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BVS Dual Speed Optimization

Saves Fuel in ECA Zones

Variables to Consider when Route Planning

A new approach is required to find the most cost effective route, given the new Emission Control Area (ECA) requirements recently implemented. StormGeo has launched BVS Dual Speed Optimization to take ECA zones into account while providing a safe, efficient and cost-effective optimal route for your voyage.

The Evolution of Emission Control in the SECA & ECA Areas

It is known to the shipping community that the Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) of the Baltic and North Seas, as well as the North American ECA Zones were defined in Annex VI of MARPOL 1997. The regulations specified a gradual decrease in the amount of sulfur present in the fuel being consumed. Heavy fuel oil prior to July 1, 2010 contained up to 4.5% sulfur. The initial Annex VI of MARPOL 1997 mandated sulfur content reductions to 1.0% in the SECA and ECA areas. The second phase of the Annex VI of MARPOL 1997 came into force on January 1, 2015 to further reduce the sulfur limit to 0.10% in the SECA and ECA areas.

Approaching the Problem from a Cost Savings Perspective

With the second phase of the new ECA regulations now in place, it is no longer enough to only find the best route and speed to sail to minimize voyage costs. With the cost differential between IFO and Ultra Low Sulfur Fuels (ULSFO) on the order of $300 USD per metric ton, it complicates the picture and raises several questions.

  • Where should you enter the ECA areas and is sailing the least distance in the ECA areas always best?
  • What speed should you be using in the ECA areas and is the minimum speed always best?

There is no one right answer to these questions and to find the least cost route you need to take many variables into account, such as these below.

  • Distances steamed, both inside and outside the ECA areas
  • Weather and currents
  • Fuel prices for each fuel type
  • Dynamic vessel specific fuel consumption curves
  • Daily hire costs
  • Speed setting, both inside and out of ECA areas
  • Any wind, wave, navigational, safety, environmental or other constraints

StormGeo’s BVS Dual Speed Optimization takes these variables into account. They help the Captain find the safest and best combination of sailing track and speeds to be most efficient.

Dual Speed
In this example, using the BVS Dual Speed Optimization, an additional $3,000 to $4,000 USD was saved.

Dual Speed Optimization with Fixed Arrival

When the arrival time has been fixed in BVS and the high and low fuel prices per metric ton have been entered into the system, BVS automatically calculates a least-cost dual speed optimization if the vessel encounters an ECA area during the voyage. If the fuel prices are missing or if the vessel doesn’t encounter an ECA area, BVS will provide the best route and optimum single speed to make the arrival time.

Dual Speed Optimization with Open Arrival

For those voyages where the vessel does not have a specified time of arrival and the high and low fuel prices per metric ton, plus the daily hire rate have been entered into the system, BVS will automatically do a least-cost dual speed optimization if the vessel encounters an ECA area during the voyage. If the fuel prices or the daily hire rate are missing, or the route doesn’t encounter an ECA area, BVS will calculate the best “least time” optimization.

Accurate Consumption Curves are Critical for Best Cost Estimates

StormGeo has a large database containing several million observations of speed, weather conditions, consumption rates, and more from ships of all types and sizes. An experienced team of analysts, whose backgrounds are in oceanography and maritime engineering, have developed a model that is able to predict speed loss due to weather and the associated consumption rates.
Using the reported information from the vessel along with StormGeo’s analysis of the current, wind, sea heights, swell height and period and relative directions, StormGeo can accurately calculate the Calm Sea Speed for each noon report. As this data accumulates, regression analysis yields a specific consumption (vs. Calm Sea Speed) curve for each vessel data is collected on. These curves are continuously updated, with the latest reports weighted more heavily, so the curves can keep up with any variations in the vessels performance over time. To ensure that the Captain has the best consumption estimates, these curves are automatically uploaded to the vessel during the BVS data download process.

For those vessels where no data has been collected, StormGeo maintains consumption curves based on sister ships and when this data is not available the system will use StormGeo ship type curves.

The graph below and to the left is an example of the raw consumption report plots against speed over ground, while the graph on the right shows the same data relative to StormGeo’s estimated Calm Sea Speed. As a result, StormGeo can generally predict the consumption rate of a vessel within +-5%.

Dual Speed2


The introduction of ECA zones has presented new challenges for optimizing a voyage, yet StormGeo has overcome these challenges. BVS Dual Speed Optimization provides an excellent solution by recommending both a route and speeds in and out of the ECA zones to safely minimize fuel costs. By putting this tool into the Captain's hands, quick and informed decisions can be made with voyage safety and total voyage costs in mind.

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