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LNG Is Here: How Is It Impacting The Industry?

Where is LNG as the fuel of choice for the maritime industry? DLS Marine Surveyor Norm Laskay discusses the current switch to LNG, its impact on air cleanliness, and the ever-important roles of crew members, surveyors, appraisers and classification societie.

Reading the various maritime newsletters and commentary about the future fuels that will be used in the industry, I’m reminded of the old joke framework where a subject is laid out like an announcer calling a horse race.

“LNG is out in front closely followed by its stablemate Bio-LNG. Two lengths back, but gaining, are Ammonia and Methanol. Trailing, but looking strong, is Hydrogen Cell.”

The winner depends on where one places the finish line. 2030? 2050?

Many experts, and a lot of money, say it is LNG at the 2030/2035 line. LNG is available now and suppliers in major ports have built and continue to build a supporting infrastructure of bunkering spots and LNG bunkering barges and bunkering tankers.However, while LNG is cleaner than Heavy Fuel Oil, it still, when burned, creates significant Green House Gases (GHG) and its production is not particularly clean. But it is a good start towards mandatory clean air goals that must be reached. Dual fuel engines exist and vessels can be (relatively) economically retrofitted to use LNG. And LNG can be “cut” with cleaner bio-LNG and liquid synthetic methane (LSM) as facilities come online to economically produce these new fuels. This is called layered technology.

The hope for operators, and lenders, is that the LNG fueled vessels being built now and in the next few years, will be able to bridge the current scientific and economic gap and be operated under pertinent IMO/Port State air cleanliness levels over a 15- to 20-year operating life until the next generation of cleaner fuels are readily available at reasonable cost.

It is important to note that a vessel’s cleanliness performance involves its level of emissions. Thus, an owner can do any combination of things to bring the vessel’s emissions at or below the mandatory levels. While GHG emissions come from burning fuel, they can be reduced not only by burning cleaner fuel but by burning less fuel. Solutions being tested, and in some cases in commercial use, are many. Just as in a car, the faster you drive the more fuel you use, ships have been doing what is called “slow steaming”. By carrying out a voyage at slower than normal speeds they save on fuel. On one side this slows down the movement of goods and affects the Just-in-Time delivery of goods and parts business model. The other side is that this puts more vessels in transit and therefore can help vessel supply/demand and day rates.

Other fuel saving steps are improved use of weather routing to enable a voyage to be carried out along the shortest route with the most favorable weather conditions, and redesign of a vessels hull, rudder, and propeller design and location, all steps to reduce drag.

But the goal is cleaner fuels. Worldwide, there are constant new ideas for innovation in new fuel sources. Testing and production are being helped by governments, particularly in Europe and parts of Asia. And more and more investor groups are placing a value on ecological and social improvements which also helps in funding.

A United Nations study stated that the worth of nature’s goods and services should be prioritized over traditional measures of economic activity such as gross domestic product. Companies and governments should account for the benefits of investing in the preservation of natural assets such as plants, wildlife, air, water and soil. Their point being that the cost of inaction greatly outweighs the cost of action.

This rush of new technology in machinery and hull design, and the digitalization of vessel systems is pretty amazing. But operators, lenders and underwriters have to keep in mind that all of this is still controlled by humans. As vessel hardware and software becomes more complex, so can the safety issues. Classification societies are creating regulations for the construction, testing and safe operation of these controls and operating systems. But it is still the crews that will be dealing, daily, hands on.

And it will also be up to marine surveyors and appraisers to stay abreast of these changes and to understand their parameters and safe operation. DLS Marine has already drafted a check- off sheet for the general inspection and layout of LNG systems on board marine vessels and will continue to learn details on their safe operation. Design and safe operation of modern battery banks is the next goal.

Norman Laskay

If you’d like to keep this conversation going, send me an email at nlaskay@DLSmarine.com.

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Matt McDaniel DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Matt McDaniel

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Damage Assessment and Repairs
  • Condition
  • Inspections
  • Project Management

Memberships / Professional Certification:

  • NAMS-CMS

Background:

Matt began marine surveying in 2014 and has experience with damage causation, reviewing transit plans, new construction, cargo transfers, salvage operations, on/off charters, and general condition surveys. He joined the Hull & Machinery department at DLS in 2019.

mmcdaniel@dlsmarine.com
Jessie Page DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Jessie Page

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Diesel Technician
  • Marine Repair and Fabrication
  • Engine Causation Analysis
  • Equipment Damage
  • Vessel Conditions and Safety

Professional Certifications:

  • NAMS-CMS

Certified Specialist in Caterpillar diesel engines to include:

  • Small Engine Fuel Systems
  • Medium Engine Fuel Systems
  • Engine Diagnostics
  • Electronic Sensors and Control Logics
  • Electric and Electronic Troubleshooting
  • 3500 A/B/C Diesel Engine Master Mechanic I MUI/MEUI

Background:

Jessie joined DLS in 2021 with extensive experience in the marine industry. Jessie began his career as a shipfitter, machinist, and propulsion machinery installer at a shipyard. He then spent ten years as a diesel technician doing everything from routine mechanical repairs to complete engine overhauls and dynamometer testing. Jessie specializes in engine failure analysis and recognizing improper maintenance and installation. He is able to make recommendations regarding failure causation and potential imminent failures. Jessie transitioned to marine surveying in 2016 and is now a part of the DLS Hull & Machinery department.

jpage@dlsmarine.com

Ave P. Boudreaux

Marine Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Project Management Supervisor (QC) – overseen numerous construction and delivery schedules for vessels
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. Coast Guard and ABS rules and regulations for vessel construction and repair

Education:

  • Rolls-Royce Z-Drive Failure Analysis Seminar
  • Flex-Core and Aluminum Welding Course
  • Extensive training in engine, gear, and shaft alignment
  • Extensive training in vessel repair and new construction

Memberships / Professional Certification:

  • NAMS-CMS

Background:

Mr. Boudreaux has 15 years experience with offshore supply vessels, crewboats, and anchor handling tugs. During this time, he served 8 years in vessel repair and new construction, 3 years in vessel operation and logistics, and 4 years as a vessel port captain.

Mr. Boudreaux served over 3 years as a marine surveyor performing numerous types of surveys in the marine industry prior to joining DLS.

 aboudreaux@dlsmarine.com

Norm Laskay - DLS Marine Valuation

Norman F. Laskay

Of Counsel

Mr. Laskay joined Stickney, Dufour & Associates, Inc. in 1988 as a partner. He is now of Counsel. He became a Marine Surveyor in 1974, having gained prior experience in steamship agency, bulk cargo handling and vessel operations. He has been involved in many aspects of marine surveying including hull, machinery and cargo, both inland and ocean. Since becoming an Accredited Senior Appraiser of commercial marine equipment, he has been active with the American Society of Appraisers’ International Machinery and Technical Specialties Committee. He has written a comprehensive exam for the Commercial Marine Appraisal specialty and has written a 30-hour course for the American Society of Appraisers on appraising commercial marine vessels and yachts and is the lead instructor.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Commercial Marine Appraisal
  • Hull Damage and Repair
  • Cargo Loading, Securing and Trip in Tow Preparation

Education:

  • Maine Maritime Academy Graduate
    B.S. in Marine Transportation
  • Continuing education credits in Law, Appraisal, Marine Survey, and Diesel Repair.

Professional Certification/Memberships:

  • NAMS Regional Board of Directors Member 1989-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter Treasurer 1991-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter President 1994-1995
  • Mark Twain Club (Charter Member)
  • Machinery and Technical Specialties International Committee 1995-Present

Publications

  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “TUGBOAT DESIGN 101” Vol 13 No. 2 Fall 1996
  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR MARINE ASSET” Vol 13 No. 3 Winter 1996
  • Marine Money, The Ship Finance Publication of Record “ASSET BASED APPRAISAL:, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 2006 Wrote the chapter on Marine Asset Appraisal for the American Society of Appraisers text book: “VALUING MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF APPRAISING MACHINERY AND TECHNICAL ASSETS” Second Edition. In 2008, revised the chapter for the future Third Edition and wrote an accompanying Work Book section.

Email: nlaskay@dlsmarine.com

  

Harry Ward President DLS Marine

Harry Ward

President

Harry Ward is the President of Dufour, Laskay & Strouse, Inc. Harry is a US Navy veteran and has spent much of the past decade in the maritime industry in sales, finance and general management. He has extensive experience in asset and business valuation and is working to maintain DLS leadership in marine appraisal and survey for another 50 years. Harry is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as a helicopter pilot and survival instructor through multiple tours of duty. He has an MBA from San Diego State University.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Fleet and Vessel Appraisals
  • Marine Business Valuation
  • Transaction Support – Due Diligence
  • Transaction Support – Marine M&A Advisory
  • Digital Inspection – Marine and Offshore Wind

Education:

  • U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD – 1991, Bachelor of Science
  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA – 1999, MBA with emphasis in Finance

Licenses and Professional Associations

  • FINRA Licenses, Series 63 and 79 (Investment Banking)
  • American Society of Appraisers, AM
  • Certified Exit Planning Advisor, CEPA (Business value assessment and strategy development