no onboard permission required or override possible). AL3 is defined by LR as ‘cyber access for autonomous/remote monitoring and control (onboard permission is required, and onboard override is possible)’.
COSCO is now hoping to apply LR’s CES descriptive notes to some of its other vessels.
LR innovation strategy and research director Luis Benito told Container Shipping & Trade “The significance here is that operators have a way of ensuring that their energy management system integrates with the rest of the systems on the ship with no side effects. Therefore, it checks that it works in harmony with the rest of the ship and has a foundation level of [cyber security]. Clients rely on such systems for business decisions, so it is important that they can rely on the data being cyber secure.”
He said that the AL3 note means that the ship’s energy management system is certified to operate in an autonomous way without human intervention. “Once the owner sets the parameters, the system is left to operate the ship within these parametres automatically and will deliver what it needs to without human intervention.”
However, human involvement is kept in the loop, as the system is set to allow crew to override it if needed, then reset to be autonomous again.
Mr Benito expanded “This is so new to everyone, including ourselves. Many ships have been using energy management systems for decades, but what is new is that in the past no one paid attention to the risks of having a connected ship streaming data.”
But, as he explained, there is now an industry realisation that ship operators should look at the risk of data streaming and connected assets. This is reflected in an increased interest in this area and Mr Benito said there had been inquiries about its note coming from all over the world.
He summed up “We need to ensure that the smart ship has the equivalent level of safety as a non-connected ship
Before and after Applying VeriSTAR Lashing
Bureau Veritas reports that its BV Lashing 3.0 give the ability to optimise cargo capacity, minimise container movements and have greater flexibility in weight distribution. Heavier cargo can now be loaded higher in a stack than previously and calculations can be made for specific sea state areas or for world-wide trading.
Two single stack examples (18,000 TEU, 400 m LOA, 54 m beam ULCS):
Bay 42 (midships)
+ 6 tonnes
11 tier stack of *FEUs allowing 166 tonnes instead of 160 tonnes
Bay 90 (aft)
+ 11 tonnes
11 tier stack of *FEUs allowing 171 tonnes instead of 160 tonnes
*FEU: Forty-foot Equivalent Unit
Class news in brief
ClassNK launches latest checklist for ‘good maintenance’
ClassNK released the latest version of Good Maintenance Onboard Ships in October, 2017.
The checklist is designed to be used by shipmasters, crew, shipowners and other key personnel to ensure vessels are safe, well-maintained and comply with regulations.
ClassNK said that it has incorporated its knowledge and experience gained through surveys and audits, feedback from port state control (PSC) inspections and comments from shipowners and mariners to provide the most up-to-date checklists for routine maintenance, PSC inspections, safety management systems and ship security management systems. Its guidance also includes photos of the most common deficiencies. The latest edition now also includes a checklist for the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
KR unveils next generation e-fleet management programme
Korean Register (KR) has launched KR e-fleet v2 – the second edition of its one-stop fleet management program.
Since e-fleet’s launch in March 2011, the program has delivered key information in real time to shipowners and operators, covering all necessary preparations for a ship survey and the details of international convention audits.
KR said that this upgraded version provides a “wide range of online application functions, an increased selection of content options and a more user-friendly interface”. In addition, KR has now completed the digitisation of all previous paper documents submitted by shipowners. The result is a searchable database enabling shipowners to manage their ship survey and audit processes more efficiently. A new management function called Survey Planner now provides survey information covering a company’s entire fleet.
KR has also created a platform for each vessel’s greenhouse gas monitoring plan, allowing verification from KR in accordance with the new EU MRV regulations which came into effect in January.
KR chairman and chief executive Lee Jeong-Kie said “Designed for their convenience and to support their efficient fleet management, we are now working to provide a cloud server for our clients in the US and Europe, which should be operational in the first half of 2018.”
ABS boosts visibility with new module
ABS announced a new release of its Nautical Systems (NS) Enterprise fleet management software in January. It includes NS Insight, a new business intelligence module.
This will provide visibility into safety, operational and financial trends, ABS has said. Vessel managers can use it to create KPIs, generate quarterly management reports, complete root cause analyses and gain key insights on vessel operations across an entire fleet.
NS is designed to provide complete capabilities to plan, execute and document all compliance work processes. This latest release includes a new cloud-based NS Voyage Manager, the latest mobile applications, an expanded NS Autologger, and enhancements to NS Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental (HSQE) Manager.
“Effectively managing compliance is a core business objective for our clients,” said ABS chief digital officer Howard Fireman. “This release offers the industry’s most comprehensive compliance solution, which includes EU MRV and USCG Subchapter M, as well as readiness for IMO DCS – giving our clients an easier and more efficient way to manage ever-changing compliance requirements.”