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ClassNK: assist newbuildings in achieving compliance with safety and environmental regulations

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PrimeShip-HULL Fore

PrimeShip-HULL Fore

ClassNK is a leading classification society that provides the entire spectrum of class services for vessels from the cradle to the grave. As an independent, neutral organization, we support all parties in creating safe, green, and compliant shipping operations and this commitment can be seen in our recent verification of two ship recycling facilities in Gujarat, India. Today, however, we will focus on the ‘cradle’ – how we assist newbuildings in achieving compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

New ship designs are constantly evolving and being tested on the world’s oceans. As new ship designs emerge, so do new design-related issues. The fact is that only hands-on experience with these new designs allows a classification society to tackle new design-related issues as they arise. Whilst many classification societies develop and update their design rules in line with IACS and IMO, at ClassNK, we take our commitment to ship design safety one step further.

In addition to updating our rules in line with international regulations, we also carry out damage analysis to improve the safety of all NK-registered vessels. ClassNK’s extensive survey records have been collected over many years and serve as a fount of knowledge. When necessary, we use these survey records to carry out damage analysis in order to identify the cause of damage. The results from our analysis are then used to improve our rules.

For example, in response to findings from a large container ship casualty investigation, we proactively revised our rules to improve the structural safety of large container vessels. These new rules are expected to be approved by the ClassNK Technical Committee on 19 November 2015 and apply to ships that are contracted for construction on or after 1 April 2016. This is ahead of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Unified Requirements (UR) S34 and S11A which are set to apply to IACS Societies’ ships that are contracted for construction on or after 1 July 2016. This is just one example of our commitment to securing a safer future. Using this system we can quickly advise on countermeasures to prevent the same kind of damage occurring in similar new vessel designs and make all vessels registered with ClassNK safer. 

Supporting the industry’s compliance with safety requirements is also a key activity of our Society. In December 2014, the amendments of the IACS Common Structural Rules for Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers (CSR BC & OT) were adopted. In response to industry requests to assist in the development of safer ships that are compliant with these amendments, we released PrimeShip-HULL(HCSR) Ver. 2.5.0. The powerful total design support tool allows shipyards to create newbuilding structural designs based on the latest prescriptive and direct strength calculation requirements. Furthermore, the powerful data linkage with various commercial computer aided design (CAD) software, including the widely used 3D design model software NAPA Steel, streamlines the design process, dramatically reducing the amount of time typically required.

The new SOLAS regulation II-1/3-10 made goal-based standards (GBS) applicable to bulk carriers and oil tankers of 150m in length or above for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 July 2016 or the keel laying data is on or after 1 July 2017. The new regulation also requires that a Ship Construction File (SCF) be provided upon delivery of a new ship. The SCF will include important information on ship safety as well as confidential information related to the ship’s design and construction. The SCF can be kept on board the ship and/or ashore.

We responded to the need for a GBS-SCF ashore archive center by joining forces with software giant IBM Japan and The Shipbuilder’s Association of Japan (SAJ) to provide owners with a secure storage and enclosure service for SCF information. The service, knows as the ClassNK Archive Center, will be online from July 2016.

In addition to ensuring the safety of newbuildings, ClassNK also supports the construction of greener ships through innovative software solutions. To help shipyards analyze and calculate a ship’s speed trial results for EEDI calculation in compliance with the latest IMO guidelines, we released PrimeShip-GREEN/ProSTA on 1 May 2015. The software enables ship designers to calculate the ship’s speed in compliance with the new harmonized international standard ISO 15016:2015 and reduces the workload required for EEDI calculation.

PrimeShip-GREEN/MinPower was also developed to help shipyards comply with EEDI requirements by calculating the added resistance in irregular waves, allowing for minimum propulsion power requirements to be determined to an even greater accuracy. In line with our non-profit status, we provide both PrimeShip-GREEN/ProSTA and PrimeShip-GREEN/MinPower free of charge to shipyards.

Since the establishment of the ClassNK Joint R&D for Industry Program in 2009, ClassNK has contributed to a number of joint R&D projects for safer and greener shipping operations. One example is the initiative for the world’s first Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) for use outside Emission Control Areas (ECAs). Complying with the revised MARPOL Annex VI which will limit SOx and PM emissions in areas outside ECAs to 0.5% m/m in 2020 or 2025 is likely to prove challenging for shipowners and ship operators so we are collaborating with key players to develop EGCS as a proactive initiative to ensure that the industry is prepared when this amendment comes into force.

We have also been collaborating on the use of LNG as an environmentally friendly marine fuel. In August 2015, NYK received delivery of Sakigake, Japan’s first LNG-fueled tugboat. Compared with conventional tugboats that use marine diesel oil, Sakigake emits about 30% less CO2, 80% less NOx and absolutely no sulfur oxide when using LNG as fuel. We played a key role in the project, drawing on our extensive technical experience and knowledge to contribute to the feasibility study, provide technical advice as a specialist of safety for the LNG system, and communicate for permission and authorization with the Administration.

Branching out from our traditional role as regulator, we also act as the infrastructure of the industry by creating smarter, more efficient shipping operations. The award-winning ClassNK-NAPA GREEN is a software solution that enables shipowners and operators to realize operational savings through increased awareness and performance analysis. Whilst currently used for voyage optimization through minimizing pocket time, weather analysis, and trim optimization, big data collected from ClassNK-NAPA GREEN could be used by shipyards to help create more efficient newbuildings in the future by identifying key design features that increase efficiency. Similarly, although the main purpose of our condition-based monitoring (CBM) system ClassNK-CMAXS is to prevent damage, big data collected from the system could enable manufacturers to know the performance of every one of their engines around the world so that they can make improvements to their products.

Again from the cradle to the grave, when the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) comes into effect, it will become mandatory for all vessels over 500gt to develop an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM). Since IHM-related documents can easily exceed a few thousand pages, ClassNK joined forces with software giant IBM, Japanese shipyards, and marine manufacturers to develop a software solution to create and maintain a vessel’s IHM electronically. The outcome of this joint R&D was PrimeShip-GREEN/SRM. We provide PrimeShip-GREEN/SRM free of charge to the industry and as of October 2015, some 120 shipbuilders and 2, 300 suppliers were using the software.

By providing these services and software to shipbuilders and shipowners, we are assisting newbuildings in achieving compliance with safety and environmental regulations.

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