Process flow and Energy Efficiency Adoption on Ships


From the life cycle of a ship from procurement to demolition, we can summarize the main focus areas into 3 distinct areas namely: procurement, ship operations & management and demolition. In this 3 distinct areas the various stakeholders are involved in various processes of a ship specially in procurement and ship operation & management areas which are pointed in figure 1.

Process flow of a ship from Procument to Demolition

Fig 1: Process flow of a ship and implementation of Energy Efficiency measures from Procurement to Demolition:

The traditional way of purchasing vessels is to buy them outright. In this process, the ship owner arranges the CAPEX (capital expenditure) by own cash resources to buy the vessel or more likely obtain a loan or mortgage secure on the vessel from the Bank or Shipyard Creditor service. Normally the ship owner directly builds a new ship from the Shipyard. The very largest companies may employ their own naval architects and designers to create the type and size of new builds they want for the future, or their function may be delegated to the independent naval architects. But generally small companies buy vessels built to a pre-existing shipyard design which may be modified according to their needs. Other companies may concentrate on building up their fleet by buying second hand vessels. For this purpose, they will use the services of a sale and purchase broker.

In the design phase, not only should normal construction parameters be considered, but the safety and health hazards associated with the construction or repair process must be considered. In addition, environmental issues must be addressed. During the new building process of the vessel at shipyard, to meet with the requirements of safety and environment protection regulations by national (Flag State Administration) and international regulatory bodies (IMO), an assigned classification society on behalf of the flag state Administration will attend at shipyard to conduct the surveys and issues various safety & pollution prevention certificates according to SOLAS and MARPOL and other IMO conventions requirements.

The technology manufacturers & vendors introduce with their innovative technologies to the ship owner or ship managers and the ship designer and provide suggestions for improving the EEDI value in order to meet with the current energy efficiency regulations. The attained EEDI is the actual calculated and verified EEDI value for an individual ship based on the data in the EEDI Technical File. The shipyard calculates the attained EEDI for the new ship by taking into consideration of few technological design measures according to decision of the ship owner. For the purpose of this Procedural Requirement, calculation of the EEDI is to be performed in accordance with IMO Guidelines MEPC.212(63) as amended. At design stage it has to be ensured that the EEDI requirements as well as the minimum required power demand for the manoeuvrability of the ship in adverse weather conditions are fulfilled.For the purpose of this Procedural Requirement, verification of the EEDI is to be performed in accordance with IMO Guidelines MEPC.214(63) as amended.

Survey and certification of the EEDI are to be conducted on two stages by the classification society on behalf of the flag state administration:

  • preliminary verification at the design stage
  • final verification at the sea trial
    The flow of the survey and certification process is presented in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Flow of survey and certification process by verifier (Source: Lloyd Register)

According to the article 92 and also 91 of The United Nations Conventions of the Law of the Sea 1982, all ship, regardless of type and purpose, are required to be registered with a country to sail under a flag (UNCLOS, 1982). As a ship will spend most of its life in the international waters, trading between nations, it cannot be said to belong automatically to a particular country in the same way as other industry or other similar static plant (Tony Dixon, 2013). A significant amount of influence in connection with the ship registration is always exercised by the IMO. It is therefore in pursuance of this obligation that a flag country has laws and regulation covering:

  1. Standards of construction, equipment and survey of the ship
  2. The manning of the ship, labour conditions and training of the crews
  3. Safe navigation and operation of the ship
  4. Reduction and control of marine pollution
  5. Investigation of casualties involving its ships.

During the ship registration process the ship have to cover by the recognised insurance groups. The ship owner will normally require an underwriter to insure the value of the hull and machinery and in unstable times, war risk insurance. Separate insurance will be negotiated for the cargo. For all the other risks that may be faced during the voyage i.e. damage to docks and fixed objects, collision liability, crew liabilities, strikes and their consequences and even the cost of wreck removal if the ship is lost, the owner will arrange this with a Protection and Indemnity Association. Once a ship is registered, the flag State has certain duties laid out in UNCLOS. In particular, under Article 94, the flag State must “effectively exercise its jurisdiction and control in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying its flag” and take “such measures for ships flying its flag as are necessary to ensure safety at sea”. Under the auspices of the IMO, International Conventions have been agreed which set out uniform requirements in order to facilitate the acceptance of a ship registered in one country in the waters and ports of another and in the general furtherance of safety at sea and the protection of the environment. These requirements are commonly referred to as ‘statutory’ requirements. Broadly, they cover four distinct areas:

  1. Aspects of the ship’s design and its structural integrity – load line and stability in the intact and damaged condition, essential propulsion, steering equipment, etc.;
  2. Pollution control with regard to normal ship operation;
  3. Accident prevention, including navigational aids and pollution and fire prevention;
  4. The situation after an accident (fire, flooding) including containment and escape.

Before the ship handed over to the ship owner, a full set of ship crew including the master need to be onboard for the normal operation of the ship. The ship crew should be well trained and certified according to IMO STCW 2010 convention requirements. The Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention is an international Convention established by the IMO. It sets out the minimum levels of training and administration and which has been adopted by the majority of the maritime countries of the world. All countries with sea ports have the power to check the seamen on visiting vessel have the appropriate certificates and training required under this STCW 2010 convention. This is enforceable under the Port State Control (PSC). Regarding the energy efficiency management on board ships, for the implementation of energy efficiency operational measures, the ship crew needs to be well aware and trained for MARPOL Annex VI Chapter 4: EEDI and SEEMP regulations and ship energy efficiency management. The ship crew are directly involved for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SEEMP by their day to day ship operation duties on board ships. The shore technical management team of the ship owning or ship management company always guides the ship crews and monitor for the implementation of SEEMP process in their ships from shore office. The Ship owner normally provides the training of the ship crews in the maritime training institute according to the flag state or STCW convention requirements. The flag state administration has a big role to control the standard training and certification of the native seafarers.

Finally, after completion of both dock and sea trials, when the ship’s systems are proved to be fully functional and operational, the classification society issues all necessary certifications of safety, security and environmental protection on behalf of the Flag state administration with the witness of the ship owner after performing various initial surveys and tests of hull, machinery, navigational and cargo equipment. The ship is then handed over to the ship owner by the shipyard. The ship management in-house team of the ship owning company or by a 3rd party ship management company operate and manage the vessel for normal trading and business operations.

The core tasks of ship management are as follows: Technical management, Quality & Safety Management, Fleet Operation management, Commercial Management and Fleet Personnel Management. The Quality & Safety management and Crew Management can be under the Technical Management or can be independent according to the Ship owner or company board of directors decision. But Fleet operation management and commercial management are normally kept independent and directly under the ship owner so that they can work free of management influence.


Figure 3: Core Tasks of Ship operations and Management

When the ship comes into normal business operation, it requires a constant supervision of its hull and machinery which needs a regular programme of maintenance. A ship which is not maintained seaworthy condition will be unemployable and subject to official sanctions. The technical manager ensures safe, efficient and economical technical operations of all the vessels in the fleet and ensures that they comply with all the national and international rules and regulations. Ensuring the technical availability of a vessel and balancing maintenance costs with costs of defects or even off hires is a key competency in every ship manager. Chief engineers onboard and the technical superintendent in the office combine their skills and practical experience to achieve that. They have to oversee the routine operation of the vessel main and auxiliary machinery, keeping a close watch on routine servicing and maintenance according to class approved computerized Plant Maintenance System (PMS). For the deck department is also often staffed by the marine superintendent who works under technical management ashore. His duties, like the technical superintendent, are concerned with maintaining of the ship structure and hull from overseeing major surveys and repairs to ensuring the paintwork is kept in good condition and ship’s hull are smooth for better performance of the ship. They ensure good performance of the propulsion, auxiliary machinery and hull to maintain a good Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) in every voyage and implement & monitor the Shipboard Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

Operation department operate the ship according to the business commitment of commercial department. An essential job is to ensure that the ship is sent to the right place at the right time and advise the master about the voyage plan. Decisions have to be made as to how much bunker fuel will be the ideal quantity and where this should be taken on board. At the same time, ensure that agents at all ports of call are advised and their response acted upon is essential. Crew changes have to be organized at the appropriate intervals and dry-docking is another major activity which has to be harmonized with commercial commitments. The operation department also responsible for appointing the port agent for smooth ship operation in the port of call. The operation department directly involves in implementation of some energy efficiency operational measures such as optimized voyage planning, virtual arrival (Just in time), voyage execution etc.

The job of the commercial management is to arrange the commercial activities of the ship. Therefore contacting with the cargo brokers and fixing charterers or in the case of liners the marketing and preparation of documentation are the prime jobs of commercial department. There has to be very close liaison between the commercial and the operation department to ensure such things as having the right amount of bunkers available at suitable times and places. Crew changes have to be organized at the appropriate intervals and routine dry-docking is another major activity which has to be harmonized with commercial commitments. Skill at producing voyage estimation, market condition analysis and decision making capacity of commercial department makes the shipping business profitable and efficient management of the ship.

Bunker suppliers supply the bunker to the ship. The technical superintendent of the ship ensures the correct grade and quality of bunker fuels and lubricants are supplied to the ship. The operation department arranges the bunker supplier on arrival to a convenient port. The commercial department or the charterer pays for the bunker according to the agreement with charterer. The Bunker supplier has a big vital role on the control of GHG emission by supplying the good quality fuels to the ship.

Whenever the ship goes to any port of call, it always need an port agent to make necessary arrangements for it to enter and leave that port, to load and to discharge cargo to comply with local regulations and to pay for services rendered and taxes or due payable. The fleet operation department of the shipping company is responsible to choose and appoint the port agent. Sometimes, the voyage charterers also nominate the port agent to maintain confidentiality in their business. The port agent’s responsibility is to act at all times in the best interest of the vessel. The ship owner will need to follow the agent advice for the ship movements: Expected time of arrival (ETA), Cargo Operation Time and expected time of departure (ETD). Agent is working for arranging berth, booking pilot and tugs, attendance of the customs & immigrations authorities, arranging stores, bunker, prepare the required port papers, helping in crew matters, arranging attendance of surveyors for cargo or ship routine surveys or damages.

Ships are transporting cargo from one port to another port through making voyage at sea. The Port Facility provide a gateway for trade and attract commercial infrastructure such as banks, shipping agencies, freight forwarders, stevedores, etc. All ports facilitating arrival and departure of ships and providing navigational aids and Vessel Traffic Separation (VTS) facilities. To use the berth, the ship needs to use the pilotage, tugging and mooring activities which facilities are duly available in ports. The ship uses the berths, sheds, etc for loading, discharging, storage and distribution of cargo by using the cargo loading unloading equipment and stevedores. Port Authority can play a good role to make the ship energy efficient by informing the ship for berthing schedule in advance, arranging the pilotage in time, smooth & quick operations of cargo and arranging quick departure when the vessel completes its cargo operation. Many ports declared themselves “green Ports” by arranging the shore power supply (Cold ironing) for the ship and maintaining a good role for emission control inside the ports.

During the port operation, the Port State Control (PSC) have the right and authority to inspect the vessel for valid and all required certificates of various IMO conventions, crews STCW certificates and the ship’s safety & emergency equipment such as LSA & FFA items, MARPOL equipment are functioning well and maintaining in good order. In 1978, following a series of high profile accidents, the IMO produces the 1978 Protocol that amended the annex to the 1974 SOLAS Convention. Regulation 19 of the amended annex was subtitled simply ‘Control’ and introduced the concept of “Port State Control (PSC)” (Tony Dixon, Ship Operation and Management P-46, 2013). PSC inspectors make random carry out inspections of ships calling their ports to check compliance with international conventions and gauge the vessel threat to safety and the environment. Ships that fail an inspection will be detained and required to rectify deficiencies before being allowed to sail from their port. Such detention is one of the risks for the ship owners which directly affect their business. So to avoid the detention and maintain a good remarks by the Port State Control (PSC), the ship owner are bound to follow the regulations and implement energy efficiency measures to comply with emission control regulations of international regulatory bodies such as IMO, EU etc.

After performing sea voyages for normal business operation of the ship, it need to go to dry-dock for routine maintenance of submerged parts of the hull and few machineries of engine room and carry out few surveys by the classification society for check its seaworthiness. During dry docking, the whole ship is brought to a dry dock or shipyard so that the submerged portions of the hull can be cleaned or inspected. Generally dry docking is done every 24 months to 30 months, as there could be machinery and systems that cannot be stopped while the ship is in use; these are also serviced, repaired or replaced at the same time. Usually the ship’s hull is cleaned of marine plants, painting with anti-corrosive and anti-fouling paints, propeller cleaning & polishing, hull inspection and repairs, shipside gratings cleaned and repaired, hull’s zinc anodes renewing, cleaning and surveying of tanks, rudder and carrier ring inspections and maintenances. Locking devices clearances are also inspected. All overboard and sea suction valves are cleaned and overhauled. Tail shaft bearing wear down is inspected. Tail shaft is removed and checked. Anchor chain is inspected, cleaned and re-marked. Dry-docking of the ship has a great role for ship’s hull cleaning and painting and propeller cleaning and polishing are always improve energy efficiency of the ships.

Normally when the ship becomes old and maintenance cost increases or ship owner fail to maintain business commitment by the ship operation, it is sold to the second hand ship buyer. The second hand ship buyer can run the ship for cargo operation or can scrap the ship for recycling. As the second hand buyer maximum times buys the old ship for scrap business, they normally doesn’t like to pay the innovative technology installation to the vessel as they give valve to machinery equipment and their spare parts for recycle and ship’s hull measures just for re-producing iron and steel.

Written by Mohammud Hanif Dewan, IEng, IMarEng, MIMarEST, MRINA

Mohammud Hanif Dewan, IEng, IMarEng, MIMarEST, MRINA

Working as the Deputy Commandant at LMTI, Liberia and Assistant Consultant at IMO. Worked as the Lecturer at ALAM Malaysia, IMA & CMC Bangladesh. Sailed as Chief Engineer on board various types of Tankers in multinational companies. Also worked as a consultant for developing and preparation of new syllabuses of marine engineering pre-sea and post-sea courses of Department of Shipping, Bangladesh as per STCW 2010 Manila Amendments. Writer of maritime articles. Researcher on Energy Efficiency in Shipping Industry, UTM, Malaysia.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of