The 300-foot-long (92.2-meter-long) Viking Lady is set to get a battery pack, which will turn the supply vessel into a hybrid ship with technology similar to the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars.
Built in 2009, the Viking Lady already has a fuel cell as part of its propulsion system and was the first merchant ship run with a fuel cell. Now, it's undergoing an upgrade. Researchers expect the Lady's new battery, which they plan to install in 2013, will reduce its fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 to 30 percent. When the ship is in harbor, researchers expect it will run only on its fuel cell and battery, reducing emissions and pollution for people and environments onshore, said Bjørn-Johan Vartdal, a project manager from Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian risk-management company that is one of three organizations working on the hybrid ship.
A group led by the University of Tokyo has launched its own hybrid ship concept, the ‘UT Wind Challenger’, based on a combination of sail power and engines, claimed to cut fuel consumption by an average of 30%.
The project aims to substantially reduce fuel consumption by large merchant vessels, using large retractable sails, 20m wide by 50m high. The group has carried out simulations for routes such as Yokohama to Seattle; results indicate that hybrid ships with sails and engines could reduce annual fuel consumption by about 30% on average.
In all accidents human error has been blamed as the cause of accidents. Investigations have also revealed that the human factor contributes to 80 percent of all maritime accidents. Detailed analysis into the causes of these incidents can be linked to a number of causal factors.
The high number of Maritime incidents prompted IMO to produce a unified safety management code called the ISM code. The ISM guidelines were developed to provide a framework for the proper development, implementation and assessment of safety and pollution prevention management in accordance with industry best practices.
The ISM code is often linked to litigation cases involving maritime incidents. This prompted shipping companies to further understand the legal implication of ISM code and hence it became more evident to companies that full demonstration of the requirements is vital. Companies introduced more control over its activities through procedures and checklists.
It is a final goal for a ship designer to deliver the vessel with which the owner is fully satisfied. For his satisfaction, what are the most critical requirements for commercial vessels such as oil tankers, bulkers, container ships, gas carriers and so on? Maximum cargo carrying capacity, high service speed, economical fuel oil consumption, robust structure, easy maintenance…In addition to these, comfort in accommodation - noise and vibration, for example - is one of his important concerns, considering crews’ habitability and working conditions.
Referring to design criteria, capacity, speed, strength etc. are all scientific and objective. Meanwhile, criteria on noise and vibration have a very subjective nature, which involves many human elements. In case of objective criteria, theoretical analysis is most helpful.
For the issue which involves human elements, analysis alone may not be adequate to satisfy the criteria and actual experiences play an important role as well.
The Human Element is mentioned periodically in every safety statistics as it accounts for between 50 to 90 % of accidents at sea, in addition every incident’s investigation reports an involvement of the human element at some point in the causal chain. Many studies have been carried out to investigate this issue in the shipping industry in different terms, such as the impact of new technology, lack of training, psychological factors just to mention few of them.
I trust that the globalization has had an impact on the Health and Safety aspect of many industries, we are moving from the local village to a global, borderless market and this has been crucial in creating a multicultural environment. This is not new in the shipping industry, a recent study reports that approximately 65 percent of the world merchant fleet have adopted multicultural strategy, which is an irreversible trend in the maritime world. The very nature of the worldwide trades has helped the flexibility of the global human resources market, and this has created during the years a multicultural community bounded by the expertise in the maritime practice.
A survey carried out in 2007 by the Seafarers International Research Centre at Cardiff University proposes that nationality is the most significant factor in determining perceptions of risk at sea: this underpin my proposition that multi-cultural crews have heterogeneous perceptions of risks and thus a possible impacts on health and safety behaviours.
Working unusual hours, or some form of shift work, have been necessary to meet a part of many business expectations around the world for a long time. In fact as far back as ancient Rome, traffic congestion was lessened by ensuring deliveries were restricted to the night time hours. In today’s world, estimates vary, but approximately one quarter of the work force is involved in shift work.
Fatigue is often described as a generic term encompassing a wide variety of experiences, predominantly impaired alertness, and can often be described by words such as “sleepy”, “tired”, “exhausted” or even “knackered”. For a more formal definition, the IMO have defined fatigue as:
“A reduction in physical and/or mental capability as the result of physical, mental or emotional exertion which may impair nearly all physical abilities including: strength; speed; reaction time; coordination; decision making; or balance.”
In the course of the latter half of the last century, seagoing vessels have become considerably larger. Whereas before there was a general slow incremental increase in ship size parameters, we are now seeing larger leaps in sizes of ships. Many ports have stayed the same size but are more congested; the channels and straits used on passage are more often than not the same.
The seafarer may be forgiven for thinking that most contemporary ship design work is focused on the deep-sea efficiency of the ship with an apparent lower regard for the controllability or manoeuvrability of the vessel at the beginning and end of the voyage. The changes in power-to-weight ratios, deeper drafts, higher freeboards, faster ships, large above-waterline structures and engine design can increase the risk significantly in these parts of the voyage.
There are several issues related to ship manoeuvring which are known to Berthing masters, pilots and seafarers which are outlined here: