• First-ever ship and route-specific crew planning tool optimises scheduling of working
• Automated documentation of working and resting hours
• Reporting and compliance support for ship command
• Product launch at SMM Hamburg, held from 9 to 12 September
Hamburg, 03 September 2014 — How many crew members do you need for a specific ship? Will
you be able to comply with working and resting hour regulations on the planned route? With new
regulations in force, these questions are becoming ever more urgent. To date, however, they could
only be answered in retrospect. But the Hamburg-based ship-owning and ship management company E.R. Schiffahrt refused to settle for that and initiated the project for the development of a Crew Compliance Optimizer, CCO, together with their partners Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and the scientists of the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML). “The maritime industry is in urgent need of an instrument capable of accurately planning the size and composition of the crew for a particular ship size and route and the work processes required during port stays, ” says OleJohn, Senior Research Associate with Fraunhofer CML.
Route-specific planning on shore: The Office Module
The number of sailors needed on board essentially depends on how many are required to run the ship
safely at all times and perform maintenance work in addition to that. To arrive at that number the
new system accounts for all route-specific details, such as the number of days at sea, the distances to
be travelled between ports and the open sea, the laydays, the work processes planned in port,
bunkering and restocking operations and many others. Working together closely with E. R.
Schiffahrt’s seafaring personnel, the scientists captured all on-board work packages, then merged
them with detailed statistical data from the past ten-year period. Based on this empirical data the
Office Module will calculate the number of seafarers needed for each route and the specific work to be
Continuous work schedule updates: The On-board Module
The On-board Module allows the ship’s command to respond to changes occurring during a trip, and
adjust the work schedules accordingly. For example, if more time is spent in port than originally
planned, the master can make the appropriate adjustments, such as re-assigning watches so the
required working and resting periods will be observed.
Automated documentation on board and on shore: The Reporting Module
The Reporting Module reduces the administrative effort traditionally associated with tracking and
documenting working and resting hours. Time-consuming manual entries are no longer required.
Instead the master simply presses a button to retrieve the documentation required for an audit. This
will be especially convenient for shipping companies over the next several months since Port State
Control has announced more frequent checks to verify adherence to the rules for working and resting
hours. What is more, the relevant data is exchanged between the ship and the onshore office
Benefits for sailors, masters, ship managers and owners alike
Marc Gunther Schmidt, Executive in charge of crew management at E.R. Schiffahrt, summarises the
benefits of Crew Compliance Optimizer for all stakeholders: “Sailors will profit from being able to stick
to their assigned working and resting hours more easily. The ship’s command benefits from a
dramatically reduced timekeeping effort since working hours can be planned quickly and accurately
using the system, which also provides plenty of flexibility for implementing changes during a trip
whenever necessary. The master and ship manager can easily, at the push of a button, produce the
required proof of adequate crewing during port state controls. As for ship owners, the crew costs, one
of the most significant operating cost items, can be documented in a transparent manner, and the
composition of the crew can be traced back with ease.
Both E.R. Schiffahrt and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement will subject the system prototype to
extensive on-board testing under realistic conditions this autumn. The lessons learned will be used to
further optimise the software.
The prototype will be presented at the SMM fair in Hamburg from 9 to 12 September 2014 at the
Fraunhofer Stand in Hall B6, Stand 411.
About E.R. Schiffahrt
E.R. Schiffahrt is a maritime services provider and one of the largest charter companies for container ships
and bulk carriers in Germany. Currently it controls more than 100 vessels. The company was established in
1998 by Erck Rickmers and employs around 3, 500 people on land and at sea. DNV GL awarded E.R.
Schiffahrt with its ‘GL Excellence – 5 Stars’ certificate for its exceptional safety, environmental and quality
standards. In 2012, E.R. Schiffahrt was the first German shipowner to become a participant of the UN
Global Compact, a voluntary initiative to promote sustainable development. The company E.R. Offshore was
founded in 2006 and manages 13 special vessels for offshore oil and gas production as well as for building
and supplying offshore wind farms. Its ships are deployed around the world.
Innovations for the maritime Industry – The Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML)
develops and optimizes processes and systems alongside the maritime supply chain. Within practically
oriented research projects CML supports public and private clients of port operation as well as from the
logistics services industry and from the shipping business to initiate and realize innovations.