Northrop Grumman subsidiary Sperry Marine, has undertaken a refit and maintenance programme of the navigation systems of two cruise ferries for Norwegian operator Color Line.
The largest cruise ferries currently operating, ‘Color Fantasy’ and ‘Color Magic’ were delivered in 2004 and 2007, respectively and recently underwent their five-year drydocking as part of their maintenance schedule.
A Sperry Marine service team joined ‘Color Fantasy’ at FAYARD in Odense, Denmark in January, 2019 to execute a programme of proactive maintenance and testing on the ship’s navigation equipment.
One of the principal tasks was the replacement of the Speed Log, a mandatory system which provides data on the ship’s motion and speed through water. The installed Speed Log was a legacy design and although Sperry guarantees to support its equipment for at least 10 years after production ceases, the latest design offers many technical advantages.
Senior Service Engineer, Tom Withen was part of the original newbuilding team that attended the construction of ‘Color Fantasy’ at Turku shipyard, Finland, for which Sperry Marine delivered a complete integrated bridge solution, including consoles and all navigation equipment.
“We have followed this ship closely since delivery and we know that the owner is very proactive on safety and on minimising any delays to their sailing schedule. Color Line recognise that there is a real advantage to planning ahead on maintenance and refits instead of waiting until things break down,” said Withen.
Sperry Marine Service’s key account team met with Color Line to draw up a detailed picture of the status of all navigation equipment on the vessels. A five-year maintenance plan was created by working through the status of all the navigational equipment based on the team’s experience and technical knowledge.
Using this proactive approach, Sperry Marine was able to demonstrate to Color Line the life expectancy of all installed components, at which stage in the product life cycle navigation systems would be by the next drydock and those for which spares would be available.
“More and more shipowners are moving towards a culture of preventative maintenance and we encourage them to think like this,” he added. “If they do so, they find that it is actually cheaper in the long run and also safer because vital components don’t break down at the worst possible time.”
Rather than defer investment in parts and service or try to repair older systems, Withen believed the more sustainable approach is to consider how to manage maintenance before components fail and so achieve maximum vessel availability.
“By working with shipowners to plan maintenance in advance, we can help them minimise breakdowns and delays or risks to navigational safety. It also helps them to remove budgetary surprises, so they really like to work in this way,” he explained.
‘Color Fantasy’s’ maintenance programme included preventative replacement of elements of the radar system and the steering feedback potentiometers. Regular items included the annual overhaul of the gyro compass and annual performance test of the Voyage Data Recorder.
Sperry Marine also installed a new external weather station to give officers more accurate barometric readings of temperature and humidity readings via the installed VisionMaster navigation systems.
The final task was to replace the echo sounder transducers, a job that would require a diver if the vessel is in water, but can more easily be accomplished in drydock. The Sperry Service team join the vessel for final adjustments at sea and full testing of the updated systems.
After completion of the sea trials, the team began the comprehensive maintenance programme on ‘Color Magic’.