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Hull fouling management software launched

A new software system that enables ship owners and operators to assess and predict the risk of hull fouling dependent on the route their vessels are transiting has been launched by AkzoNobel subsidiary International Paint.

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The Intertrac software system, which has been  trialled with customer partners since February 2013, overlays a vessel’s route, speed and location data with a ‘fouling challenge’ data set, enabling coating specifications to be tailored specifically to an individual vessel’s operations and trading routes.

International Paint says that this should lead to more effective cost management for hull coatings, as well as helping to maximise a vessel’s operational efficiency.

Intertrac divides the world’s oceans and coastal waters into 64 “large marine ecosystems”, each with its own fouling risk and characteristics including salinity, temperature, thermal range, seasonality and typical pH levels.

Each region is assigned with a level of fouling risk split into five categories; very low, low, medium, high and very high.

Intertrac uses data that is provided by a vessel’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) – information that is available in the public domain – to establish operating profiles. Identified either by name or IMO number, a vessel’s historical record of activity over a certain period can be mapped using the software.

A fouling risk profile is consequently developed for each vessel, allowing ship owners and operators to quantify the hull ‘fouling challenge’ that a specific vessel has faced whilst in operation.

Mike Hindmarsh, global marketing manager for Deep Sea Dry Docking said: “Intertrac is unique in that as well as tracking vessels it can also overlay detailed fouling risk assessment from across the world’s oceans and coastal regions.”

“By combining details of a vessel’s voyage – both geographically and in terms of operating profile – with an analysis of the fouling challenge in the regions where she has traded, we can provide our customers with detailed information on the level of fouling risk that they face.”

“From this, we can deliver real consultancy for our customers, and recommend the optimal choice of antifouling coating specification, ensuring cost effectiveness and maximising their levels of operational efficiency.”

Mr Hindmarsh notes that, for example, if a vessel was trading for long periods in cold northern waters where the fouling challenge is low, it would be appropriate to reduce the antifouling coating specification – thus saving the company money.

“Seasonality is an important variable, but Intertrac automatically tracks the time spent and the months involved,” he added.

Intertrac will, over a specified period – such as a vessel’s last in service period since dry dock – create a vessel’s trading profile with every voyage plotted, giving total sea miles, average sea miles per month, and average draft and speed.

The duration and frequency of time spent idle is also recorded, as well as time spent sailing above or below a certain speed. Whether or not a vessel was loaded on a certain voyage is additionally tracked.

“As thousands of vessels are consistently deployed in certain trades, and on certain routes, the Intertrac analysis is already proving popular,” said Mr Hindmarsh.

“Indeed, an oil major has already requested that International Paint carries out a complete fleet-wide fouling risk exercise across all of its ships.”

“In relation to hull coatings it fundamentally shows the importance of continually investing in research and development and turning to new innovations and technology to drive progression so that we can provide ship owners and operators with the precise solution that can help to solve the specific challenges that they face.”

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