Vessel inspection optimisation tool nears completion

Safepec will utilise sensor data on ships to provide early warnings of areas where maintenance will be needed. Credit: Shutterstock

An European Union-funded project, dubbed Safepec, is entering the final stages of development of its online tool to provide advice on when and how to inspect vessels.

Safepec will bring together inspection results from multiple sources and feed them into a risk model framework. The model includes historical data on a ship or ships, past inspections, and accidents, which are all used to design a risk-based framework.

The framework will then be able to advise on which ships to inspect and which areas might need closer examination if defects are identified. The aim of the project is to reduce accidents based on probability models using historical data, as well as sensor data, to make ship inspection more reliable and safe, as well as cheaper.

An inspection module can be used by entering a ship’s IMO number, whereby the risk profile of the specific vessel is prepared from historical data. The tool will tell the user whether the ship is more or less likely than average to be involved in an accident and what can be avoided by a proper inspection. The vulnerable areas of the ship are indicated, so the user knows where to look for deterioration. Typical users of this element are expected to be inspectors, but also shipowners, vetting agents, and insurers.

As a third feature, Safepec can be fed with remote and continual inspection data from sensors on board ships. There are two ways this can be used. The first monitors the strain history of the deck and tells the shipowner how much fatigue life of the ship has been consumed. When sailing in calm waters, the monitoring system will also be able to quantify this reduced load on the ship’s hull.

It will also be able to monitor the coating condition in the ballast water tanks to provide an early warning that corrosion might occur. Safepec said this “may avoid unnecessary tank access and inspection”.

The final phase of the project is now in progress, bringing all the developed tools together and fine-tuning the whole model. Safepec is holding a training workshop to present the final version of the tool on 8 September in Hamburg.

Safepec is made up of nine project partners: Glintt INOV, DNVGL SE & DNVGL DE, IHS, TNO, Marintek, Technical University Munich, National Technical University of Athens, World Maritime University.

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