AkzoNobel’s Marine Coatings business, the producer of International Paint’s hull coatings has developed Intertrac, claimed to be a the shipping industry’s first, patented applied for software system that enables ship owners and operators to accurately assess and predict the risk of hull fouling dependent on the route their vessels are transiting.

Created in 2011 and trialled with customer partners since February 2013, Intertrac overlays a vessel’s route, speed and location data with a comprehensive fouling data set enabling coating specifications to be tailored specifically to suit an individual vessel’s operations and trading routes.

Intertrac divides the world’s oceans and coastal waters into 64 “large marine ecosystems”, each with its own fouling risk and characteristics including salinity, temperature, thermal range, seasonality and typical pH levels. Analysis of these variables has enabled the company’s research and development scientists to assign each region with a level of fouling risk split into five categories; very low, low, medium, high and very high.

The system uses data that is provided by a vessel’s Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) – information that is available in the public domain – to establish operating profiles. Identified either by name or IMO number, a vessel’s historical record of activity over a certain period can now be mapped using the software. A fouling risk profile is developed for each vessel, helping ship owners and operators to quantify the hull fouling challenge that a specific vessel has faced while in operation.

Mike Hindmarsh, global marketing manager for deep sea drydockings. commented: “Intertrac is unique in that as well as tracking vessels it can also overlay detailed fouling risk assessment from across the world’s oceans and coastal regions.

“By combining details of a vessel’s voyage – both geographically and in terms of operating profile – with an analysis of the fouling challenge in the regions where she has traded, we can provide our customers with detailed information on the level of fouling risk that they face. From this, we can deliver real consultancy for our customers, and recommend the optimal choice of antifouling coating specification, ensuring cost effectiveness and maximizing their levels of operational efficiency.

“For example, if a vessel was trading for long periods in cold northern waters where the fouling challenge is low, it is appropriate to reduce the antifouling coating specification and save money by doing so. Seasonality is an important variable, but Intertrac automatically tracks the time spent and the months involved.”

Over a specified period – such as a vessel’s last in service period since drydock – a vessel’s trading profile detailing every voyage can be plotted, giving total sea miles, average sea miles per month, average draft and speed and importantly, the duration and frequency of time spent idle as well as time spent sailing above or below a certain speed. Whether or not a vessel was loaded on a certain voyage is also tracked.