The initiative will focus on the installation of fuel saving devices and gadgets including Becker Mewis propeller ducts and propeller boss cap fins on a range of owned tankers. The programme includes screening and retrofitting around 70 tankers over the next two to three years or so.
Tommy Thomassen, vice president of technical organisation at the Maersk group subsidiary, reveals that one of the company’s “I-class” VLCCs – the Ilma Maersk, Isabella Maersk or Ingrid Maersk – will be the first to be fitted with the appendages at a Singapore yard later this month. Before-and-after sea trials will verify the expected improvement of around 5-8 %. The process of retro-fitting a VLCC takes roughly 15 days.
However, the company’s drive to raise fuel efficiency will focus on as many as 35 separate measures which will all potentially contribute to fuel savings across the fleet. The chosen I-class vessel will have many of the measures installed on board. These will be verified in service over one or two quarters of operation, Thomassen explains. Not all of the devices will be suitable for all ships, however. Those involving changes to the flow of water through the propeller depend on a tanker’s aft hull lines.
Thomassen believes that retrofitted tonnage could yield fuel savings of as much as 8-10%. Each class of vessel in the company’s fleet – ranging from VLCCs, to LR2s, MRs, handysize tankers and smaller chemical carriers – will be carefully assessed by company naval architects and specialists from the group’s technology firm, Maersk Maritime Technology.
In Thomassen’s view, it makes no sense to order new ships against current backdrop of substantial overcapacity, and when existing vessels can be made significantly more efficient at a relatively low cost.
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