The Importance and Benefits of Vessel Performance Monitoring

It is desirable to monitor and improve vessel performance to optimise fuel economy. Fuel is the largest operating cost of any power – driven vessel, so reducing fuel usage increases profitability and competitive advantage.

But using fuel more efficiently also helps to comply with ever more stringent emission regulations and helps to achieve environmental objectives. To understand patterns of fuel usage, emission control regulations require vessels to collect performance and navigation data and evaluate ship energy efficiency through the use of onboard sensors and data acquisition (DAQ) systems.

Various factors, including environmental conditions and intrinsic design features, may impact the fuel economy of a vessel. Environmental factors may include wind force and direction, and current direction and speed. Understanding the real time effects of wind and currents on a vessel allows an operator to navigate the vessel along an optimum route in relation to weather and tidal flows, and to choose best engine operating speeds for a given situation. Many charterers support ships with trade specific weather routing to assist in voyage planning.

The most critical intrinsic design factor with regard to vessel performance is hull hydrodynamic resistance. The greater the resistance, the more fuel that will be required to drive the vessel through the water.

To achieve meaningful ship performance monitoring requires a large amount of performance and navigation data.

Whereas some younger ships are already outfitted with data interfaces that allow for automated data capture and entry into a ship performance monitoring tool, older vessels may have a very limited amount of data interfaces available and therefore the crew must manually collect, store and communicate large amounts of performance and navigation information. All these data are transmitted from ship to shore every day and need to be checked for plausibility and reliability before they are further processed for data analysis and storage in the fleet performance system.

As a ship manager, Uniteam Marine oversees ships of all ages and technical sophistication, with a wide range of automated and manual data acquisition and processing tools. In all cases, our aim is to make the most efficient use of the available data and to provide ships with the optimum tools for fuel efficiency.

At Uniteam Marine we make multiple use of the same data we acquire to:

  • Optimise vessel performance
  • Control the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and conform to the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan
  • Ensure compliance with EU MRV and IMO DCS.

A positive side effect of this process is that vessel performance monitoring not only ensures safe and environmentally friendly operation and minimises costs, it also contributes to optimising maintenance efforts, increasing equipment availability and controlling the rate of equipment deterioration.

Thanks are due to our dedicated crews onboard the vessels, who use the systems provided, together with their professional skill and judgement, to ensure our vessels are as safe, “green” and cost efficient as possible.

Lars Evers, Technical Director