Are the modern Bulkers fit for their Mission - Hull Stress Monitoring System HULLMOS® for Improving Bulkcarrier Safety at Sea”Bulkcarrier casualties rarely receive the attention given to incidents involving tankers, but the stark fact remains that over 500 ship casualties resulting in the loss of 2000 lives have occurred since 1978.” /Fairplay 02.01.2003/
Structural Improvements Proposed for Bulkcarriers
Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the leading maritime safety administrative bodies about structural improvement. IMO has ambitious plans to equip all new bulkcarriers with double-hull. Only recently IACS introduced an eight point plan to improve safety of the existing bulkcarriers. The plan aims at increasing requirements for forward hatch covers and installation of improved bulwarks or breakwaters. Strengthening of the ship’s side structures and foremost cargo hold’s bulkhead and double bottom are also targeted.
Importance of Operational Safety
According to Hans Viig, senior vice president of Det Norske Veritas, ever-increasing demand for cheap tonnage has led to limitations on what a standard design bulkcarrier will be able to do when put into operation. While new bulkcarriers in many respect are safer and stronger than before, the increased safety in important areas has been achieved by reducing the operational flexibility rather than improving design and strength of the vessel. Mr. Viig finds a general bulkcarrier to be an extremely vulnerable vessel type trading throughtout its lifetime with higher stress levels in the hull structure than any other type of ship. General bulkcarrier, which is not carefully operated within its safety limitations and at purpose it is originally designed for, will end up trading at very high risk.
IMO Recommendation of Hull Monitoring
Due to concerns about safety at sea IMO has already issued a recommendation on bulk carriers more than 20,000 dwt to be fitted with stress measuring system. The main target of stress monitoring is especially to minimise risks for structural failures due to heavy sea or improper loading.
Two ways to Improve Operational Safety
R. Rouvari is specialised in hull stress monitoring and can offer two alternative products: