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LR announces new underwater noise notation and ShipRight procedure on underwater radiated noise

Lloyd’s Register (LR) has released a new underwater noise notation and ShipRight procedure on underwater radiated noise with the intention of helping shipowners minimise underwater noise emissions when operating in sensitive environments.

Increased focus is being placed on underwater noise emissions from vessels and this is creating the need for a means of controlling underwater noise radiation. New international standards and regulations are anticipated, which will restrict access to environmentally sensitive areas and limit the types of vessels calling at ports to only those complying with stringent noise level standards.

This issue is especially prevalent in the cruise industry as cruise ships often enter into environmentally sensitive areas. This new notation offers cruise ship operators a solution to demonstrate and certify that underwater noise criteria has been met.

Several countries and ports have already introduced speed restrictions in sensitive areas. Some ports even offer discounts in port fees if the ship has an underwater noise notation that certifies compliance with a set of underwater noise limits.

LR’s new underwater noise notation is based on the new ISO 17208 standards. LR actively participated in the development of these standards. The notation defines three criteria curves: Transit, Quiet and Research. The notation also includes a speed indication, e.g. ‘UWN-L(T20)’, which would mean that a vessel meets the underwater noise criteria in transit (T) at a speed of 20 knots.

In addition to testing and certifying vessels, LR will also work with shipowners during the design phase to predict and control the underwater noise emissions from vessels.

LR’s Per Trøjgård Andersen, Technical Lead – Engineering Dynamics, commented: “This new notation will not only help shipowners to reduce underwater noise radiation in sensitive environments. It will also demonstrate a commitment to environmentally friendly practices, and even has the added benefit of potential discounts in port fees.”

Foreship counsels caution on expedition ship rush

Booming demand for expedition ships should not mean that good and safe shipbuilding practices for passenger vessels are compromised, leading naval architecture and engineering company Foreship has warned.

The consultancy, which has more cruise ship construction, consultation and conversion design references than any other company, believes that lack of consistency in the initial designs being rushed to market for vessels of around 10,000 gross tons may conflict with established safety and environmental values.

“Some designs we have seen do not meet the cruise ship Safe Return to Port (SRtP) provisions that were developed for a very good reason at the International Maritime Organization,” says Markus Aarnio, Chairman, Foreship. “These are smaller vessels, but they are still complex passenger ships; as such, they need to be envisaged as cruise ships from the outset.”

Aarnio says he is particularly concerned that some proposed expedition ships designs are tailor-made to avoid SRtP requirements, as they have two overlength main vertical zones or one vertical zone which is “not counted”. “This is allowed in principle, if the Alternative Design analysis proves that two overlength main vertical zones without SRtP is at least as safe as three main vertical zones with SRtP,” says Aarnio. “But how could this kind of analysis be justified? Responsible owners would follow the SRtP main principles even for smaller explorations ships.”

Foreship has been involved with more than ten Polar Code passenger ship projects to date, including two landmark contracts: a luxury cruise vessel for Crystal Cruises; and a ‘Discovery Yacht’ for Scenic.

The Polar Code centers on ship safety and environmental protection in polar waters. It provides guidance to ensure that equipment operates at low temperatures, incorporates stability margins to deal with ice accretion on superstructures, and in some cases demands additional damage stability requirements. However, covering issues as diverse as design, construction, equipment, training, and search and rescue has not created a rule-set shrouded in mystery, Aarnio says.

“There are misconceptions: some confuse the Polar Code (the IMO regulation for ships accessing Polar Areas) and Polar Class (which is the ice class regulation governing mainly the steel structures of ice-going vessels), for example.

Polar Code ships fall into three categories: Category A ships are strengthened for at least medium first year ice; Category B ships are designed for at least thin first year ice; while Category C ships are envisaged as operating in open water of less severity. “Unless they really are designed for breaking ice, cruise ships are typically in categories B or C,” says Aarnio. “Ice-breaking is another thing; if an owner really wants a ship that can break ice, a compromise is needed on fuel efficiency and passenger comfort in open water; this is not so in properly designed category B or C vessels.”

Aarnio also suggests that more consideration is given to the efficient use of space and energy on these smaller ships, and to meeting the new more stringent SOLAS2020 damage stability requirements in a clever way. “There are projects where very little space has been reserved for technical areas and this can create extra cost and problems later, in operation; this might result in a ship not having an exhaust gas economizer, or not enough space for modern energy-efficient air handling units.”

The Foreship Chairman adds that some designs seem to include tanks or voids at the ship’s sides more typical of offshore supply ships. “On passenger ships this can create design issues later with escape and cross-flooding arrangements; having full width compartments with tanks closer to the centerline and thus avoiding asymmetry in damages results in safer and more environmentally sound design.

“These smaller expedition ships are not cargo vessels or boats; they must be designed to be fit for purpose, as passenger ships operating in remote areas. Smaller size does not mean that safety or energy efficiency should take a lower priority than is the case for bigger ships.”

Bolidt and Norwegian Cruise Line strengthens their partnership

The longstanding relationship between Bolidt Synthetic Products & Systems and Norwegian Cruise Line is being further strengthened, as the Dutch marine flooring and decking company works its way through seven significant ship projects. Work in hand includes the newbuildings Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore, and refits for Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Jewel and Pride of America.

The 323m long, 4,000-passenger capacity Norwegian Bliss is nearing completion at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, with service entry set for July, when she will join sister ship, Norwegian Joy, which was delivered in 2017.

Norwegian Bliss will sail with an extensive package of deck materials from Bolidt, including around 6,700m2 of the super-tough Bolideck Select Hard, which will mainly be used as an underlay surface on steel balconies throughout the vessel. Also used extensively is Bolideck Select Soft, a synthetic system that has high anti-skid properties and is easy to clean. Around 8,900m2 of Bolideck Select Soft has been used in various areas onboard.

Bolidt’s Future Teak, an environmentally-friendly synthetic alternative to natural teak, has been a popular choice on many recent cruise vessels, and Norwegian Bliss is no exception. Approximately 5,575m2 of Bolideck Future Teak has been installed to cover most of the cabin balconies and some high profile public spaces. Several balconies onboard Norwegian Bliss have also been fitted with Bolideck Future Teak as part of Bolidt’s Smart Balcony system - a concept using composite interlinked planks, which are easier and quicker to install, and repair, than poured materials.

One of the ‘stand-out’ features of Norwegian Bliss is its Ferrari-themed racetrack. This has already proved to be an immensely popular attraction on Norwegian Joy, and NCL has worked with Bolidt to install the world’s second racetrack at sea, this time around 30% longer. For the 300m-long track on Norwegian Bliss, Bolidt is once again supplying Bolideck Racetrack, a synthetic material based on established road surfacing technology, that has been modified to ensure suitable levels of durability and slip resistance for racing karts.

Bolidt has also been contracted to supply a similar package, including Bolideck Racetrack, to the next in the series, Norwegian Encore. This sister vessel is under construction at Meyer Werft and is due for delivery in the summer of 2019.

Jacco van Overbeek, Director, Maritime Division, Bolidt, says: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work on the Norwegian Bliss and Encore projects. NCL is extremely pleased with the systems we are supplying, which fully meet their exacting requirements for durability and quality.”

Bolidt is also gearing up to mobilise men and materials to help with upcoming NCL fleet upgrades, which include refurbishing balconies, replacing teak and other surfaces with Future Teak, and installation of Bolideck Select Soft in public spaces.

The 2,400-passenger capacity Norwegian Sun, originally built in 2001, is due to enter drydock in Victoria, Canada, at the end of March this year, and the Bolidt team will be onboard in the weeks leading up to and during the drydock period.

Other refits at the planning stage include the 2,400-passenger capacity Norwegian Star which is due for a drydock period in Marseille in May this year; the 2011-built, 3,900-passenger capacity Norwegian Breakaway, which will be drydocked in Brest towards the end of April; and the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jewel, delivered in 2005, which is due for a three-week long refit in Singapore in October-November this year. In addition to these drydock refits, a Bolidt riding squad is onboard the 2,500-passenger capacity Pride of America, carrying out a series of at-sea upgrades.

Where existing teak is being replaced onboard these NCL ships, Bolidt will be installing large quantities of prefabricated Future Teak, to speed up the installation process. Van Overbeek notes that on some of the older NCL ships, it will be the Bolideck 1500 that was installed when the vessels were first built that is being replaced with Bolideck Future Teak, demonstrating both the durability of the older system and the attractions of the newer alternative.

Sime Utkovic, Senior Director Technical Operations, NCL, says, “We greatly value our longstanding relationship with Bolidt, which currently extends to all of the ships in our fleet. We tend to involve them from an early stage of our newbuild and refit projects, as their ideas and expertise are always invaluable in delivering what we envision. Moreover, Bolidt has demonstrated on many occasions that it can successfully deliver large scale projects, on schedule, with products that are visually attractive, durable and easy to maintain.”

While the current workload for NCL is substantial, there is more in the pipeline, demonstrating the durability of the relationship between customer and supplier. The partners are working together on several new concepts, including improved and more environmentally-friendly maintenance techniques, and the possible future use of prefabricated coatings, to eliminate the need for steel and the potential for corrosion.

Galley equipment makers Hobart and Elro join forces

Galley equipment makers Hobart and Elro join forces so that the Hobart marine team, mainly known as world market leader for its equipment, solutions and programmes in warewash onboard cruise ships – will collaborate with Elro, the companies said in a joint statement.

Elro is a recognised manufacturer of cooking equipment and enjoys an equally strong reputation in the cruise industry as well. Both strong brands have been part of the ITW Food Equipment Group, which facilitates their ability to now offer a coordinated approach with a single face to the customer for sales activities, while continuing to support project management, after sales and service within their own structures.

Elro will benefit by utilising the Hobart Global Marine worldwide organization, such as service team and parts supply chain solutions, to address the various needs of the cruise industry. Together the two manufacturers supply to almost 100 % of cruise industry operators – a very significant customer base.

Dennis Firchau, Hobart Business Unit Manager Global Marine and longterm expert in the cruise business is looking forward to his additional responsibility for Elro.

Speedcast expands relationship with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Speedcast International Limited has extended its relationship with the largest consumer of satellite bandwidth in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), which will be further increasing the bandwidth delivered across 37 ships.

“Speedcast has been an integral part of our long-standing efforts to implement the latest connectivity solutions that allow us to provide enhanced communications for everyone, from our guests onboard to our employees onshore,” said Guillermo Muniz, director, Network and Satellite Engineering, Royal Caribbean. “We are consistently raising the bar on ship innovation and increasing requirements, and Speedcast is right there with us, collaborating to make sure that we have the infrastructure and support to deliver the best experience.”

Speedcast’s experience with Royal Caribbean dates back to 2006, when the company installed RCCL’s first Ku-Band VSAT antenna on board a vessel to satisfy peak seasonal communication demand in the Brazil region. The Speedcast network now delivers fully managed communications solutions and value-added services to 37 Royal Caribbean brand ships for shipboard administration, and guest and crew usage. Multiple antennas on each ship with seamless automatic failover between Ku-Band and C-Band ensures high availability and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

“We have a true partnership approach to our relationship with Royal Caribbean,” said PJ Beylier, CEO, Speedcast. “As one of the largest cruise line brands in the world and one of our largest customers, we are proud that they continue to trust our expertise in designing and deploying reliable solutions that connect their ships to shore and provide a premier onboard guest experience. Over the past 11 years, we have seen tremendous growth in Royal Caribbean’s business, and we look forward to helping them continue to develop their brands as they introduce new ships and look for innovative ways to enhance guest and crew experiences.”

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