What is Weather Routing Vs. Vessel Performance Monitoring?

There are two general types of operational weather services provided by weather routing companies:  Optimum Ship Routing and Vessel Performance Monitoring

Weather Routing

Global Marine Shipping Routes

Optimum Ship Routing (Weather Routing)

Optimum ship routing is the art and science of developing the “best route” for a ship based on the existing weather forecasts, ship characteristics, ocean currents and special cargo requirements. For most transits this will mean the minimum transit time that avoids significant risk to the vessel, crew and cargo. Other routing considerations might include passenger comfort, fuel savings or schedule keeping. The goal is not to avoid all adverse weather but to find the best balance to minimize the time of transit and fuel consumption without placing the vessel at risk to weather damage or crew injury.

A preliminary routing message is transmitted to the master of a vessel prior to departure with a detailed forecast of expected storm tracks and areas of heavy seas.  An initial route proposal is offered along with the reasoning behind the recommendation and also the expected weather conditions to be encountered along the proposed route.  Sometimes an alternate route may be suggested for the master’s consideration. This allows the master to better plan his route and offers an opportunity to communicate with the routing service any special concerns that he or she might have due to special cargo requirements, ship condition or schedule requirements.. Once the vessel departs, the vessel’s progress is monitored closely with weather and route updates sent periodically, as needed.

Weather Routing services save ship operators money by reducing the average time of transit and therefore also saving on fuel. By avoiding the worst weather conditions, weather routing minimizes the risk for damage to cargo or ship as well as the risk of injury to crew or passengers. Over time, routed ships benefit from reduce insurance premiums as well based on an improved track record.

Modern ship routing ideas began during the early stages of WWII when the US Navy established the “Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Center” at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk in 1958. “Optimum Track Ship Routing” (OTSR) was started to provide tailored safety and cost saving routing services to all ships utilized by the military for long duration open ocean voyages.

Commercial marine weather routing had it start in the 1950’s when Howard Kaster, a meteorologist for United Airlines, started a company called “Pacific Weather Analysis Corporation” which later evolved into Ocean Routes under Ray Maier and Bill Dupin. Other pioneers of commercial ship routing in the 1960’s included Bill Kaciak the founder of “Weather Routing Inc.”, Louis Allen who started “Allen Weather Corp” and “Bendix Marine Science Services” under Robert A Raguso.  You can read more about the history of Optimum Ship Routing here. 


Vessel Performance Analysis (Performance Monitoring)

Vessel Performance Report Daily positions

Vessel performance monitoring services allow a ship operator, owner or charterer to get a daily performance analysis regarding a vessel’s speed and fuel consumption based on the charter-party specifications and the actual weather and currents encountered. Although no weather or routing advice is offered, alerts can be generated to the vessel owner, operator or charterer whenever a performance issue is discovered enroute so that the charterer or vessel operator/owner has a “heads-up” on performance issues prior to the ship’s arrival.

Vessel Performance Analysis

At the end of the voyage, a full “Voyage Performance Evaluation Report” is generated to offer a more detailed look at the actual performance or non-performance of the vessel. This report will look at several factors, including the charter party terms, the actual speed and consumption, whether the vessel was in ballast or in a laden condition and the actual wind, sea, swell and ocean currents encountered. In addition, the performance during “good weather conditions” as specified in a charter party agreement is often reviewed separately. This type of report can allow a charter to withhold hire or gives the owner/operator a better opportunity to negotiate a settlement or head-off an unwarranted speed claim.

For more information please visit the Ocean Weather Services website: http://www.oceanweatherservices.com/


Fred Pickhardt
Ocean Weather Services

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Typhoon Kammuri to impact Philippines

IR Satellite image Typhoon Kammuri

Typhoon Kammuri over the western North Pacific east of the Philippines is moving westward at 9 knots with max winds of 70 knots. Environmental conditions are favorable for further intensification and Kammuri is expected to reach near 100 knots prior to making landfall over the Philippines in about 24 hours. 

Typhoon Kammuri estimated wind field



The center of kammuri is forecast to pass near Subic Bay and Manila before passing westward over the South China Sea.

Typhoon Kammuri forecast track via JTWC

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Typhoon Kammuri to threaten Philippines

Typhoon Kammuri Satellite Image

Typhoon Kammuri over the western North Pacific east of the Philippines has been moving northward at 8 knots with max winds currently at 75 knots.  Kammuri is moving over warm ocean water with low to moderate vertical wind shear.  

Kammuri is forecast to slow or become stationary during the next 12-18 hours then turn westward in response to building high pressure to the north.  Intensification is forecast during the next 72 hours reaching max winds of 120-130 knots as it heads towards the Philippines. The current track has Kammuri reaching the Philippines on Dec 3rd between 00Z and 12Z.

Typhoon Kammuri forecast track from JTWC

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Typhoon Developing over western North Pacific

Satellite Image TS Kammuri

Tropical Storm Kammuri over the western North Pacific SW of Guam has been moving west at 12 knots and is moving over warm ocean water with low wind shear. 


Max winds currently at 55 knots is forecast to intensify to typhoon strength shortly and to over 100 knots in about 72 hours.  Kummuri is expected to turn NW or NNW within 24 hours. After about 72 hours, Kummuri is forecast to turn back to a westerly track.

Forecast Track Kammuri

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Hurricane Force Storm expected along US West Coast

A rapidly deepening storm low is forecast to develop over the eastern North Pacific by early Tuesday moving east-southeastward reaching the US West Coast by Tuesday evening with winds of 55-70 knots and seas building up to 38 feet (11.6 meters) within 180 nm west and southwest of the center. 

Northern California Coast from Point St. George to Point Arena between 60 NM and 150 NM offshore- NOAA Marine Forecast


TONIGHT…N winds 20 to 30 kt. Seas 11 to 14 ft.
TUE…SW winds 15 to 25 kt, becoming W 50 to 60 kt. Seas 10 to 12 ft, building to 14 to 23 ft.
TUE NIGHT…NW winds 55 to 70 kt, diminishing to 35 to 45 kt. Seas 24 to 39 ft. Scattered showers and tstms.

NOAA OPC Forecast Surface map for 1200 UTC 26 November 2019

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North Atlantic Hurricane Force Storm Warning

NOAA OPC Surface Analysis 12Z 16 November 2019

A deepening complex low will move east-northeastward across the Labrador Sea with winds of 50-65 knots developing south and west of the system and wave height building up to 50 feet (over 15 meters) over the next 24-48 hours. 

NOAA OPC 48 Hour Surface Forecast

NOAA OPC Wave Height Forecast

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Typhoon Fengsen moves north over western North Pacific

Typhoon Fengsen satellite image

Typhoon Fengsen, over the western North Pacific currently S-SE of Iwo To is moving northward at 14 knots with max winds of 110 knots and max significant wave heights to 50 feet (about 15 meters).

Fengsen is forecast to turn NE then East during the next 36 hours weakening to tropical storm strength over cooler ocean water in about 72 hours.

JTWC forecast track for Typhoon Fengsen

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North Pacific Hurricane Force Storm Warning

NOAA OPC 0000Z 11 Nov. Surface Analysis

A developing low over the central North Pacific will deepen rapidly over the next 24-36 hours as it moves ENE then NE over the east-central  North Pacific south of the Aleutians. Expecting winds of 50-70 knots with seas building to 42 feet (12.8 meters) within 240 to 360 nm south of the low center in 24-48 hours.  

Learn more about Hurricane-Force winter storms here

NOAA OPC Surface Forecast 1200Z 12 November 2019


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Hurricane Force Storm south of Greenland

EUMETSAT IR Satellite image 0600 UTC Sunday

An intense North Atlantic Storm centered south of Greenland is producing winds of 55-75 knots with significant wave heights to 52 feet (16 meters) within 240 nm south of the center as it moves northeastward at about 20 knots.  According to NOAA OPC this storm is the 8th hurricane-force wind event in the North Atlantic this season (June 2019 to May 2020).

Lean more about Hurricane-Force winter storms here

NOAA OPC Surface Analysis 0600 UTC Sunday








NOAA OPC North Atlantic Wave Height Analysis Sunday 1200 UTC

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Tropical Cyclone Matmo has made landfall SSE of Kolkata, India

TC Matmo makes Landfall

Tropical Cyclone Matmo has made landfall SSE of Kolkata, India near the India-Bangladesh border and was moving ENE at 8 knots. At landfall the max winds were about 100 knots but currently has fallen to about 80 knots. Matmo will continue to move ENE across southern portions of Bangladesh and gradually weaken.

TC Matmo Wind Field


JTWC forecast track for TC Matmo

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