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Operational lifecycle of fishing vessels

Operational lifecycle of fishing vessels

November 24th, 2021

Experts of the design and shipbuilding bureau Nordic Engineering together with the Fishery Shipowners Association conducted an assessment of the feasibility of limiting the operational lifecycle of marine fishing vessels. The assessment is based on an analysis of the fleet state and its renewal rate.

The Soviet fishing fleet consisted of more than 4,000 vessels. From 1995 to 2021, their number decreased by two-thirds and continues to decline. At the same time, in RS class, the average age of fishing vessels is 30.9 years, and reefers 29.5 years.

From 1995 to 2021, the number of vessels decreased significantly

In 9 months of 2021, the number of fishing vessel accidents increased by 15%, amounting to 29 accidents, which are 4 more than in the same period of 2020. At the same time, in January – September 2021, 12 accidents causing the loss of life occurred (13 people died, 3 people more than in 9 months of 2020). Fishing vessel accidents causing the loss of life accounted for 38% of the total number of fishing vessel accidents.

Obviously, the physical deterioration and obsolescence of the fleet require urgent measures to renew it.

As part of the investment approach being currently implemented by the Government of the Russian Federation, by the end of 2025, at Russian shipyards will be built

The total volume of private investments will amount to more than 200 billion rubles. 40 crab fishing vessels were added to them. The current program does not allow for a complete renewal of the fleet and requires to be developed at least in the part relating to the heavy-tonnage fleet.

An effective measure for the renewal of the fishing fleet would be the introduction of a standard useful life for the systems and units (assemblies) of the entire vessel, upon the attainment of which their replacement would be required, including the decommissioning of the entire vessel. The evidence from international experience suggests that safe and effective operation life of sea vessels is no more than 25–30 years. This is due to a number of facts: aging of the vessel hull (corrosion and fatigue of metal), the depletion of the vessel accessory equipment (the average life of the engine is no more than 15 years, the average life of the controllable-pitch propeller before decommissioning is 23 years, etc.), the lack of spare parts due to the cessation of their production, non-compliance with safety and health protection standards, non-compliance with modern environmental standards.

In addition, the strategy of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry by at least 50% by 2050. According to the Secretary-General of IMO, in order to achieve this goal, it will be necessary for vessels, which can be easily adapted to use low-carbon fuels in the future, to be put into operation in the 2030s. The Russian fishing fleet is no exception and also has to comply with new requirements for marine fuel.

The introduction of a standard useful life for the systems and assemblies of the entire vessel and the standard operational life of a fishing vessel will have a positive effect on the development of the shipbuilding industry.

The Russian Federation is the only country in the world that is renewing its fishing fleet on such a large scale. The further development in this area will result in the regular work load of enterprises, which in turn will make it possible to produce competitive engineering products. The growth of the export potential of domestic industrial products will be ensured. The disposal of decommissioned vessels will make it possible to recover raw materials and supplies for reuse – recycle and building new vessels.

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