GL introduces extended dry docking

03 Jun 2011

A new ‘extended dry docking’ (EDD) option for container vessel, general cargo ships and multi-purpose dry cargo vessels has been introduced by Germanischer Lloyd (GL) to acknowledge longer lasting coatings.

GL offers owners and operators the chance to extend the dry-docking period from five to seven-and-a-half-years. The first five-year class renewal dry docking is replaced with in-water surveys at 2.5 years and five years, with the first dry docking taking place at 7.5 years. The sequence continues until a second dry docking at 15 years, after which the docking schedule reverts to the normal schedule.

This option provides maximum scheduling flexibility while maintaining the highest standards of quality and safety. Owners who previously would have had to look for an available dry-docking facility each five years can now have their ship inspected at dock-side. While the EDD offers tremendous flexibility and savings in positioning and docking costs, it also reduces the off-hire times and allows owners to bring additional scheduling options to the table during charter party negotiations.

To assure the highest levels of quality and safety, only ships meeting GL’s entry requirements are allowed into the programme. These requirements include flag state programme approval and the fitting out of the ship with GL class notation IW (in-water). All ships must have a GL-approved planned maintenance system for the hull (e.g. GL HullManager) as well as for machinery. In addition, the ship must be fitted with a shaft bearing and sealing system of approved design with implementation of regular monitoring procedures.

For newbuildings, the hull dry film thickness must be a minimum of 300µm, excluding anti-fouling, and the ship must be fitted with anodes prepared for seven and a half years and/or have an impressed current system installed and maintained. For fleet in service ships, ballast water tanks must maintain a ‘good’ condition according to IACS Rec. 87, and the vessel must be free of any condition of class concerning underwater parts.

GL’s EDD programme participants benefit from detailed knowledge of where and when inspections and repairs must be performed, early warning of degraded hull condition that helps to avoid costly surprises in dry-dock, and an overview of fleet status that allows avoidance of similar problems with sister vessels.

In all cases, GL reserves the right to suspend the programme at any time if it is determined that an out-of-water inspection is necessary. In addition, this new scheme only works together with owner, Flag State and class. In the case of a change in owner or Flag, the EDD approval may be waved and a dry-docking is immediately due/required.

The Panama Maritime Authority has now also authorised GL to offer its EDD programme for vessels under the flag of Panama. The flag of Panama acknowledges the technological advancements to make environmentally safe in-water inspections and maintenance and reflects improvements in corrosion resistant materials, including the endurance and effectiveness of coating technology. With its authorisation, the flag of Panama joins other maritime administrations like Greece, Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica, and Germany who have agreed to the GL’s EDD procedure. 

“We are convinced that owners who implement the current technological options, and who maintain a stringent planned maintenance programme, can take advantage without undermining quality or safety,” says Mr. Matthias Galle, GL vice president for classification and technical matters. “Our discussions with the Liberian, Marshall Islands, Antiguan and Singaporean flag states, as well as with the German maritime authority BG Verkehr, formerly SBG (See-Berufsgenossenschaft), indicate that, with some reservations, they are in general agreement on this point.”

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