NKAC & the Dawn of the 'Digital Twin'
ClassNK Archive Center (NKAC) has stored the first Ship Construction Files (SCF) complying with IMO Global Based Standards (GBS) for the NACKS-built 311,000 DWT VLCC delivered on October 26, 2018, managed by MOL Tankship Management (Asia) Pte. Ltd.
To encourage design transparency and help ensure safety throughout the life of vessels, SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 entered into force in 2012, requiring SCF complying with IMO GBS to be provided by shipyards on a new ship’s delivery and kept on board and/or ashore. The SCF provides the vessel design and construction information needed to ensure the safety of the ship throughout its operational life. The regulations are applicable to bulk carriers and oil tankers of 150m or more in length for which building contracts have been placed on or after July 1, 2016. In the absence of a building contract, the regulations apply to keels laid on or after July 1, 2017, or delivery made on or after July 1, 2020.
According to the SCF guidelines, this information must be stored on board. Other information, including the high-level intellectual property (IP) drawings belonging to the shipyards such as the yard plan, lines and detailed structural calculations, is kept confidential and does not need to be carried on board.
To supplement the regulation, the Industry Standard was also developed by cross-industry groups including the Shipbuilders’ Association of Japan (SAJ) and other organizations such as CANSI, CESA, KOSHIPA, SCA, ICS, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO, BIMCO, OCIMF and IACS.
NKAC, launched in 2016, is a world-first onshore digital archive center that fully complies with IMO-GBS requirements and the Industry Standard. To ensure confidentiality of intellectual property (IP), shipbuilders can set the desired IP security levels for each drawing. High IP-level drawings such as the lines plan are only stored ashore in NKAC and, as a rule, the shipowner is required to ask NKAC for permission to access these files. NKAC then notifies the IP-holder (shipbuilder and/or equipment manufacturer) of the request for their permission.
The shipowner can also access the onboard SCF via the internet 24/7, 365 days a year. Electronic access to all SCF documents stored on board is logged by the operating system and recorded at the end of each session for secure storage, with the access log being encrypted and accessible only by the shipowner.
NKAC simplifies the storage of important files by offering a paperless, user-friendly way to manage drawings, thus enabling effective communication between shipbuilders, shipowners and ship management companies by bringing them all under one umbrella and providing a central resource through which files can be exchanged.