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Opinion: Technology to save fuel and improve environmental performance

UBM (Seatrade), co-organiser of Sea Asia 2019, contributes an opinion piece to Manifold Times.




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By Marcus Hand, Global editor of Seatrade Maritime News

As regulations on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions loom for shipping, simply using less fuel will be one way to help meet environmental targets, and also potentially save cost from more expensive low sulphur fuels.

At the same time, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has also set the 0.5% Global Sulphur Cap regulation for marine fuels from 1 January 2020, as well as to cut CO2 emissions from shipping by 50% by 2040 from the level they were at in 2007. The impending regulations are considered ambitious when the growth in the fleet and world trade is factored into the equation.

While there has been a rush this year by owners to retrofit seawater scrubbers on existing ships, or install them on newly-built vessels (also known as newbuildings), the reality is that come 1 January 2020, the majority of shipowners will comply with the regulation by burning low sulphur fuel oil, which is expected to cost $300 per tonne more in the region than using high sulphur heavy fuel oil.

However, a newbuilding can also be designed with many energy saving devices as integral parts of the vessel. There is a wide variety of technologies and simple maintenance that can be applied to existing vessels to significantly reduce fuel consumption, as well as simultaneously improving environmental performance and lowering operational cost.

Some of these technologies and methods are explained below.

Hull Coatings

Coatings is one area where shipowners can consider to reduce drag, as well as the build-up of marine organisms on the hull (biofouling), which increases the frictional resistance. The worse the fouling, the more power will be required to keep the ship sailing at the given speed, and this could mean higher fuel consumption, increased production of greenhouse gases and other emissions.

There is a variety of coatings solutions in the market that claim to both significantly reduce fouling and also improve fuel consumption as a result. Hempel's anti-fouling coating, Hempaguard, launched in 2013 and applied to over 1,000 different vessel types is proven to deliver fuel savings of up to 6%, according to the company[1]. At the same time, Subsea Industries claims that its biocide-free coatings can reduce fuel consumption by up to 8%.[2]

Propeller Optimisation

The propeller on the vessel is another area where owners can consider to increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. To lower operating costs through fuel savings, it is common for ships to sail at less than its maximum speed – a practice known as slow steaming.

For slow steaming to effectively reduce fuel consumption, the propeller needs to be optimised for such speeds for the best results to be produced. Underwater repair specialist Hydrex cited one of its projects on a 229-metre bulker in Bremenhaven as an example, in which a five-bladed propeller was modified to achieve optimum efficiency at lower speeds.[3]

Disciplined maintenance, such as checking the propeller for dents and damage, and regularly polishing it, can also immediately impact the amount of fuel used by the vessel. In a more simple method, adding a cone fin to the propeller helps to reduce energy loss in the slipstream with up to 5% in fuel savings.[4]

Optimised Propeller Duct

Fitting a propeller duct, which consists of two strong fixed elements mounted on the vessel, can also improve ship performance. Positioning a duct with an integrated fin system in front of the propeller can enable significant power savings, or allow a vessel to travel faster at a given speed. It can be fitted on both newbuildings and older vessels.

Manufacturer Becker Marine Systems claims that its Becker Mewis Duct will allow for energy savings of 3% to 8%[5], depending on the specifications of different vessels.

Weather Routing

The weather can have a major impact on a ship’s fuel consumption. With today’s advances in satellite communications, there are now more affordable broadband solutions at sea. This means that there is now much more accurate weather routing information available to ships to better plan their voyage.

The use of weather routing software on ships will not only avoid bad weather that can potentially damage the vessel, but can also reduce fuel consumption by as much as 5% to 6% by plying the optimal route which factors in the weather and its impact on the voyage.[6]

Weather routing software can be linked into or be part of much wider-ranging optimisation tools. Web-based and cloud-based optimisation solutions can help monitor engine performance, provide predictive maintenance tools, as well as adjust the vessel's trim to improve performance.[7]

With such a wide variety of innovative systems available, owners today have plenty of options for improving the performance of their vessels, which can also result in fuel savings and thus, an improved environmental performance.

[5] BECKER MEWIS DUCT®. Becker Marine Systems.
[6] Navtor, WNI to work towards AI routing service. Seatrade Maritime News, April 2018.

Sea Asia 2019 is co-organised by UBM (Seatrade) and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, and will take place in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands® from 9-11 April 2019.

Photo credit: Sea Asia 2019
Published: 20 August 2018


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Bunker Fuel

TFG Marine-chartered bunker barge “Margherita Cosulich” heads to Oman

Firm said it will be ready to serve shipping customers with VLSFO and LSGO bunker fuels in the Port of Duqm and SOHAR Port and Freezone over the coming weeks.





TFG Marine-chartered bunker barge “Margherita Cosulich” heads to Oman

Global marine fuel supply and procurement firm TFG Marine on Friday (19 April) said a bunker barge, which it charters, was en route to its bunker fuel supply operation in Oman. 

“Our mass flow meter fitted, ISO-22192 compliant Margherita Cosulich supply barge, chartered by TFG Marine and operated by Fratelli Cosulich, is well en route to Oman,” it said in a social media post.

TFG Marine said it will be ready to serve shipping customers with VLSFO and LSGO in the Port of Duqm and SOHAR Port and Freezone over the coming weeks.

Manifold Times previously reported the bunker barge was used by Fratelli Cosulich Group in Singapore. Margherita Cosulich is a 2019-built 7,994 dwt bunkering vessel.

In February, SOHAR Port and Freezone and TFG Marine announced the signing of an MoU agreement to establish an international bunker fuel supply operation within the deep-sea port. 

The port is strategically located at the city of Sohar, Sultanate of Oman, close to the main shipping routes connecting the Gulf and the Indian subcontinent with the rest of the world.

Related: Fratelli Cosulich welcomes “Margherita Cosulich” to Singapore bunkering fleet
Related: TFG Marine to establish international bunker fuel supply op at SOHAR Port


Photo credit: TFG Marine
Published: 22 April 2024

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Singapore: DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

To build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the MPA and Singapore Standards Council.





Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU cover

FuelBoss, a subsidiary of DNV, and Singapore bunker supplier Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (EMF) on Friday (19 April) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop digital bunkering capabilities for all marine fuels.

The objective of the MoU is to strengthen the partnership between both organisations to build digital delivery platforms that are interoperable, compliant to data and security standards set by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Singapore Standards Council.

The scope of the MoU allows the development of integrated services across both organisations’ technological platforms to provide seamless operations, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes to industry stakeholders, international shipowners, bunker suppliers, and bunker traders for all marine fuels.

It will also enable the sharing of experience, materials, and expertise between the two organisations with the industry to accelerate the pace of digitalisation and support companies in implementing digital bunkering solutions.

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU 1

Singapore DNV FuelBoss and Equatorial Marine Fuel enter digital bunkering MoU

“We are committed to pioneering digital solutions that enhance the safety and trust in marine fuels transactions. This MoU with EMF underscores our dedication to advancing Digital Delivery and Live Delivery Insights in the maritime industry and we are honored to partner with them,” said Martin Wold, Head of FuelBoss.

“By collaboratively developing interoperable platforms that align with the latest data and security standards, we aim to set a new benchmark and replicate this for the rest of the industry.

“Our partnership with EMF will leverage both organisations' strengths to provide comprehensive, real-time insights into bunker delivery processes, benefiting all stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem.”

EMF is the leading supplier of marine fuels in Singapore in 2022 and 2023. As part of their growth strategy, EMF has been investing in digitally transforming the business and operations since 2018.

Over the years, EMF has integrated several of their systems to streamline operations and has built an in-house technology team to customise solutions to better serve their customers and stakeholders.

“We have always believed that digitalisation is one of the keys to the future for the Maritime industry. Over the years, we have participated in and supported the digital initiatives launched by MPA,” said Collin Ng, Chief Technology Officer of EMF.

“The digital bunkering initiative launched by MPA on 1 November 2023 is core to completing the digitalisation of the bunker supply chain for the industry.

“With the signing of the MoU with FuelBoss, we are looking forward to providing an extensive and comprehensive digital delivery platform for our collective customers and stakeholders.”


Photo credit: DNV FuelBoss
Published: 19 April 2024

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Singapore: Bunker firm Sea Hub Energy to be wound up voluntarily

Development comes following directors, Lim and Ang, lodging a SD stating the firm cannot continue its business due to liabilities; Ang was sentenced a 35-month imprisonment in 2021 for MFM systems tampering.





RESIZED Sea Hub Energy

Sea Hub Energy Pte Ltd (Sea Hub), a company formerly in the business of chartering and trading of marine fuels at Singapore port, will be wound up as a Creditors’ Voluntary Winding Up, according to a Government Gazette notice published on Monday (15 April).

This came following an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 5 April.

The Special Resolution set out below were duly passed:

  • That the company be wound up as a Creditors’ Voluntary Winding Up pursuant to Section 160(1)(b) of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 and that Tan Wei Cheong and Lim Loo Khoon, both care of Deloitte & Touche LLP, 6 Shenton Way, OUE Downtown 2, #33-00 Singapore 068809, be appointed as the Joint and Several Liquidators (the Liquidators) for the purpose of the winding up.
  • That the Liquidators be at liberty to exercise all or any of the powers conferred on them pursuant to the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018.

Manifold Times previously reported directors of Sea Hub lodging a statutory declaration (SD) stating that the company cannot continue its business due to its liabilities.

In the SD lodged on 5 March, the directors, Lim Seet Huat and Ang Heng Lye, said the meetings of the company and its creditors have been summoned for 5 April 2024, being a date within one month of the date of the SD.

In June 2021, the State Courts of the Republic of Singapore issued Ang a 35-month imprisonment sentence, due to his role in a conspiracy to tamper with the mass flow metering (MFM) systems on board Singapore bunker tankers Southernpec 6 and Southernpec 7 between October 2018 to April 2019.

During the period of offence, Ang was employed as a consultant at Ocean Express Pte Ltd; around June 2018, Ang was acting as a consultant and partner of Success Energy Service Pte Ltd.

Lim, who founded Sea Hub in 2007, is a 70% shareholder of the company where he also works as its Shipping Director overseeing vessel management and chartering operations; the remaining 30% shareholding of the firm belongs to Trading Director Ang.

Related: Singapore: First creditors meeting scheduled for bunker firm Sea Hub Energy
Related: Singapore: Directors of troubled Sea Hub Energy declare inability to continue business
Related: Magnets on MFMs: Trial ends with 35-month imprisonment sentence for Director of Seahub Energy
Related: Singapore: Imprisonment of Sea Hub Energy Director ‘unrelated to company integrity’, says majority shareholder
Related: Sea Hub Energy seeks US$12 million from Southernpec at Singapore High Court
Related: Singapore: Sea Hub Energy exits MPA bunker craft operator list
Related: OFAC adds Singapore-registered “Sea Tanker II” to sanctions list


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 19 April 2024

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