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'Unforeseen pitfalls' for sulphur ECA operators, says AWT

Sulphur emissions caps in both the North Sea and North America ECAs could risk “unforeseen pitfalls” for operators, according to routeing firm Applied Weather Technologies (AWT).

According to AWT senior operations manager Mike O’Brien, vessels entering North American waters were “likely to be carrying only the necessary (0.1% sulphur fuel) needed to exit the ECA zone”, opening themselves up to problems with severe weather.

“It is not uncommon to hear that the ship does not have enough low sulphur fuel to sail the suggested route,” explains O’Brien. “As a result, extremely long routes are sailed and/or routes that expose the vessel to prolonged heavy weather.”

In order to combat the issue, owners and managers must not only make prudent decisions over fuel, but also optimise the speed of their transits within ECA zones in order to preserve as much of the fuel as possible.

“AWT created an ECA voyage pre-plan for our clients to compare the following: the best route from an ocean current and weather standpoint without regard to the ECA; an optimum reduced ECA route; and an absolute minimum ECA route when practical,” explained O’Brien.

Cost considerations which would have to be factored in will have to include distance steamed in ECA zones, overall distance, fuel cost, hire cost and speed setting inside and outside of ECA waters.

“AWT has overcome these challenges,” said O’Brien. “The recently launched AWT SmartSpeed ship route advisory service provides an optimum solution by recommending both route and speeds to safely reduce fuel cost.

“By putting tools into the operator's hands, we allow them to make quick, informed decisions with voyage safety and the bottom line in mind.”

Posted 18 November 2014

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