Keeping ship propellers and hulls clean is good for the environment and saves money

Publish date: February 1, 2013

Properly maintained propeller and hull surfaces alone holds the potential to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases by 0.3 percent of total man made emissions, argued the Bellona Foundation at a recent workshop held in Oslo.

The Bellona Foundation, a member of the Clean Shipping Coalition, in cooperation with the Norwegian paint manufacturer Jotun, convened a Workshop in Oslo on January 15-16 , 2013 to explore the realization of a reliable and transparent hull and propeller performance measurement standard. A concept for such a propeller performance measure was first presented to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), at its 63rd session in February 2012 by document MEPC63/4/8 and further elaborated in October 2012.

The invitation-only workshop was attended by a highly qualified group of 30 people drawn from all major ship paint manufacturers, performance monitoring technology providers, classification societies as well as a ship owner.

“This is a process that will take time and commitment from performance monitoring technology providers, classification societies, ship paint and propeller manufacturers as well as a ship owners. We believe that the process alone may lead to improvements,” said Svend Soeyland, Senior Adviser with the Bellona Foundation and a founding member of the Clean Shipping Coalition.

Some of the conclusions drawn from the workshop were: 

– General agreement that developing a commonly accepted framework for measuring hull and propeller performance would offer both economic and environmental benefits if translated into action and this can be done by establishing relevant ISO standard(s) for use worldwide, possibly through ISOTC8SC2.

– Agreement on a set of relevant measurement purposes. The most basic purpose would be to enable assessment of the success of any improvements made to a ship’s hull and/or propeller. The group agreed that measurement of hull and propeller performance with the dual purpose of enabling performance-based contracting and inter-company reporting should be included within the scope of standard.  Furthermore that the standard, to the extent possible, should aim to deliver also on additional measurement purposes such as enabling real-time hull and propeller performance monitoring. 

Participants also agreed to explore how a tiered approach could reflect different levels of accuracy and thereby increase the general applicability of the standard.  There was agreement that the standard would in any case have to balance the need for accuracy and general applicability. On the one hand a measurement standard needs to enable sufficient accuracy so as to be fit for specific purposes.  On the other hand, if a standard is only useful for a small fraction of the world fleet the economic and environmental benefits will not be realized to a sufficient level.

The group identified a growing convergence among the different approaches of measuring hull and propeller performance currently in use in the industry, and noted that all performance monitoring technology providers present expressed that they would be able and willing to establish support for a standard in their systems and solutions.

“The Bellona Foundation is very encouraged by the level of consensus at this first workshop and will convene a follow-up workshop this spring. We will bring interested parties into a process towards establishing and ISO standard and involve IMO, says Soeyland. 

Workshop participants stressed that the purpose of this standard would be to establish a reliable method of measuring ships against themselves. It is not intended to create a ranking of ships within classes, nor to be a precursor for regulations by governments or international treaties.

“The Bellona Foundation believes that standards established by affected players will be much more effective and fit for purpose than waiting for bureaucrats to establish regulations that normally carry a higher transaction cost and also aim to meet an unfeasible target of one size fits all,” Soeyland concluded.

Presentations from the workshop held in Oslo 15-16 January can be downloaded by clicking on the links:

*Environmental Benefits of a Hull and Propeller Performance Standard, Svend Soeyland, Bellona Foundation
*What is the Object of Measurement, Kevin Logan MACSEA Ltd.

*What is required to unleach the benefits?, Geir A. Oftedal Jotun

*Approaches to measuring Hull and Propeller Performance, Maarten Flikkema, Marin

*Activities on ISO Standards for Marine Environment Protection, Koichi Yoshida, Chairman ISO/TC8-SC2

*Output from Day 1, Svend Soeyland, Bellona Foundation

*Agreed Workshop Summary