Case study: Pleiades Shipping secures Alfa Laval PureSOx agreement

by 18, Sep, 2021Innovation, Maritime 4.00 comments

The Alfa Laval PureSOx scrubber system

Family-owned Pleiades Shipping Agents S.A. is a medium-size ship owning and management company specialised in tanker trade. The company has committed to Alfa Laval’s PureSOx scrubbers with an Alfa Laval Service Agreement, which includes critical spares, sensor exchange, connectivity and more, to secure compliance with emission limits.

Fuel savings

Headquartered in Greece, Pleiades Shipping Agents S.A. transports crude oil and petroleum products, especially between North and South America, the Caribbean and the Far East. Today’s fleet comprises a mix of Panamax, Aframax and MR tankers, including two MR tankers with PureSOx scrubber systems on board. These two vessels were delivered in 2018, in time for the scrubbers to be thoroughly tested before the global sulphur cap entered into force in 2020.

“Our decision to use scrubbers on newbuilds was based on techno-economic factors,” said Miltos Synefias, technical director at Pleiades. “Newbuilds have ample time to recoup the capital investment, and we based our evaluation on a conservative price differential of $100/MT between LSFO and HSHFO over the service life of the vessel.”

Service coverage integral to savings

Economy figured into the company’s choice of scrubbers generally, but also into the specific choice of PureSOx. Synefias lists the initial purchase price, installation cost and fit-for-purpose materials among the PureSOx advantages. Yet equal focus was placed on long-term economy, in the form of service access and technical support.

“Alfa Laval has been a pioneer in developing scrubbers for marine application,” Synefias noted. “Their cumulative service experience and continuous development were important factors in our decision. We knew we could expect worldwide service coverage and swift, to-the point replies when it comes to remote assistance and troubleshooting.”

Strong cooperation with a service agreement

Synefias describes the performance of the PureSOx systems since commissioning with two words: “Just perfect.” Nonetheless, Pleiades has chosen to sign an Alfa Laval Service Agreement for the systems, covering:

  • Regular Condition Audits
  • Annual service kits for preventive maintenance
  • Critical spares to ensure uninterrupted operation
  • Regular sensor exchange
  • PureSOx Connect digital services for remote monitoring and troubleshooting

“Scrubber technology is new to our company,” Synefias said of the decision. “As we move forward in operation, we would like to do it hand-in-hand with Alfa Laval, who can share expert experience and knowhow as we adjust our shipboard operational practices.”

Hassle-free calibration

One of the services that has been easy to appreciate is the Exchange Programme for PureSOx sensors. When the installed sensors are due for required calibration, Pleiades receives a three-week advance notice, followed by delivery of pre-calibrated replacement sensors that are installed by the crew or an attending service engineer.

“We’ve had no difficulties at all with the delivery and installation process,” said Synefias. “The big advantage of the Exchange Programme is having the sensors available when required, without the headache of enquiry, purchasing and storing sensors on board in advance. The service also comes with warranty coverage, in the event that a sensor should fail prematurely.”

Critical communication

Although the PureSOx systems are working smoothly, PureSOx Connect – the digital service package that lets crews, technical staff and Alfa Laval service experts collaborate remotely with secure access to PureSOx data, provides the shipping company with greater confidence.

“The system is user-friendly, so our crews have quickly become familiar with PureSOx operation and troubleshooting, without extensive training needs,” Synefias said. “But we’ve seen that our crews are eager to exchange technical information, thanks to

the efficient communication channel established between Alfa Laval, [Alfa Laval agent] Technava, our superintendent and the vessels’ chief engineers.”

Strengthening relationships

Going forward, Synefias sees the relationship with Alfa Laval becoming both deeper and broader. He notes that Alfa Laval provides many systems important to tanker operation, including boilers, inert gas systems, fuel treatment systems, ballast water treatment systems and Framo submerged cargo pumps.

“Given the opportunity, our preference is to combine as many systems as possible under the same maker,” Synefias noted. “We’ve strategically elected to install Alfa Laval Aalborg boilers and Alfa Laval Smit inert gas systems, and along with PureSOx we’ve incorporated Framo systems and Alfa Laval fuel treatment and supply systems into our MR tankers.”

Likewise, Synefias sees expanded potential for scrubbers on the horizon. “In the long term. We’d like to see our investment in scrubbers developing into CO2 capture to meet IMO 2030 targets. That’s something we’ve seen discussed in the press.”