Hull fouling causes drag-related speed loss and increased fuel consumption when more power is delivered in order to maintain ship schedules. Hull fouling is also a topic of growing environmental concern and international regulation as it relates to green house gas emissions and the carriage of aquatic invasive species on fouled hulls.
To combat these issues, shipping companies are relying on modern hull coating systems like foul-release paint to provide a ready solution. Foul-release and most other types of marine hull paint are expensive and shipping companies have had few easy choices for accurately measuring paint performance and cost effectiveness before making fleet purchasing decisions. A recent study showed that fuel penalties due to hull fouling can be severe (over $100,000 per month in extra fuel burn for a single ship).
Ship owners need accurate scientific data to support intelligent decisions on coating systems and hull cleaning intervals. MACSEA now offers an independent hull monitoring service designed to save fuel
and reduce emissions by detecting hull fouling as early as possible. The new service, called Hull Medic, uses automatic onboard data acquisition to gather salient ship performance data and transmit it ashore for detailed analysis. Hull Medic will typically review 100,000’s of a ship’s data records per month, providing high-accuracy statistical analysis for earlier detection of hull fouling.
Hull Medic calibrates each ship’s propeller as a power absorption dynamometer, using propeller characteristics and “clean-hull” ship performance data. The calibration establishes the unique relationship between speed, propeller rpm, and shaft power for each vessel. The propeller can then be used to track power, fuel, and emission increases over time. The technique works for ships with single, double, fixed, or variable pitched propellers. Performance reports are provided to shipping management on a timely basis such that significant fuel penalties don’t go unnoticed.