Martyn Wingrove on why a collaborative initiative to standardise bollard pull measurements is a win:win for the industry
Hallelujah. The industry has pulled together... on a pulling standard.
The Bollard Pull Joint Industry Project has managed to develop a proven method to accurately gauge the performance of tugs.
And as important as the achievement is – for one thing, having a standard means owners and charterers can accurately compare tug performance for tendering and negotiation purposes – the way the industry collaborated to get there is equally significant.
Partners in the industry-led bollard pull initiative included owners, naval architects, class societies, tug builders, engine manufacturers and propulsion system providers. And all of these disparate groups worked together to develop and test a reliable, repeatable, unified and transparent bollard pull performance value and trial standard for tugs.
Bollard pull certificates play a critical role in the sale and delivery of tugs, whether they are newbuildings or secondhand, and is a vital characteristic in the contracting and commercial deployment of tugs of all types.
Owners rely on this attribute when expanding and modernising their fleets, for instance, while charterers rely on owners’ good faith during contract tendering. Owners competing for contracts offer tugs with recorded performance indicators. Potential clients need certainty that the tugs offered can genuinely achieve the implied performance levels.
The problem, before the industry united to create a solution, was that numerous, independent bollard pull trial procedures were being used in the towage sector, all with varying degrees of detail and reliability. Some of these procedures have ambiguous definitions or reporting requirements, others have correction factor issues and some are even contradictory.
With so many procedural variables, it has been difficult for owners and charterers to know precisely if a bollard pull measurement during one trial is accurate or comparable to others.
But now, with the new standard, owners and charterers can conduct business with greater certainty.
According to the industry project, over the past three years the group conducted both computer-modelled and live tests to evaluate the correction factors needed for a number of complex and dynamic variables including water depth, current, towing, draft, trim and line length to investigate the impact of all of these variables on bollard pull testing.
And from their collaborative efforts has come a standard bollard pull trial that produces a value that is reliably uniform across the towing industry as a true, comparable representation of a tug’s performance.
It is an achievement that deserves recognition and one that I would like to see repeated elsewhere in the maritime industries.
So how about it shipping? Can you pull together again?
If you have ideas for potenital collaborative industry efforts and the issues they would address, drop me a line at email@example.com