Lifesaving equipment maintenance agreements are being extended giving added benefits to shipowners. OEMs explain
There is an ever-greater focus on long-term maintenance agreements between OEMs and shipowners, with several new beneficial services.
Viking Life-Saving Equipment has boosted its Shipowner Agreement solution with new options launched at this year’s SMM, aimed at cutting administration time for equipment maintenance and exchange.
Viking ServiceConnect is a new purpose-built digital service hub featuring an intuitive customer portal for direct service booking and global online 24/7 access to information about safety equipment servicing and notifications.
Viking senior vice president of global sales Benny Carlsen said “It is about reducing administration – we wanted to lighten up the administration work for shipowners.”
He explained that shipowners would receive an automatic notification email prior to equipment expiring or needing maintenance. “Shipowners can then reply or click the link in the email, select which port they want the servicing carried out and what time, then the service booking process is done. Previously, this was manually arranged by transactions over email or telephone. A lot of shipowners do not want or need emails back and forth to arrange servicing matters. With our new system, they just click, select and confirm.”
Commenting further on this customer portal, he said “For Viking, communication with our customers is absolutely vital, but we need to ensure this runs as smoothly and conveniently for them as possible. In the end, this contributes to both the shipowner and us running a leaner and more efficient operation.”
While the Viking Shipowner Agreement has been around for several years, Mr Carlsen said Viking was “always looking to boost it to remain in synch with changing customer needs, priorities and operational conditions. Today, a Viking Shipowner Agreement covers a fleet’s safety compliance needs in predictable fixed-price structures and can be easily and flexibly adapted, providing cost efficiencies and reduced administrative hassles.
This allows the shipowner to keep a high level of safety and regulatory compliance with a bare minimum of disruption to operations. “Liferafts, personal protective equipment, marine evacuation systems, life saving appliances, marine fire equipment, lifeboats, hooks and davits and training are among the offerings that can be covered, and with 98% of customers renewing their contract upon expiry, there’s plenty of testimony to support the fact that we deliver on our promises.”
The company is also focused on its online training portal, Viking Saatsea, a digitalised crew training programme for operators using Viking’s safety equipment.
“It allows the shipowner to make sure their crew are trained and up-to-date with systems,” he said, pointing out that it is often easier and more efficient to train several crew members using a digital platform than send an entire crew on a land-based training course. For efficient competency management, the system gives updates about what training stage different members of crew are at, and it provides different courses related to the position of the crew member. For example, the training course for a safety officer would be “very intense,” whereas galley-based personnel would just need to know basic things, such as where the system is kept, how it works etc,” explained Mr Carlsen.
Meanwhile, Liferaft Systems Australia (LSA) European manager Peter Rea highlighted the emphasis the company gave to a “collaborative approach” to ferry projects. “It is not just focusing on the capital costs of shipyards but focusing on the shipowner and really getting them to look at the long-term costs of ownership,” he said. The company looks at the long-term cost of ownership and ensures their customers have a known cost every year.
Mr Rea added “We find that equipment coming to the end of serviceable life does not need to be replaced in one go, but components of an MES can be replaced one at a time, so it is not a huge change and cost and is easy to budget for. We work closely with owners and service stations, making sure they know well in advance that they are looking at replacement in one to five years, so they can budget for that.”
He added “We are open and honest and don’t give any surprises. We are a responsible OEM, we don’t just sell equipment and walk away – we want to remain involved. Although we have no financial interest in service we like to keep an involvement – we have a hard-earned reputation for quality, reliability, honesty and transparency and want to maintain that.”
He summed up that LSA thought it was crucial to let shipowners know the complete cost of ownership over a lifetime.
Cruise care package
Survitec has focused on a servicing programme designed and built specifically for cruise clients. The company explained that the Survitec CARE package is designed for owners and operators of passenger vessels and offers a proactive approach to managing safety assets and minimising the risk of equipment failure.
The company said it offered:
The clock is ticking for a significant number of vessels owners who have not yet met the rehooking regulations (IMO MSC.1/Circ 1392) which specify that all non-compliant lifeboat release and retrieval systems must be replaced at the first scheduled drydocking after 1 July 2014 but no later than 1 July 2019.
“There is no reason to suggest this deadline will be extended” said Survitec regulatory and compliance manager Paul Watkins. “Although, we are aware that some flag states are already being contacted by vessel owners looking to extend the period. These dispensation requests are due to wanting to scrap the vessel shortly after the deadline, or a delayed scheduled drydocking shortly after 1 July 2019”.
He added “Controversially, we may see vessels looking to re-flag to Registers which will give them this flexibility.”
According to IMO there are 160 hooks in the market place and only just over half of these are compliant, with a further 30% becoming compliant after modification. This leaves a large number of vessels under pressure to meet the deadline in the next 9 months, according to IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System.
Survitec is seeing an increase in demand on a regional basis, as over 60% of drydockings are carried out in Asia and the Middle East, mainly China and Singapore.
Survitec's global installation teams rehook lifeboats during drydock or at a key port.