SAFETY4SEA: Parker Kittiwake has recently launched a new water testing kit for vessels. Could you briefly explain to us how this solution works? How easy is for use by crew onboard? How does this solution align with MLC implementation requirements?

Larry Rumbol: Ensuring that fresh water onboard is of sufficient quality is essential to protecting the health of the passengers and crew and preventing the spread of potentially dangerous diseases. It also mitigates the risk of detention as a result of non-compliance with strict international regulations governing the standards of health and safety that must be met onboard ships. This includes SOLAS Annex I Principles of Safe Manning which stipulates the requirement for the “provision of proper food and drinking water”. It also encompasses the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 which mandates that all ships must be inspected regularly and certified as having met the required safety standards, otherwise risking potential delays and detentions by Port State Control.

The Parker Kittiwake HPC Water Test Kit provides an indication for onboard personnel of the overall microbiological cleanliness of a vessel’s system, quickly alerting them to potential safety risks before further contamination occurs. The test determines the presence of harmful bacteria and confirms the efficiency of a vessel’s water disinfection system. This provides assurance to ship operators and regulatory authorities that the microbiological cleanliness of potable and recreational water systems meets the required standards, and that safety risks are being carefully managed.


S4S: From your experience, what does condition monitoring mean and why may it be considered necessary for shipping? Which techniques are being used widespread onboard?

L.R.: Condition monitoring tools and techniques have evolved significantly, from the days of engineers physically examining equipment and relying on their experience and intuition, to the full range of tools available today. This includes anything from sophisticated online sensor technology to simple onboard test kits. A well-trained engineer knows that through a combination of these online and offline tools, operators can arm themselves with the knowledge they need to avoid accelerated wear, prevent catastrophic damage and safeguard against downtime.

Across the marine sector, preventing damage across the board and extending the life of critical engine parts and vessel equipment is central to improving operating margins. From cold corrosion to cat fines, there is increasing recognition that following a reliability centred approach to maintenance pays dividends.


S4S: How is Parker Kittiwake working to improve operations onboard? What solutions do you offer and how you encourage effective condition monitoring? What are the key challenges associated with condition monitoring?

L.R.: Today, maintenance practices are often based on a combination of recommendations from manufacturers, legislation, company standards, and real time data. For many businesses, this kind of approach can result in a level of standardisation being imposed upon their maintenance schedules that can have a detrimental effect on the operational life of a vessel. These maintenance practices also tend to rely heavily on human intervention, which is often avoidable, and which has been suggested as being the root cause of a large number of mechanical failures.

Parker Kittiwake is a leading global manufacturer of condition monitoring technologies. Our tools and expertise allow engineers to gain vital insights into the health of engines and machinery, enabling rapid and informed decision-making on critical operational matters.


S4S: What do you think of the emissions regulations and their impact on fuel quality and practices, for example the hazards associated with fuel switching operations, the operational impact on the engine of new/different fuel blending practices (for compliance) and how they can be avoided? What is your advice?

L.R.: As a first line of defence for identifying issues with critical machinery and equipment, and in the face of increasingly stringent environmental regulations, condition monitoring tools and techniques have never been more valuable in helping operators manage or even mitigate potentially costly issues.

The composition of marine fuel oils is changing and the resulting impact on combustion and engine damage becoming increasingly pronounced, with significant issues such as reduced lubricity and cat fines causing extensive and costly damage. Fuel quality has a direct impact on vessel performance, efficiency and maintenance costs, and so the testing of bunker samples for density, viscosity, water and pour point is central to maintaining safe, efficient and cost effective operations. With the increasing use of low sulphur fuels, the stability of the fuel and its compatibility for blending become critical to protecting the operational efficiency of the engine.

One key example would be catalytic (cat) fines. As more distillates are being taken from crude oil during the refinery process, a higher concentration of cat fines is being carried over into the fuel. When they are not reduced by suitable treatment, their abrasiveness will damage the engine – particularly fuel pumps, injectors, piston rings and liners. The cost of replacing a single cylinder liner is estimated at $65,000 for parts alone. This can rapidly escalate to as more than $1million when the parts, labour and the accompanying expenses of downtime and repair are also considered, as well as the likely event that multiple cylinders are affected.


S4S.: Does your company foresee any new markets with the need to adopt equipment for condition monitoring? Which are the current projects on the agenda for Parker Kittiwake? Looking ahead, what are the plans for 2017?

LR.: Condition monitoring is for everyone. The unilateral benefits of optimum operational efficiency, increased uptime, minimal maintenance costs, and mitigating the risk of potentially catastrophic damage apply to owners of fleets of all sizes, and operators of vessels large or small. Effective condition monitoring goes beyond the application of tools and test kits. Adopting the ethos of reliability centred maintenance gives operators the big picture view of the operational condition of the vessel, allowing them to easily identify and eliminate risk before it escalates beyond the point of no return.

Parker Kittiwake offers not just an ever-expanding range of condition monitoring tools, but also expertise and knowledge that will help engineers to adopt efficient maintenance practices delivering real cost savings and efficiency benefits. Our primary goal for the coming year is to help the global marine industry realise these efficiency gains, and in a continually challenging economic climate, protect their bottom lines. Condition monitoring is a here and now science for everyone large or small – it just makes economic sense short and long-term.


The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.


About Larry Rumbol

Larry has 35 years experience in the marine industry, at first in container shipping then moving into engineering and ship repair. At the young age of 26, he secured direct UK government funding for a US offshore/marine engineering company to open bespoke manufacturing facilities in the north east of England. Answering the call to fill a market gap, Larry started an independent marine turbocharger-engineering group in strategic international locations. The business was very successful, and a condition monitoring spin off won the Seatrade Innovation award in 2006. After running the business for 21 years, it was then sold to the management board.

Always interested in innovation and bring new and useful technology to the marine industry, Larry started consulting for a number of clients bringing them to market viability. In 2014 the opportunity arose with Kittiwake following their acquisition by the US Parker Corporation. Larry now heads the development in the marine sector for Parker Kittiwake, a leading manufacturer of condition monitoring products for fuels and lubrication, and Kittiwake Procal, an equally successful CEMs (Continuous Emissions Monitoring) analyser manufacturer. Parker employs approximately 60,000 people worldwide in motion and control and turnover $13bn.