Essar Shipping completes dry docking of Smiti

Essar Shipping Ltd, India’s second largest private shipping company, has said it has completed dry docking of its third high in demand vessel Smiti, after Supramax Maithili and Panamax Mahavir, despite the several challenges faced during the C-19 pandemic.

Smiti, with a dead weight tonnage (DWT) of 281,396, was dry docked in China once again after her last dry docking in 2015.

Like Maithili and Mahavir, Smiti’s dry docking was scheduled in 2020 but was deferred due to various travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Despite the adverse conditions, vessels were fully employed and in service throughout the lock down period catering to essential sectors of the country with all the necessary approvals in place from compliance authorities.

As part of the dry docking procedure and as per International Maritime Organisations regulations, a scrubber has been installed in Smiti that would ensure Sulphur content in fuel used in commercial ships to be reduced to 0.5 percent from 3.5 percent. A scrubber is a Sulphur-stripping exhaust cleaning system.

The benefits of installation of the scrubber are:

  • No restriction on acceptance of the vessels by charterers for global trading.
  • After payback period, operational margin will be higher as the fuel cost will be substantially lower compared to vessels running without scrubber.
  • Fetching premium price in asset value for future sale

During the dry docking, a Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) was also installed in Smiti. It is a system designed to remove and destroy/inactive biological organisms (zooplankton, algae, bacteria) from ballast water and thus avoid harmful effects on the marine environment through spread of aquatic micro-organisms transferred from one area to another.

Smiti’s IOPP renewal certificate of SMITI is valid till 2022, however vessels with BWTS are expected to have wide approach area & higher charter rates, especially in US/UK region. Since the vessel was undergoing drydock the installation of the system had to be completed before its next drydock due in 2023.

Dry docking is an extremely critical procedure for the ships wherein a vessel is taken to the service yard and brought to the dry land so that the submerged portions of its hull can be cleaned and inspected.

It is a primary regulatory cum preventive requirement in the global shipping industry as per which every vessel needs to dry dock at least once in every five years. It allows to repair and service the areas of the ship which cannot be explored while the ship is sailing and helps assess the condition of the ship’s hull and the machinery which are not accessible when the ship is in water.

Shipping is the backbone of global economy, supporting majorly the manufacturing sector. Essar Shipping provides a strong foundation for countries to build and operate world-class assets.