One of the surprise results of the coronavirus disaster has been the dramatic fall in scrubber installations.
Carrier operators are considering the liability of scrubber retrofits in the light of several factors. The serious delays at Chinese shipyards has left many vessels lying idle coupled with the slump in oil prices. Questions are being asked whether the considerable cost of installing this equipment when the price of the new light sulphur fuels has fallen to within $60 per tonne difference with traditional heavy fuel oils. The cost of operating standby charter ships has pushed several operators to cancel their retrofit contracts.All this of course can be blamed on the effects of the pandemic.
SHIPS’ CREWS AT RISK
According to the international ship suppliers and services Association(ISSA) some crews are being prevented from obtaining vital medical and food provisions as well as spare parts. When ships have previously visited ports where coronavirus was present, they are, in some cases being banned from some ports which means that these people are without vital supplies. The Association is trying to persuade the worldwide industry to deal with this unfortunate situation.
FUTURE TRENDS IN ROBOTICS
The shipping industry, over the next two or three decades, will adopt many different technologies which will aim to improve better design, performance, hull design, safety and operational management. New materials such as advanced high strength steel, aluminium, glass, fibre and carbon fibre composites are being considered by shipowners and builders, as alternatives to existing building materials. The use of robotics and advanced data systems will be one of the most significant technological factors in future ship operations.
Traditionally, different types of robot can be used to replace human intervention especially in dangerous situations. Combined with data technology, dangerous task can be performed and monitored through the acquired data in real-time. Using cloud-based technology which reduces the cost of preventing data loss, improves the communications between all personnel on shore and on the ship.