How Good is the STW Sensor? An Account from a Larger Shipping Company

Angelos Ikonomakis*, Ulrik Dam Nielsen*, Klaus Kähler Holst*, Jesper Dietz*, Roberto Galeazzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This paper examines the statistical properties and the quality of the speed through water (STW) measurement based on data extracted from almost 200 container ships of Maersk Line’s fleet for 3 years of operation. The analysis uses high-frequency sensor data along with additional data sources derived from external providers. The interest of the study has its background in the accuracy of STW measurement as the most important parameter in the assessment of a ship’s performance analysis. The paper contains a thorough analysis of the measurements assumed to be related with the STW error, along with a descriptive decomposition of the main variables by sea region including sea state, vessel class, vessel IMO number and manufacturer of the speed-log installed in each ship. The paper suggests a semi-empirical method using a threshold to identify potential error in a ship’s STW measurement. The study revealed that the sea region is the most influential factor for the STW accuracy and that 26% of the ships of the dataset’s fleet warrant further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number465
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Regression analysis
  • Speed through water
  • Sensor readings
  • Measurement error
  • Sea currents


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