Shipping line giant, A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced that its entire fleet of vessels will be assisting in a global research initiative on weather patterns and climate change.
All of Maersk’s 300 vessels will now participate in the global Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) programme following a trial of five vessels this year, committing its entire fleet by the end of 2020 to the research program.
The recorded data helps meteorologists create more accurate weather and storm forecasts, and will also be used in the creation of atmosphereocean models that will help scientists better understand climate change.
Aslak Ross Maersk’s Head of Marine Standards, said as a global container logistics company, its vessels form a vital role in keeping supply chains moving safely and timely.
“Helping weather forecasting and climate science advance makes great sense to us, since both of these areas affect our operations in various ways,” he said.
While scientists have been collecting and sharing weather and ocean condition observations for over 150 years around the world, technological advances have significantly increased the amount of information which can be shared.
A typical VOS records and transmits observations manually, with a vessel crewmember reading data from instruments onboard the ship, or in some cases through automated weather stations (AWS). The data is then sent to the various National Meteorological Services for use in weather prediction models and to monitor actual conditions at sea.
“If we can help create even marginal improvements to the quality of weather routing services, these will be important levers in our constant efforts to improve the safety of our crews and assets and ensure reliable arrival times for our customers’ supply chains,” Aslak said.
While over 3000 ships are involved in the VOS program, overall participation has declined in recent years due to the reduction in the global commercial fleet’s financial and crew resources.
New technologies such as AWS and electronic logbooks, however, have led to an increase in the quantity and quality of observations from each vessel. As the world’s largest container ship fleet operator, Maersk will be making a significant contribution to improving the amount and quality of data available to the study.