By 1st January 2013, all ships 400 gross tonnes or more will be required to have a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) as part of amendments to MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships). Time for shipowners to call on CASPER. No, we’re not referring to the famous cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost. CASPER stands for “Computerised Analysis of Ship Performance” – a hull and propeller performance monitoring service from Propulsion Dynamics. At a time of rising fuel costs and tougher emissions regulations, we think it could be a shipowner’s best friend.

The principle behind CASPER sounds simple enough. Hull and propeller resistance affects fuel consumption. By monitoring their performance, CASPER tells the shipowner when to carry out cleaning and maintenance procedures. Accuracy and timing are the key. Says Daniel Kane, vice-president of Propulsion Dynamics: “It is cleaning the hull at an early enough time to save fuel but not let the hull get damaged from heavy fouling or overly intensive cleanings, which are required when hulls become too fouled.” CASPER compares ship compares ship performance from hull and propeller fouling with a clean, smooth hull and propeller from sea trials. This generates accurate figures for speed and
fuel consumption due to basic roughness and fouling.

According to Mr Kane, most ships will benefit from polishing the propeller two or three times a year but it depends on many factors – time in port, water temperature, propeller composition and the like. “Our approach is condition-based rather than calendar-based,” he says. “Some ships have 10 or more layers of old paint on the hulls and repeated spot blastings produce inferior hull smoothness, regardless of what coating is applied.”

Amongst the benefits of CASPER worth noting:

• Each ship in the program is treated individually

• CASPER is a perfect fit for SEEMP – By creating a thorough implementation of measures, and continual improvements of technical fuel efficiency, ROI is straightforward

• Services under CASPER are compatible with all monitoring and data recording systems. No additional software or instruments are required to sign up ships in the program.

Propulsion Dynamics has reached a milestone of sorts by issuing its 5,000th monthly report. These reports show how the subtle changes in a ship’s hull and propeller condition are affecting its speed and fuel consumption. Thus far in 2012, the number of active ships under the CASPER Service is said to have increased by 20%. This has prompted the company to double its office space in Europe and hire two more naval architects to join its analysis team.

In the age of SEEMP, becoming visible to more shipowners should be no problem for CASPER. ~Barista Uno