Real-time monitoring and detection of structural degradation helps in capturing the structural conditions of ships. The latest nondestructive testing (NDT) and sensor technologies will potentially be integrated into future generations of the structural integrity management program. This paper reports on a joint development project between Alaska Tanker Company, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), and MISTRAS. The pilot project examined the viability of acoustic emission technology as a screening tool for surveys and inspection planning. Specifically, testing took place on a 32-year-old double-hull Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) trade tanker. The test demonstrated the possibility of adapting this technology in the identification of critical spots on a tanker in order to target inspections. This targeting will focus surveys and inspections on suspected areas, thus increasing efficiency of detecting structural degradation. The test has the potential to introduce new inspection procedures as the project undertakes the first commercial testing of the latest acoustic emission technology during a tanker's voyage.

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