American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has long recognised the data-driven nature of ship management, with data playing a key role in all aspects of vessel operation and commercial relationships. The data aspects are taking on new dimensions as the classification society’s clients must increasingly focus on compliance with rapidly evolving regulations.

In the era of Poseidon Principles (impacting vessel finance and insurance), Sea Cargo Charter (impacting vessel hires), with metrics of AER and EEOI, a new set of indicators including EEXI and CII are now joining the ship operating lexicon. ABS enables vessel owners, charterers and other stakeholders in the supply chain assimilate the necessary inputs for computing these measures. Across commercial, technical and regulatory spaces, ABS empowers its shipowner clients with the enhanced ability to create actionable metrics (KPIs) for better management of individual vessels, and fleets.

Building on ABS’s Nautical Systems set of onboard applications- including Voyage Manager and e-Log, operational data collected aboard the vessel can be transferred to its cloud-based My Digital Fleet offering. There, vessel inputs can be melded with external information; one example would be rapidly changing weather readings. With the ABS suite of information products, voyage planning and operations management are now dynamic processes, enabling corrections and fine-tuning in near real time as the vessel is underway.

Smarty Mathew John, ABS vice president of digital Solutions, in describing the My Digital Fleet (interfaced with the Nautical Systems inputs), says that “This will give you a good level of insight…and the ability to make decisions…during the voyage itself.” In a video interview with TradeWinds Content Studio, he emphasises how digital solutions enable shipowners to stay within charter party parameters, describing, for example, how adjustments can be made if speed or fuel consumption (with readings obtained from the vessel) deviates from parameters in a charter agreement. Putting on a commercial hat, he stresses that the ability to identify deviations, and the reasons behind them, could facilitate improved discussions between owners and charterers, and might enhance the ability to get ahead of potential charter party disputes.

Traditional monitoring and upkeep of onboard equipment, along with inspection cycles, which these days have evolved into predictive maintenance, are also part of ABS’s offerings to vessel owners. Increasingly, equipment and all manner of onboard devices are controlled digitally, in what’s known as the “Internet of Things”.

Evan Gooch, who heads up the Nautical Systems division of ABS, says: “We have the ability to capture real time data aboard vessels, by plugging in sensors, and monitoring outputs from engines, generators, pressure transducers…anything we can put a sensor on- we can monitor…”. Gooch points out that, “Catching those problems before they become real problems limits your downtime, and makes sure equipment runs far more efficiently.”.

For vessel owners and operators grappling with the seemingly overwhelming data challenges for commercial, technical, and now, regulatory processes, the solutions from ABS merit detailed consideration.