FLAGSHIP, the European maritime transport project partly funded by the EU, has announced the development of software that can forecast the condition of a ship’s coatings, structure and components.
Known as FLAGSHIP-HCA (for Hull Condition Assessment), the software is said to track the condition of the hull over time, so that operators and owners can schedule maintenance and ship replacement more efficiently and more accurately than has been possible.
FLAGSHIP-HCA “optimizes existing asset lifecycle and investment decisions” to reduce maintenance costs and improve safety, while also providing “the Class Societies with more robust data upon which to base their rulings,” according to a statement by the developers.
Focus on Corrosion
FLAGSHIP’s sponsors hope that the system can extend the lives of existing fleets of tankers and bulk carriers by up to five years, with a 10% to 20% reduction in ships' service repair costs throughout their lifecycle.
Corrosion of the ship's structure is the primary focus of FLAGSHIP-HCA.
"Management of corrosion is being addressed through separate tools that meet the specific needs of the shipowner and the classification society," said Ben Hodgson, FLAGSHIP-HCA sub project leader. Hodgson is a Project Manager at BMT Group, an international defense and shipping consultancy that led the FLAGSHIP-HCA project.
“The enhanced data exchange that these two tools will promote between class and ship owner will quite possibly lead to the development of enhanced class rules which will ultimately lead to better maintained, more available and safer ships."
FLAGSHIP-HCA includes three primary tools that enable the shipowner and class to exchange hull data in real time, based on crew inspections, maintenance work and periodic measurement campaigns:
• The Survey Advisor Tool (SAT) advises surveyors where individual ships are most vulnerable and where surveyors should concentrate their investigations.
• The Hull Health Program Advisor (HHA) optimizes the survey and maintenance program, taking into consideration the vessel's work schedule and predicted structural integrity.
• The Corrosion Parameter Prediction Tool takes the results of a survey or set of surveys and updates a database of corrosion parameters associated with every aspect of a ship's hull based on observed rules and results.
Performance and Efficiency
"FLAGSHIP has pursued the twin objectives of reducing still further both risk and the environmental impact of the world's commercial fleet whilst generating the opportunity for real commercial benefits,” said FLAGSHIP coordinator Herman de Meester.
“FLAGSHIP-HCA is a tangible example of the maritime industry collaborating to improve performance and efficiency in everyone's best interest."
The project was led by the BMT Group in the U.K. and was supported, delivered and underwent trials in conjunction with MARINTEK of Norway; Bureau Veritas and Sirehna of France; Germanischer Lloyd of Germany; and PORTLINE - Transportes Maritimos Internacionais of Portugal.
FLAGSHIP is a consortium of more than 40 European maritime organizations that participate in a partly-EU-funded project focused on improving the safety, environmental friendliness, and competitiveness of European maritime transportation.