Avoiding breakages through effective ship management

In ship management, it is crucial for managers and superintendents to ensure that vessels are operational and in peak conditions as much as possible. Ensuring that breakages are prevented, or that problems that can lead to breakages are dealt with quickly and efficiently, takes planning and effective ship management.

The new way of thinking about effective ship management

Historically, breakage avoidance came down to ship managers keeping up with regularly scheduled overhauls. These overhauls were based on estimations of when maintenance would be needed and typically occur in consistent intervals of time. Ship managers know that breakages don’t necessarily keep to a strict schedule, but you would have to correct issues and anomalies in performance as the problems arose. This reactive rather than proactive approach causes problems when you cannot plan for vessels being out of service, or length of time for repairs.

The new way of ship management takes a more preventative approach. Now, through more sophisticated technology, ship managers can formulate an optimal strategy that anticipates, avoids, and can even eliminate problems altogether. With the new methodology, you can improve ship availability and efficiency, and even reduce maintenance costs.

How to get into the new mindset to avoid breakages on vessels  

With new technology you can monitor and evaluate on board data in real time, but it’s important to know what to look at. While averages have always been used as an indicator and predictor for future maintenance needs, new information shows that statistical distributions are more important.

Taking into consideration things like availability, so that you schedule vessel outages during periods of least demand, helps you to keep your ships at optimal usability, rather than interrupting peak periods with regularly scheduled maintenance. Evaluate the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), or the mean time interval between the occurrence of one failure and the next on a given equipment, including repair time, looking at what are the “bad actors” and best performing equipment. The Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), and Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA), are other data figures to look at when making plans for improving maintenance timing and cost.

There are essentially three methodologies of using data to inform decisions about maintenance and fixing on-board issues quickly and efficiently. 

  • Predictive Maintenance – Predictive maintenance is described as proactive measures such as lubrication or adjustment of machinery, where you can accurately know when maintenance should take place. Historical data can be used to determine best times for predictive maintenance.
  • Reliability Centred Maintenance – Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM) requires overall strategy analysis on how to perform different maintenance. RCM is a systematic, disciplined process to ensure safety and mission compliance that defines system boundaries and identifies system function, functional failures, likely failure modes and effects for equipment and structures in a specific operating context.
  • Predictive/Condition Based Maintenance – Predictive/Condition Based Maintenance requires knowledge of machine parts and confidence in monitoring equipment. Using this methodology, maintenance is only performed when the machine needs it. This requires the ability to perform immediate action, no matter where your vessel is located, including being able to perform some maintenance remotely, or while at sea. In this method, cost saving occurs by minimizing unscheduled, or total downtime, thus increasing vessel availability.

In order to effectively manage a ship for optimized maintenance and breakage avoidance, ship managers should have reliable tools for monitoring and evaluating issues on board, before they come problematic. When ship managers are able to use historical and current data to make informed decisions about maintenance, breakages can be avoided, unnecessary scheduled maintenance can be reduced, and vessels can have more time to be available, thus reducing cost and increasing profitability.

Want to learn how a ship manager can access ship-wide real-time data?

Learn more about our DanelecConnect integration that provides Ship-2-shore data solutions for quick response and better issue management.