FCG 1-2-1 Case Study – K-Line

K-Line chose to change their calibration gas supplies to Martek/FastCalGas because it delivered a number of distinct advantages to our fleet of LNG carriers. The single two year covering order delivers time and cost savings on the significant logistics and administration overheads attributable to normal calibration gas supply arrangements. The extended warranty of the calibration gases means there is no worry of our gases expiring before use. Martek have been professional and responsive from the sales staff to the after sales team. We would recommend their use to other ship owners.

– R Brooks, Superintendent

 

Fleet

9 x LNG Carriers

Previous Calibration Arrangement

Purchasing large refillable cylinders on an ad-hoc basis.

Problem

The administration and logistical challenges of shipping these large cylinders around the world was a time consuming, complicated and a costly process. There was also a significant health and safety risk – the crew were carrying these large cylinders around the vessels to calibrate the fixed gas detection systems.

Solution

We challenged K Line’s thinking about why they were using large gas cylinders. These cylinders are expensive to buy, difficult to transport and – because of the huge volumes they hold – resulted in large amounts of wastage due to gas expiring. By analysing the current inventory on each vessel, we simplified the supply by consolidating many different mixtures into single mixtures and part numbers. Then we arranged a two year single supply to the vessels, freeing the technical and buying functions from having to organise calibration gas.

 

Find out more about our FastCalGas 1-2-1 service here.

Don’t get caught short on calibration gas with FastCalGas 1-2-1

Your vessels always need to have a supply of the correct grade of calibration gas to make sure their gas detectors are operating safely. The costs associated with maintaining this supply can put great pressure on already stretched budgets as well as causing significant headaches for operators.

This can become even more costly and complicated if you receive very short notice that one of your vessels is running short on calibration gas and you’re forced to use a local supplier. As well as interrupting the smooth running of your operations, there are a number of other reasons why this is bad for business.

Limited Options

The availability of quality service providers is always a challenge and when the situation demands an urgent response from a local supplier, you don’t have much leverage or bargaining power.

The standard of the gas or canisters may be poor, their service may be inadequate or unreliable, they may be hugely over-priced – but you’ll still have to use them.

Short Expiry Dates

Calibration gases can be unstable – especially reactive or ‘sticky’ gases. Because they’re so chemically active they can even react with the containers that are used to store them.

This is why gases have a limited shelf life and an expiry date that’s clearly labelled on the outside. Expired calibration gas won’t provide accurate readings and will be potentially dangerous so it needs to be replaced, regardless of how much is left in the container.

Local suppliers will often be given very short notice when supplying ships that are approaching port. That means that they need to have a constant stock – stock that’s usually bought in bulk. The cylinders they provide may have been sitting around for a while with their expiry dates getting closer and closer so you may end up paying over the odds for gas that will soon go out of date.

Multiple Deliveries

Different providers all need to meet the same standards but the price and the level of service will vary from port to port. You’ll need to pay all the associated costs that come with multiple re-stocking deliveries too – freight costs, dangerous goods charges, custom’s and agent’s fees – they all add up.

In addition to this, the relatively poor standard of cylinders in the industry means that calibration gases you buy from local suppliers will probably need to be replaced more regularly.

There’s also the time spent on administration, a hidden cost that’s frequently overlooked.

Time Management

The Chief Officer is responsible for identifying, calibrating, and adjusting all gas measuring instruments onboard and they must make sure that an adequate amount of the correct grade of calibration gas is readily available.

Each detector will have a different schedule and, even with plenty of advance planning, you can spend hours organising the supply of calibration gas for every unit on the fleet. Keeping track of expiry dates, maintenance schedules and calibration tests becomes significantly more complicated when you need to re-supply at short notice.

Add up the time spent on your calibration gas supply week by week, month by month, year by year and then compare it with the annual salary of a chief officer or purchaser. You’ll see how expensive this time can be, especially when they could be concentrating on more valuable areas of your business.

The Simple Solution

Using FastCalGas 1-2-1 will make sure that you never have to face any of these issues. You’ll never run out of calibration gas and you’ll cut down on carriage and agents’ charges as well as the hidden costs that come from the time spent on administration. It simplifies your calibration gas requirements into one order, two years’ supply and one delivery.

We review your usage of calibration gas to determine your requirements and run on-going checks with vessels, contacting each ship to arrange re-stocking. Just pass on the inventory of gas detectors on board your fleet or let us contact the ships directly to get the information and we take care of the rest. Our lean order processing and extensive global supply chain means that we have a four hour turnaround on quotes and 98% of our orders are shipped within 24 hours.

In terms of quality, FastCalGas is the world first in offering a 27-month manufactured shelf life on all reactive mixtures. It has the highest production standards of any calibration gas on the market and uses advanced materials with a mass spectrometer to analyse and verify the quality of every cylinder – in 30,000 deliveries, only two defects have ever been reported, a quality yield of over 99.993%.

Streamline your operations with consistent, high quality calibration gas shipped anywhere in the world.

Contact us to find out more about FastCalGas 1-2-1.

Could Your Ballast Water Treatment Be Killing You?

The dangers of chlorine in ballast water treatment

Without the right equipment, ballast water treatment can be a real headache for operators. As well as the expense, there are numerous other considerations – especially regarding the use of Chlorine, the most common method of treatment.

One of the biggest problems faced by the shipping industry is the spreading of Invasive Aquatic Species from a ship’s ballast water.

Bio-invasion has increased at an alarming rate, such as Golden Mussels, Zebra Mussels, North American Comb Jellyfish, the Cladoceran Water Flea, and the North Pacific Seastar has led to ballast water treatment becoming a hot topic in maritime discussion around the world, leading to an implementation of a ballast water management plan.

Ballast water management plans became key under the IMO’s “International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments”.

Key to stability, ballast water reduces hull stress, balances off the weight of lost fuel/water, improves maneuverability with sufficient vessel draft and improves crew welfare with reduced vibrations and uncontrolled vessel movements.

Treating Ballast Water

The main types of ballast water treatment technologies available in the market are:

  • Filtration Systems (physical)
  • Chemical Disinfection (oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides)
  • Ultra-violet treatment
  • Deoxygenation treatment
  • Heat (thermal treatment)
  • Acoustic (cavitation treatment)
  • Electric pulse/pulse plasma systems
  • Magnetic Field Treatment

Many of these will require the fitting and storage of new equipment. This makes it prohibitively expensive as well as disruptive for ships that are already operating. For this reason, chemical treatments are far more widely used.

Biocides can be easily stored onboard ship and don’t require complicated machinery to apply them. Ozone, for example, is a very powerful oxidizing agent that dissolves in water and reacts with other chemicals that are present to kill organisms.

But chemical treatments come with their own set of problems. Although ozone has been used as a disinfectant for over a hundred years, it’s very unstable and toxic to humans, even in small quantities. In addition to this, it’s a harmful pollutant that damages the atmosphere and the environment when ballast water is pumped out into the sea.

With chlorine being widely adopted as part of a ballast water management plan, we’ll take a look at some of the considerations surrounding this popular treatment.

Chlorine

Chlorine is used extensively for disinfecting drinking water but it’s a very effective and common chemical for treating ballast water too. Like ozone, however, it comes with some significant drawbacks.

Because it combines with almost every element, it can form toxins in seawater. In its gas form, it’s so harmful to humans that it was used as a chemical weapon. A painful reminder as to the catastrophic effects of chlorine is one of the most iconic images of the first world war

Soldiers wounded in gas attacks
The use of chlorine as a weapon in WW1 was devastating

This chemical was first used by German forces with the aim to demoralize, injure, and kill entrenched defenders, against whom the indiscriminate and generally very slow-moving or static nature of gas clouds would be most effective.

Major Karl von Zingler described the use of chlorine in an attack as an effective but horrible weapon.

As little as 1000 ppm is fatal after only a few breaths and the effects will be felt in seconds. After you’ve inhaled chlorine, your eyes and skin will become irritated and you’ll find it difficult to breathe with a tightening chest, stinging throat and persistent cough.

Following chlorine exposure, the most common symptoms are:

  • Airway irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin irritation

Even if the initial exposure isn’t immediately fatal, chlorine causes fluid build-up in the lungs which can lead to pulmonary edema after a few hours and is a cause of cancer in the long-term.

Contact with liquid chlorine can cause frostbite – in skin and eyes – and there is no antidote.

The effect of exposure are treatable, but this treatment but be fast and effective with hospital care.

Chlorine in Ballast Tanks

Chlorination systems generally apply a dose of about 2 mg/l residual chlorine which is effective for treating ballast tanks and safe for seafarers as long as guidelines are followed correctly.

Some solutions, unfortunately, also use Sodium Hypochlorite with a concentration of up to 10 ppm, which can leave a potentially dangerous the gas residue in the tanks after the water is pumped out.

The main issues come from exactly that, the residue that’s left behind after the water has been pumped out.

Even if a ballast tank appears clear, the sediment or mud can contain dangerous levels of chlorine that’s heavier than air and can’t escape through ventilation.

A 2005 study by the US Navy showed the feasibility of gas bubble formation in sediment and mud. Even with forced ventilation, the gas may not be entirely released due to composition, sediment/mud volume, temperature or a whole range of other conditions.

Chlorine is difficult to detect by sight or smell, so it poses a significant threat to any crew member that enters.

Crews may enter a tank which they believe to be clear of gas – even when the tank has been closed for a long period of time. Changes in the atmosphere or movement can now cause the potentially lethal gas to be released.

Much like the entrenched troops of WW1, without any appropriate gas detection equipment, the fact may not be realised until it’s too late.

Gas Detection

Gas detectors are vital for ballast tanks that have been treated with chlorine and should form part of the ship’s safety management procedures for enclosed and confined spaces.

In addition to protecting your crew, failing to equip your vessel with adequate gas detection equipment carries heavy penalties – and detentions and advisories are on the increase.

The IMO clause in SOLAS REGULATION XI-1/7 states that:

‘2 It should be noted that, given a ship’s specific characteristics and operations, additional atmospheric hazards in enclosed spaces may be present that may not be detected by the instrument recommended to be selected by these Guidelines, and in such cases, if known, additional appropriate instruments should be carried.’

Simply put, if there’s a risk of gas being present, your crew need to be equipped with appropriate equipment to detect these gasses.

Marine 5

As well as testing for the standard four gases (Flammable, H2, CO, and O2), the Marine 5 dual-sensor can also monitor chlorine.

This means that there’s no need to provide individual gas detectors for different gases – the Marine 5 provides multiple gas detection in one portable device.

The range of bespoke gases you can detect with the dual sensor include:
  • Ammonia
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Chlorine
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Sulphur Dioxide
  • And more

It’s an effective and affordable solution for gas detection, improving safety and efficiency while reducing operating costs. It will also dramatically cut down on calibration gas wastage and allow you to perform on-board bump testing, saving you time and hassle.

The Marine 5 is the perfect gas detector for testing your ballast water tanks for chlorine. Discover its simplicity today and the option for cost-saving onboard calibration.