Interview: Growing with the Business
Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) is one of the world’s leading maritime service providers with 4,500 people serving more than 2,200 ports worldwide. Last year, WSS made product deliveries to 24,000 vessels and handled 67,000 port calls. On average, WSS delivers one marine product every two minutes.
The World Maritime News met with Danny Ingemann, Business Director of Marine Products at Wilhelmsen Ships Service, to discuss the latest developments within the ship maintenance and welding sectors.
WMN: Based on your experience, how would you assess the current mood within industry in the face of stricter environmental regulations? Are shipowners prepared for what is ahead?
Ingemann: “When it comes to welding, there are no specific regulations that are forcing the industry to make any changes. The UK Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) has set out specific parameters that we follow with focus on safety for the user, but these are not mandatory.
We are anticipating the introduction of new regulations with the F-gas regulation related to refrigerant gases for cooling purposes. The car industry and for example supermarkets are especially influenced by this because of the large cooling requirements, but there is an effect on the maritime market, too.
Before 2010, R22 was a commonly used refrigerant gas that is now banned in Europe, and prohibited from use on European-flagged vessels. Next, we expect to see a new regulation banning refrigerants with a global warming potential above 2500 Co2 equivalents, that is to say there will be a measure on how much CO2 the refrigerant can emit. This is going to apply initially European-flagged vessels.
Refrigerants are part of our marine products portfolio, so with this in mind, it is important to us to start a dialogue with our customers and find out what this means to them.”
WMN: How difficult is it for shipowners to stay compliant with the increasing burden of environmental regulations?
Ingemann: ”If I were a shipowner, I would struggle with the sheer numbers of new regulations. In Denmark, for example, we will soon have a gas emission tax based on NOx emission, which is going to make it more expensive for ships to call at Denmark’s ports. There is ballast water treatment, CO2, NOx, SOx and recycling, even though the regulations are good for our environment, for the shipowners they do not add any value to transporting of cargo from point A to point B.“
WMN: Will fuel testing gain more importance with the coming January 2015 Sulphur Directive?
Ingemann: “This new directive is targeting the sulphur levels in the Emission Control Areas (ECA’s) to reduce it to 0,1%. This will change the fuel used in the ECA’s from heavy fuel to distillate fuels. It is always important to test the fuels and it will stay as important with the distillate fuels as with the heavy fuels.
WMN: What should shipowners have in mind when dealing with fuel quality issues?
Ingemann: “The new sulphur regulation from 1st of January means that the potential fuel problems will be different from what many are used to with heavy fuels. The distillate fuels are different in how they deteriorate and are also susceptible for other type of problems.
In many cases the low sulphur distillate fuels needs to be looked at differently because new problems like lubricity, insoluble formation, injection fouling and microbial contamination will be the trouble makers. This means that treatment together with good fuel hygiene will become more important with the new fuels.”
WMN: How would you assess the current overall safety levels onboard ships, and what are the most important issues to be addressed?
Ingemann: “It depends a lot on segments, and on individual vessels. Based on my experience, and the work that we do, I would like to take the discussion towards welding.
We launched a campaign earlier this year which allowed us to assist shipowners in making their vessels safer for both the seafarers and the cargo onboard. The welding process can include gasses used for cutting and heating, and requires very careful handling of gas installations and gas cylinders.
Welding equipment has to be used onboard by professional engineers. If it is not used correctly, the consequences could be fatal. Ships can be very difficult environments in which to carry out welding because of confined space, improper welding equipment and humid conditions: Welding is potentially a dangerous onboard activity but one which our customers take very seriously. ”
WMN: Who stands to benefit the most from WSS’s Welding Safety Campaign?
Ingemann: “The campaign is aimed at all vessels, because they all need to go through maintenance and repair. Some vessels, such as bulkers or dredgers, will need more maintenance than others. Tankers on the other hand, contain more stainless steel than other vessels and require a more dedicated welding process. The campaign is broad and everyone can benefit from it. The main aim is to highlight and assist the shipping industry to maintain a safe operation with reduced operational cost as a positive consequence. ”
WMN: Recently you launched a campaign on galley and accommodation cleaning. How important is hygiene onboard ships?
Ingemann: “When it comes to hygiene, a ship is the same as any other working and living environment – if cleanliness standards are not maintained, infections can develop and spread quickly. A ship is will have its own eco–system, and if that system is not balanced, then problems can occur.”
WMN: Cargo hold cleaning is another sanitary measure you are championing at this year’s SMM, together with the range of your Unitor cargo cleaning products. What is the competitive edge that sets you apart from your competition in this department?
Ingemann: “One major thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that we develop our products together with our customers. The first time you set foot in a cargo tank of a bulk carrier, you are amazed by how big it is, and you start to think how they are going to clean this? It is a real challenge, so we go onboard to talk to the crew and learn from their experiences in order to develop a product which fits their specific needs.
In addition, at WSS we have a strong equipment segment, as well as our marine chemicals segment. The combination of our knowledge on what to apply and how to apply it in both these segments is what makes us strong.”
WMN: What are your plans for the future?
Ingemann: “We want to grow within the business areas we cover and continue to expand our existing product ranges.
Fuel is the area we want to further look into in addition to further research into Galley and Accommodation and cleaning. When it comes to gasses and welding, we want to further develop from being product-driven to being concept and solution-oriented. We want to include our customers in the development of all our product ranges.
When we talk about welding, one of the most common welding jobs is repair of pipes that for example burst because of vibrations, often in inaccessible places. In this instance, it is not appropriate to use a heavy welding equipment – you need something that is easy to get to the work location and able to do a 360 degree welding angle around the pipe.
Shipowners are looking for the best equipment, the best consumables, a satisfactory level of safety, appropriate clothing, etc. We have this portfolio which ranges from safety products to consumables which we can really develop.”
World Maritime News Staff