How to effectively monitor ship fuel consumption without additional sensors

Nov 30, 2022 | Blog

Advances in maritime digitalization have led to an increase in investment for better monitoring of fuel consumption. Electronic Fuel Monitoring Systems can provide valuable, real-time information on equipment performance and fuel consumption, but they can also be costly to install. While sensors can be a potentially attractive option, other options also exist to ensure effective monitoring and improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency. So How to effectively monitor ship fuel consumption without additional sensors?

The importance of measuring ship fuel consumption and inventory movements

Fuel consumption measurement enables companies to track their fuel usage, have a better understanding of their energy efficiency and monitor the technical performance of the engines. As for a car, being able to frequently monitor the fuel tank levels enables better planning of bunkering and the controlling of any abnormalities related to engine malfunctions and maintenance.

It’s important to remember that bunker movements are just as important. It’s essential to keep an eye on the invoices associated with the charge and discharge of fuels so companies can ensure integrity in the process.

For fleet managers, detailed monitoring in place helps the:

  • Gain insights on how to adjust their fleet operations to improve efficiency
  • Reduce their carbon footprint
  • Control operational costs
  • Identify cases of fuel theft.
  • It also quantifies the reduction in fuel consumption gained from efficiency improvements such as hull cleaning.

In short, it gives Fleet Managers the data to follow up on an objective, with a data-driven basis for making the best decisions about their fleet’s current operations and future trajectories.

Why install additional ship fuel monitoring sensors onboard vessels?

Society is becoming increasingly aware of the impact of shipping emissions on the environment. This, combined with continued increases in fuel costs and supply chain tensions, leads to high demand for systems that monitor fuel consumption on a per-engine basis. That’s why installing sensors on vessels can be a game-changer for improving fuel monitoring.

These systems can collect real-time information, providing valuable input to decision-makers looking to control and optimize fuel consumption. Their main disadvantage is the high cost of installing them. This can be a prohibitive barrier to adoption in a very competitive sector like shipping.

While modern ships are already equipped with many sensors, including on generators, pipes, and pumps, the wide variety of manufacturers and technologies used, coupled with limited internet connectivity at sea, make it challenging to collect this data.

Installing fuel monitoring systems requires not only deploying new equipment onboard but it putting in place a data management process that supports the appropriate use of such data with the goal of bringing insights, and facilitating decision-making.

What are the alternatives to Electronic Fuel Monitoring Systems?

Fuel consumption data integration

There is an alternative to additional costly hardware installations (sensors, EFMS, and others). While the installation of such equipment can be beneficial, the costs can reach over $100,000 per ship. The high costs keep some of the players from investing in this technology due to the high competitiveness of the sector. However, data integration, artificial intelligence, and machine learning can be leveraged to monitor ship fuel consumption as well as hardware when combined with tank soundings.

By collecting data from multiple sources, including logbooks and reporting software, companies can both monitor consumption and understand consumption patterns. Therefore, the simplest solution for measuring energy use is to source relevant data on fuel consumption daily directly from existing reports completed by onboard crew.

This information, once gathered, is easily transmitted to shore, even with poor internet connectivity, and it fits within the reporting that crews are already required to do. Unlike data sourced from sensors, this method is not vulnerable to equipment faults and breakdowns.

Tailor-made data analysis

Opsealog’s tailor-made estimation algorithms can use this daily information to measure and analyze fuel consumption. They can check reporting precision and identify potential data entry errors. They can also validate any additional data that is being collected from existing onboard equipment, highlighting sensor malfunctions if they occur.

Data Quality

The more sources of data, both historical and real-time, the greater the sophistication that can achieve in the analysis of fuel consumption data. However, at Opsealog, we believe that it’s data quality, not quantity, that counts. Even relatively small datasets yield significant potential for optimizing vessel operations and saving fuel. The proper analysis can identify abnormal or high ship fuel consumption situations, pinpointing where corrective action will be beneficial.

Focusing on data quality is at the heart of our work at Opsealog. Even when using sensors, ship owners need to ensure that the data collected is good and implement processes to control and ensure data quality. At Opsealog, provide reports and dashboards related to data quality. With this data, shipping companies make sense of their data, pinpoint inefficiencies, and rectify them. No hardware is needed. We can launch our solutions anywhere in the world and deploy them reliably, even in challenging environments.

Effectively collecting onboard information via e-logbooks

Our onboard report software and e-logbook, Streamlog, simplifies daily reporting onboard vessels, reducing crew reporting workload. It digitizes information, mitigates errors, and facilitates data entry for personnel. We then integrate multiple data streams into a single, unified platform, providing vessel operators with visualization and expert analysis on our Marinsights platform.

Even without expensive sensor installations, these insights can be directly applied to the goals sensor data aims to achieve. They can help optimize fleet operations, reduce environmental impact, streamline vessel deployment, and boost revenue. Improved efficiency helps curb fuel consumption, pollution, and the logistics costs of fuel supply. It can also reduce engine running times, which in turn reduces spares and maintenance costs.

Fuel optimization and environmental regulations

Increasing environmental concerns and rising fuel costs are everyday concerns with long-term implications. Regulations such as the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator scheme mean that shipping companies will need to measure and improve their environmental footprint over tight timeframes. Added to this will increase pressure from charterers, financiers, and land-side communities.

New low-carbon fuels will be needed to meet society’s longer-term decarbonization goals, and they are likely to be more expensive than current fossil fuels. Therefore, the ability to optimize operational efficiency will only grow in importance in the future.


After experiencing the benefits of simple solutions based on manual data gathering, shipping and offshore companies may choose to take their maritime digitalization strategies one step further. They can do this by installing sensor-based electronic fuel monitoring systems that automatically gather fuel consumption and bunker data and transmit it to shore.

Opsealog is committed to using its maritime and data expertise to help shipping companies minimize the cost of both existing and new fuels by reducing fuel consumption. We believe that the cleanest fuel is the fuel that isn’t used, and we firmly stand by the belief that optimization doesn’t have to be expensive, complex, or a burden to crews.

Interested in learning more about our solutions?

Beyond the port: fuel efficiency challenges in field transits for OSV’s.

Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) manage time logistics and intricate marine operations, where fuel efficiency is challenging, especially during transits. Faced with multiple challenges, optimizing the fleet’s consumption entails regularly assessing and monitoring...

Improving Fuel Efficiency and Vessel Availability – OSV Case Study

During a webinar hosted by The Digital Ship, on May 7th, 2024, Damien BERTIN, Business Director at Opsealog and Gilles CROS, technical director at Opsealog presented on the topic of fuel efficiency and Vessel Availability in the Offshore Supply Vessel industry. In...

Episode 2 – From Seafarer to Co-founder, Arnaud Dianoux

Welcome to the latest episode of 'Maritime with a French Accent'! In this podcast, Arnaud Dianoux, Co-founder of Opsealog will be our speaker as he shares his unique journey in the maritime world. From his earliest childhood dreams to his adventures as a cadet officer...

Episode 1 – Maritime perspectives from a former seafarer, Colomban Monnier

Maritime with a French Accent, the podcast dedicated to maritime testimonials and innovation. In this first episode of "Maritime With a French Accent" podcast, meet Colomban Monnier, Foundry Manager at Opsealog and former seafarer who shares his experience in the...

Data for Decarbonization: OSV Regulatory horizons

Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) operators are experiencing significant pressure – while currently indirect –to comply with environmental regulations and adopt decarbonization initiatives. However, they must anticipate future regulatory requirements and prepare...

Opsealog and Jackson Offshore Renew Contract for Fleet Digitalization

Image: Jackson Offshore Marseille, 16th April 2024 –Opsealog, a provider of data integration and analysis services for the maritime and offshore industry, announced today the extension of its partnership contract with Jackson Offshore Operators (JOO), a shipowner...

Engine Utilization Optimization: A Path to Cost and Emission Reduction in Vessel Operations

Discover how an Oil & Gas operator from the Middle East leveraged Opsealog’s solutions and achieved fuel consumption savings, minimized GHG emissions, and reduced maintenance requirements by optimizing engine utilization. Driving Maritime Excellence: At Opsealog,...

7 Underestimated Aspects of Fleet Digitalization

In the ever-evolving landscape of maritime operations, fleet digitalization has become a cornerstone for efficiency, safety, and sustainability. While many aspects of this transformative technology are widely acknowledged, several underestimated facts hold significant...

Cleaner Tech & Sustainability: Key to Shipping Decarbonization

The maritime industry stands at the nexus of global trade and environmental stewardship. Shipping companies, policymakers, and seafarers alike are recognizing the pressing need to pivot towards sustainable practices to preserve our planet's health. Committing to...

A closer Look at Monitoring and Reporting on Cable-Laying vessels.

From cargo ships to offshore support vessels (OSVs), the Maritime’s operational landscape is vast and complex. With vessels navigating infinite expanses, there is a growing need for efficient systems to collect, analyze, and report data accurately. Challenges include...