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News Owners, Yards Develop Industry Standard on Speed Trials After a three-year study, 12 leading shipowners and six major yards have set an industry standard on speed trials. "Best Practice" for conducting speed trials, as well as a recommended analysis procedure have been developed. The Sea Trials Analysis (STA) joint industry project was initiated in 2002 by Shell, P&O/Nedlloyd, Maersk and Dutch research institute MARIN, to develop a common methodology for speed trials for new ships coming into service. The new standard contributes to higher quality ships as the speed/power performance upon delivery can now be derived with transparent and reliable methods, the group state. Within the project a review of trial procedures was conducted using ISO 19019 and 15016 as a starting point. New analysis methods were developed including correction methods for conditions deviating from the contract specification. In particular, correction methods for wind and waves were developed as it was found from 20 trial case studies that existing methods were not reliable for present day ships and can lead to substantial trial speed deviations. Chairman of the Sea Trials Analysis project group, Hans Huisman of ER-Schiffahrt, said: "This is the best practice we could achieve with our knowledge and experience of today; it is an important step forward for the shipbuilding and shipping industry as it will increase the quality of our work." Already, the new standard and software have been verified and demonstrated by application during sea trials on five recent newbuildings in Korea. According to Henk van den Boom of MARIN; "With this new practice the speed/power performance of ships can now be assessed within 0.1 knots, whereas in the past, trial speed deviations of up to 1.0 knot have been found". The best practice is documented in the STA-Group during final meeting. This group currently consists of shipowners and operators comprising: CP Offen, ER Schiffahrt, Hapag Lloyd, Kuwait Oil Tankers, Maersk, NDR-H.Schuldt, NSB, Shell, Teekay, UECC, Vela and Vroon, plus the major shipyards DSME, Hanjin, HHI, Samsung, STX and Sumitomo. Computed wind loads on LNG-carrier. "Recommended Practice for Speed Trials" which is available from MARIN for use by owners and yards worldwide. The developed speed trial analysis methods have been documented and incorporated into a software package, QSTAP, for on board analysis and reporting of speed trials. The group decided to make QSTAP commercially available. Strong Growth Projected for Suezmax Market Galbraith's Ltd. said that demand for Suezmax tankers is expected to grow strongly in the next five years in line with large-scale expansion of crude oil exports in three of the four main Suezmax markets. In a new report on the Suezmax market, Galbraith's notes that 2006 has seen major investment in tanker newbuildings -- not least the Suezmax sector -- where an estimated $4.5 billion-worth of new vessels has been ordered. Meanwhile, new oilfields and pipelines are being developed, altering the patterns of world trade. Galbraith's notes that West African oil production is rising, and that major growth in exports is also predicted from the Black Sea/Mediterranean region. Growing production from Libya and Algeria will also contribute to Mediterranean export growth. Finally, trade from the Arabian Gulf to both India and China will continue to grow, driven by increases in these countries' demand and their development of substantial new refinery capacity. The only major Suezmax market that is expected to see falling requirements, says Galbraith's, is the North Sea, where production is in relatively steep decline. This will, however, lead to an overall increase in tanker demand since refineries in north-west Europe - and, to an extent, on the U.S. east coast - will have to source cargoes from more distant regions such as West Africa and the Mediterranean/Black Sea. Regarding the development of the fleet, the Galbraith's report explains, "Until the middle of 2006, the Suezmax sector seemed to be under-invested as relatively few orders had been placed for delivery from 2008 onwards, while vessel demand seemed set to grow substantially. Owners were ordering large num12 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News