Finding new ways of managing ships better

A diver is cleaning a vessel's hull
By applying data-driven insight, Maersk Tankers has found smarter ways of managing tanker ships.

The hull of Maersk Bering is smooth and clean. It has taken five divers 12 hours to remove traces of the ocean from a ship that has spent weeks at sea. Barnacles and seaweed were removed by the divers.

“A lot of little plants and animals from the ocean stick to the hull and this slows down ships. But, by mathematically calculating exactly how much fuel a ship needs on a specific route, we can optimise fuel consumption. Every day, we work with data from ships, voyages and weather reports to optimise fuel spend for our partners and cut emissions,” says Asit Dalai, Data Insights & Decarbonisation Lead at Maersk Tankers. 

A diver is getting ready to clean the vessel's hull

Tanker voyages are long and bunker spend is the highest variable cost for a shipowner. Therefore, reducing fuel consumption, even by a little, can offer a significant increase in earnings. 

Every year, Maersk Tankers manages almost 3,000 voyages for owners. On every voyage, there is potential to reduce the tanker industry’s environmental impact – taken together, this can make a real difference. 

“Last year alone we performed close to 300 underwater services, which included hull cleaning and propeller polishing. With each service, we save around two to four tons fuel per day. Depending on bunker price and the vessel’s trade, this can amount to additional earnings of 800-1,000 USD for the vessel owner,” explains Jayant Dalal, Senior Operator, Under Water Services at Maersk Tankers. 

A diver is working on propeller polishing

It is not only the cleanliness of the hull that matters, but also its paint. 

Therefore, the company is advising shipowners in its pools on the right coat of paint to use. This can minimise fuel consumption on a ship by as much as four to five tons per day for an MR vessel, which can account for up to 20 per cent of fuel savings. It also means a smaller carbon footprint.

“It is our obligation to manage our partners’ vessels optimally. Of course, this has to lead to improved financial returns – but it also cuts emissions and helps them meet new regulations that come into force. We are working to find new ways of managing ships better,” says Dalai.