ABS, Maersk ease dry dock inspection schedule
Classification society the American Bureau of Shipping and A.P. Moller – Maersk have agreed to extend the time period between which some ships must undergo out-of-water dry dockings from five to seven-and-a-half years.
ABS said an agreement signed this week covers an initial fleet of 14 Maersk Line containerships. It has been initiated under a pilot program approved by the Danish Maritime Authority wherein vessels may undergo two underwater examinations before the traditional out-of-water dry dock inspection is required.
The pilot program, also approved by the Singapore and U.K. maritime administrations, imposes strict requirements for eligibility and ongoing maintenance for vessels to be accepted into and retained within the program.
Entry into the program is restricted to vessels that are less than 5 years old and the provision expires once the vessel reaches 15 years of age. It requires manufacturer guarantees that the underwater coatings used are designed to last for the extended period, the implementation of an active condition monitoring and preventative maintenance program and the application of a structured hull inspection system.
ABS said it could not provide information on expected cost savings.
ABS Chief Surveyor Lenny Pendexter said the option has been under discussion with Maersk and flag states for three years.
'Although we had agreement in principle, we had to be satisfied that the coatings would, in fact, provide the lifespan that the manufacturers were projecting. We feel that the seven-and-a-half-year period between dry dockings is now feasible, although we will retain the right to require a suspension of the program if in-service experience indicates that an out-of-water inspection may be required, whether due to damage, coating breakdown or other reasons.'
ABS said the program is a recognition that the maritime industry is vastly different than when many of the traditional survey requirements were first implemented.
'Newbuilding techniques, coating application requirements, the coatings themselves and the tools available to track the structural condition of the hull have all been subject to tremendous development and improvement so it is only natural that these improvements should be reflected in the manner in which surveys are conducted,' said Steen Nygaard Madsen, director, fleet manager-technical vessel operation for Maersk Line. ' Chris Dupin