Greece has the largest tanker fleet in the world and now that depth of fleet operations knowledge is being harvested by its maritime technology spin-offs
Greece has the largest tanker fleet in the world and now that depth of fleet operations knowledge is being harvested by its maritime technology spin-offs.
Fleet data confirms what many instinctively know, that Greek shipowners favour operating larger tankers. According to shipping data services provider VesselsValue, Greek shipowners control over 154M dwt of tanker tonnage, or just over 35% of the global tanker fleet capacity, but “only” 1,454 tankers - or 20% - of the global fleet by number.
The work produced by this fleet, or the tonne-mile demand, was 4,538Bn nautical mile dwt (Bn nm dwt), which was more than twice that of China’s tanker fleet, the next largest.
The Greek tanker operator is a cross-trader, taking advantage of opportunities in the crude oil supply chain. That is the traditional view of the Greek tanker fleet, but alongside the ownership and operating side, the Greek maritime community is developing some truly innovative solutions to the tasks of controlling and understanding such a large fleet.
Take for example Maritime Efficiency Through Intelligent Systems (METIS) Cybertechnology, which is an innovative Greek company specialising in artificial intelligence married with the Internet of Things (IoT). Chief executive Mike Konstantinidis explains that from a maritime perspective, there is a huge amount of data flowing from vessels to ship managers, but there is a conflict of fragmented data and unstructured procedures. The shipmanagement company is receiving a wide range of data from the ship itself and third parties, and needs to satisfy a diverse range of questions: fuel consumption versus planned fuel consumption; does the ship conform to IMO regulations and charterers’ instructions; is this the optimal route; has something gone wrong?
The company has designed a unique multi-protocol data gathering tool, certified by classification society Lloyd’s Register, which collects, collates, cleans and stores measurements directly from the onboard equipment and sensors using wireless smart devices. The data collection includes information from navigation equipment, such as the autopilot, gyrocompass, GPS, speed-log, echosounder and automatic identification system (AIS). It includes data from cargo control, main engines, diesel generators, boilers, fuel oil consumption and a vessel’s alarm monitoring system. Third party data (weather, noon reports and so on) is added to the data stream.
The artificial intelligence uses reference data to analyse the inputs and flag out-of-range activity. After some months of collecting data, the AI is able to predict specific parameters, such as fuel consumption.
Where the METIS Cybertechnology breaks away from the crowd is that, the system can be interrogated via a virtual assistant or chatbot. Questions regarding the data can be asked in plain English and the chat-bot will reply in English. The chatbot has access to the data flow, and to the resulting information stream, allowing managers to ask for specific reports.