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COMMENT Ship design 28 Usability is a priority
Number crunching performance is important, but so increasingly is ease-of-use
Electronics Plug-and-play is far from 8 a reality The NMEA 2000 standard is beginning to gain traction, but challenges remain
Broadband 12 FB150 complements 3G on coastal trades Inmarsat始s entry-level broadband service fills gaps in connectivity
80 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5BJ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7382 2600 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7382 2669
Is maritime satcoms ready for the switch to IPv6? The Internet is running out of address space, but do shipowners need to worry?
Data management 31 Joining up ship data can pay dividends Standards are only part of the solution to information management needs
Navigation 18 Cleaner seas with green
Optimisation 34 Satcoms telemetry helps
navigation ECDIS systems could be fed environmental data on-the-fly
save fuel Oil price spike encourages operator to take fuel monitoring seriously
Vessel tracking 24 Exploration of spacebased AIS continues Despite initial scepticism, the technology gains new supporters
Editor: Kevin Tester email@example.com Publisher: John Barnes firstname.lastname@example.org Group Advertising Manager: email@example.com MITE Advertising Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org MITE Senior Sales Executive: email@example.com Graphic Designer: firstname.lastname@example.org Publication Sales & Subscriptions: email@example.com
Trimming fuel costs the intelligent way Software to replace an officer始s instinct for assessing trim
An electronic helping hand for ships始 masters Voyage data can now be delivered straight to ECDIS
Simulators 26 Surveyors learn faster on board virtual ship DNV uses 3D game technology to shorten inspector training time
漏 Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (2010). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying, storing in any medium by electronic means or transmitting) without the written permission o f the copyright owner except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, England, EC1N 8TS, website: www.cla.co.uk email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher. Information published in MARITIME IT & ELECTRONICS does not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. Whilst effort is made to ensure that the information is accurate the publisher makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or correctness of such information. It accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any loss damage or other liability arising from any use of this publication or the information which it contains.
Inmarsat raises the stakes with Ka-band Perhaps owing to its roots as a public service body created by IMO back in the late 1970s, Inmarsat has traditionally been seen as a rather risk-averse operation. Maybe this was the best way of gaining the confidence and trust of an industry as conservative as shipping. But since being privatised, it has become much bolder. Its once stuffy persona has disappeared to be replaced with an increasing willingness to innovate and explore new technologies. This change may also stem from a realisation that it cannot hold a near monopoly on maritime (or, for that matter, aeronautical and remote terrestrial) satcoms forever. Or to put more simply, it has to move with the times. Successful service The most obvious and most successful outcome to emerge so far is FleetBroadband. Now almost three years old, the service has largely lived up to the hype in bringing broadband to the maritime masses. Thanks chiefly to the advanced circuits housed inside the fourth generation satellites, Inmarsat’s engineers have managed to deliver an impressive 432Kbps (albeit at best-effort) over an L-band link. It should be remembered that before the advent of FleetBroadband, officers and crew wanting to send an email while at sea typically had to do so at 9.6kbps. If the message carried a large attachment, it would probably be quicker – and almost certainly cheaper – to wait until the ship reached its next port and pick up a CD sent ‘snail-mail’. While L-band may be reliable, it is not without limitations. The rules of physics mean it is 2
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unlikely that even Inmarsat’s boffins can squeeze much more bandwidth on this frequency. Moreover, competitor VSAT services (typically offering 1-4Mbps on an all-you-can-eat contract, subject to fair-use) have dropped in price markedly in recent years, making them an attractive proposition for ship operators with larger data appetites. Forward vision But even as it launched FleetBroadband, the company was thinking ahead. It quietly announced the Alphasat I-XL mission to augment the company’s existing family of BGAN services (of which FleetBroadband is but one). With a mass of 6000kg and sporting a 12m aperture antenna reflector, Alphasat will be one of the world’s largest telecommunications satellites, costing in the region of €260m (excluding insurance). It will feature the latest digital signal processing circuits, providing increased capacity (more than 750 channels) with improved quality, particularly for satellite phone users. But these projects pale into comparison against the company’s latest announcement: a $1.2bn contract with Boeing, the US aerospace manufacturer, to build a trio of satellites for a new worldwide wireless broadband network to be called Inmarsat Global Xpress. Perhaps most significantly, however, is the fact they will operate on Ka-band. As reported previously (MITE, May 2010), this super high frequency offers a number of advantages, including smaller antennas and higher speeds and greater capacity. Inmarsat chief executive with understandable enthusiasm asks us to envisage ships crew getting
Kevin Tester Editor
their web-fix at 50Mbps. However, it is not without disadvantages, particularly when it comes to serving the maritime market. Wavelengths are shorter and therefore most susceptible to attenuation and weather degradation. Planning globally There are separate considerations for the satellite operators themselves, not least the financial viability of delivering highpower beams to low population density areas, which again is particularly relevant to the potential maritime market. In this respect, it is worth noting that Inmarsat is planning a global network, rather than the regional approach being taken by other satcoms players. According to the official statement, each of the three Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellites will carry a payload of 89 Ka-band beams, capable of flexing capacity across the globe and enabling the company to adapt to shifting subscriber usage patterns over their projected lifetime of 15 years. Of course, there are still many unknowns as to how Inmarsat might go about marketing a Ka-band service to the maritime sector. For example, will it require an L-band back up, as is typically the case with Ku-band? A lot will ultimately depend on how much the service will cost users. Will Inmarsat bite the bullet and drop the pay-as-you-go pricing model it so likes in favour of a fixed-price all-youcan-eat plans preferred by endusers?
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Triple Play Three ﬂavours, one perfect package Good ﬂeet performance comes in threes with GE Satcom’s Satlynx Maritime solution. Our triple-play satellite network solution easily multiplexes internet access, TV entertainment and an integrated low-priced telephony system into any cabin, technical or recreation room. The Automated Beam Switching (ABS) feature opts for the least-cost route between three options: ﬂat-rate Ku-band satellites, or Inmarsat or Iridium. You can control the system from land, monitoring your entire ﬂeet worldwide - from fuel efﬁciency to positioning at sea - while keeping ship operations streamlined and crew morale high. Visit us at SMM 2010, in Hamburg - Hall B6, Stand 572 email@example.com www.gesatcom.com
Inmarsat has agreed a contract with Boeing for the delivery of three state-of-the-art 702HP Kaband satellites. The Inmarsat-5 constellation will enable Inmarsat to provide a unique global high speed mobile broadband service offering. The move comes only three years after Inmarsat-4 came into operation. Expected to start in 2014, Inmarsat-5 will support a new global service, Global Xpress, which will target an estimated $1.4bn market opportunity in VSAT services in the maritime, energy and government sectors. According to Inmarsat, the service will deliver ʻseamless global coverage and unprecedented mobile broadband with speeds up to 50Mbps, to small customer terminals between
Inmarsat breaks status-quo in shock Ka-band move 20-60cm in sizeʼ. Inmarsat estimates that the total cost of Inmarsat-5 and Global Xpress will be $1.2bn over 4.5 years, incorporating the fixed cost of the satellites, as well as the cost of additional ground network infrastructure, product development, launch services and insurance. Inmarsat chief executive Andrew Sukawaty said: ʻThis is a new investment for new growth. With the Global Xpress network, we will be the first operator to offer global mobile broadband coverage, offering unparalleled speeds and bandwidth to customers in remote locations around the world.
Global Xpress will be faster and less expensive than current Ku-band market offerings, delivered to smaller and cheaper terminals and be the first offered on a seamless, global, end to end basis with high quality of service. ʻPicture 50Mbps services to a ship or aircraft and 10Mbps to
an antenna the size of an Apple iPad. ʻInmarsat-5 will also complement our existing global Lband services, allowing us to offer unique hybrid packages using both networks, giving users unprecedented levels of resilience and reliability in remote and harsh environments.ʼ
More rockets will be needed for Inmarsatʼs Ka-band service to take off
Vizada VoIP reduces the cost of shore-to-ship calling Vizada is offering shipping companies the opportunity to reduce the cost of shore-ship communications to Inmarsat FleetBroadband terminals through a voice over IP (VoIP) connection on its network. To take advantage of the service, shipping companies that use Vizadaʼs Inmarsat FleetBroadband service and make regular voice calls to vessels from their offices will need a VoIP-compatible PABX telephone server at their premises. Vizada can then configure its infrastructure so that calls made via this server are routed over its network to the terminal on board ship. Once in place, all voice calls to Inmarsat FleetBroadband terminals are transited via VoIP, significantly reducing costs. Calls from a fixed line to a FleetBroadband terminal ‒ routed over the network of a national (or other local) telecoms operator ‒ often attract a significant premium. Director Vizada Solutions Reinhold Lueppen told MITE: ʻIn some cases they can cost up to US$8/min. So it is unsurprising that the main request from our maritime customers is for a reduction in the cost of shore-to-ship calls, while keeping a simple dialling procedure.ʼ The cost savings promised by Vizada derive from the fact that calls are channelled through its own voice backbone, therefore bypassing the national operators and premium charges entirely. While it is possible to sidestep incumbent national network operators by dialling in a special access code, typically followed by some kind of account number and PIN, this adds a significant inconvenience factor when making a call. Because outgoing calls are handled on the VoIP infrastructure by Vizada, this manoeuvre is rendered unnecessary. Continues Leuppen: ʻMany of the major shipping companies that use our services make very frequent calls from shore to ship and they stand to benefit a great deal from this. End users also benefit as the dialling procedure is exactly the same as with a standard land-based voice call. The only number they dial is that of the satellite terminal.ʼ It is worth noting that the new service is unidirectional insofar it will not alter how calls are placed from the ship to shore destinations, which will continue to be routed as normal voice transmissions.
MITE August/September 2010
IMarEST supports leading Middle East trade show Publisher of this magazine, IMarEST, has become a supporting organisation to the Seatrade Middle East Maritime exhibition. Taking place 26-28 October at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, this gathering is recognised as the largest commercial maritime event in the Middle East catering to all the major shipping markets as well as ports and off-
shore marine sectors. Of particular interest to MITE readers is the ʻTechnology Forum: Europeʼ taking place on days two and three. Free-toattend seminars will be showcasing a host of technical innovations, ranging from maritime communications, navigation and bridge equipment to the latest in ship propulsion and safety systems.
Telemar acquires Polaris, gains important foothold in Norway
Sea Tel XX10 series antennas are purpose-built for maritime use
Telemar has acquired the Norwegian maritime radio and satellite communications supplier Polaris Electronics Norge giving it a crucial foot in the door to the important Scandinavian market. Through the acquisition, Polaris ‒ or Telemar Norge as the business will now be called ‒ will be able to exploit ʻcomplementary strengths such as an integrated business model and innovative packagesʼ, according to an official statement. Telemarʼs managing director Bruno Musella explains that
Cobham Satcom is shipping a new fully stabilised lightweight VSAT antenna. The Sea Tel XX10 is specifically designed to deliver always-on broadband to users working in maritime environments. The antenna is equipped with an advanced stabilisation system, which, according to Cobham, will isolate the antenna system from shipʼs motion no matter how rough the sea state or weather conditions. Available in 100cm (40”) and 125cm (50”) reflector sizes, the XX10 is sold both in co-polarisation mode for global customers and cross-polarisation mode for regional customers. The antennas run with Sea Telʼs latest digital antenna controller, and as a result, work happily with remote manage-
the Norwegian business has a well-established reputation and track record within its geographic market. It will now be able to draw upon the Telemar Groupʼs global maintenance and support network in providing the so-called ʻlast-mileʼ connection for maritime customers. It will also have access to Telemarʼs integrated broadband offerings, including tailored hardware packages, turn-key installation and maintenance, IP networking integration and other value added services.
Deepwater Horizon clean up vessels stay online with Hughes Triton Diving Services is outfitting its fleet of diving support vessels with high-speed Internet, data, VoIP, and video capabilities from Hughes Network Systems in order to provide critical ship-to-shore and diverto-ship communications. Louisiana-based Triton provides a host of diving services to oil companies, derrick barges, government, and commercial vessels, and other businesses operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently the company has been active in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup. The new VSAT-based network will support this effort, as well as applications such as drilling rig inspections, underwater video feeds from divers, vessel tracking and measurement, and WiFi for the boatsʼ onboard Internet cafes. Because employee safety is a top priority, one of the main applications of the Hughes Maritime Broadband solution will be to provide critical real-time data for Tritonʼs Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management system. A reliable, high-speed network is a critical requirement nowadays as offshore operations become increasingly dependent on real-time data communications for compliance and crew morale purposes.
ment devices, thereby allowing remote diagnostics and maintenance. Cobham Satcom vice president John DeSana says that feedback during beta-testing was overwhelmingly positive. He believes the antenna could act as a catalyst ʻfor a significant increase in the uptake of VSAT in commercial shipping.ʼ As such, he is bullish about prospects for next year: ʻWe expect very strong growth in the market in the coming 12 months.ʼ Elsewhere, Thrane & Thrane will shortly unveil its latest VSAT antenna system. Vice-president for maritime, Casper Jensen, says the Sailor 900 is an important addition to the companyʼs maritime broadband product line-up.
Jotron in satcoms venture bid Jotron Group, the Norwegian company better known for its safety devices and emergency beacons, has formally announced the establishment a new business unit dedicated to maritime communications. Headed by industry veteran Ottar Bjåstad, for the present, the business unit is concentrating its energies on developing and bringing to market a new VSAT stabilised antenna. Bjåstad says members on the R&D team each bring between 1030 years experience of designing and building such systems. The plan is to introduce the finished product later this year and take advantage of parent Jotronʼs global distribution network in helping it reach customers. Bjåstadʼs vision is for the Norwegian company to become a major satcoms player that will take over where Nera SatCom left off after it was acquired by Thrane & Thrane in 2006 and subsequently wound down two years later.
MITE August/September 2010
Phoenix Reederei switches provider and saves money German ship manager Phoenix Reederei reports that its average monthly satellite expenses have dropped more than €1000 per ship since installing Iridium OpenPort satellite terminals on five of its vessels. Iridium OpenPort is an IPbased system that offers a combination of up to three independent phone lines and a separate data circuit with speeds up to 128 kbps. Service partner OtesatMaritel provided the OpenPort terminals and service plans for the Phoenix ships. Nordic-IT Marine was responsible for the installation and commissioning of the systems.
The German manager has installed OpenPort on five vessels
Phoenix has interfaced the Iridium OpenPort terminals to its gate4c IP shipboard gateway servers, which provide communication optimisation, firewalls, least-cost routeing and compression software. mareData GmbH, a German IT research and development company,
BW Maritime avoids fluctuating invoices with CapRock VSAT Crew on one hundred BW Maritime vessels including VLCCs and LPG carriers will soon benefit from VSAT connectivity when equipment from CapRock is deployed throughout the fleet. The roll-out follows the completion of a nine-month pilot programme during which the capabilities of CapRockʼs SeaAccess VSAT services were tested against the existing payas-you-go solution. BW requires reliable connectivity on its vessels for efficient fleet operations. Until now it had relied on a metered solution with limited bandwidth and fluctuating monthly invoices. However, after upgrading its IT infrastructure, this was no longer adequate. ʻWe wanted to implement more corporate applications onboard our vessels. The other motivation is our desire to attract and retain seafarers by offering “home comforts” such as Internet broadband services for them to keep in touch with their friends and families onshore,ʼ said BW IT manager Geraldine Pang.
MITE August/September 2010
With the deployment of the turnkey SeaAccess solution ‒ complete with network design, equipment installation and commissioning, and around clock helpdesk support ‒ BW receives fixed monthly billing and always-on communications with scalable data rates to meet corporate and crew requirements. Under the agreement, CapRock will provide the fleet with VoIP, access to the corporate network and real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities to sustain communications between vessels and the companyʼs Singapore and Oslo offices. As in most maritime installations, crew welfare services will be deployed that include dedicated bandwidth for Internet and prepaid calling cards with competitive calling rates. In addition, BW will integrate SafePass, CapRockʼs web content-filtering solution, and AssetTrax, CapRockʼs assettracking solution; both services were used on the fleetʼs pilot vessel.
fine-tuned the gate4c hardware and software package to match Phoenixʼs requirements. ʻWe installed the first Iridium OpenPort unit in January 2009, and noticed an immediate drop in our monthly satellite usage costs,ʼ said Martin Ehmen, IT manager for Phoenix
Reederei. ʻOur analysis reveals that we are saving an average of €1000 per ship each month. This translates into an eightmonth return on investment for the equipment and installation costs of the Iridium OpenPort and gate4c hardware and software.ʼ Ehmen said that each ship is currently using two phone lines and data speeds of 32 kbps, which is sufficient for current requirements. ʻWe are very pleased with the low capital investment and usage costs of Iridium OpenPort and expect to install the equipment on more ships later this year,ʼ he added.
Euronav expands Seagull tanker training across its fleet Euronav Ship Management has chosen Seagullʼs electronic tanker officer training system (TOTS) for use on all of its very large crude carriers. Having first been delivered to Euronav offices in August 2009, the system is now active on board 30 ships. Intertanko introduced the TOTS, which goes beyond STCW requirements, as a set of voluntary standards to ensure tanker officer competence for general and vessel type specific shipboard operations. The hope is these standards will eventually become the norm. Developed to meet an Intertanko request to create a paperfree training support tool, Seagullʼs e-TOTS allows crew members to take a more flexible approach to learning, with the ability to download information and tests. . Euronav's marine manager Capt Jan De Brabandere said that in spite of some teething problems, it was the right decision . 'In the beginning, it was a little difficult to work through the system, but with the help of Seagull, we have no complaints. Quite a large num-
ber of our officers have completed the whole thing, while others have started and are partially certified. ʻAt first there was a resistance to change but our Masters showed they were willing to go for it and people are catching on fast.ʼ Capt De Brabandere added that the e-TOTS approach would become part of the promotion process from later this year. The e-TOTS package includes three detailed electronic training record books. Each record book incorporates tasks and questions that must be signed off by a senior staff member. ʻEach record book is designed for a specific level of rank and discipline. A fourth generic training record book covers time with company, which must be defined by each individual. 'We need to know on the spot how familiar officers are with operational and safety issues,' said Capt. De Brabandere. 'Often knowledge can be vague, but this offers a method to check off against, and to verify through a CBT test on a specific item.'
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Triple Play Leaving port doesn’t have to leave your crew disconnected. With GE Satcom’s Satlynx Maritime solution, maritime operators can have full access to a triple-play satellite network solution that easily multiplexes internet access, TV entertainment and an integrated low-priced telephony system into any cabin, technical or recreation room. The Automated Beam Switching (ABS) feature always opts for the least-cost route between three options: ﬂat-rate Ku-band satellites, or usage-based Inmarsat or Iridium. You can control the system from land, keeping crew morale high and ship operations streamlined. Visit us at SMM 2010, in Hamburg - Hall B6, Stand 572 firstname.lastname@example.org www.gesatcom.com
Plug-and-play is still far from a reality Back in 1983, the National Marine Electronics Association in the US developed the NMEA 0183 data standard. It was designed as a method to get onboard electronics to intercommunicate – typically a LORAN or Decca connected to a plotter or a plotter connected to an autopilot for automatic waypoint to waypoint steering. The communication standard was based around a single device transmitting data (a talker) with connections to one (or many) receivers which acted as listeners. Data speeds were limited to 4800 baud (bps) which equates to a maximum transmission speed of approximately 12 messages every second. High speed NMEA 0183 at 38400 baud was developed later for systems requiring more data throughput such as AIS, but even so, with today’s complex systems combining compass, GPS, instrumentation, AIS and more data, the NMEA 0183 data standard quickly ran out of horse power. There was also no standardisation of wire colour coding, no 8
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Despite a slow start, the NMEA 2000 standard is beginning to gain traction. But inter-compatibility issues and a protectionist attitude from some manufacturers still need to be overcome, argues Nick Heyes* certification process, no common cable or connectors and as such there were a lot of ambiguities within the NMEA 0183 standard which led to inter-operatability problems between different manufacturers. Clearly there was a requirement for a new higher specification standard and back in 1994, NMEA 2000 development began. The NMEA 2000 data standard was developed around CAN bus technology which is commonly used in automotive control and engine monitoring applications.
The good news is that in the past two years, development and installation of the NMEA 2000 systems has become exponential Nick Heyes, Marine Electronic Services
There are, of course, other data standards such as Ethernet which offer significantly higher bandwidth capability but the CAN data standard was chosen as it consumes less power, is more cost effective for simple sensors such as temperature, voltage, speed, depth, wind etc and it can also be prioritised for real time control applications. Because CAN is time determinate and hierarchical, it means critical messages such as steering, throttle or other safety critical data can be effectively prioritised within the system. On a physical level, NMEA 2000 was designed to have adequate bandwidth to accommodate future needs, to be cost effective to implement and to offer failsafe and redundant capability – with a simple plug-andplay connection with defined connectors and cabling based around a backbone and spur system. NMEA 2000 specifies cables and connectors to ensure plug and play capability and is based around a standardised, waterproof, thin cable with two wires for data, two wires for power and
NMEA 2000 applied in races ground and a common shield wrapper. The data pair and power pair are independently shielded to minimise interference and the whole backbone system is engineered for serviceability allowing devices to be plugged or unplugged without powering down the network and that also ensures that if a device fails, it does not affect the remaining network. A basic NMEA 2000 network consists of a backbone cable with individual items connected through spurred T pieces – like a spur running out of the network. Power can be applied centrally through a suitable power tap and at each end of the backbone, a terminator is fitted to complete the installation. The benefits to the user and boat owner are enormous in that one single cable can provide power and data for every product and any manufacturer’s equipment can be connected to the system so long as it is NMEA 2000 certified – that means no ambiguity, with products truly working ‘out of the box’ and equipment can be added with ease at anytime in the future based on the open data standards of NMEA 2000. However, as with any data standard, it does rely on the ‘industry’ as a whole to take up the standard and over the past 16 years, introduction of the NMEA 2000 data standard has been slow – in fact painfully slow! Initially, it was hoped that boat builders would pre-wire boats for NMEA 2000 – or at least provide a backbone so that the boat was future proof. In practice, this hasn’t happened and that’s primarily due to the cost of initially providing the cabling system but also due to the dominance of a handful of manufacturers who have promoted their own data networks and proprietary systems. The good news is that in the past two years, development and installation of the NMEA 2000 systems has become exponential with a sudden drive for greater inter-compatibility in interfacing
ACTISENSE IS working with a number of application developers to create software that takes advantage of its new NGT-1 NMEA 2000 PC interface, a fully certified device allowing transmission of data on and off the NMEA 2000 bus. By incorporating support for the NGT-1, PC-based software can access, process and display NMEA 2000 data. It is able to accurately transfer messages while enforcing the NMEA 2000 rules, maintaining the integrity of the NMEA 2000 bus and preventing any illegal operations. One of the first applications to reach fruition is Expedition 7, a tactical navigation tool that aids participants in maritime races from New Zealand software developer Expedition Performance Systems Ltd. Expedition was first created in the early 1990s by veteran Volvo Ocean Race navigator and Whitbread winner, physicist Nick White. It has since been used in multiple Volvo Ocean, Americaʼs Cup and Grand Prix events. The program and related tools have been continually refined by a group of world-renowned navigators, including two-time Americaʼs Cup winning navigator Peter Isler. The end result is a system, which, say its creators, wins more races and is more advanced and usable than any other tactical software available. The Actisense team worked closely with Expedition, among other things providing them with a Software Development Kit (SDK) that significantly reduced the time needed to implement an NMEA 2000 interface. Andy Campbell, chief engineer at Active Research (owner of the Actisense brand), was happy with the outcome of the collaboration. He said: ʻThe process was both rapid and rewarding.ʼ
standards. Many of the leading manufacturers have adopted it but some have taken a rather blinkered (and potentially quite foolish) approach by referring to their N2K data system with a proprietary name – for instance, Simnet from Simrad or SeaTalk 2 from Raymarine. These data standards, whilst based on NMEA 2000, can contain some proprietary information which makes true plug and play interfacing still problematic and subject to issues. Frustratingly, some systems are even continuing to utilise older NMEA 0183 data standards to interconnect as this is providing an easier method of interconnection. So where do we go for the future? There’s no doubt that the NMEA 2000 data standard is here and is progressing sufficiently fast now to entrench itself into
every marine electronics installation. Most importantly, buyers of modern marine electronic products should utilise the expertise of professional, knowledgeable suppliers that have previously configured such systems. It is frustrating that NMEA 2000 is still not a true plug-andplay data standard. Today all systems require a certain amount of bespoke tinkering and tweaking in terms of interfacing to get the best possible solution – but that’s where knowledgeable suppliers can help. There are still intercompatibility issues between products and the protectionist approach by many of the larger manufacturers means that mixing equipment across brands can still cause huge interfacing headaches. NMEA 2000 also has competition with the Ethernet method of inter-connecting with many manufacturers utilising Ethernet on a proprietary basis. Leading manufacturers’ including Garmin, Raymarine, Furuno and Lowrance all use a 100MB network type connection to share sonar, radar and charting information across a range of multifunction displays. These are all proprietary networks with no common standard so whilst the cabling and terminations may be identical, the format of data is different from every manufacturer. In short, you cannot mix and match displays or sensors across manufacturers. This heavy weight data standard does not lend itself to smaller systems such as depth, speed, wind etc where the inclusion of a costly Ethernet interface would add substantially to the price of an instrument. So there is a place for both standards to co-exist and operate within the marine environment. But if I were choosing a marine electronic item today, I would like to see an N2K compliant sticker on the outside of the box! * Nick Heyes is managing director of Marine Electronic Services, a UK-based specialist reseller of maritime electronics.
MITE August/September 2010
Navis launches next-generation autopilot The experts at Finlandʼs Navis Engineering have been busy putting the final touches on a fully revamped autopilot system in time for this yearʼs SMM trade fair. The AP4000 autopilot has undergone a substantial redesign. The front panel now sports a 6.5-inch high contrast colour display with the 150º viewing angle. The construction has been upgraded from IP44 to IP67 durability making it suitable for outdoor installations (at fly-bridge or port/starboard wings). The graphical user interface has been redesigned to be easier to read and use, and comes with separate colour palettes for day and night operation. There have also been significant changes under the hood in the systemʼs software. A new networking function means
control can be switched between up to five different panels. Performance fine-tuning has been simplified with a single ʻsensitivityʼ setting, in place of separate controls for yawing, steering and counter rudder adjustments in previous (and competitor) models. The system has a built-in heading monitor system (HMS) which makes it possible to continuously receive and monitor the data coming from two heading data sources (gyro + gyro, gyro + magnetic compass, gyro + fluxgate etc). The AP4000 is also equipped with an ʻAuto Tuneʼ algorithm, designed to automatically adjust the autopilotʼs performance according to the hydrodynamic parameters of the vessel regardless of displacement and dimensions. This, says Navis, enables
The AP4000 sports a 6.5-inch high-contrast colour display
the AP4000 to be used on any commercial or leisure vessel with a single rudder, linked rudder, independent rudder or stern azimuth Z-drives configuration
Navgard ready to meet BNWAS demand A bridge navigation watch and alarm system (BNWAS) launched by Martek Marine with a full suite of type approvals from major classification societies enables shipowners to fit the IMOmandated equipment without delay. The Navgard system offers a relatively low cost and effective means of avoiding operational navigational accidents and can also double as a bridge security system in port. A BNWAS is designed to monitor bridge activity and detect any operator disability that could lead to shipping accidents. The system monitors the awareness of the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and automatically alerts the master or another qualified OOW if, for any reason, the OOW becomes incapable of performing duties through an accident, sickness
MITE August/September 2010
The console mounted version of the Navgard control panel
or security breach (such as piracy and/or hijacking). This is accomplished by a series of indications and alarms (visual and audible) to alert, first, the OOW and then, if there is no response, the master or another qualified OOW. In addition, the BNWAS may provide the OOW with a means of calling for immediate assistance if required. A BNWAS should be operational whenever the shipʼs heading or track control system is engaged, unless inhibited by the master. Forthcoming new amendments to SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 19, mandate BNWAS installations on over 100 000 ships. Such a system will be mandatory for all new ships on delivery, while exist-
ing tonnage is required to retrofit the equipment ʻat the first surveyʼ. BIMCO advises its members to consider fitting systems at drydockings before the mandatory implementation date, and not to wait until annual surveys within the compliance window. The agreement of the shipʼs flag administration is required to postpone retrofitting beyond this date. Fully complying with the relevant IMO resolutions on BNWAS equipment regarding performance, installation and ergonomic criteria, Martek Marineʼs Navgard system provides movement and physical touch notification of watchkeeper presence. Type approvals have been gained from Lloydʼs Register, ABS, DNV, Bureau Veritas, RINA, the Russian Register, China Register and Indian Register.
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Triple Play the perfect mix Good ﬂeet performance comes in threes with GE Satcom’s Satlynx Maritime solution. Our triple-play satellite network solution easily multiplexes internet access, TV entertainment and an integrated low-priced telephony system into any cabin, technical or recreation room. The Automated Beam Switching (ABS) feature opts for the least-cost route between three options: ﬂat-rate Ku-band satellites, or Inmarsat or Iridium. You can control the system from land, monitoring your entire ﬂeet worldwide - from fuel efﬁciency to positioning at sea - while keeping ship operations streamlined and crew morale high. Visit us at SMM 2010, in Hamburg - Hall B6, Stand 572 email@example.com www.gesatcom.com
FB150 complements 3G on coastal trades Sandro Delucia at Inmarsat was responsible for this MFE which was selected to evaluate the cost effectiveness and operational efficiency levels that FB150 can deliver to a small commercial vessel operating in coastal waters where shore-based communications were never more than a few miles over the horizon. Working with its distribution partner Vizada, Inmarsat was able to facilitate a range of added-value elements to the MFE, to help Marin Ship Management (MSM) test new ways of reducing operating costs. Commenting on the MFE Sandro Delucia observed that, ‘in a world that is increasingly dominated by internet-based communications and data transfer, ship management companies are looking for affordable new ways to guarantee uninterrupted data links between coastal vessels and the shore. They need to enhance operational efficiency and maximise the profitability of all commercial voyages.’ The Skagern evaluation focused on issues of reliability, integration and cost control. The reliable always-on connection to shore allowed the captain to get chart and weather updates quicker and to send pre-arrival forms and purchase orders at any time and to stay in constant touch with his shore office. The Virtek CommBox enabled automatic switching between FB150 and shore-based 3G to achieve the most cost-effective communications at all time. And, by finetuning the FB150 terminal and connections, use and costs were tightly controlled. One bonus was the freedom FB150 allowed the Captain to ex12
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Inmarsat regularly puts its FleetBroadband service through stringent maritime field evaluation (MFE) and earlier this year FB150 was put through its paces on board Skagern, a coaster that found it could not depend on 3G connectivity alone periment with the full potential of MSM’s E-Synergy business intelligence system. Frequent updates over FB150 kept the Skagern synchronised with the central database at headquarters, and ensured MSM had a realtime view of resources and supplies onboard the vessel. Launched in 2007, Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband was hailed as the first maritime communications service to provide cost-effective broadband data and voice, simultaneously, through a compact antenna on a global basis. Fully compatible with internet protocol (IP), it also supports the core ISDN data and voice capabilities of Inmarsat’s existing maritime services. Two years later FB150 designed specifically for small to medium-sized vessels was launched using the same technology as the highly successful FB250 and FB500. It is ideally suited to coastal merchant and government vessels with rela-
Smaller vessels have tight budgets for communications, so it is important that any new systems are cost-effective and that data usage can be tightly controlled. Herman Uﬀen, MSM operations manager
tively low data rate requirements, such as single-user internet and email access. The Skagern is typical of the many merchant vessels that ply the coastal waters of the world, carrying goods and raw materials. Its main cargo is timber and wood pulp, which are transported between the Baltic and the ports of north-west Europe. Most voyages will last four days or less. Notably, the Skagern is rarely more than a few miles from shore, so its captain can use land-based 3G networks for voice and data communications. However, service interruptions frequently occur as the vessel sails out of range and into connection blackspots. These service interruptions often last for several hours, so reliability is an issue for sending operational emails or essential communications with shore. Cost-effective communications Monitoring life onboard was, for Inmarsat and Marin Ship Manager, a perfect opportunity to assess the viability of using FB150 as a supplement to 3G communications on its small to mediumsized coastal vessels. MSM operations manager Herman Uffen says: ‘Smaller vessels have tight budgets for communications, so it is important that any new systems are cost-effective and that data usage can be tightly controlled. The MFE allowed us to look closely at FB150 in a live operational environment.’ Radio Holland installed an AddValue Skipper FB150 terminal onboard the Skagern and, as with all standard FleetBroadband implementations, installation of the lightweight antenna and above and below-deck units was
straightforward and completed in three to four hours. According to MSM superintendent Marcel van Veen, the process was smooth and did not interrupt the normal operations of the vessel. Or to put it more succinctly: ‘Everything continued as usual.’ In addition to the FB150, Inmarsat installed a Virtek CommBox to manage the Inmarsat connection. The CommBox is a powerful tool for controlling data connections and optimising their efficiency, and has been used successfully with FB250 and FB500. On the Skagern, it was configured to enable automatic switching between 3G networks and the FleetBroadband network. In this way, if a 3G link dropped, the CommBox seamlessly switched any outgoing or incoming data traffic over to the FB150, so no voice or data connections were lost. It was also used as an email relay during the MFE. The CommBox was connected to the ship’s Windows 2003 server, and also to the standalone PC installed by Inmarsat. A wireless router was attached to the CommBox, which allowed the captain and crew to access the FB150 service from three laptops. They used these to browse the internet and to send and receive emails in a virtual environment. The CommBox comes with powerful data compression capabilities, designed to shrink transferred data files by up to 90%. Virtek’s Roger Negård says this represents a significant cost saving for a vessel like the Skagern when using a FleetBroadband connection. ‘The CommBox can be configured to filter any unwanted traffic over the FB150, such as video or music downloads, and to create a local cache of commonly used web pages. These features also help users to control costs.’
The FB150 antenna was fitted in a matter of hours
and MSM to experience the operational benefits of uninterrupted communications with shore. The advantage of always-on connectivity was acknowledged by Captain Huizinga: ‘We now have a continual connection at sea or in port. We use FleetBroadband every day for position reports, for updating our weather programme and for communications with charterers and agents in the next port. Before we had it we were dependant on being in range of 3G.’ FB150 also provided Captain Huizinga the opportunity to experiment with the full function-
The CommBox can be configured to filter any unwanted traffic over the FB150, such as
Efficient operations FB150 gave the Skagern a guaranteed data and voice connection around the clock. For the first time, this allowed the captain
video or music downloads, and to create a local cache of commonly used web pages. Roger Negård, Virtek
ality of MSM’s E-Synergy system. This application, from business software house Exact, is a webbased solution that gives a realtime picture of resources and supplies across the whole company, allowing widely dispersed employees to collaborate more effectively. The system works from a central database at MSM headquarters, which is synchronised regularly with smaller databases at its other offices and onboard its vessels. Prior to the FB150 MFE, Captain Huizinga used an FTP service to exchange updated data files between the Skagern and the central E-Synergy database. This could only happen when the vessel was within 3G coverage. However, FB150 allowed him to synchronise his system quickly several times a day at the touch of a button on his laptop. Herman Uffen adds: ‘This enables the Skagern to maintain an up-toMITE August/September 2010
date version of the central E-Synergy database, so it is always fully integrated with the company’s business processes. It saves a lot of traffic over the system, because previously it was necessary to exchange Excel spreadsheets and the like by email, and to make calls, to keep the vessel fully in the picture. With FB150 it can happen automatically.’ Commercial advantage Uffen says there is potential for the E-Synergy system to be used for smart provisioning of vessels like the Skagern. With frequent updates over FB150, the ship’s office would be able to see at a glance when the vessel was running low on supplies. It could order them in advance so they would be ready for loading when she next came into port. Although this lies in the future, the FB150 immediately enabled the crew to work smarter and faster. He says: ‘With FleetBroadband, we can send out a purchase order at any time of day. I also have to send pre-arrival documents to the next port, which I used to do before we departed. Now FB150 allows me to do it at any time after leaving port, and I don’t have to worry about getting out of range of 3G coverage.’ Marcel van Veen believes that FB150 is capable of delivering real commercial benefits for a vessel like the Skagern. Explains van Veen: ‘When chartering there is often a need for sudden changes in destination and during the MFE we were able to communicate this to the vessel instantly. Equally, if a vessel is getting ahead of schedule, we can tell them to slow down in order to save fuel. It is a commercial advantage for us and the ship’s owners to have FB150 onboard.’ Smarter working Vizada contributed a range of added-value elements to the MFE, which helped MSM to make more efficient and cost-effective use of the FB150 terminal. The first of these was 14
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FB150 allows the E-Synergy database to be synchronised quickly several times a day at the touch of a button
SkyFile, Vizada’s messaging system for use over Inmarsat and other satellite systems. SkyFile gave the Skagern a convenient, flexible and cost-effective method of sending and receiving emails, e-faxes and text messages over FB150. However, the most interesting aspect of the programme was its implementation in a ‘virtual’ environment. This involved installing a master SkyFile account on the FB150 terminal server, and then setting permissions on the system to allow wireless access to the programme from three laptops. The captain and two crew members had access to SkyFile over FB150 in simultaneous but completely independent sessions. Vizada product manager Judith Villa says: ‘This virtual configuration of SkyFile gives the administrators a high degree of control over who accesses the programme and how they use it. For example, they can use the web-based remote configuration tool over FB150 to manage the
When chartering there is often a need for sudden changes in destination and during the MFE we were able to communicate this to the vessel instantly. Marcel van Veen, MSM superintendent
sub-accounts, and can even monitor the content of emails.’ Vizada also made its Satellite Direct service available to the Skagern during the evaluation. This makes incoming calls to the FB150 terminal cheaper by routing them through the Vizada network rather than over expensive national and international public telephone networks. Users are given a unique PIN, which they key in when they call a toll-free number at Vizada. Their calls are then routed via the DP’s land earth station direct to the FB150 terminal. ‘This was used quite extensively by family and friends of crew members during the MFE,’ says Villa. During the testing Radio Holland and Vizada used the latter’s Source and Terralink Data Manager tools for remote configuration of the Skagern’s FB150 terminal and to monitor usage. The Source can be used to track and manage end-user accounts and perform everyday account management tasks, while Data Manager is a powerful administrative tool for controlling IP connections and the traffic they carry. ‘Data Manager would really come into its own in a commercial implementation of FB150,’ says Villa. ‘If it wished, Marin could use it to limit traffic just to those applications and IP addresses it wanted the crew to use, so they would have extremely fine control over usage. Data Manager works in real time, which would allow Marin to make changes whenever they wanted through the dedicated web portal. They could also use it to analyse how the FB150 was being used – for instance how much for email and how much for web browsing.’ Commenting on the results of the evaluation, Sandro Delucia emphasises the immediate impact of FB150 on the Skagern’s operational efficiency and on the captain’s ability to get the best out of the vessel and his crew. ‘We demonstrated conclusively that FB150 can be used cost-effectively.’
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Is maritime satcoms ready for the
IPv6 switchover? In the 15 years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, the life of almost everyone in the industrialised world has been touched by it. But just as many of us are getting to grips with its second stage, the mobile Internet, very few are prepared – or even aware – of the third and potentially most revolutionary phase of all: the Internet of objects. This means that all types of appliance – both consumer-oriented and industrial – may soon require a unique IP address, in a similar way that computers and websites are assigned them today, to enable them to talk to each other. In a maritime context it would not take a great stretch of the imagination to envisage a day when ships could be allocated their own individual IP address. There could also be advantages in allocating addresses to the control and sensor systems on engines and other equipment types. There is however a major obstacle to wiring everything into the Internet: the present IP address space – version 4 (usually called IPv4) – is facing exhaustion. IPv4 was first developed in the 1970s and provides an addressing capability of about 4 billion addresses. This was deemed sufficient in the early design stages of the Internet when the explosive growth and worldwide proliferation of networks was not anticipated. 16
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The IPv6 protocol was developed to address an impending shortage in the IPv4 Internet address space, but the majority of current satcoms systems serving the maritime industry do not adhere to the new standard. The question is should shipowners be worried? Recognising the impending shortage of addresses, in 1994 the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) started work developing a suite of protocols and standards now known as Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which would supplant IPv4 over the coming years. IPv6 has a vastly larger address space than IPv4. This results from the use of a 128-bit address, whereas IPv4 uses only 32-bits. The new address space thus supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses. This expansion provides flexibility in allocating addresses and routing traffic and eliminates the primary need for network address translation (NAT), which was widely deployed as a stop-gap measure to alleviate IPv4 address exhaustion.
The evolution towards full IPv6 compliance has been far slower than initially expected Sandro Delucia, Inmarsat
However there are still hurdles that need to be overcome. Most present day satellite communications systems were not designed with IPv6 in mind – and this creates a significant challenge since almost all data sent to and from ships is beamed through satellites. Explains Marlink’s senior manager for special projects Dr Chris Henny: ‘It all comes down to how the data packets are translated between the existing and the new systems and how that is implemented over the different paths data can take while transiting over the satellites.’ But he adds that much of the hyperbole about the switchover should be taken with a pinch of salt. ‘Satellite systems are to a large extent private networks. This means techniques such as mapping will continue to be available. This will provide the industry with extra time to make any infrastructure updates as and when these become necessary.’ Mapping or network address translation (NAT) is the process of modifying the network address information in datagram (IP) packet headers while in transit. NAT is used in conjunction with network masquerading, a technique for hiding an entire IP address space, usually consisting of private network IP addresses, behind a single IP address in another, often public address space. This mechanism is imple-
mented in a routing device that uses translation tables to map the ‘hidden’ addresses into a single IP address and then re-addresses the outgoing packets on exit so that they appear to originate from the router. In the reverse communications path, responses are mapped back to the originating IP address using the translation tables. A shortcoming of this technique is that it enables communication through the router only when the conversation originates in the masqueraded network, since this establishes the translation tables. As a result, its usefulness is restricted to certain types of satcoms. For example, it would currently appear to work better with SCPC (Single Carrier Per Channel) VSAT installations, where bandwidth is dedicated to a single source and not multiplexed. The process is somewhat more complex over shared access VSAT installations operating on TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) architectures, which tend to be the basis of more affordable services available on the maritime market. Henny states that because many of Marlink’s maritime customers are using SCPC VSAT, and most of these use private networks, the company expects to face fewer challenges than other players in adapting to IPv6, when it starts becoming more widespread. Furthermore, many satellite operators make use of performance enhancing proxies (PEPs) to improve transmission efficiency and to counteract the effects of jitter etc. MITE understands these will experience more trouble coping with native IPv6 traffic because they were designed outside the scope of the IPv4 standard. Adapting these systems will inevitably take time. Looking ahead, once the teething problems have been ironed out, IPv6 offers a range of new features, which could in time prove beneficial to electronic communication at sea, including stronger encryption for commercially sensitive transmissions.
Satellite systems are to a large extent private networks, so techniques such as mapping will continue to be available. This will provide the industry with extra time Dr Chris Henny, Marlink
Perhaps more significant however is that having a large number of addresses allows for much greater mobility in the network. In a satcoms context, this could potentially eliminate much of the technical complexity involved in moving between different satellite beams. It means ships on long voyages, passing through the coverage areas of multiple satellites, could retain the same IP address, and thus Internet session. While these are significant advantages, they will take time to implement because existing satellite infrastructure is not set up to cope with IPv6. Such delays however are not limited to satcoms: it is estimated that at present only 2-3% of all networks are IPv6-ready. Inmarsat’s Sandro Delucia notes: ‘The evolution of Internet communications towards full IPv6 compliance has been far slower than initially expected. This is because situations where IPv6 is essential for customer requirements are quite rare. In most instances, requirements can be met using the existing infrastructure via IPv4 including de facto compatibility with applications employing IPv6 addressing.’ While Inmarsat’s BGAN network – the technology base for its FleetBroadband offering – does not fully support IPv6 within its network at a native level, Delucia stresses that it does support IPv6 via tunnelling on an end-to-end basis. ‘This allows the BGAN system to fully support end users with a need to communicate between IPv6 networks,’ he says. To achieve true technical compliance, specific elements of BGAN would require upgrading, and In-
Estimates vary, but IPv6 is expected to become mainstream within the next five years
marsat is open to receive representations from customers wishing to support further development requests to this end. Elsewhere TriaGnoSys, a small German firm whose involvement in maritime has historically focused on providing infrastructure for GSM mobile phone connectivity for ships, has launched Network Crossing via Translation (NeXT), which it claims to be the first cost effective solution for transporting IPv6 data over IPv4 satellite links, thereby future proofing communication services at sea. NeXT provides cost savings by reducing the amount of additional information that needs to be transmitted, as well as improving the efficiency of bandwidth use. Managing director Dr Axel Jahn explains: ‘Though estimates vary IPv6 is expected to become mainstream within the next five years. However, because of the lag in upgrading satellite networks, a new protocol was clearly required to cope in the period before IPv6 is truly ubiquitous.’ He says the technology that currently exists for IPv6 to IPv4 communication and vice versa incurs a significant overhead, due to the repackaging of data payloads between the two standards. This subsequently has an impact on costs. Jahn continues: ‘The only real alternative to NeXT is the Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol. The main advantage NeXT has over L2TP is a reduction in the satellite segment costs of somewhere between 3550%, depending on the nature of the communication. NeXT also provides more efficient use of the available bandwidth, meaning faster downloads of, for example, weather maps and chart updates.’ The cost savings are achieved by reducing the header information required for each packet of data, headers being the instruction manuals that enable the receiving servers to reconnect the information in the correct way. Using NeXT, headers that cover the entire session are sent as part of the first packet and are therefore not required subsequently..
Dr Axel Jahn, Triagnosys
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Cleaner seas with
Awareness and concern over the marine environment is not a recent phenomenon; the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) was set up in 1921 with two overriding objectives: to support safe navigation and to support the protection of the marine environment. To date, hydrographic offices have played a significant role in enhancing navigational safety mainly through the publication of nautical charts. Well-charted waters lead to safer navigation, which indirectly helps protect the marine environment by preventing vessel groundings. However, modern ECDIS systems could be expanded from its current navigational role to directly benefit the marine environment, because unlike paper charts, an ECDIS could be converted from a static to dynamic system. To accomplish this would require the introduction of time variable data relating to tidal levels, current, and wind and waves, together with other environmental information such as the location of migratory fish species, seasonal changes affect-
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Enriching ECDIS with dynamically updated environmental data could help the shipping industry leave cleaner seas for future generations. But turning the concept into a reality would require concerted support from the worldʼs hydrographic offices, writes Parry Oei, Chief Hydrographer of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore ing seabed topography or areas of clean water for ballast water intake. The realisation of such a system would significantly and usefully increase the environmental awareness of seafarers. ‘Green ECDIS’ would also be timely given the impending mandatory carriage requirements for conventional systems. By 2018, almost all vessels engaged on international voyages will be equipped with ECDIS and it seems reasonable that the green version could be rolled out to other user groups such research institutions, fisheries and oceanographers. However, a col-
Pasha Bulker ran aground on Nobbys Beach, Newcastle, Australia during a major storm in June 2007
lective effort by hydrographic offices will be necessary in achieving such a development. This article considers why and how hydrographic offices should be actively involved in development of Green ECDIS and examines the present level of knowledge and expertise available that could be employed to turn this into a reality. New responsibility The protection of the marine environment is a complex issue, covering such things as the management of migratory marinespecies; the devastation of coastlines after maritime incidents; and the impact of rises in sea level. From that perspective, it is important that organisations are aware and are equipped to meet the challenges by having all the relevant information to hand. But, as a note of caution, information overload must be avoided as it will, almost certainly, be counter-productive. Despite growing environmental concerns, there is no clear international effort to ensure that the mariner has the technology and relevant informa-
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tion at sea to help protect that environment. There are an increasing number of rules and regulations – but no coordinated way for the mariner to visualise and react to those rules in relation to his situation. Perhaps, if we examine the number of major groundings and collisions at sea that result in extensive oil spills; and the consequential massive coastal clean-up, destruction and harm to marine life, then, hydrographic offices might be persuaded to consider the role they could play. After a major oil spill, Green ECDIS could immediately display the environmentally vulnerable areas. Because this information would be standardised, it would be equally accessible to shore-based authorities as well as vessel owners, who could then be proactive rather than reactive to a developing situation. Immediate action could be taken by issuing advance warning to vulnerable areas, erecting oil booms based on predicted movement of the oil spill or towing a vessel to another less sensitive location to lessen any possible impact to the environment. Hydrographic offices could also be consulted to recommend alternative shipping routes, based on underlying hydrographic information. In other words, where accidents have occurred, Green ECDIS could be a powerful tool in minimising subsequent damage to the marine environment. Incident response The importance of good and timely information is well illustrated by an accident that occurred in the Singapore Strait. 20
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On 15 Oct 1997 the oil tanker Evoikos collided with another oil tanker, the Orapin Global. The Evoikos suffered severe damage to three of its cargo tanks, resulting in a spill of 28 500t of heavy marine fuel oil. The Orapin Global suffered some damage to its bow. Because Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) quickly activated its marine emergency plan, all the relevant parties were able to respond swiftly to combat the spill. In total 16 ministries and agencies, oil terminals, salvage companies and oil spill response companies were involved. Some 80 craft and 650 personnel were deployed. A response on this scale could not have been orchestrated without immediate access to data on the predicted movement of the oil spill. Coupled with the need to keep the port and its approaches open, there was also a need to tactically manage resource deployment, sensitive marine areas and general navigation of vessels using the port and transiting the Strait. This kind of integrated information base could be provided, particularly at sea, by Green ECDIS. National hydrographic offices, coordinated by the IHO, are well placed to promote and support the concept and could therefore take up a more actively engagement in the protection of the marine environment. Their work would not depart far from their existing responsibilities in providing users with data on seabed topography, coastlines, currents, aids to navigation etc. The IHO standards and specifications, such as S-57 and S-52 (the latter also adopted by IMO), can accommodate some, if not
Sample Green ECDIS display shown an hour apart, illustrating how the size of ballast water intake area changed due to tidal flow
all of the additional environmental information. The IHO and its member state hydrographic offices should therefore play a bigger role in marine environmental protection than they are at present. S-100 standard For time-sensitive hydrographic data, the former IHO – IEC Harmonisation Group on Marine Information Overlays (HGMIO) has examined and worked extensively on the presentation of time-variable objects to improve the situational awareness of users. This indicates that the technical principles needed to implement Green ECDIS are neither new nor impossible to achieve. Moreover, under the auspices of the HGMIO, the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Canadian industry embarked on a project to provide sea-ice information for use in ECDIS as part of a St Lawrence Seaway Test Bed project. The aim here was to enhance navigational safety in the seaway in winter months, a major concern due to the presence of ice sheets. In protecting the most sensitive marine resources, it is necessary to identify the most relevant and important assets, including among others desalination and power plants, recreational beaches, particularly sensitive sea areas (PSSAs) and fishing areas. As such, it is likely new symbols for ECDIS will be needed, however these could be incorporated into the IHO S-100 geospatial information standard when it is introduced over the next few years. S-100 is aligned with the ISO
19100 series for geographical information standards and the plan is to introduce it progressively from 2010. This newer standard is ideally suited to meet the challenge of providing a Green ECDIS thanks to its capability to display time sensitive spatial objects. Challenges remain One of the principal challenges will be to convince hydrographic offices, and hence the IHO, to take a more proactive role in the provision of additional environmental data. At present, hydrographic offices focus mostly on charting information for navigational safety. Furthermore, there is no unanimous agreement to take a leading role in providing information that could helpful from an environmental perspective. But this does not mean that they lack the capabilities or have not collected relevant informa-
tion that could be used. Where hydrographic offices are hesitant in supporting Green ECDIS, perhaps a wider view is required. Their role would be to collect essential data from stakeholders and distribute it to users. Some hydrographic offices may argue that such a role could encroach into another authorityâ€™s area of responsibility. However, it could be counter-argued that this is no different from their present role as a middleman in providing data for nautical charts. For example, some of the information shown on nautical charts comes from a range of including port authorities, meteorological services, land planning authorities and operators of marine facilities. Some HOs already see their roles as wider than just the provision of navigational information â€“ but they remain in the minority. Lobbying and explanation will be required to overcome
the hesitance of their counterparts. More important than convincing HOs however will be to convince governments and other authorities, who may need reminding of the changing attitude towards the protection of the marine environment and the benefits that Green ECDIS has to offer. Expanded symbology Another challenge concerns the development of the tools and symbologies to display marine sensitive areas, and dynamic information relating to such things as migratory fish patterns, contaminated waters affecting ballast water intake, seasonal effects on current, sand waves, oil spills and so-called red tides. These new symbols would need to be capable of presenting, for example, tidal current patterns in an area containing a sensitive marine asset, so that shipsâ€™ officers can constantly monitor
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the effects of the current and provide larger safety margins when necessary. This, in turn, would reduce the chances of a navigational mishap and consequential damage to the marine environment. The IHO is already working towards some aspects of Green ECDIS, through its involvement with IMO’s Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) demonstration project for the Singapore and Malacca Straits. The MEH project seeks, amongst other things, to show that providing relevant environmental information via an integrated digital communications system is both feasible and beneficial. Represented by its secretariat, the IHO has already given technical advice and suggestions to the MEH project on how dynamic tidal and weather information and emergency routeing information could be integrated with the baseline chart information already shown in ECDIS as marine information overlays (MIOs). Underlying the MEH project is the need to reduce the negative environmental impacts of shipping and coastal activities, and strengthening the conservation and management of neighbouring marine and coastal environments through the use of MIOs. These layers include: sensitive habitats that are threatened by pollution or physical damage from marine transportation; Marine Protected Areas (MPA), user regimes, and re22
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lated regulatory and/or sensitivity data; endangered species habitat; key habitat sensitivity information as related to oil spill contingency plans of the States bordering the Straits; other marine environmental protection bestpractices/stewardship information; and regulatory information related to MARPOL, the OPRC Convention and the OPRCHNS Protocol, Ballast Water Management Convention 2004, Antifouling System Convention, and related resolutions, codes and guidelines. Another example of how a Green ECDIS might directly benefit vessel operation is in support of the forthcoming IMO Convention on Ballast Water. Vessels equipped with a Green ECDIS taking in ballast water could be provided with the geographic limits of ‘clean water’, boundaries that change according to the season and the tidal flow. This would then eliminate the need for the vessel to carry out an exchange of ballast water en route to the next port. The operation of exchanging ballast water at sea inevitably carries certain risks to the vessel’s stability which would also be avoided. Conflicting usage A third challenge relates to overlapping data and jurisdictions, as unfortunately migratory fish-stocks or oil spills do not respect national boundaries. Based
Sample Green ECDIS displays shown an hour apart illustrating how fish stock might cross into navigable channels, possibly with trawlers not far behind
on the experience gained from the production of ENCs, it is likely that providing and updating environmental information in areas of disputed waters could be problematic. The introduction of information that is both time and spatially variable could also result in a conflict of use. For example, publishing the location of migratory fish-stocks could show that fishing grounds straddle navigational channels causing concerns over navigational safety, as well as encouraging a concentration of fishers. Similarly, the near real-time display of oil spill tracks could expose trans-boundary sensitivities. Unless such concerns are identified and resolved in advance, the upshot could be no relevant information being provided at all or updates dependent on prevailing political boundaries. In this regard, hydrographic offices will need to establish robust mechanisms for the exchange and use of ENC information across borders. This should include real-time exchange of information such as tides, currents and environmentally sensitive shore-based assets. Needed now are champions to drive the concept of Green ECDIS forward. Based on the available standards, expertise and experience, it can be concluded that the world’s most prominent hydrographic offices, through the IHO, and are well poised to take on this responsibility and truly realise IHO’s 1921 vision of supporting both safer navigation and cleaner seas.
UKHO completes Chinese coverage The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has filled in the gaps of its electronic chart coverage of Chinese waters. The Admiralty Vector Chart Service (AVCS) now covers the Chinese mainland as far as the Pearl River, the coast of Hainan Island and some of Chinaʼs busiest ports including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Qingdao. The set of some 375 charts came about through a unique agreement between the UKHO and the Chinese Naval Guarantee Department (NGD). They are only available through Admiralty, which according to UKHO, makes AVCS the only ENC service to provide worldwide coverage. In total, AVCS now provides official berth-toberth coverage between 2165 trading ports worldwide and more than 10 613 charts. Individual
charts are available on three-, six-, nine- and 12-month terms and can be instantly accessed via the Admiralty remote licensing facility. The ENCs for China enable
UKHO has added to its portfolio of vector charts
shipping companies operating in the region to satisfy carriage requirements for electronic charts, a key step in meeting the changing operational and compliance requirements brought about by the transition from paper to digital navigation. China Shipping Development Tanker Co Ltd is one of the first companies to trial the new charts. Senior superintendent Zheng Mianshen says he is already seeing benefits: ʻAny system that helps to improve safety and, in the face of current economic conditions, provide additional cost savings must be applauded. ʻMandatory carriage of ECDIS will be with us from 2012, so introducing AVCS now provides us with the necessary timeframe to equip, train and test any system before the regulations are enforced.ʼ
Safer navigation in Brazilian waters Electronic chart supplier Jeppesen has further strengthened its relationship with Brazilʼs Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation (DHN), and in doing so gained access to nautical charts of Brazilian waters, which it can now reproduce for both commercial and light marine users. With direct access to sovereign data, Jeppesen says it can ensure higher chart quality and integrity, thereby increasing the safety of maritime navigation. In addition, the two organisations are in talks on the possibility of deploying Jeppesenʼs dKart software to digitise and automate the production of Notices to Mariners, List of Lights and other aids to naviga-
tion. dKart is employed by the vast majority of hydrographic offices worldwide to create hydrographic products including ENCs and traditional paper charts. It also contains functionality for managing charts and their ongoing maintenance. Not long ago Jeppesen released a new add-on tool for the suite designed to correct an ECDIS presentation fault whereby shoal soundings are sometimes missing from ECDIS displays. The company states that the dKart ʻSounding to Obstructionʼ tool is the first and only application that rapidly and securely reviews an entire ENC library for soundings that
may not be displayed, fixes them and produces a comprehensive and detailed report of changes made. The International Hydrographic Office (IHO) first made known the ECDIS presentation fault in April last year. Mariners were advised to review planned routes in an ECDIS to display 'all data', and hydrographic offices were urged to review and update their source material. ʻJeppesen has developed a solution that programmatically eliminates the ECDIS shoal presentation fault for hydrographic offices and ENC producers, helping them to succeed in their mission of providing the information necessary for mariners to operate safely,ʼ said Jeppesen dKart tools product
manager John Klippen. The dKart Sounding to Obstruction tool uses an ENC file feed (including the base file and any update files), and checks each ENC for sounding clusters that contain data that should appear as an obstruction, not as a sounding. The appropriate depth is changed to an obstruction object type in the depth position, common attributes are transferred automatically and an option is given to set water level effect attribute automatically. In the ECDIS, when mariners update the resulting ENC files, the shoals that did not appear in standard mode will now appear as obstructions, and automatic grounding alarms will detect them.
MITE August/September 2010
Exploration of spacebased AIS continues This July a small cubic satellite was placed into orbit by an Indian rocket. Despite measuring only 20cm on each side and weighing just 6kg, its Norwegian backers have high hopes it will improve maritime safety in the waters of the High North. With a payload developed by Kongsberg Seatex among others, AISSat-1 was launched successfully on 12 July and soon after begun transmitting AIS messages from its polar orbit to earth via Kongsberg Satellite Services’ ground station at Svalbard. The experimental satellite is the latest development in a steady stream of research projects aiming to take AIS into the space age, as it were. As most readers will be aware AIS is mandatory for seagoing vessels of 300gt or more and all passenger vessels. Its primary purpose is to assist the ship navigational watch to avoid collision with other vessels as well as to allow maritime authorities to track and monitor ship movements through the operation of land based AIS stations. However, these land stations can typically only receive VHF signals from ships up to 40 nautical miles (75km) off the coast. This means numerous shorebased installations are required to provide a complete picture of vessel traffic in coastal waters. Norway for example operates a chain of 39 such stations along its extensive coastline. Despite the infrastructural burden, the system has proved invaluable in ensuring safe navigation and efficient traffic management. However, a reliable method of collecting vessel positions from a much wider area – 24
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While many in the industry were initially sceptical about the usefulness and reliability of space-based AIS receivers, interest in the concept continues to grow, with maritime technology heavyweight Kongsberg now entering the fray and without the costs associated with maintaining land stations etc – would be attractive to many stakeholders in the maritime industry. While the horizontal range of shipboard AIS transponders is limited, they reach much further vertically. AIS signals have been detected in experiments on the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting 400km above Earth. This was proven when a specially built VHF-antenna constructed
The cubic satellite measures 20cm on each side and weighs a mere 6kg
by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) was mounted on the exterior hull of ISS’s European Columbus module last year. The increased altitude also gives the receiver a significantly greater range, allowing observations to be made over much larger areas. Over the duration of a single orbit, coverage extends to 4000km from 70°N to 70°S. Researchers and engineers have collected and analysed the signals to improve ‘de-collision’ methods. The greatest challenge faced in processing AIS data from space is separating out – or ‘de-colliding’ – the signals emanating from so many ships from each other. Perfecting the signal processing techniques is therefore critical to the future practical deployment of S-AIS. Because FFI was a member of the consortium behind the recently launched cubic satellite, the receiver at its heart shares much in common with the unit aboard the ISS. Other project members were the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Norwegian Space Centre and Kongsberg Seatex. Financial backing was provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry. From its orbit 635km above sea-level, AISSat-1 processes and beams back AIS messages from ships, making it easier for the Norwegian authorities to identify and coordinate vessels in search and rescue operations as well as assist the monitoring of dangerous goods and cargo. It is believed that the traffic density in the region should require only a single receiver and antennae to handle the expected volume of AIS messages. Part of the AISSat1 mission is to test these pre-
sumptions. Meanwhile ExactEarth has recently published the results from sea trials of its S-AIS system. ExactEarth is the spin-off data services subsidiary of Com Dev International, the Canadian firm that pioneered the concept of space-based AIS. During the trials conducted earlier this year near Hawaii ExactEarth’s S-AIS technology was evaluated for its ability to detect AIS signals transmitted from battery-operated AIS-based search and rescue transponders devices (AIS-SARTs). Because these devices have been designed to be carried in life rafts or by individuals in distress in the water, transmissions are broadcast at a strength of only 1-watt, compared to the 12.5-watts signal generated by a standard Class-A AIS equipment used on ships. ExactEarth reports that its technology demonstrator nanosatellite successfully detected signals from all five of the source devices. Unique among other systems being tested, it also correctly determined that one of the transponders was ‘spoofing’ its signals by altering its transmitted identification every few seconds. Company president Peter Mabson was understandably pleased with the results: ‘The AIS signals were less than one-tenth as strong as the ones our satellites are designed to detect. Furthermore the transmitters were bobbing with the waves at water level rather than emanating from the relative stability of a large vessel.’ The trials were organised by the U.S. Coast Guard and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) in order to evaluate the use of AIS signals as a complement to other search and rescue systems. A key attraction of AIS is that over 70 000 vessels already transmit and receive on this frequency. The positive outcome from the Hawaii trials was no doubt a factor helping sway two undisclosed governmental maritime agencies to sign up to a paid commercial trial of the system. Under
The Kongsberg satellite will expand the AIS monitoring range from coastal waters to all maritime zones controlled by Norwegian Authorities
the agreements, ExactEarth will provide the agencies with S-AIS data feeds and value-added services for a limited time commencing with the launch of its first operational satellite. ExactEarth is already offering its services to a limited number of competent maritime authorities around the world. So far, five countries have either signed on for the programme or completed trials based on the demonstrator nano-satellite which has been in orbit since 2008. Mabson adds that discussions are underway with other bodies and he is optimistic of announcing more agreements in the near future. Another company in the burgeoning S-AIS market and one which also participated in the trials off the coast of Hawaii was OrbComm. Their satellites too were found capable of detecting the signals generated by the 1watt transponders. This was perhaps to be expected given that the company’s orbiting receivers were brought into action during a real-life SAR scenario to assist a yacht in distress off the northern Australian coast. Indeed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) went on to highlight the use of satellite AIS data during the incident response in a report it later submitted to IMO’s Sub-Committee on Radio-communications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR). It stated: ‘Data from OrbComm’s satellite AIS receivers was instrumental in “identifying a merchant ship not otherwise known to the Rescue Coordination Centre”, and subsequently used to direct a ship to the yacht, where two people were rescued.’
Incorporating the satellitesupplied data into AMSA’s commercial AIS display tools and Australia’s in-house maritime domain awareness tools was a straightforward process. According to the report, it was handled identically to terrestrially sourced data, with the ‘time from last update’, ranging between two seconds and nine minutes, depending on the overhead position of the AIS satellite in relation to an OrbComm ground station. OrbComm appreciated that the role of global AIS data goes beyond SAR and ensuring safe navigation, noble as those objectives might be. It also has commercial value, a fact not lost on Lloyd’s List Intelligence (previously Lloyd’s MIU), which has recently subscribed to OrbComm’s S-AIS data feed. The service will extend coverage of vessel reporting beyond coastal areas to deep waters. ‘Our customers will find that the integration of this new reporting source will be of major benefit in assisting them with business decisions by providing an even greater understanding of both local and global maritime markets and supply chains,’ said LLI commercial director Andrew Cooney. While numerous websites have sprung up providing an AIS-based graphical perspective on ship movements, after the initial novelty value wear off, it is difficult to extract meaningful trends from this data. For this reason, LLI relies on its global network of agents and other contacts, who beef up the quality and volume of vessel movement data. MITE August/September 2010
Surveyors learn faster on board virtual ship This spring Norwegian class society DNV took the covers off a sophisticated simulation-based tool for teaching newly recruited surveyors. The 3D ship hull survey simulator was developed on the same principles as those used in computer games, with trainees able to navigate around all parts of a vessel. Notably, in contrast to the majority of simulation systems designed for the maritime industry to date, DNV’s creation is not limited to certain areas such as the engineroom or bridge. Inspections can be carried out from the upper part of the superstructure to the lower part of a cargo hold or the ship’s double bottom. Even a drilling rig can be recreated and surveyed from cyberspace. While the system is initially aimed at its own surveyors as a means of improving and accelerating their training, the class society says it eventually plans to make the technology available to a much wider audience including ship officers and superintendents. ‘It’s important to develop technologies that will benefit the whole maritime industry in terms of improved safety. I’m proud of what we have achieved and the fact that, after years of intensive in-house software development, we are today able to present a unique tool,’ says Olav Nortun, DNV’s chief operating officer for global development. The 3D training system is installed at Gdynia, Poland in a new building opened earlier this year. Though the simulator is an important part of the facility, Nortun stresses the equipment 26
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By harnessing the power of 3D simulation, DNV believes it can shorten the time needed to train new inspectors by up to six months
will soon be made portable so that surveyors can be trained almost anywhere. It was three years ago when DNV came up with the original concept and the class society has invested in the region of $1M in the last 24 months in bringing it to fruition. Despite the black clouds still hanging over the global economy, the world fleet is predicted to grow by almost a third by 2014 as new vessels ordered before the downturn are delivered. Therefore class societies such as DNV are under pres-
Many thousands of images were used to create a lifelike virtual replica
sure not only to find and train up more surveyors and inspectors, but to bring them up to speed in the shortest possible time. The teaching of surveyors has always been fraught with practical challenges. For example, it is sometimes difficult – if not impossible – for a trainee to follow a qualified surveyor into some of the more cramped (and dangerous) spaces in a ship’s hull. Likewise, the cabins on cherry picker rigs are often only large enough for a single person to ride, making it hard for qualified surveyors to show trainees tell-tale signs of potential trouble spots on high tank walls. At other times, it may be necessary to explain subtle observations over loud machinery. The electronic solution eliminates time pressure and allows exer-
feel at home using the system. The software has been developed to make the simulator flexible. Numerous different findings can be included so that surveyors can visualise what they will face in a real situation. Trainees or instructors can adjust conditions, such as the degree of corrosion and weather and light conditions, to fit different purposes. Safety conflicts are also built into the program to encourage trainees to be more aware of potential hazards while inspecting. Defects are continually randomised to prevent trainees memorising them on later visits. In addition to becoming accustomed with frequently occurring deficiencies, a key objective is in learning how to carry out an inspection systematically. The simulation is not a passive environment. Besides being able to move around the ship, trainees are armed with a virtual camera to take photos for their reports and a virtual palmtop device, which can bring up on the spot information on key features in the view finder. They also
carry a virtual torch, which accurately reproduces the limitations of real flashlights. The only thing missing it seems is a virtual replacement for the inspector’s trusty hammer for testing the thickness of walls. Of course, the training programme consists of more than just simulator time. The sessions in the immersive 3D environment are supported by PC-based desk work and role-plays in which the trainee has to report his findings to the ship’s superintendent. The dialogues are modelled on the typical response an inspector might encounter on board, where cost conscious ship staff are sometimes unenthusiastic about committing to expensive repair jobs. ‘Over the past few years, the number of ships in operation has increased a lot. Recruiting skilled professionals to all parts of the industry has become a challenge. And though nothing can replace onboard training when it comes to gaining hands-on experience, the 3D simulator is the closest we can come on shore,’ Nortun concludes.
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cises to be repeated as necessary. By cutting waiting times for access to actual ships, this approach allows the trainees – and class society as a whole – to build up competence in less time. The survey simulator allows trainees to conduct inspections on virtual vessels, identify noncompliances and safety issues and optimise workflow processes in a controlled, interactive and guided environment. Using many thousands of images taken from existing vessels of different ages and quality, the 3D-enabled software replicates onboard conditions with remarkable fidelity – even down to the pitting in metal surfaces. As a result, trainees can become adept at pinpointing problems before they step on deck of a real vessel. Nortun notes that in recent years not only has technology changed, but so surveyors have too: ‘Younger surveyors have used computers as a more integrated part of their education. It is no surprise that this demographic is often referred to as the PlayStation generation.’ As such, he believes, they will quickly
email@example.com | www.videotel.co.uk MITE August/September 2010
Usability is a priority
Input from shipbuilders from around the world was instrumental in defining what improvements and new functionalities were needed in the latest version of ShipConstructor, the flagship AutoCAD-based CAD/CAM application from Victoria, Canada-based ShipConstructor Software Inc. (SSI). The new release incorporates several enhancements that are based upon input to SSI’s product management team members who collected feedback and analysed needs from shipbuilders around the world. ‘ShipConstructor 2011 has several of the new features introduced in AutoCAD 2011 to improve the ease of editing,’ said product development manager Denis Morais. For instance the so-called Product Hierarchy Module has been improved to bring greater flexibility in project organisation. Multiple hierarchies can now be used to generate production output as well as for analysis. In practical terms, this means shipbuilders can generate multiple build strategies for construction of vessels at different locations. The Project Revisions manager has also been enhanced to make it easier to localise and examine project revision history, which the company says will aid users in analysing progress and in tracking potential sources of errors. Elsewhere, the Project Split & Merge product for multi-site collaboration has been re-engineered under the hood to boost performance. Merge and refresh speed at distributed locations has been improved by as much as 10%. To ensure that the master database is always operating efficiently, the package now provides a simple method for 28
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While the creators of shipbuilding CAD/CAM solutions are always looking to boost the power of their offerings, ease-of-use is also high on the agenda, especially when it comes to catering for yards in emerging nations scheduling database maintenance operations including the cleanup of unused data, compacting of database files, and the re-building of database indexes. Information regarding each part’s Global Unique Identifier (GUID) is now more accessible which makes it easier to integrate the ShipConstructor product model with other software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and finite element analysis (FEA) applications. Accessible GUIDs can also make reporting and macro creation easier, thereby allowing shipyards to customise the software
Estaliero Atlântico Sul and other Brazilian shipyards value ease-of-use in CAD systems
for their own unique requirements. Additionally, based on customer feedback, ShipConstructor 2011 has expanded its profile endcut definition capabilities. An addition to the software’s parametric features allows users to create a variety of new types of endcuts being used in today’s offshore and shipbuilding industries. Following shortly after the upgrade announcement, one of Brazil’s largest marine engineering firms – Kromav Engeharia – announced it had adopted ShipConstructor as its primary design tool for shipbuilding and offshore projects. In Brazil, as in other markets, ShipConstructor has won popularity due to its ease of use. Because it is based on Autodesk, the foremost CAD/CAM solution used across all industrial sectors, many of the engineers entering Brazil’s revitalised shipbuilding business are already familiar
with its operation. ‘A steep learning curve is not viable when the workforce is still developing as in the rapidly expanding Brazilian market,’ stresses Darren Larkins, SSI deputy chief executive. One of ShipConstructor’s biggest successes in Brazil is Estaliero Atlântico Sul (EAS), a new Brazilian shipyard which has an
order book in the region of $3.4bn, for 14 Suezmax tankers, eight Aframax tankers as well as the hull of a P55 semi-submersible platform. At full capacity, the shipyard will employ over 5000 workers, the majority of whom are locally trained and who lack any shipbuilding experience. The challenge of finding en-
gineering staff has been even more acute. EAS has had to scour the country to find their team of 194 engineers, designers and draftsmen. Therefore, it was critical that the chosen design platform was shipbuilding specific, while also easily learned and used. (For the full story, see sister publication Shipping World & Shipbuilder, June 2010)
Simpler wiring for sophisticated ships An increase in vessel complexity over recent years has created many challenges for the design and integration of electrical systems. Traditional methods for planning onboard electrical systems are struggling to keep pace with the sophistication of modern vessels and, as a result, engineers are being forced to rethink how they approach this task. Thankfully, the next generation of software-based design tools are ready to bear the brunt of this workload. The extensive use of automated computer control systems for machinery, navigation and passenger/crew safety systems, along with the return to electric propulsion systems can easily result in byzantine electrical and cabling layouts, therefore driving the requirement for integration management onboard. Most vessels now need some form of electrical integration, the extent of which is broadly determined by vessel size. But regardless of size, it is unlikely that all the equipment will be sourced from a single manufacturer. Consequently there will be many electrical and electronic products working to different standards that need to communicate – and be connected together – in a logical manner. The increase in electrical power required to feed all these applications has also brought about a rise in higher voltages being transported around the
vessel, which in turn, requires cabling that performs to the highest of safety standards. In addition the compatibility and consistency required by new technology has given rise to international standards, which call for full traceability and documentation of electrical systems. There are some common issues faced when designing electrical cabling networks onboard, such as defining the required cable gauge (ie, the external diameter of the cable related to the copper conductor width) and length needed. Possible electromagnetic interference also needs to be taken into account as it could result in unintentional signals being transmitted or commands being performed. The ECAD software suite, E³.series, can be integrated within the design process to overcome many of these electrical system integration problems. This software – from Zuken – has been built from the ground up for the design and documentation of electrical control systems and is used by a number of leading names across the transport sector, from marine through to aerospace, automotive and rail manufacturers. E³.cable allows engineers to create block diagrams and schematics using so-called ‘object-oriented’ design techniques, that allow changes made anywhere in the design to be carefully controlled. With block diagrams defined, the user can
go on to connect all the functional modules using the cable of choice. It will automatically select the correct connectors, identify collisions and deal with susceptible wires. Zuken also offers E³.panel, a related package for the placement and wiring of devices in panels and on mounting plates. The type of cable used in different environments and situations can be simply managed within E³.cable. For example, in an engine bay, cables that can withstand higher temperatures are essential. When choosing a cable within E³.series, the user can specify the name, diameter and gauge, or pick from a predefined drop down list of industrystandard cables. There are day-to-day efficiency and productivity gains to be had when using E³.series or any CAD solution for that matter, but one of the most significant benefits not yet covered here, is the ability to deal with the changing technology and client requirements at any stage within the development and build process. For instance, the introduction of a new navigation system two years into the design of a large complex vessel would normally result in extensive rework of the electrical cable design. With E³.cable, however, this can be accomplished by updating a single sheet; other areas within the electrical system will automatically be modified to reflect the changes. MITE August/September 2010
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Joining up ship data can pay dividends The relationship between shipbuilders and their customers is changing as ships become ever more complex, and owners themselves become increasingly sophisticated in their asset management practices. Where once the purchase price and delivery date of a new vessel were the principal criterion, today, total lifecycle cost plays an increasingly important part in specification and procurement. Several factors have contributed to this, not least the costs of crewing. Fuel price inflation and the increased costs of in-service maintenance and repair also serve to make lifecycle cost a complex and uncertain calculation. As in other capital engineering industries, the key to maximising whole-of-life return on investment (ROI) lies in information. Just as bridge crews need clear information displays for critical systems such as navigation and propulsion so, too, do engineers and operators need clear and detailed visibility of the performance of their complex assets. The good news is that mature information technology now exists which enables this through every phase of a ship's lifecycle. But for maximum value, you need to use it from the outset. Getting it right from the beginning In the days of paper documentation, shipbuilding engineers and procurement specialists customarily devoted huge amounts of time and effort to finding the equipment documentation and drawings required to do their jobs. More often than
While document management â€’ and the Shipdex standard â€’ is a big step forward for the marine industry, it represents only a partial solution to its full information management requirements, explains David Thomson* not, this was based on historical data, such as data sheets and drawings stored in design office archives, since obtaining accurate data from suppliers was time-consuming, if not impossible, until contracts were signed. And even when the final documentation was delivered by the suppliers, the shipyard would often not have the time or the resources to fully verify the quality of such a massive paper mountain before handing it over to the ship owners. The owners, in
Data transparency during design and build
turn, could not effectively exploit the information buried in all this documentation. The end result, of course, was often incomplete or poor-quality information being provided to the crew members tasked with operating and maintaining the ship. This problem has prompted many commercial endeavours to improve the process, mostly by producing some sort of online database of shipbuilding materials and equipment. However, these web databases were frequently outdated by the time they were implemented, mostly due to suppliers quickly taking on the challenge of creating and maintaining their own individual websites and retaining their technical know-how. Their existence nevertheless accelerated marine equipment suppliers' progress towards electronic documentation, and provided an example standard for the marine industry for the exchange of data, both commercial and technical. Today, equipment suppliers readily offer electronic datasheets, 2D drawings and, increasingly, 3D CAD models, enabling engineers to request documentation via email and receive the latest drawings, datasheets or other technical documentation in a few hours and to pass this on to the owner at handover. Unfortunately, electronic documentation suffers many of the disadvantages of its paper predecessors, such as being out of date as soon as it is committed to an electronic file, or aggregating complex data into one single entity, thereby making it difficult to locate or track changes to individual information items within MITE August/September 2010
documents. It also creates new challenges, such as the inability to view the many disparate types of documentation using a single, unified method. Industry initiatives There are several industry initiatives striving to improve communication and data transparency in the industry. Online databases of suppliers' products, and information exchange standards such as STEP, cater for the CAD model requirements of shipbuilders, whilst the Shipdex protocol is gaining traction for communication between equipment suppliers and ship owner/operators. For the maintenance of hull structures, the major classification societies have collaborated to create the OPEN HCM format to facilitate data exchange between shipyard, class society and ship operator. The Shipdex protocol focuses on the technical manuals traditionally handed over to ship owners to provide equipment service and maintenance information. Interestingly, it takes the concept of electronic documents a step further and breaks document content down into its component parts. These component parts, also known as information sets, are themselves broken down into data modules, each of these being a manageable, communicable entity, expressed in a highly reusable XML format. Breaking down information into sets and data modules recognises the true granularity of information management, directly expressing the level at which a supplier would wish to make a change and have the change made transparent to a data consumer. It also permits configurability of end-user applications; information can be recombined or reordered in ways relevant to a consumer’s needs. For example, Shipdex could help a user responding to an emergency situation, by reorganising equipment documentation to present the emergency shutdown procedures before, say, the warranty 32
MITE August/September 2010
section, whilst a maintenance engineer, upon selecting an equipment item, might first be shown service procedures and spare parts lists. The preparation of Shipdex data does require some additional effort from equipment suppliers and can entail significant cultural change, but the larger suppliers are finding that this work can form the basis of better document and data management. Integration of data Whilst Shipdex is clearly a promising way to manage the data embodied in electronic documents, the industry still faces the challenge of providing crew members with easy access to the entire information asset embodied in a ship, which comprises much more than just equipment documentation. As a result of this, the industry is increasingly recognising the value of the ‘digital ship’ asset – not only all of the information created and gathered by the shipyard, (3D models, CAD drawings, schematics diagrams, suppliers' datasheets, etc.) but also the information generated by day-to-day vessel operations. This all-encompassing approach to the management of information assets is already widely used in other capital engineering industries, such as offshore oil and gas,
Closed loop asset lifecycle management.
and corresponding benefits may be gained in the marine sector. Aveva has recently broadened its solution for shipbuilders with the acquisition of Logimatic’s MARS solution, making Aveva Marine the predominant solution for the generation of complete and accurate design and materials data for the digital ship. When Aveva’s information integration platform, Aveva NET, is used for managing project information, all parties involved in the design and production of a vessel have intuitive, single-point access to all types of information, not only Shipdex datasets. Because Aveva NET integrates every type of information, regardless of type or source, when the ship is commissioned the new owner can be provided with the best possible as-designed and as-built documentation. This can certainly include Shipdex datasets for supplied equipment, but it can also include, for example, a navigable 3D model of the entire vessel, intelligent schematic diagrams and drawings, a complete list of equipment assets and their associated attributes, an idealised hull model for hull condition monitoring, and even 3D photogrammetric or laser scans of the as-built vessel. Equally importantly, because Aveva NET maintains cross references between information items, inconsistencies are automatically identified and a user can navigate the digital ship in an intuitive manner, not unlike web browsing. A shipbuilder amasses a huge amount of information during the shipbuilding process, but only a subset of this is handed over to the owner – the ‘owner’s manual’, as it were. Using Aveva NET, once this data asset is adopted by the ship owner, it becomes the basis of the complete digital ship, able to support all aspects of lifecycle management, either as an individual onboard system or, in an integrated shoreto-ship replication mode, for fleet-wide information management. The ability to manage
every type of disparate information, including even real-time data from ships' systems, opens up many opportunities for innovative use. In day-to-day operations, the ability to access the entire digital ship from any convenient location brings significant economic benefits, particularly in optimising maintenance work and responding to unforeseen problems. A pump showing symptoms of premature deterioration, for example, may be quickly identified in Aveva NET by intuitive means, such as clicking on a hotspot in a 3D model view or on a schematic. This then enables a user to quickly collate all available information, which might include the complete system schematic, realtime performance data, the shutdown procedure, the spares inventory, repair procedures, and so on. Fleet wide, an owner might review the performance and reliability records of all such pumps to determine whether the individual failure is an isolated incident or whether there is a case for carrying out a planned replacement programme to preempt costly in-service failures.
it represents only a partial solution to its full information management requirements. With Aveva Marine now augmented with MARS, and Aveva NET providing a backbone for managing every type of information throughout every stage of the vessel's lifecycle and across entire fleets, the digital ship can be a reality, delivering value to ship-
builder and ship owner alike. This technology is unlikely to supersede Shipdex, which will remain a powerful and effective solution. What it can do, however, is enable Shipdex to play its full part in the entire lifecycle of the digital ship. * David Thomson is Principal Consultant at Aveva
At end of life Just as ship owners are taking lifecycle costs more seriously, so are they also under increasing pressure to manage end-of-life recycling responsibly. With the Green Passport initiative gathering worldwide support, and the human and environmental costs of beach breaking becoming increasingly unacceptable, there is considerable incentive for the efficient management of recycling. Properly used, the digital ship information asset can deliver value even at this final stage of the lifecycle, enabling safe and efficient dismantling procedures, maximum recovery of residual value, and compliance with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. It is clear that, while document management is a big step forward for the marine industry, MITE August/September 2010
Satcoms telemetry helps save fuel Encouraging vessel crews to be more efficient while being able to monitor how much fuel is in the tanks has long been the holy grail of the shipping industry. Over the years many approaches have been put to the test, but none have caught on in a big way. However, outcomes observed during an initial implementation of the latest contender by a leading shipping services and logistics headquartered in Australia suggest that a corner is about to be turned. Indeed, the company is reporting a reduction in fuel costs by up to thirty percent. For Toll Global Resources (Toll Global) the cost of fuel accounts for 60% of the monthly operational budget for its fleet of 49 merchant vessels. In 2008 when oil prices broke through the US$100 a barrel, Toll Global needed to reduce operational costs in order to be competitive, reduce fuel surcharges and maintain margins. ‘We in fact started looking
MITE August/September 2010
The fuel price spike of 2008 spurred an Australian shipping company to assess the cost-saving potential of the latest in fuel monitoring systems. It has been impressed with the results for ways to save fuel over ten years ago’, said Weng Oon Leong, marine logistics manager at Toll Global. ‘While some solutions we looked at only provided manual fuel meter readings, others were asking a price beyond our expectations — somewhere around 20-30% more.’ Their original fuel-monitoring solution was a fuel meter gauge which required maintenance staff to physically collect the data on a daily basis. The process was time consuming and did not allow Toll Global to monitor sudden changes in fuel levels in real-time or over consumption due to improper vessel usage. The system also did not allow for polling of fuel lev-
Flow sensors are installed on both port and starboard side engines
els once the vessel was at sea. To find an alternate solution, Toll Global turned to their provider of vessel security systems. Based in Singapore, 3i Technologies (3i) had been working with Toll Global since 2004. ‘As an integrator and provider of global asset monitoring services, 3i has built considerable experience in developing technologies for tracking and monitoring land and maritime assets’ said Kenneth Tan, the company’s managing director. ‘Therefore we were keen to develop a solution that would not only assist Toll Global but also integrate into our existing vessel monitoring solutions so we could provide similar benefits to our other maritime customers.’ The technology company eventually came up with the 3i Vessel RPM and Fuel Monitoring System (FMS). The main components of the FMS system are flow and level sensors, whose periodic readings are used to calculate fuel consumption. To ensure utmost accuracy,
Eco-friendly ferry operation in focus THE RORVIK Safety Centre in Norway has introduced a new training programme, which it hopes will increase environmental awareness among officers. Notably, the courses will involve a specially designed simulator for monitoring fuel consumption and emissions. A key objective of the EcoShip courses is to ʻopen officersʼ eyesʼ to the extent they can influence the carbon footprint of the vesselsʼ in their charge. Specifically, they have been developed to provide participants with the necessary knowledge, skills and competence to plan and carry out ʻfuel economicʼ runs of shuttle ferries in order to minimise emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Students will be required to understand the connection between fuel efficient and safe piloting, particularly when it comes to manoeuvres coming into and leaving berth. The simulator, supplied by Transas, serves as a practical tool to help highlight the correlation between different types of vessel handling and discharge of emissions to the atmosphere. Capable of simulating various vessel types including shuttle and high-speed ferries, the system will keep track and display ship speed and fuel consumption (in real-time, as a total and as an average), as well as emissions of NOx, SOx, carbon dioxide and other hydrocarbons. All data is recorded to allow trainers to give comprehensive debriefs. To create realistic conditions for learning and to meet the requirements of STCW-95, the system also simulates a The interface highlights the correlation between vessel bridge ECDIS, radar and other communihandling and emissions cations equipment.
flow sensors are installed on each engine to monitor the amount of fuel flowing into the engine, while calculating the unused fuel that flows back through the return lines. This provides accurate readings of the amount of fuel used by the vessel’s engine. In addition, level sensors are installed in tanks to measure fuel level, which are designed to help automate fuel bunkering operations. Data from the fuel and level sensors is aggregated by a micro-controller and along with GPS information sent at pre-determined intervals in near realtime using a SkyWave Mobile Communications DMR-800 IsatM2M satcoms terminal installed on each vessel. Reports are also sent when special events are detected like when the engine is turned on/off or when an unusual change in fuel level is recorded. All information from the 3i
FMS is sent to the 3i Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) which uses the data to calculate actual fuel usage while the vessel is on voyage. Since the 3i FMS system uses a two-way satellite-based communication terminal, vessel owners and operators can change the reporting frequency or poll fuel consumption data from each vessel at any time. In addition to fuel consumption levels, the 3i FMS also records engine RPM and each throttle made. These are very useful for analysing vessel activities at sea and ensuring that the engine is operating at peak efficiency. All the data can be stored on the fleet manager’s
Now we only do soundings once a week, which saves us 16 man-hours a month per vessel Weng Oon Leong, Toll Global
computer in various file formats, such as Microsoft Excel so that further analysis and comparison can be made easily. According to Tan, with all the logging information available just a click away, the crew can easily find out how much fuel they need to load for a specific voyage. Both management and the crew can also know exactly how much fuel is being consumed by the ship, and such transparency has greatly motivated the crew to work more efficiently, especially since Toll Global has committed to invest the fuel savings back into their fleet. The return on investment for the system is simple to calculate. According to Tan, Toll Global recovered the costs of the system within months. Since the system uses the SkyWave IsatM2M satellite communication service, monthly air-time costs are minimal compared to that of competing solutions. The system is already proving to save Toll Global manhours. ‘Before we had to go onboard to do soundings three times a week,’ said Leong, ‘and each time it took over two hours including travel time. Now we only do soundings once a week, which saves us 16 man-hours a month per vessel.’ Moving forward, 3i is developing a mapping module which will be an add-on feature to its fuel monitoring solution. Weather conditions have significant impact on a ship’s fuel consumption even for the same route – 2000 litres can easily become 3000 – depending on weather conditions. Just as advanced GPS systems can calculate the best route for land-based vehicles, 3i’s integrated mapping system will be able to provide an optimised route at sea based on comprehensive elements including weather conditions, tidal currents, wind directions, sea gap and water drift. According to Tan, this could translate into even greater value and savings for the customer. MITE August/September 2010
Trimming fuel costs the intelligent way Fuel represents the largest operational cost to shipping companies. It is therefore uppermost in the minds of all ship owners and managers to find ways of decreasing consumption. More recently, environmental regulations are pushing these costs higher still, owing to the fact that emissions levels are used for determining fairway fees and harbour charges. It follows that operators reducing emissions will benefit further from reduced tariffs. Furthermore, sustainability is now an important differentia-
While shipsʼ masters have long known that a vesselʼs trim affects propulsive and therefore fuel efficiency, finding a reliable and accurate way of measuring this parameter has proven a challenge. But one company now thinks it has the answer tor, with the commitment and quality of environmentally responsible activities by cruise and freight carriers already influencing stakeholders’ decisions. In contrast, poor
environmental stewardship is certain to make headlines and undermine reputations. Eniram provides advanced decision support systems to the owners and operators of large commercial vessels, including cruise ships, containerships and tankers. These tools are designed to enable fuel efficiency, environmental protection initiatives and intelligent reporting of vessel and fleet performance, delivering cost efficiencies on board and on shore. The company’s Dynamic Trimming Assistant (DTA) is – as its name suggests – an onboard system for dynamically monitor-
Case 1: Norwegian Cruise Line sees 5% drop in fuel consumption ENIRAMʼS TECHNOLOGY has already proven popular in the passenger ship market. Installed on eight Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) cruise liners, Eniramʼs Dynamic Trimming Assistant has contributed to a 5% reduction in fuel consumption. Prior to the Eniram solution, NCL knew that the position of its ships in the water had a big impact on fuel consumption and wanted to better monitor the drag and trim of its vessels, but had no reliable method of accounting for it, with home-grown solutions failing to deliver the precision required. Captain Bjorn Ove Hansen, NCLʼs director of nautical operations explains: ʻDuring day time it is possible for experienced vessel officers to determine if the trim is close to correct by watching the wake and propeller wash. However, for less
MITE August/September 2010
Crew quickly got to grips with Eniramʼs trim monitoring system
experienced officers, judging the trim with eyes only is a difficult task. We were therefore looking for ways to dynamically measure and optimise the trim. We even went as far as using garden hoses to build level gauges that helped us see when the trim was right.ʼ NCL initially deployed DTA on Norwegian Jewel, where crew members quickly got to grips with the
system thanks to the self-explanatory user interface: when the indicator lies in the green band on the DTA screen, crew members know that the trim is right; outside the green band, corrections need to be made. Use of DTA on the Norwegian
Jewel enabled NCL to reduce its fuel consumption and its operating costs by up 5%. However, the reduction in fuel doesnʼt just save money for the company. ʻIt also helps us to reduce its CO2 emissions. The savings have a direct effect on air emissions, for which the cruise industry will be more and more under scrutiny in the coming years,ʼ Hansen says. NCL has now rolled out the solution to a further seven cruise ships. Over time, it plans to make DTA a standard piece of equipment in all of its current and future luxury cruise liners.
Case 2: Carnival Cruise Lines saves $1m/year
ing and optimising the trim, where even small adjustments will have a substantial impact on vessel performance. Traditionally, the calculation of optimal trim is complicated by a host of continually changing factors, including vessel speed, draft, depth and internal weight distribution and alterations. DTA collects prevailing trim, propulsion power and vessel movement data and incorporates information on current conditions – such as weather and speed – to calculate and display the optimum trim. The results are then presented in an intuitive graphical user interface, guiding the crew to make appropriate ballast adjustments. In March this year, the company unveiled additional analytic tools for deeper understanding of ship performance, with a particular focus on hull resistance. Antifouling coatings are of course an established method of reducing the power needed to maintain speed, thereby decreasing fuel consumption and environmental emissions. The resulting savings are typically in the range of 3-5%. With Eniram Onshore Analytics Services (OAS), shipping companies can manage hull performance by optimising the timing of vessel maintenance operations and assessing the impact of different anti-fouling treatments and structural changes. The new analytics services are based on Eniram’s onboard vessel management system, which collects real-time performance data from several sources on board the vessel using sensor network technology. By excluding the effects of weather conditions, the system provides a holistic view of the performance of each individual ship. Additional analyses allow for easy comparison of sister vessels. ‘Adding intelligence to seafaring provides an express route to decreased environmental emissions and lower bunker costs’, said chief executive Philip Padfield. ‘While it is clear that keeping hulls as smooth as possible
CARNIVAL CRUISE Lines is another convert, attracted by the prospect of reducing its carbon footprint. By rolling out DTA across its fleet of cruise ships, Carnival Cruise Lines is both saving money and reducing its carbon footprint. After successful trials, CCL is currently using DTA on four vessels: the Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride, Carnival Spirit and Carnival Miracle, with five further implementations in the pipeline. The operatorʼs vice president of energy conservation Robert C. Spicer says: ʻWe expect to save more than 200t of carbon fuel per year, per ship, which could represent financial savings of more than $100 000 per ship, depending on the cost of fuel.ʼ When all ten vessels are using DTA, the company will have the potential to save around $1M annually. DTA also helps CCL to achieve its environmental goals and lessen its carbon footprint, says Spicer. ʻIt is one item in an arsenal of tools that helps us to continually improve our environmental performance. Every ton of fuel consumed equates to about 3.16t of CO2 emissions, so, on average, we are reducing our emissions by more than 600t per vessel per year.ʼ CCL expects to derive even greater advantage from its use of DTA in the months and years ahead. This is because DTA collects data from each journey that the vessel makes and uses this to constantly fine tune its statistical models and give crew members the best possible information. ʻLike a fine wine, DTA gets better with age,ʼ Spicer concludes. ʻAs more data is collected over the years for a particular ship and hull form, the statistical model in DTA learns. This learning helps to refine the visual feedback to officers, and we expect DTA to continue to add value to our operation for many years to comeʼ
Carnival is reducing emissions by 600t per vessel per year
helps reduce drag and keep operational costs down, dry docking vessels for maintenance is expensive. Monitoring and analysing tools help fine tune when to dock vessels and which treatments to use for optimal impact on fleet performance.’ Actual performance data allows shipping companies to set benchmark levels for each vessel type, helping to find performance deviations early and make corrective actions promptly. The comparison of performance data before and after structural changes and maintenance operations provides intelligence to gauge the benefits gained and apply the findings to other vessels in the fleet. In fleet-wide use, OAS can provide shipping companies with aggregated vessel performance data for more efficient fleet management. The analytics services are available in several different packages, providing various over time graphs and snapshot analyses. Typical reports include energy and power decomposition graphs, engine utilisation rates and trim-to-optimum comparisons. ‘Expanding into deeper fleetwide analytics services is a very natural next step,’ continued Padfield. ‘While DTA determines the optimal trim for each situation in real time, the new analytics tools store data for later analysis and comparison.’ MITE August/September 2010
An electronic helping hand for shipsʼ masters The Voyage Decision Support (VDS) tool is the outcome of a joint research undertaking spearheaded by the Norwegian ECDIS manufacturer Maris and supported by Teekay Corp and Innovation Norway. In addition to voyage planning and weather routeing, VDS will incorporate modules for active sea-keeping, regulatory and commercial elements and fleet management. Notably, these functionalities will be delivered by Maris’ home-grown Maritime Digital Services (MDS) platform, which the UKHO selected as the basis for its e-Navigator offering. The fundamental principle underpinning the VDS concept is that navigators themselves should be able to take the decisions necessary to ensure efficient vessel operation, minimise fuel consumption and thus limit greenhouse gas emissions. Although this kind of system may sound familiar to many,
MITE August/September 2010
A voyage decision support tool that can be operated from an ECDIS console will allow real-time voyage optimisation and can, say its creators, deliver around 5% fuel savings Maris is keen to draw a distinction between its approach and that found in competing voyage optimisation products: ‘Most products on the market today are software packages for use on board, or offer remote advice on voyage planning and optimisation from shore-based organisations,’ said Arne Solaas, the company’s director of special projects. In his view they provide only part of the answer: ‘What we are developing is unique because it can be used directly by navigators without them having to receive advice from shore.’ VDS combines several approaches to energy optimisation
An active seakeeping module will provide guidance on how best to avoid heavy weather and rogue waves
in one system: it incorporates better current/weather data, performance monitoring and reporting, fleet coordination and an analysis element. ‘Several companies are individually going down one of these routes in developing management decision tools, but they do not include sufficiently accurate information about climate,’ declares Solaas. ‘Another advantage is that the decision support information is actually presented on the screen from where the navigator will make decisions.’ Maris states the information feeding the VDS comes from a variety of providers, including scientific research communities, classification societies, former military personnel, industry databases, ship owners, charterers and authorities. There are also contributions from the marine insurance world. As well as its main three partners, the VDS project had drawn on input from the Maris’ parent company Grieg Star Shipping, and the vetting departments of the oil majors, key flag states and environmental organisations. The result, says Solaas, is a system whose base technology offers a 1000nm forecast window following the vessel as it sails that is updated at regular intervals, but also a prediction grid that can be as accurate as 1/32nm. Initial trials took place on board the 160 000dwt Teekay tanker Pinnacle Spirit, with system installed on the vessel’s Maris ECDIS-900 unit. It uses latest available weather and current forecasts to offer guidance on the optimal route available in terms
sels, Maris says it is presently commissioning test installations with several other shipowners and expects to have up to seven test ships operable within the next three months. The first full â€˜ship versionsâ€™ of VDS are imminent, with the â€˜shore versionâ€™ to follow, and software for third parties due by the end of the year. There will subsequently be a period when revisions based on user feedback and other functionalities are added before the system is fully commercialised by summer 2011. A module covering active sea-keeping is already undergoing development. This will offer the Master guidance on how best to avoid heavy weather, take action to avoid ship squat, drift and rogue waves, how best to operate in shallow waters, and on ballast water and fuel management. Maris is also looking to development a storage facility with the capacity to log voyage data
of both time and fuel consumption. Technical data on the vesselâ€™s performance such as fuel flow, torque, vessel load, wave height, and propeller performance is also recorded, and placed in the context of prevailing environmental factors such as tide, current, wave height and weather. According to Maris deputy chief executive Steinar Gundersen, the installation on-board Pinnacle Spirit has already proven its value. On test, an average speed gain potential of around 0.8 knots was established by using active current navigation, for example. â€˜Initial results show an average reduction in fuel consumption of 5.7% over a period of six months,â€™ he says. Unsurprisingly, then, other well known â€˜high endâ€™ owners are said to be interested in undertaking trials of the system. In addition to two Teekay test ves-
for a five year period onboard. With data collected from sensors and voyage data recorder inputs, this system will replicate and communicate selected data to the shore fleet management system for further processing and analysis. Gundersen says that (within the constraints of safe operation) it was commercial reality that had driven the development of the VDS. Individual operators had therefore been offered the opportunity to provide input, in order that each package can be tailor-made to their needs. Shore-based fleet managers could therefore factor in requirements set by the charter party, such as speed, lay day commencement and cancellation, cargo rotation, port congestion, lightering, coastal navigation and demurrage. Other operator defined parameters might include information on â€˜no-goâ€™ areas, or planned bunker ports.
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MITE August/September 2010
New heavy lifter to get heavy-duty VSAT German project- and heavy-lift carrier Beluga Shipping is to install a broadband VSAT system from MTN Satellite Communications on the Beluga Shanghai, a new super heavy-lift vessel, which offers crane capacities of 800-1400t and loading capacities of up to 20 00dwt. ʻMTN offered excellent Kuband coverage with a guarantee of uncontended bandwidth and built-in ability to upgrade to additional bandwidth as needed,ʼ noted Beluga chief executive Niels Stolberg. ʻThe provider also has excellent references in integrating high-bandwidth satellite connectivity with shipboard and shore-side IT systems.ʼ The shipboard VSATʼs will use MTNʼs Ku-band network, which provides coverage over most of the major sea lanes
around the world. The ship will also be equipped with Inmarsat Fleet Broadband 500 satellite terminals, which will be used as a secondary satellite connection with automatic switchover when out of Ku-band coverage area. The MTN software will include least-cost routing analysis
to select the optimum communication pathway. Belugaʼs initial service plan calls for 128 kbps guaranteed
Beluga may roll out MTNʼs VSAT to other vessels, such as the Beluga Houston
committed information rates (CIRs) with the ability to burst to higher rates as needed to accommodate surge requirements. After evaluating the first ship installation, Beluga may consider installing the MTN VSAT solution aboard additional vessels, according to Stolberg.
Greek shipmanager signs with SpecTec for fleet-wide Amos
Adveto sets sights on Australian fast ferries
Thenamaris is the latest ship management company to enter the SpecTec fold, following a decision to roll-out the Italian software companyʼs Amos fleet management system across its 50-vessel fleet, consisting mainly of tankers and bulk carriers. The software will initially be deployed on a limited number of ships. Once the system has been bedded in and properly configured, Thenamaris intends to expand the installation to cover the whole fleet. In addition to the software, SpecTec will be involved in creating the maintenance database, implementation and training. Project manager for the Greek shipping concern Konstantinos Petrocheilos is understandably enthusiastic about the undertaking, as Amos Business Suite is capable of handling the sometimes intricate operational procedures that until now were managed
As a direct result of strong and growing sales of its ECDIS 4000 system, Swedish OEM Adveto is seeking to expand its worldwide sales and service network. The company has recently agreed for Australian Maritime Systems Ltd (AMS) to serve the Oceania market. ʻIn addition to meeting core functionalities specified by IMO, the ECDIS 4000 offers some unique featuresʼ says AMSʼ Brian Johnson. The ability to order and download electronic charts directly from the console via the Internet directly from the ECDIS (MITE, May 2010) is an innovation that Johnson believes will attract safety conscious users. Advetoʼs Magnus Karlsson notes that Australia is one of the most densely populated fast ferry regions in the world, a sector in which the companyʼs hardware has traditionally been popular.
MITE August/September 2010
by a home-grown planned maintenance and procurement system. Amos, he says, will provide a more friendly front-end. ʻWe are confident that the end result will become a valuable business toolʼ. The Thenamaris contract is the latest in a string of contract successes for SpecTec this year. In the first five months it had secured 315 new licences and 272 upgrades, with a good share for Amos 2, which was only launched last year. Chief executive Giampiero Soncini says the company has so far managed to weather the prevailing economic climate. Indeed, it has just opened two offices in South America, in Argentina and Brazil respectively. By year end, it expects to have increased its workforce by 10% to more than 300. With the company celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, such growth, says Soncini, bodes well for the future.
Cruise ship refit results in bridge hardware order for Sperry Northrop Grumman has supplied the electronic navigation systems for the Greek cruise ship Aegean Odyssey, which has recently completed a major refurbishment. The shipʼs bridge has been refitted with a complete navigation package based on Northrop Grummanʼs Sperry Marine VisionMaster FT. The
scope of supply includes radars, electronic chart display and information system, gyrocompass, autopilot, ship steering system and other sensors. Local agent SRH Marine Electronics was responsible for installation, commissioning, testing and technical support, as well as operator training.
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Chairman Day One: Capt Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General Elect, InterManager Chairman Day Two: Bob Hargreaves, Technical Director, RCM Marine Keynote: Richard Greiner, Shipping Partner, Moore Stephens LLP Michael Petersen, MAN Diesel & Turbo Gerald Rolfe, SKF (UK) Limited Roy Chenery, Marine Asset Reliability Ltd Dr Michael B Kennedy, Hellespont Steamship Company Trevor Gatley, Carnival UK Lt Cdr Harry Lijzenga, Royal Netherlands Navy Cdre David Squire CBE, Merchant Navy Training Board Käthe Bø-James, DNV Robert Conachey, ABS James Henton, Lloyd’s Register EMEA Dr M Abdul Rahim, ClassNK Debasis Mazumdar, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, UK Alan Carney, Nexus Maritime Consultants Ltd David Wiseman, Nexen Petroleum UK David Beech and Howard Harper, VCI Consultancy Limited Mark Pedersen, Pixel Thermographics Johan Pellas, Wärtsilä Corporation Danny Shorten, Lloyd’s Register EMEA Erik Ellingsen, Kongsberg Maritime Toni de Sousa, Yellotec
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The August/September 2010 issue of Maritime IT & Electronics magazine includes features on the impact of IPv6 on maritime satcoms, how dynam...