The operational expenses in running a ship - i.e. costs for fuel, lubricating oil, capital costs, insurance, wages and maintenance - have quadrupled over the past 7 years. The price of heavy fuel oil alone is 7-fold than that of 1973.

As a result of this rapid cost escalation, ship owners were forced to re-evaluate their practices in running ships. Due to the toughened situation on the market, in many cases, the intervals between two subsequent dry-deckings had to be prolonged. A great deal of development has been done to improve the effectiveness and durability of hull coatings; however, only by keeping a ship continuously on the move, formation of marine growth and fouling can be postponed. Extending these time-spans favours the build-up of surface roughness whereby more propulsive energy is required for a longer period of time to overcome increased frictional losses. Wherever chartering contracts render it possible, a carefully timed dry-docking schedule can become an effective tool to improve operational economy.

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