For a ship meant to carry large amount of cargo at an optimum speed, operational efficiency is an imperative that can make a real difference to business. An improved hull form to reduce engine power and fuel consumption can go a long way in overall cost savings during the life of the ship. With greater operational efficiencies, it can help kick-start profitability. One of our clients posed a challenge where we needed to enhance the performance of their four Mini Bulk Carriers of 8000 dwt – without altering the carrying capacity or speed of the vessel. After strategic thinking, we approached the problem with a two pronged solution:

  • optimise the hull form to reduce bare hull resistance
  • improve aft body to enhance flow to the propeller, increasing propulsion efficiency

The result was a remarkably improved vessel, giving fuel saving of 4.7tons per day. Following basic engineering principle powered by high end computing power Resistance is a critical area to be considered in ship hull development. Prediction of ship resistance is often derived from experiments at model scale. The hull shape is traditionally modified until it is “manually optimised” for least resistance. In recent years, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has enhanced the design process by predicting the flow around the hull and also the resistance. CFD uses applied mathematics, physics and computational software to visualise the flow of water and impact on the ship. Design alternatives are compared based on computed results and the best is then selected for verification. CFD cuts time and iterative effort to find the final shape. The original hull form and propulsion system was inefficient and grossly overdesigned with 2x1330kW engines. The target was to use 2x885kW engines for arriving at the design speed of 10 knots with 10% sea margin. CFD was chosen as the analysis method to optimise the hull form based on resistance.

Vedam helped design and implement an improved hull design that enabled our client to drive their business with far greater efficiency.

The first step of CFD was to simulate the existing hull and validate the results with the tank test data.

Upon running the tests, the percentage of error between CFD and experimental results were within limit, helping set a critical benchmark for future simulations. A detailed CFD analysis revealed the following:

  • Variation in LCB location: The LCB of the input hull was found to be incorrectly located for the given speed of the vessel. By shifting the LCB towards forward will greatly improve resistance. This will make the forward part bulkier but at the same time, it will allow smoother flow lines at the aft hull reducing overall resistance. This will also enable accommodating a larger propeller improving propulsive efficiency of the vessel.                                                                                            
  • One skeg instead of two: Streamline pattern derived from bare hull analysis helped in aligning appendages. A single centre line skeg was added in lieu of two skegs ahead of propeller.
  • Considering the above findings, three new hull forms were developed and checked in CFD for the optimum one. The best form was selected to further investigate with self-propulsion test to select the engine and propeller.

Vedam delivered effective results through in-depth analysis. It created improved performance across several levels. The CFD analysis threw up critical results where effective wake fraction, thrust deduction fraction and QPC were derived, enabling us to estimate the engine selection.

  • An engine power of 885 kW at 85% MCR considering 10% sea margin was sufficient to operate the vessel at 10 knots speed.
  • Effective wake fraction and thrust deduction fraction were reduced by 33.67% and 57% respectively.
  • QPC was improved by 32% as compared to input hull, resulting in 33% reduction in installed engine power than that of input hull.

With this aft hull optimisation exercise, the client could realise a significant savings in CAPEX and OPEX of the vessel during her life cycle. It helped re-affirm the client’s confidence on revised cargo logistic and the viability of the transportation operation.

BWM Plan

BWM convention, first adopted on 13 February 2004, will enter into force on 08 September 2017 and shall apply to all existing & new ships of all types with following characteristics: GT > 400, Carrying ballast water & Operating in International waters. On or before 8 September 2017, vessels to which BWM convention applies are required to have:

  1. Approved Ballast Water management plan, ballast water record book and carry International Ballast Water Management (IBWM) certificate on-board as per regulation D-1 of the convention.
  2. Install ballast water treatment system (BWTS) onboard as per regulation D-2 standards of the convention no later than the first IOPP renewal survey (MARPOL Annex I) after 08 September 2017.

To comply with point 1, all the vessels must have a Ballast water management plan onboard after 8th Sept, 2017 which should at least comply with ballast water exchange procedure.  In view of proximity of the date of the implementation, it is advisable that all ship owners should make plan for preparation and submission of BWMP to classification society as soon as possible  to ensure smooth operation of their vessels. Recently we did quite a  few projects for BWMP preparation for OSVs and PSVs and we could obtain class approvals in time.  Good understanding of applicable rules and regulations and close coordination with classification society also ensured that all approvals could be obtained with minimum hassle for the shipowners.

INNOVATIVE 3D MODEL TOOLS FOR RETROFIT PROJECTS

3-D ISO View of Sponsoons

3 D Modelling tools have been in existence since long time and have been used extensively in new construction projects. However, in recent years, use of these modelling tools have been extended from construction projects to repair and retrofit projects as well.  We have used 3 D modelling tools in many prominent repair and retrofit projects.

DWT increment was one project where we used 3D modelling tool effectively. .  his was a very interesting project where client wanted to  increase the dead weight of the vessel maintaining the same draft. Increase in dead weight was achieved by installation of sponsoons on port and starboard side each. Since this was a retrofit project, so there was a severe time constraint. To avoid delays in shipyard during the construction process, complete detail engineering and

3-D Model of one of the ER Zone

fabrication drawings were done using 3-D modelling tools. We used FORAN in this specific case. Successful completion of this project illustrated that use of 3D modelling for small size repair work is cost effective as well and better than conventional methods of 2d drawings and in-situ construction. Use of 3-D modelling tool also ensured that all stakeholders like designers, yard production engineers and management could be on the same platform.

Retrofit projects have challenges of their own. Some of the common but major issues are space restriction, weight monitor( control and optimization)  etc. . Many of these issues can be solved by using 3 D modelling by:

  • Spreading out the equipment from skids (like RO plant unit) and relocating at
    Weight Control In Basic Design

    different feasible location

  • Optimizing the FCU sizes and nos to utilize spaces
  • Split electrical panels and reduce its size

After our experience with 3-D modelling tools, we can say with confidence that 3-D modelling tools are very useful for simple as well as complex projects, if used effectively.    It is extremely important to mange weight control of retrofit projects to ensure optimal overall project cost and vessel’s stability . Modelling tools thus come very handy and solves the purpose.

Innovative Hatch Cover Design from Vedam

Sole purpose of owning and operating a vessel is to generate revenue through carriage of cargo. Therefore, primary concern for any ship operator or ship owner is to safeguard their vessel’s cargo from the elements of nature. Shipping and ship building industry has been coming up with various solutions to address this seemingly easy but unique problem.

Vedam’s patented hatch covers on a  vessel

Many solutions for cargo hold protection and covering exist for ocean going vessels such as bulk carriers and container carriers. Normally such solutions consist of putting up hatch covers made up of steel on top of each cargo hold. In general, such hatch covers are designed for much severe weather conditions and they are heavier in construction.  Incidentally, very few customised solutions exist for coastal and inland vessel. Such vessels are smaller in size and rarely encounter heavy seas. Therefore, they need hatch covers which are not only lighter in weight but also cost effective in fabrication and maintenance.

Vedam has identified this requirement of inland and coastal vessels for customised hatch cover it has come up with a unique design. One such hatch cover has already been fabricated and installed by a ship owner. These hatch covers not only protect the cargo from water ingress but they are light weight and easy to operate. They are specially built and patented for specific requirements of coastal and inland vessels.

View of patented hatch covers from cargo hold

Vedam has conceptualized, produced and patented hatch cover designs for more than 20 different vessels to suit their respective requirements. So, we have solutions available for different kinds and range of inland and coastal vessels.

BALLAST WATER CONVENTION- STRATEGY FOR RETROFITS

3- D Scan of ER for    Feasibility Study

          Ratification of long due Ballast Water Convention has shaken up the shipping industry. Many owners are chalking out their strategy to comply with the new requirements.  However, if we look  up at the whole BWTS retrofit in it’s entirety, it’s actually installation of an interconnected set of equipment. These kind of retrofits may be rare in main fleet vessels, but such installations are a common  occurrence in allied industries such as work boat and offshore installations. Work boats routinely undergo conversions such as FiFi System installations, DP Systems installations, 4 point mooring , which are of similar complex nature. So, a lot of learning from allied industries can be applied to BWTS retrofits as well.

             PIPE ARRANGEMENT DETAILS

  It’s important to  identify the pitfalls in way of the retrofit process  from  equipment selection till commissioning and understand the  prominent technologies in the market thoroughly. It’s important to first do  a  feasibility and equipment selection study for an individual  vessels using various approaches such as survey, 3-D Scanning etc. It’s very important to identify the right set of equipment based on a detailed technical analysis and not just pick up the cheapest equipment in the market.  In fact, many of our internal studies show that  a particular treatment technology which may  seem  cheap at the time of procurement will turn out to be more expensive than other technologies  during the whole operational cycle of the vessel and vice versa. Once, equipment selection is complete, we should do a complete class level and workshop drawing before proceeding to actual installation.

At Vedam,  we have executed multiple projects for BWTS retrofit which involved equipment selection for a cape size bulk carrier, 3-D scanning of engine room for feasibility study, complete engineering for installation of a UV based equipment on a MPC, supervision and project management for installation of a USCG approved BWTS system on a container ship etc. At Vedam, we have developed a very detailed database of all available equipment in the market which enables us to make equipment selections very quickly and effectively. Apart from feasibility, equipment selection and complete engineering related to retrofits, we also have capability for installation, supervision and project management of Ballast water treatment systems.

 

Compliance with UAE Yacht Code

Yacht industry is very innovative and future oriented. Many existing conventions are applied to regulate the existing industry. UAE national Transport authority has come up with a similar code (i.e. for yacht above 24 meters in length & not intended for commercial use).

Inclining Experiment Underway for UAE Yacht Code Compliance

The UAE yacht regulations are adpplicable for new & existing private yachts of all types with length greater than 24m.  (Type of hull – Mono hull/Catamarans, Built-in material – Steel/Aluminium/Wood/Co-mposites, Propulsion type – Motor/Sail/Pods/Waterjet).

The compliance to UAE yacht regulations for new private yachts can be taken care in the design stage itself. For existing private yatchs, these regulations will become applicable at the time of renewal. Recently we  developed an approach to verify the compliance of the existing private yachts against the UAE yacht regulations & also executed projects successfully for the yacht owners, thereby helping them for timely renewal of certificates for their yachts.

It has been seen that most of the existing  private yachts don’t have the mandatory documentation on board which includes main design drawings, Stability booklets and various manuals.

The compliance with the UAE code starts with the verification of the existing documents. A survey is undertaken  by an experienced team of Naval architects & Engineers and shortfall in way of documentation is identified. Based on the gap study,   various design drawing/document packages  as required by the UAE yacht regulations are prepared and required class approval are taken.

With our experience of UAE yacth compliance in place, we can say with certainty that the compliance can be achieved in a timely manner if planned properly.

Inland Navigation: A cleaner & Greener mode of transportation

Infrastructure and industry are always catching up with each other.  Whether one should build up the infrastructure and wait for the industry to catch up or expand the industry and hope that infrastructure will play along is a million dollar question. In last few years one must have come across few of the major infrastructure  initiatives for inland shipping industry. Sagarmala, Jal Marg Vikas, Coastal Economic Regions (CER), port-led development model, multi-modal transportation, Gas based economy, Urja Ganga gas line project and many other projects have been announced in last few years. However, at the ground level, one is yet to see the industry making a real shift to waterborne transportation from grossly over-utilized, congested and uneconomical modes of transportation. Probably industry requires a disruptive step to kick start the adaptation of much economical and environmental friendly inland and coastal waterborne transportation methods.

We have always been trying to keep ourselves in the forefront of this development. We have invested well in developing various designs to cater current and future industrial requirement. We have developed several india-centric designs such as optimized river cargo vessels, non-propelled and self-propelled CSDs, very shallow draft TSHDs and SSHD (stationary suction hopper dredgers), inland feeder gas carriers and CNG/LNG propelled vessels. These designs are developed to address typical requirement of Indian industry to overcome local operational challenges; simplistic designs yet much optimized which can be built in Indian yards using locally manufactured products as far as possible.

2700 Ton Inland Coal Barge

We are also working closely with shippers and shipyards to understand their need and translate the same into design. This approach has already started giving results. Clients have realized and moved away from extremities of accepting same age-old standard vessels or going for much expensive foreign products. Now, with Vedam, they have an option of getting a balanced product. Fully designed by Vedam and built in India Cutter Suction Dredgers have already shown very good performance at the field. With usage of modern analysis tools like FEM and CFD, Vedam has develop efficient hull forms and optimized hull steel to pass on the gain in CAPEX and OPEX to both shipyard and operator. A much optimized cargo vessel, specifically designed for NW-1 and NW-2, is already under construction.

Vedam is confident of inland and coastal transportation picking up sooner. Infrastructure is being set, investments are being lined up and industry is excited; We are always there to support the industry whenever it takes off .

LNG Potential for Indian Maritime Sector

India has been an energy importer, primarily for oil. Natural gas is slowly increasing its share of energy mix of india, which was around 11% in 2010 and is expected to double by 2025. Power and Fertilizer industry are leading the gas consumption. Demand for use of Natural gas as energy source is increasing due to its increasing availability, environmental friendly characteristics, and promising supply chain economics.

Almost 50% of natural gas consumption is fulfilled by imported LNG, other 50% is currently domestically produced. LNG infrastructure is nascent in India and hence presents a huge potential for investors. So far, India has fewer LNG import terminals than the LNG import demand. There are several players considering setting up Floating storage & regasification units (FSRU), a floating terminal, which is faster and more economical to build than a fixed terminal. The channel for Distribution of gas within India is primarily via pipelines. The current operating gas pipeline length of around 16,000KM is below the required capacity. There is another 10,000 KM of pipelines under construction. The projected requirement of total pipeline as per the demand exceeds 30,000 KM length.

Till the pipelines are in place, an alternate and potentially good way of transporting imported LNG is via coastal & inland waterways using feeder LNG barges. At Vedam, we have developed various feeder barge concepts es

Vedam’s LNG Vessel design

pecially suited for Indian requirements together with some stakeholders and LNG infrastructure providers. With the government thrust on improving Coastal & Inland waterways, these barges present a very economical transportation method.

In many European countries, use of LNG as marine propulsion fuel is picking up pace. However in terms of LNG propulsion vessels, it is still too early for India because LNG bunkering facilities are  not formalised yet. It will take much longer to develop LNG bunkering. However, there is a huge demand for LNG transportation and consumption which can be met my vessels.

Panama Canal Expansion- Great Oppurtunity for Shipping Industry

Panama Canal is one of the most important shipping routes in the world. It connects eastern sea board of USA and Latin America to the west coast of US and further east to manufacturing powerhouses in East Asia.

By early 2000s, Panama Canal was handling more than four times cargo traffic than its designed capacity. To service such heavy traffic, Panama government undertook an expansion project in the beginning of the year 2006 and started construction of a bigger set of locks which would be capable of taking far bigger ships, called Neo Panamax. New lock gate opened in year 2016.

Panama Canal authority (ACP) regularly issues notices for compliance guidelines for panamax, panamax plus and Neo Panamax vessels.  These guidelines mention various requirements for transiting through Panama Canal including bridge design, visibility, pilot’s shelter design, protrusions from the ship side etc. Most of these requirements specially pertaining to visibility, shelter design etc. are not new and have been applicable for old locks since long. However, the mooring requirements for panamax plus and neo panamax vessels transiting through new locks are substantially different from panamax vessel transiting through old locks and need to be studied carefully.

The main directive of ACP is to have chocks and bitts of a specified safe working load (SWL). SWL requirements for the chocks and bitts depend on their purpose. In general, chock/bitt used for mooring operations should have a SWL of minimum 64 tons, while those required for towing operations should have a SWL of minimum 90 tons. For a panamax plus or neo panamax vessels, the requirements may vary from having a total of 14 to 16 nos of   chocks and bitts of required SWL. There are further guidelines for vessel having flared bows and unusually high freeboards such as LNG carriers etc. Use of recessed tug bollards in lieu of chocks is permitted in such special cases.

 

Vedam recently finished gap analysis and design project for up gradation of one such vessel, a cape size bulk carrier. FVedam’ Scope mainly involved study for up gradation of mooring equipment and design of new mooring foundations. Since, the vessel was not designed for panama transit, some minor modification in way of wheel house arrangement drawing also needed to be done. Navigational bridge visibility calculations for various loading conditions were also done and submitted to ACP. The whole design process took approx. 4 weeks. Mooring foundations were fabricated by the shipyard during regular docking of the vessel. This vessel created a maritime record in Sept’ 2016, when she became the first cape size bulk carrier ever to transit Panama Canal.

Expansion of Panama Canal is a great opportunity for ship owners and managers to increase the operational flexibility of their vessels. Opening of new lock gates enables ship owners to deploy larger vessels of their fleet such as capsize vessels on shorter routes between east coast of America and East Asia & Australia, thereby increasing operational efficiency.  However, ACP requirements needs to be studied carefully to ensure smooth maiden transit. With proper planning, compliance with ACP requirements can be achieved in a very timely and cost effective manner.