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Boost for remote surveys amid COVID-19 crisis

Digital and remote surveys are proving increasingly popular amongst shipowners and managers as the global pandemic takes its toll on flights, regional travel and physical access to ships.

Classification society DNV GL, which claims to have now completed more than 15,000 remote surveys, set out its digital stall in a webinar yesterday.

Geir Dugstad, Technical Director and Director of Ship Classification and Stener Stenersen, Head of Technical Support, Norway, explained how most surveys – apart from annuals, intermediates and specials – can now be undertaken remotely and more efficiently, saving time and travel costs.

Even before the impact of COVID-19 hit ship operations, the new digital approach to routine surveys was making it mark, according to Dugstad.

A recent example was a ship immobilised in a US port by a main engine equipment failure and requiring an urgent survey before being allowed to sail. Significant delay was avoided through remote contact with the result that DNV GL experts were able to identify, provide guidance and approve the repair. Once the issue was resolved, the US Coast Guard signed off the procedure, the ship was able to sail and days of ship time and surveyor travel costs had been saved.

The class society’s Direct Access to Technical Experts (DATE) is also proving popular. From five global hubs in Hamburg, Høvik, Piraeus, Singapore and Houston, DNV GL experts are available 24/7 to provide advice and guidance to ship operators anywhere in the world. Feedback from the society is assured within 24 hours but enquiries are usually dealt with more quickly than this, Stenersen said.

Digital guidance depends, to some extent, on shipboard connectivity: full video streaming is technically possible but most ships are not yet geared up to handle these data volumes.

Other aspects of DNV GL’s digital portfolio highlighted by Dugstad and Stenersen were Smart Survey Booking whereby surveys can be booked in advance for a convenient time and location or at ports on a ship’s schedule. E-certificates have been introduced across the classification society’s entire fleet in about 15 months.

Meanwhile, the classification society’s Machinery Maintenance Connect (MMC) enables data from ships’ planned maintenance systems to be sent digitally and collated ashore on a fleetwide basis, improving efficiency by highlighting anomalous issues.


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