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Houlder advises on steering gears and rudders – is it time to retrofit your vessel?

June 15th 2021

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) will require the owners of some existing ships to consider retrofitting propulsion improving devices. One short-term technical option – in combination with an optimised propeller – is retrofitting a ship’s rudder.

Houlder is committed to supporting the industry in making informed decisions to navigate the energy transition. As part of this, Houlder took part in a webinar hosted by Riviera Maritime Media during its Marine Propulsion Webinar Week, entitled: “Steering gears and rudders: is it time to retrofit your vessel?”

During the webinar, design and engineering advisors at Houlder provided guidance on the steps that need to be considered when retrofitting rudders to vessels. This included the importance of matching the right rudder to the vessel, optimising rudder design, and the steps needed to assess the technical feasibility of a rudder retrofit. The practicalities involve calculating the savings potential, the arrangement and steering gear, the bearing loads and hull structure, as well as overall propulsion system performance .

David Wing, Ship Design & Engineering Director, Houlder, said: “The retrofit of a rudder is not a straightforward decision. There are bulbs, twisted and gate rudders, and it requires technical analysis to ensure the decision pays off, especially for older tonnage where retrofitting has the biggest potential return. Independent experts can bring clarity to this complex process and ensure there is a compelling return on investment. Understanding the realistic energy and fuel savings that can be achieved for a specific vessel is key.”

“Companies that are planning for EEXI now will benefit in both the short and the long term. Starting with a proper analysis of the problem rather than an evaluation of the solution being offered to you is central to success.  It is about how to package certain technologies together for the greatest efficiency gains.”

Find out more information about the Riviera Maritime Media webinar here.

To understand more about Houlder’s advisory services in supporting shipowners navigating the energy transition, please listen to Houlder’s webinar on “Escaping the decarbonisation maze”.