Image courtesy Norden

Image courtesy Norden

Nord Integrity Captain Cut the Power and Drifted for Days to Save Fuel

By Isaac Arnsdo

(Bloomberg) — A tanker owned by D/S Norden A/S, Europe’s biggest commodity-shipping company, saved $17,000 by stopping its main engine for three to four days as the merchant fleet copes with rising fuel costs by cutting speeds.

The Nord Integrity, a 47,400-ton ship hauling refined fuels, sailed by wind and current alone on its way to load in Algeria after refueling in the Canary Islands, Hellerup, Denmark-based Norden said in a company newsletter e-mailed today. Drifting for 280 nautical miles (518 kilometers) saved 27 metric tons of fuel valued at $17,064, according to the report. The ship arrived on time.

Owners across the industry are slowing down ships to save on fuel costs, which doubled in the past decade to account for about 75 percent of average expenses, according to the Baltic and InternationalMaritime Council, the largest trade group. Norden spent $651 million on fuel in 2012, equal to 67 percent of its voyage costs, according to the newsletter.

“Owners are trying everything because one ton saved a day is $600 on your bottom line,” said Truls Dahl, a shipbroker at Fearnleys A/S in Oslo who has worked in the industry for about 30 years. “It’s adventurous and interesting and a very good idea,” Dahl said, adding that he’s never seen this done before in his career.

The voyage complied with safety regulations, and a ship wouldn’t turn off its engine while carrying a cargo, Jens Malund Jensen, head of Norden’s product tanker operations, said in the newsletter. To make such sailing possible, wind and currents must move in the right direction and a vessel must have enough time and space to move safely, according to the report.

Ship fuel, known as bunkers, rose 2.2 percent this year to $626.07 a ton, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last year’s average of $664 in Singapore, the largest refueling port, was the highest since at least 2002.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.
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