Training seafarers can help owners reduce fuel costs and extend the lifetime of onboard machinery
Engine manufacturers are urging vessel owners to train crews to be more fuel efficient in daily operations and to teach specialist engineers how to maintain machinery more effectively.
The advice came during a panel discussion at the November European Tugowners Association (ETA) conference in London, where specialists from Caterpillar Marine and Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU debated ways to reduce the emissions of vessels involved in port operations.
During the event, Caterpillar Marine Solution Center manager Jonas Granath said owners could teach seafarers, especially masters, to run their vessels more fuel effectively. “Huge savings can come from changes in daily operations,” he said. “Owners need to train crew to minimise emissions by balancing engine operations.”
By way of example, Mr Granath noted: “Up to 40% reduction in costs and emissions is possible and owners cannot afford not to go after these savings.”
As part of this training, it was suggested that masters should be taught to use just one engine for slow steaming and to manage maintenance more effectively. Emissions could be reduced through better use of aftertreatment systems and there should also be better use of engineroom data on board a vessel. This could be achieved by training seafarers to use such data to reduce fuel consumotion, said MTU manager Sebastian Schwarz.
“Make this data available to the captain and make them more aware of the fuel consumption for the voyage,” he said. “There are huge benefits with people being motivated to reduce consumption, through training and educating crew.”
Mr Granath stated that such training would also need to include future fuels, with crew being educated on LNG storage and handling. “It could also include biogas, as this will be part combusted in engines if this can handled by dual-fuel engines,” he said.
“Reductions of up to 40% in costs and emissions are possible; owners cannot afford not to go after these savings”
Mr Schwarz said the fuel mix could also include synthetic fuels from gas-to-liquids or biomass-to-liquids production methods. Vessel crews would need training on handling these compounds if procedures were significantly different to marine gas oil or heavy fuel oil.
If vessel owners invest in hybrid propulsion, including the use of batteries and power from shore, then this would also involve crew training, said Mr Granath.
Wärtsilä director of sales and support for power systems services Paul Kohle added that onboard engineers should be trained to extend the lifetime of machinery and in the use of condition-based maintenance strategies. He explained that owners can use data analytics, equipment inspections and information from manufacturers to extend overhaul periods.
“As technology becomes more sophisticated, engineers will need to be more multifunctional,” said Mr Kohle, adding that this would mean the teaching of new skills and more support from shore.
Paul Kohle (Wärtsilä): “As technology becomes more sophisticated, engineers will need to be more multifunctional”
To this end, Mr Kohle suggested engineering training should involve hands-on experience and levels of simulation, with existing methods being improved via virtual reality (VR) applications. This technology would also aid servicing by enabling engineers to trial a job in a virtual world prior to physically performing the work.
As the technology advances, VR is providing immersive learning scenarios for engineers to gain greater understanding of the complexities of onboard machinery maintenance.
Korean Register of Shipping has now developed VR technology to train its surveyors to find their way around ships and examine equipment. Meanwhile, maritime e-learning company KVH Videotel was one of the first to test VR for training, using a program that helped test engineers on how they would change a filter on a pump. In October 2018, KVH Videotel and OMS-VR agreed to produce and distribute VR-based maritime training courses.
Together they will develop a series of VR training segments over the next two years, to build a portfolio of more than 40 training courses. The topics of the existing and future VR modules include critical safety material, cargo and engineering tasks, and industry best-practice exercises. These will conform with IMO’s Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW).
To improve its STCW training, maritime service provider V.Group is upgrading its engineering teaching facilities in the Manila, the Philippines, to include new engineroom simulation and electrical training for various ship types, but especially cruise ships.
V.Group will offer training on a full mission simulator for high voltage applications. It is adding electronic MAN ME and RT Flex engine models to the full mission engineroom simulator. It will provide LNG bunkering training on a new simulator and will have teaching stations for hydraulic, pneumatic and electro technology. The new facilities will include an exact replica of a cruise cabin, used to train the hotel staff in housekeeping duties.
In November, V.Group opened a new crew management centre in Mumbai, India, that incorporates digital technologies to enhance seafarer welfare and enable shore staff to focus on problem-solving and crew interaction. It also introduced a digital application to monitor the performance and professional development of its 44,000 seafarers.
Also in Asia, Maersk Training approved the inclusion of the Jiangsu Maritime Institute, in Nanjing, China, into its teaching network. This institute can provide engineroom and bridge simulator training and assessments under the Maersk Training brand.
Jiangsu Maritime Institute also provides courses on ship manufacture, port engineering, logistics and trade. Maersk Training also has approved centres in Denmark, Norway, UK, USA, Brazil, Middle East and India.
Two other training centres have also gained recognition for their engine system teaching: Giga Mare in the Philippines, and BlackSea Training in the Ukraine, have become training partners of WinGD.
As part of a growing global training network, these academies can teach seafarers to support WinGD low-speed dual-fuel and diesel engines. WinGD operations director Rudolf Holtbecker said these appointments mean training is more accessible and convenient to the end-users of its engines, “reducing and in some cases eliminating the costs and hassle of travel”.
Training at these centres includes explaining the theory and functionality of the dual-fuel X-DF, Generation X and RT-Flex engines. It will also include practicing real-life scenarios using the W-Xpert engine simulation software and full mission simulator hardware, said Mr Holtbecker.
WinGD also has partnerships with training centres in South Korea, China and Greece, and facilities at the company headquarters in Winterthur, Switzerland.
GasLog upgrades LNG system training
GasLog, which operates a fleet of 27 LNG carriers, is enhancing its engineroom training as part of a package of new simulators for its technology centre in Greece.
Kongsberg Digital is supplying an extensive simulator package to GasLog’s technical management headquarters in Piraeus. This includes K-Sim Engine desktop simulators for teaching engineers on steam plant dual-fuel engines on LNG carriers and on diesel electric duel-fuel DE21 LNG models.
These engine simulators will interface with the corresponding K-Sim LNG cargo handling simulators. Kongsberg is also supplying a K-Sim Navigation bridge simulator for LNG carrier operations at GasLog’s centre.
Previously, Kongsberg had provided K-Sim training products to other Greek LNG carrier owners and managers, including Minerva Marine, Maran Gas Maritime, TMS Cardiff Gas and Tsakos Energy Navigation.