Hot titles: How to lay up a ship
Here's a sign of the current shape of the shipping industry: classification societies are publicizing their advice on how to lay-up ships.
Germanischer Lloyd said it has just released a guide outlining major methods and procedures involved in ship lay-ups; Seatrade Asia said last month that the U.K.'s Lloyd's Register has also put together a guide to the process.
'Deactivating vessels in an effort to save costs requires planning and investment in the process,' the German class society said. 'It is imperative that ships are laid up technically correctly to reactivate the ship successfully when the economic conditions are more favorable.'
'With our guide we offer technical consultancy support for the ship owners. On request Germanischer Lloyd will also carry out surveys serving purposes such as consultation and cooperation in applying the necessary measures,' said Carsten Beese, head of competence center fleet service management at Germanischer Lloyd. 'The most important question the owner has to clear is: How long will the vessel be laid up? Consequently, the owner has to take a decision on whether to opt for a hot or cold lay-up.'
A hot lay-up is used to deactivate a vessel for a limited number of weeks. Reactivating a ship from a hot lay-up can be comparatively quick. The hot lay-up is achieved by having a small crew onboard the vessel in order to maintain full-time fire, leakage, moorings and security watch of the vessel with the minimum of machinery running. This ensures that the machinery, electrical and electronic systems are kept within tolerable temperature and humidity conditions by a crew that is familiar with the vessel.
'Moisture is the main challenge with laying up a vessel with its complex software and circuitry,' Beese said. 'The guide recommends that air is kept dehumidified, as the consequences could be costly.'
For vessels that will be off the market for an extended period, the most likely scenario is a cold lay-up with a range of conditions placed on the vessel.
'Effective reactivation from this type of deep lay-up can take anything from three weeks to three months, in the case of a five-year lay-up,' Beese explained. 'Cold lay-ups can save more money but the vessel is out of service for at least a few months. Reactivation, in this case, could take weeks. For that reason, many ship owners opt for a hot lay-up while they assess market conditions.' ' Chris Dupin