Easing the onboard chemicals headache

31 May 2012
As ships require more chemicals and more test kits, crews need better information and training

As ships require more chemicals and more test kits, crews need better information and training

Wilhelmsen Ships Service is launching a new service, which it calls the Active Solutions portal. This is a new electronic service for its marine chemicals customers, replacing paper product data sheets and manuals.

The company says that the move has been prompted by the move towards – on the one hand - more complex ships and systems, and more legislation, and - on the other hand – fewer people on board, and less training. It has been noted, says WSS, that engine rooms are becoming more like chemical laboratories, with ships needing to carry as many as five different test kits for fuel, oil, water and various discharges, and as more regulations enter force, this number will increase. There is less time available for on-the-job training. Schemes like STCW have gone some way to addressing this shortfall, but the only cover basic principles and are often based on old technologies and old documentation.

The need to carry more chemicals – for things like water treatment and combating bugs in diesel fuel - means more storage and handling problems. When things go wrong, it is easy to blame the crew, but rather than just human error, it is often lack of knowledge and insufficient training that is to blame.

The Active Solutions Portal aims to bring together, in electronic form for use on board, with or without an Internet connection, such things as: product information, including health and safety data; test methods, presented pictorially to overcome language difficulties; technical manuals, which are normally used internally by WSS but are now being made available to customers; equipment manuals, covering maintenance of handling equipment, and the WSS ‘Waterproof’ service, which is a program to maintain graphical records of tests undertaken. The other important element is a series of e-learning modules, each about 30 minutes long, with a test at the end. The portal is rounded off by contact details for WSS technical support.

Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) is launching a revised portfolio with Unitor and Nalfleet product brands as the first part of their strengthened marine chemicals offer today. When this scheme has been fully rolled out it will offer an increased product range, enhanced customer service, specialist support in the form of an innovative new customer portal and an improved global logistics network.

Graham Hunter, business director marine chemicals says; “The concept called Active Solutions is about people, products - and ultimately - better performance. This is more than a just a make-up exercise, I believe the full version of the new offer will be a game changer in this business. We’ve worked closely with our customers to look at critical operational issues affecting them. We know that crew competence and health and safety are a key concern for all owners and operators. Also, the shortage of time due to a multitude of other pressures means that it can be difficult to stay on top of changes in regulation and increasing environmental legislation”.

The new offer will initially cover three main product ranges: Nalfleet water treatment; Unitor fuel oil treatment; and Unitor cleaning chemicals. If the concept proves successful, WSS expects to extend it to other areas of ship supply.

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Wilhelmsen Ships Service AS

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