it cover.qxd:IT Dec cover.qxd
GMDSS in the spotlight at IMO VSAT vindicated in vortex research Stena lines up free WiFi for all
Passenger ships 19 Calling home from the
NEWS NEWS FOCUS DIVERSIONS
Incident Response Satellite data aids Gulf 8
Navigation 12 OEMS get involved in
spill clean up Technology is put to good use in aftermath of Deepwater Horizon
ECDIS training Console manufacturers are ramping up their training offerings
Safety 10 Danes test new safety
VSAT 14 Data demand: 20 gigs
alerts DaMSA is investigating new ways of broadcasting MSI messages
and rising Ship Equip faces up to the challenges of satisfying escalating user demand 16 VSAT vindicated in vortex project Ku-band service aids marine scientists in their research of plastic soup
South Pacific A cruise operator revamps its electronic passenger amenities 20 Stena Line lines up free WiFi To stand out from the crowd, Stena has invested in free passenger internet access
Conference Report 24 It始s good to talk, or is it? More communication alone does not result in happier crew
Engine performance 26 Cranksaft sensors lift engine efficiency Engine-builder comes up with ingenious way of fitting more sensors
80 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5BJ Tel: +44 (0) 20 7382 2600 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7382 2669 www.imarest.org 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
Maintenance management 28 Shipowners shape software始s future Input from users steers the development of ABS Nautical System始s software
Back office operations 32 Safer shipping of dangerous goods GL develops software remedy for planning dangerous cargoes
Satcoms 34 Ship comms without spaghetti Globe Wireless devises system to eliminate add-on complexity
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.
To move forward, standards are needed These days it seems everything has to be connected to everything else and networked. But for this to be possible, requires standards. Users love standards because they provide certainty and also flexibility: they are not locked in and can choose from a wider range of system components. Manufacturers probably have more mixed feelings: standards have been accused variously of flattening out unique attributes and leading to commoditisation. The topic of standards was raised by owners discussing condition monitoring at a recent marine technology conference held by ACI (see report on p24). While the idea of condition monitoring coming to a wider range of equipment types was generally welcomed, concerns were expressed about how these systems would be joined together. Getting tangled up For now, it seems each piece of equipment requires its own wiring trailing back to the machinery control room. Without considerable care, cable spaghetti is likely to result. How is it, they asked, these systems cannot plug into a single circuit? Condition monitoring is an interesting example because it also generates considerable volumes of raw data that has to be analysed to extract meaningful information. This data is typically processed by home-grown software developed by the manufacturer, which would present its findings to the engineer through a bespoke interface in a ‘human friendly’ manner. Today this interface would probably take the the form of a traffic-light colour 2
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coded dashboard. All well and good if you’re only interested in looking after one turbocharger, but what happens when more equipment becomes ‘condition monitoring enabled’? Death by dashboard Will our engineer have to open 10, 20 or more type-specific programs on his desktop? Will he be overwhelmed by dashboards forming an abstract topology of red, yellow and green? Here too, it would simplify matters if the information feeding these individual dashboard indicators could somehow be coalesced onto a single all-encompassing dashboard, without decreasing its resolution. For this to happen, an agreed common language is required. The grammar for this language already exists in the form of XML – a schema devised for describing any kind structured of information. What is needed is a vocabulary, which is where cooperation between different manufacturers is called for. ABS Nautical System has already devised one such vocabulary to make it easier for shipowners to import data from various condition monitoring systems (and analysis services) into its maintenance management system, and thereby be integrated into ongoing maintenance scheduling. Nautical Systems says it has made the standard is open to one and all, in order to maximise adoption by as many suppliers of condition monitoring systems as possible. But even an open standard will struggle if it fails to gain sufficient momentum. The benefits of standards are beginning to be realised in the
Kevin Tester Editor
realm of vessel satcoms too. Depite the dramatic growth of interest in VSAT, a sizeable segment of owenrs are put off by the prospect of a complex installation. Antenna approval iDirect – the company responsible for the inner workings of the majority of VSAT modems on the maritime market – hopes that its OpenAMIP protocol will go towards alleviating some of this wariness and thus help drum up new business. It was four years ago when iDirect quietly developed OpenAMIP to ensure that stabilised VSAT antennas work seamlessly with below-deck equipment. It eliminates the need for proprietary coding to make new antennas or routers introduced into the market work together. The company has now established a formalised qualification programme for antenna manufacturers. Sea Tel, Intellian and Jotron have already completed the programme, with a further nine manufacturers due to emerge from the qualification process in the months to come. Arguably, there is also a case for setting standards on the performance of broadband services actually delivered. Because, while data transmission speed is certainly important, it is not the only parameter influencing the overall quality experience. Allowing shipowners to rank different offering and make an informed choice prior to signing on the dotted line would surely benefit all parties.
Open standards arrive for VSAT antennas Following a spate of new stabilised VSAT antennas appearing on the market in recent months, it is encouraging that manufactures are now building these complex devices to a set of standards, which should ensure they work seamlessly with below-deck equipment. Sea Tel, Intellian and Jotron have implemented the OpenAMIP protocol developed by iDirect and completed successful interoperability testing with iDirectʼs suite of broadband satellite routers. Nine additional manufacturers are in the process of implementing the protocol and working with iDirect to qualify that their systems are interoperable. iDirect quietly developed the OpenAMIP protocol more than four years ago as an industry-wide, open-source standard for antenna-router integration after extensive work was undertaken between iDirect and sev-
eral leading manufacturers to make their systems interoperate. iDirect has since integrated the open-source code into its maritime VSAT platform, and has now established a formalised qualification programme for satellite antenna manufacturers. The OpenAMIP protocol eliminates the need for proprietary coding to make new antennas or routers introduced into the market work together.
iDirect is pushing OEMs to adhere to its open standards And it allows shipping companies to choose from a wider selection of hardware to best suit their needs. OpenAMIP is an IP-based protocol that facilitates the exchange of information between an Antenna Controller Unit and a satellite router. It allows the router to command the antenna and enables the use of Automatic Beam
Switching (ABS), which transfers connectivity from one satellite beam to the next as a vessel passes through multiple footprints. In addition, OpenAMIP and ABS enable service providers and their customers to meet government regulations by commanding the antenna to mute the signal in no-transmit zones. ʻMaritime VSAT networks are complex, and service performance depends significantly on how well the underlying technologies integrate,ʼ said iDirectʼs recently appointed director of maritime, Christian Bergan. ʻOur goal through the OpenAMIP protocol is to remove some of the complexity and promote a shared standard within the maritime industry for technology providers to work together on making maritime networks more reliable and manageable for end users.ʼ
20Mbps VSAT is launched for ʻultra-high-end ownersʼ
KVH acquires Norwegian middleware supplier Virtek
Mallorca-based VSAT specialist for white boats OmniAccess has launched its fastest ever broadband service. BroadBEAM Ultra provides a 20Mbps pipe downstream, with a low 1:5 contention ratio, complemented by a very respectable 1Mbps upstream link. OmniAccess believes BroadBEAM is the fastest maritime airtime package available on the market today. In keeping with the companyʼs target market, BroadBEAM is aimed at owners of ultrahigh-end yachts, who want to run
KVH has acquired Virtek Communication, the Norwegian supplier of ʻmiddlewareʼ that helps commercial fleets and vessel owners manage the data transmitted to and from their vessels over different satellite communications services. Founded in 2000, Norway-based Virtek has sold its CommBox middleware solution to more than 700 vessels owned by 50 different shipping companies primarily based in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. CommBox provides automated switching between satellite services for redundancy, geographic coverage and cost control; onboard firewall and virus protection; optimised data transmissions; mobile communications tools such as mail servers and web servers; and communications tools to facilitate file transfers and remote access to onboard equipment. In essence, it offers a range of features comparable to Globe Wirelessʼ new iFusion box. KVH chief executive Martin Kits van Heyningen says the capabilities offered by Virtekʼs CommBox technology complement and expand its own maritime satcoms products, namely the TracPhone V7 antenna and mini-VSAT Broadband service. ʻThe integration of this proven middleware will strengthen our competitive position, enable us to offer a wide range of value-added functionality to customers, and provide a path to enhance the efficiency and versatility of our mini-VSAT Broadband service.ʼ As a result, KVH anticipates being able to support a significantly larger population of users with its existing satellite capacity as well as offer value-added services like Internet cafés, advanced crew calling services, and premium content services like chart and software updates, digital newspapers, weather reports, and IP television (IPTV).
bandwidth hungry applications such as high-definition video conferencing or streaming multiple HDTV channels. The service will be optimised for the typical yachting calendar, consisting of a 5-month winter season package for the Caribbean and 6-month summer package for the Mediterranean. A lowerspec version of the service will also be available, with 10Mbps/0.5Mbps downlink/uplink. Both services will run on iDirectʼs Evolution platform.
MAN takes shipowner software for a test-drive Ship engine-builder MAN Diesel & Turbo has set up an installation of SpecTecʼs maintenance planning solution at its PrimeServ service division in Copenhagen. The engine-builder views the deployment of Amos Business Suite as an important step in gaining experience and learning how shipowners deal with maintenance management. ʻIn the long run, this exercise will enable us to better understand the ship ownersʼ requirements for structure and quality of maintenance data for our productsʼ, says MAN Dieselʼs Henrik Striboldt. 4
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Telespazio teams up
OrbComm adds to AIS satellite network
Italian satcoms concern Telespazio is seeking to establish a firmer footing in the increasingly crowded maritime market by teaming up with German ship electronics contractor Interschalt, it was announced at this yearʼs SMM trade show in Hamburg. The two companies will work together in developing ʻmaritime specific satcoms services and ship-to-shore data exchangeʼ. The partnership makes sense in that Interschalt has the capacity to provide global installation and maintenance services, while Telespazio has the capabilities in VSAT and other MSS platforms to deliver multi-regional maritime broadband. Telespazio is a joint venture between Finmeccanica (67%) and Thales (33%). In addition to telecommunications, it is also has an interest in Earth observation services and has participated in several major European space programmes, including Galileo and EGNOS.
OrbComm is to build and launch a further two AIS satellites that will have higher detection rates than those it currently has in operation. The announcement follows an agreement OrbComm sealed with OHB Systems, through its affiliate LuxSpace. In addition to the new hardware destined for Earth orbit, the deal covers ground support equipment. OrbComm will receive exclusive licenses for AIS data col-
lected by these two satellites as well as a non-exclusive license for an expected third LuxSpace satellite ‒ Pathfinder 3. The two new satellites, scheduled for launch in the second quarter of 2011, will provide additional coverage for the polar and equatorial regions and will supplement OrbCommʼs planned constellation of 18 next-generation AIS satellites, which will also be switched on next year. This constellation and existing
worldwide ground infrastructure is designed to provide users of maritime AIS the most comprehensive and near realtime coverage of any satellite system. LuxSpace has proven expertise in the field of satellite AIS with both the launch of Pathfinder 2 in September 2009, which continues to deliver AIS data back to Earth, and its LUXAIS AIS receiver on board the International Space Station under its belt.
Iridium switches to Ericsson in move to up capacity Iridium has migrated all its commercial communications traffic to a new Ericsson switch. The Ericsson Mobile Softswitch Solution (MSS) will support both current and future satellite communications services. In the short term, it will increase the capacity of the existing Iridium network in order to meet
growing customer demand, while also paving the way for a smooth transition into Iridium NEXT, the companyʼs next-generation satellite constellation. Ericsson states its latest softswitches are designed to power ʻnext-generation all-IP converged networksʼ, supporting all types of traffic and emerg-
ing services. ʻBy providing the lowest power consumption on the market along with the smallest footprint, Ericsson MSS will deliver Iridium a low-cost and environmentally friendly operation to power todayʼs and tomorrowʼs networks,ʼ commented Ericssonʼs Doug Smith.
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Shipowners urged not to scrap VHF radios A UK-based search and rescue firm is developing a new range of batteries that will remove the need for ship owners and operators to replace their handheld VHF radios, simply because they cannot source the right replacement batteries. Historically, the replacement batteries for Japan Radio Companyʼs very popular JHS-7 handheld VHF radio have had limited production in Japan. Consequently, the batteries have been very difficult to source in Europe and North
America. The shortage of replacement batteries has prompted some shipowners and operators to buy entirely new handheld VHF radios, including all the associated brackets and chargers, when the primary battery in their original unit needs to be replaced, usually after about three years. This can be a costly and unnecessary business, especially for larger fleets with multiple GMDSS suites. Owners and managers looking for these replacement bat-
NewWave signs up for capacity on two new Intelsat satellites NewWave Broadband has signed a multi-year contract for additional Ku-band capacity on two future Intelsat satellites. The Intelsat 19 (IS-19) and Intelsat 22 (IS22) satellites (to be located at 166º E and 72º E respectively) are scheduled for launch in 2012 and will offer Ku-band beams optimised for maritime mobile communications and provide ocean coverage from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region. NewWave Broadband will take advantage of these ʻmobility beamsʼ to enhance the delivery of its maritime broadband services. Intelsat is also preparing ʻmobility beamsʼ on two further
satellites that will be in service by 2013. These satellites, in combination with the IntelsatONE terrestrial platform, are designed to address broadband requirements with a combined total downstream pipe of over 60Mbps. Intelsat will enable maritime service providers, such as NewWave Broadband, to offer their customers high-speed voice and data services; the ability to traverse the worldʼs busiest shipping routes with seamless connectivity; and the capability to receive robust quality of service and bandwidth efficiencies across multiple vessels.
teries will soon have a cost-effective alternative. Sartech is putting the finishing touches to a joint collaboration with JRC to develop a second manufacturing facility for the notoriously hard to locate NBB389 battery packs that power the JHS-7 radios. Sartech is also developing lithium and rechargeable batteries for the popular Sailor SP3110 radio which is no longer in production. These batteries will be direct replacements for the SP3901 and SP3905 battery
packs, which are no longer available from the original manufacturers. ʻThe new batteries are manufactured to the original type approval specifications using exactly the same cell types as the OEM versions,ʼ explains managing director Peter Forey. ʻThe message to owners and operators is pretty simple: Don't throw away your portable VHF radios and replace them with new ones just because your normal supplier says batteries are no longer available.ʼ
ECDIS goes WECDIS in Southampton Navigation training provider ECDIS Ltd is diversifying into the Warfare ECDIS (WECDIS) market, following a number of high-profile contracts with international naval forces ‒ including Singapore, South Africa and Brazil ‒ in the past twelve months. The companyʼs Mike Pearsall believes it is a natural and logical step: ʻWe have already provided our services to military nations and coupled with the fact that two of our directors served in the British Royal Navy, we are well positioned to give sound purchasing advice and specialist training that is tailored to the
considerably enhanced offerings of a WECDIS system". At their Southampton headquarters, a number of ECDIS and WECDIS terminals from different manufacturers are on permanent display for visitors and trainees alike. An example of the warfare-specific hardware on show is a Digital Maritime Operations Plot (DMOP), manufactured and distributed by Offshore Systems (OSI), which when located on the bridge or in the operations room of a warship can be used by the command team for tactical/operational planning and wider situational awareness.
Fair weather forecast for Jeppesen as US Navy tests VVOS The US Navy has embarked on a half year trial of Jeppesenʼs voyage optimisation system. VVOS combines ocean weather forecasts, computer modelling of ship performance and proprietary route optimisation algorithms to potentially improve the efficiency of ship navigation by reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. VVOS will be evaluated by Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at the Naval Maritime
Forecast Centers in Norfolk, Virginia and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The commercial off-theshelf version of VVOS includes proprietary weather and wave forecasts of up to 15 days, updated twice daily. High resolution surface ocean currents, updated daily, are also utilised in route optimisation computations. ʻWeather forecasts are not all equalʼ, says Dr Henry Chen, Jeppesenʼs chief naval architect. ʻOur forecasts differ from most
by being quality-controlled manually by veteran meteorologists who specialise in ocean weather. We also have a 50-year historical database of ocean weather against which forecasted trends can be compared.ʼ A key feature of Jeppesen VVOS is its ability to calculate an 'optimal passage solution' against which actual passages can be objectively compared for relative efficiency. This benchmarking is based on the princi-
ple that for a given passage with specific ship loading and departure and arrival times, there is a theoretical optimal passage that minimises fuel consumption while meeting all safety requirements and other user constraints. VVOS calculates this optimal route and speed profile, first, by creating a grid of all possible solutions, and then searching for the most efficient solution using Jeppesenʼs proprietary Dynamic Programming algorithm.
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Kongsberg delves into the ʻhuman factorʼ Although simulators are widely used as a training aid within the maritime industry, it is hard to incorporate the so-called ʻhuman factorʼ into the learning experience they provide. To address this challenge, Kongsberg Maritime has teamed up with the Research Council of Norway and initiated a new research project known as SIMAR ‒ Simulation of Demanding Maritime Operations. The project aims to provide greater understanding of how the ʻhuman factorʼ works in simulated learning environments, especially when it comes to complex maritime operations. The findings will be used to drive the development of a new generation of simulators capable of realistically replicating risky operations, such as anchor handling in offshore environments.
ʻWe have been building simulator hardware and software for seafarers since the seventies,ʼ comments Kongsbergʼs Terje Heierstad. While the pace of technological change now enables an incredible degree of realism in Kongsbergʼs products, the growth in our understanding of the learning processes and human factors in simulationbased training has been much slower. ʻThere is currently very little research in this area, so SIMAR is exploring new ground for the maritime industry. We believe that the cooperation with the Research Council of Norway and our other partners will contribute to the development of the best tool for the future training on demanding operations.ʼ The task of defining and de-
The intention is to assess and measure the effect of the simulator training; both in the simulator (based on the specific learning objectives) and subsequently during actual maritime operations (through indices such as reduced risk, reduced number of accidents, less oil spills, reduced costs related to loss of equipment and more efficient operations). Simulator training is a recognised means of building competence and reducing accidents. But its success or failure largely depends on the quality of the psychological teaching principals used and the psychological factors in the simulator software. Through the SIMAR project, Kongsberg ultimately hopes to develop a simulator that combines state-of-the-art technology with in-depth knowledge of these human factors.
veloping human learning objectives suited to simulator training will primarily be carried out by Chalmers University of Technology, in Gothenburg. Margareta Lützhöft of the Institution for Shipping and Marine Technology at the Swedish university says that the SIMAR project will ʻoffer a unique opportunity to put our knowledge ‒ both employees and students ‒ to practical use and improve maritime education and safety at sea.ʼ Meanwhile, Vestfold University College and the University of Oslo will investigate the methods used in simulator education, drawing upon wider teaching principles. Testing of new training exercises that emerge from this undertaking will be carried out at Vestfoldʼs simulator centre.
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Satellite data aids Gulf spill clean-up After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded earlier this year, setting into motion the largest oil spill in the history of the United States, a plethora of companies took part in the subsequent effort to minimise permanent ecological damage to the Gulf of Mexico. Among them, several employed Iridium-based technological solutions to help in their part of the clean-up operation. Canadian firm MetOcean designed three different drifting buoys that were used to collect critical information on the oil spill throughout the disaster. These comprised the iSphere, a buoy purpose built to track and monitor oil spills; the SLDMB, a drifter buoy for tracking oil that can be deployed from plane or helicopter, and well-suited for timely response in emergency situations; and the iSVP drifting buoy originally built to monitor sub-surface ocean currents at specified depths, but re-purposed
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In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon incident, data on the size and spread of the spill captured by advanced buoys, autonomous underwater vehicles, surface vessels and even helicopters was sent back to first responder agencies via satellite
for the Gulf of Mexico mission to track sub-surface oil plumes. Many of the organisations involved in the clean-up operation relied heavily on the information supplied by these sophisticated buoys to plan the most effective course of action. First responders used the data to predict where the oil would drift, allowing skimmers to focus their efforts in the right areas. The data was also helpful in taking steps to prevent
Short-burst data helped in tracking the spill and coordinating the response
the oil from reaching land and polluting beaches. All three buoy types were equipped with Iridiumâ€™s shortburst data transmitters for communicating scientific measurements and GPS data in real-time, something that is crucial in oil spill response situations. Meanwhile, to support the federal response to the disaster, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deployed two subsurface Seagliders equipped with built-in Iridium satellite chips to monitor surface currents and measure physical properties of the Gulf waters to analyse the disbursement of the millions of barrels of oil that was pouring into the environment. The 9ft (2.75m) long Seagliders travelled through the sea, using sensors to measure currents, temperatures and salinities on and below the surface of the ocean. Sensors also measured dissolved organic material in the sea, including potential oil, from the surface to depths of
Satellite and AIS combo tracks 5000 vessels 3200ft (1000m). The gliders surfaced every six hours to transmit the data they had collected via the Iridium satellite chip to a defense satellite gateway in Hawaii, which then relayed the information back to the NOAA in near real-time. Several of Teledyne Technologies’ partner organisations launched Slocum gliders into Gulf waters. Manufactured by Teledyne Webb Research, these gliders – autonomous underwater vehicles – monitored the waters off the west coast of Florida, sending real-time data back to scientists. They searched for evidence of oil or dispersants in the water, as well as measuring ocean currents to help determine the direction and speed of movement of the oil spill plume. Industrial wholesale supplier SASCO Inc designed an Iridiumbased satellite tracking unit that was stationed on a shrimp trawler owned by Mariah Shrimp of Louisiana. The boat was chartered by several organisations involved in the spill response to scoop up oil around the mouth of the Mississippi. Finally, Florida-based Heliworks – under contract from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – employed a tracking system from EMS Aviation to help rescue birds endangered by the oil spill. Heliworks has seven aircraft equipped with the FLEET Tracker system, which includes an Iridium antenna and transceiver with integrated GPS for flight monitoring and a mission management unit (MMU) for fast two-way text messaging and telephony. The helicopters flew biologists near the coastline to locate oil-covered birds while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitored activities remotely via a web-based ‘automated flight following’ map. Armed with this information the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to accurately locate the harmed animals and dispatch ground crews to their rescue quickly.
Some 30 000 personnel, 5000 vessels and dozens of aircraft were engaged in the clean-up
BP USED a vessel-tracking service and onboard battery-operated satellite terminals to help manage and coordinate the flotilla of ships, fishing boats, skimmers and barges involved or caught up in the Deepwater Horizon response operation. ʻThe technology gave us significantly greater visibility into what was actually occurring in the field so that we could assess, progress and allocate the 30 000 personnel, over 5000 vessels and dozens of aircraft that are engaged in the response effort,ʼ said Scott Neuhauser, a BP manager based at Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Houston-based PortVision worked closely with the oil major and the Unified Command operations team in setting up real-time vessel-tracking for the Gulf incident response and restoration effort. This support, said chief executive Dean Rosenberg, included providing a combination of hardware, customised software and extensive support services. For all the destruction caused by Deepwater blow out, it was also an unprecedented opportunity for PortVision to demonstrate the capabilites of its web-based tracking service. In addition to real-time tracking, the PortVision service enabled responders and other parties
to access historical data on vessel movements for a variety of purposes, from response strategy development and training to litigation support and the verification of vessel operating fees and service charges. The database at the heart of the service is said to be unique in that it contains five years of AIS data on the movements of commercial ships in major ports and waterways (primarily in the States but also at 100 international locations). By drilling down into this data, it is possible to build a detailed picture of commercial vessel activity, from port arrivals and departures to ship movements on the open sea. However not all vessels are required to carry AIS transponders, especially smaller ones. To address this, and allow BP to obtain the fullest possible position data, battery-operated satellite trackers were placed on these non-AIS craft. Data from the satellite trackers could then be merged with that derived by AIS. In a special customisation based on the recently introduced VesselZones feature, the technology company added screen overlays of the divisional response areas throughout the affected Gulf regions and colour-coding of vessel types within these areas.
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Danes test new ways to send safety alerts e
DaMSA’s mission statement is simple: to make Danish waters the safest in the world for maritime navigation. It is a relatively lean organisation with around 800 employees, whose time is spent carrying out five core functions: maritime information; buoying and navigation; official tasks such as maritime surveys and coastal surveillance; pilotage; and coastal rescue. The organisation’s chief executive Mads Bentzen believes the provision of maritime information services is pivotal in fulfilling this mission. For some time DaMSA has gathered and circulated information on weather conditions, ocean currents and potential hazards to navigation. ‘We issue weather forecasts and warnings on the website and via our free text message service. In accordance with GMDSS requirements, we also send marine safety information (MSI) warnings via ‘navigational telex’ – more widely known as NAVTEX – radio broadcasts to ships within DaMSA’s area of responsibility,’ explains Bentzen. However, next year will see the establishment of five new GMDSS Navareas for Arctic waters. And because DaMSA is the national coordinator for the waters around Greenland as well as Denmark, it is responsible for making sure MSI broadcasts reach vessels operating in this large area. Today this is done via NAVTEX and Inmarsat SafetyNET. NAVTEX requires a number of shore-based transmitters to cover an area, and the Arctic regions are not fully covered by SafetyNET. To address this, DaMSA 10
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Farvandsvæsenet ‒ the Danish Maritime Safety Administration (DaMSA) ‒ is testing two Iridium technologies as it investigates new ways of broadcasting MSI messages
plans to boost coverage in the navigable Arctic area around Greenland by establishing an additional NAVTEX transmitter in Upernavik. At the same time, it is also investigating alternative methods of getting information out to those who need it, including the
use of Iridium short-burst data (SBD) service. It is important to note that Iridium is not currently certified under the GMDSS as an alternative to NAVTEX, but Bentzen believes it has considerable potential to augment the NAVTEX broadcasts and enhance maritime safety in these more remote waterways. During the past few months, DaMSA has been working closely with Iridium, and two of its value-add resellers (VARs) Rock Seven and Trident Sensors, to develop a prototype satellite MSI receiver. Trident is supplying the Iridium SBD device, and Rock Seven is providing the software and IP-based infrastructure to support the MSI message transmissions. Explains Bentzen: ‘So far, we have carried out initial tests at
GMDSS comes under the spotlight at IMO A SCOPING exercise to establish whether there is a need for a review of the elements and procedures of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) was initiated by IMOʼs Sub-Committee on Radiocommunciations and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) at its 14th session. The aim was to determine which elements of the system may need to be updated or amended. The GMDSS was introduced by means of amendments to SOLAS that were adopted in 1988 and entered into force in 1992 with a phase-in period lasting until 1999. Issues identified for review include: Function - including relevance of existing functional requirements, requirements for both SOLAS and non-SOLAS vessels and whether existing sea areas should be maintained in current form; Regulation and administration - including capacity building, legacy issues (modernising all ships, not just newbuildings), survey and inspection, harmonisation of global regulatory bodies, training and certification and the impact of e-navigation; Existing, new and emerging technologies - including possible integration of technologies such as cell phones, satellite phones, Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT), automatic identification of ships, selection and use of relevant technology; and Equipment ‒ including performance and technical standards and carriage requirements as well as assessing how the needs of non-SOLAS vessels can be better accommodated within the GMDSS. Other items ticked from the agenda included reaching agreement on the revised edition to the International SafetyNET manual and finalising a draft warning on non-406MHz tracking devices.
our office in Copenhagen, and the next step will be to place the equipment on a ship sailing on Greenland’s coasts, preferably at latitudes above 76 degrees north. We will collect and analyse data from the tests, including reception, coverage, latency and system setup. ‘If software modifications are needed during the trials, they will be uploaded to the equipment by insertion of a dongle containing an update file sent by e-mail. It is important that the equipment operation be transparent to the ship’s crew, with MSI messages being received and printed out automatically on board the ship. ‘The shipboard Iridium SBD receiver will mimic NAVTEX processing and message formats. The Iridium two-way SBD link also enables additional functionality, such as geo-fencing and vessel tracking, which will permit the MSI broadcasts to switch automatically from NAVTEX to Iridium whenever the ship enters waters not covered by the NAVTEX or Inmarsat SafetyNET. DaMSA is also bringing Iridium technology into EfficienSea, a separate project which aims to improve maritime safety and the environmental state of the Baltic Sea Region. It involves 16 partners from six Baltic nations, including national and regional authorities and research institutes. DaMSA is the lead partner for EfficienSea and carries out project, financial and communication management on behalf of the partners. DaMSA is also the work package leader for the enavigation segment, which is an important component of the overall EfficienSea programme. IMO defines e-navigation as ‘the harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment.’ Or, as Bentzen puts it: ‘The
A conventional NAVTEX receiver prints an incoming message
DaMSA is responsible for ensuring MSI broadcasts reach vessels traversing the icy waters around Greenland
systems on a modern ship bridge provide lots of information that is supposed to help the navigator, but often that information is disorganised, and there is a lack of standards, which can lead to accidents at sea. The goal of e-navigation is to create new standards for organising the information in one system that presents the right information to the navigator at the right time in a standardised format.’ The EfficienSea e-navigation work package will provide the Baltic countries and the European community with a comprehensive best-practice demonstration of the e-navigation concept in order to facilitate
further development and, eventually, full-scale implementation. Ship-shore communication is of course a crucial component to the success of e-navigation. ‘Many of the tests we are conducting require the transfer of large amounts of data to and from the ships, and we are testing different communication solutions to meet this requirement, including satellite data, VHF data and mobile broadband. We are using Iridium OpenPort to provide satellite connectivity to the vessels involved in the tests, which will run over the next two years.’ The results will be presented to a number of international organisations involved in the development of e-navigation, most notably the IMO and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).
MITE October/November 2010
OEMs get involved in ECDIS training Furuno is a classic example of a traditional ECDIS console and integrated bridge system manufacturer, which recognising the gap between training supply and demand in the countdown to electronic charts becoming mandatory in 2012, is seeking to power up its training offerings. The company has recently announced a new training programme, called NavSkills, which it hopes to differentiate from rivals by placing extra emphasis on the delivery of continuous long-term support to its shipping company customers. NavSkills is built around a full mission training simulator with ECDIS planning stations. To make the training environment more realistic, Furuno uses real equipment in both the bridge and at the planning stations. The simulator will be approved by DNV SeaSkill as either class A or S, depending shipowners requirements. ‘The uniqueness of NavSkills lies with the second part of the package, which is a service contract’, says Mads Friis Sorensen, manager of Furuno’s European branch office in Copenhagen. ‘The service contract covers the provision of approved training materials, education of the local instructors and the assessment – by DNV SeaSkill – of the training courses to be conducted by the NavSkills customers locally. ‘Our intention is for it to be a turnkey solution that lets shipowners or independent training centres to provide DNV SeaSkill-certified courses from the day one. Furuno will, as part of the service contract, handle 12
MITE October/November 2010
As the deadline for compulsory ECDIS edges ever nearer, hardware manufacturers are ramping up their provision of high quality training for navigators and console operators
the issuing of certificates to the trainees,’ he explains. The thinking behind NavSkills is that it will free up the owner or training centre to concentrate on delivering the most effective training possible, with Furuno acting as a final guarantor of quality. The training package includes DNV SeaSkill-certified ECDIS training in accordance
NavSkills will free owners to concentrate on delivering effective training, with Furuno acting as a final guarantor of quality
with IMO Model Course 1.27, DNV SeaSkill-certified IBS/INS operator training course in compliance with IMO Model Course 1.32, bridge/engine resource and team management training. Furuno opened its own INS training centre in Copenhagen in 2005. In the years that have followed the centre has delivered a range of navigation and bridge management courses (in compliance with the related IMO course models or STCW requirements) to customers worldwide. In August, it became the first such centre to receive certification from DNV SeaSkill for its INS course (in compliance with IMO Model Course 1.32). The centre will remain open and continue to run its existing programme of courses, as well as function as a hub for developing new ones. These new courses (and revisions to existing ones) will be continually relayed to customers of NavSkills for the duration of their service contract. ‘The rapidity with which INS and ECDIS systems have developed in the last decade or so poses numerous challenges for navigators, especially those more comfortable using paper charts,’ says Sorensen. ‘Therefore, unless the navigators are experienced ECDIS and INS operators, a short familiarisation training course from the equipment manufacturer will be of limited use.’ ‘To ensure high quality training, and thereby contribute to a reduction in casualties, Hence, Furuno wants to share its experience and knowledge, both as a manufacturer and as a training provider, to a wider circle of maritime training centres and ship owners.’
London Club reminds offiers to apply GPS corrections to charts THE LONDON P&I Club says a recent casualty involving a containership serves as a timely reminder of the consequences of failing to check navigation charts for information about corrections that need to be applied to satellite-derived positions. The containership in question grounded as a result of total reliance on GPS, coupled with a failure to recognise that a significant correction had to be applied to GPS positions before they were plotted on the chart. During a coastal passage, the ship ran aground after a navigating officer commenced a significant alteration of course about half a mile before he reached the intended alter-course position. Investigations suggested that the officer was using no means other than GPS to navigate and, even though the ship was on a reg-
ular schedule, he was wholly unaware that a significant correction had to be applied before GPS positions could be plotted onto many of the charts used in the service. The Club says a more detailed passage plan would have alerted the inexperienced officer to the danger and required him to cross-check his position by more than one method. Corrections are required on charts not referenced to the World Geodetic System 1984 Datum (WGS84). A geodetic datum is a reference system for specifying positions on the Earthʼs surface. However, as there are several locally developed geodetic datums around the world, a specific point on the Earth can have substantially different latitude and longitude coordinates, depending on the datum to which the particular
chart is referenced. As such, two charts of the same area which are referenced to different datums may show different latitude and longitude coordinates for the same real world feature, such as a shoal or a lighthouse. The GPS receiver should normally be set to display positions referenced to WGS84 and this setting should be checked on the individual GPS receivers. However, mariners must be aware that on many charts still in use, a correction has to be applied to a satellite derived position referenced to WGS84 before the position is plotted on the chart. Navigating officers should always check the charts for information about corrections that need to be applied to satellite-derived positions when preparing a passage plan .
Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System
Deadlines for installation: 1 July 2011: New ships > 150 GT and all new passenger ships 1 July 2012: Existing ships > 3.000 GT.
BNWAS BW-800 flush mounting
BNWAS Reset Unit 801 with foundation
Bridge Watch – Greater Safety at Sea BW-800 is a bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) complying with new regulations from IMO and the new IEC 62616 performance standard. The purpose of a BNWAS Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability which could lead to accidents. We guarantee a high quality product to a very competitive price and 24 months warranty.
BNWAS Alarm Unit 802 with foundation
BNWAS Selector Unit 803 with foundation
BNWAS Motion Sensor 805
Key features BW-800: • DNV Type Approval • High quality and easy installation • Complies with the new performance standard IEC 62616 (and the old A.830(19); IMO MSC/Circ.982; IMO resolution A.694) • Dual motion sensor with infrared and microwave detection • VDR NMEA data output built-in (no interface box needed) • Back-up officer selector unit • Emergency call facility • Automatic dimmer control
1 July 2013: Existing ships > 500 GT. 1 July 2014: Existing ships > 150 GT.
DNV Type Approved
Uni-Safe Electronics A/S is a leading supplier of marine safety equipment and electronics exporting to more than 35 countries worldwide. Uni-Safe Electronics develop and produce Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS) and freshwater Salinometers and in addition, we market a wide range of quality products within safety equipment and electronic communication. Uni-Safe Electronics assign a high priority to providing customers with good service and can supply to the market at short notice
Amager Strandvej 124 · DK-2300 Copenhagen S Tel: +45 3286 0525 · Fax: +45 3258 1330 mail: firstname.lastname@example.org · www.unielec.dk
MITE October/November 2010
Data demand: Twenty gigs and rising e
To meet growing demand for broadband access from ships operating or passing through the Middle East, Norwegian VSAT specialist Ship Equip has recently inked a multi-year contract with New Wave Broadband and Telenor Satellite Broadcasting for extra satellite capacity in the region. This latest deal follows a similar one signed last year that secured additional capacity sufficient to serve up to 3000 ships in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, North Africa and the Mediterranean. The increased capacity will benefit both existing users and those considering switching to VSAT from traditional metered satcoms services. Since launching SEVSAT in 2003/4, ShipEquip has seen demand for bandwidth from its existing user-base increase steadily over time. ‘As our shipowner customers have grow more accustomed to 24/7 connectivity, they have become increasingly reliant on the connection. They are also showing greater willingness to use it to its maximum potential, whether for email, voice, web or to improve operational efficiency’, says Nesset. On the Frontline The new bandwidth is also deemed necessary to accommodate a growing customer base. As VSAT has become more accepted within the maritime industry, shipping companies from new segments are beginning to embrace the technology. A recent example came when Ship Equip was able to welcome Frontline – one of the world’s largest tanker owners – as a customer. 14
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MITE charts the rise of Ship Equip, a VSAT provider that recently signed its 1000th order and is now facing up to the challenges of satisfying escalating demand for data The agreement between Frontline Management and Ship Equip includes ships operated by Frontline, Golden Ocean and Knightsbridge Tankers. Together the group of companies control more than 100 vessels. Nesset believes the fact that Frontline chose to work with Ship Equip confirms the competitiveness of its product offering. ‘It vindicates our strategy of focusing purely on VSAT, which means we avoid the internal conflicts of interest that can arise in some market players who deliver high speed VSAT at a fixed cost while looking to maintain revenues from lower bandwidth dial up services.’ This summer Ship Equip signed an order for its 1000th VSAT installation. The company has seen a steady growth in orders since it came into being. Nesset says that in the early days the company mainly served offshore support vessels and fishing boats. But, in recent times, merchant fleets have accounted for a growing share of orders. ‘In offshore, the needs were partly dictated by the oil majors, who needed the broadband to transfer data from the oil fields
We have experienced incidents when the shipʼs entire database become corrupt and had to be reinstalled remotely Thomas Andersson, Rederi AB Transatlantic
to their land facilities. When fishing fleets started to lose crew to the OSVs, they ordered VSAT to retain their experienced workforce,’ explains Nesset. ‘In merchant shipping the picture is more mixed, with some owners installing SEVSAT to improve operational efficiency or set up links with corporate databases, and others to attract and retain a younger crew who expect to be able to communicate online.’ Ship Equip has gradually introduced services reflecting the varying needs of these different segments. ‘VSAT no longer has to be a high-end solution,’ asserts CSO Gilles Gillesen. ‘The revenue derived from crew through prepaid services (such as crew calling) can contribute to keeping the cost of a SEVSAT system on par with dial up limited bandwidth systems. Also our ability to offer flexibility in bandwidth means owners will never get locked in to a capacity that is not right for their ships.’ Rederi retention Another happy Ship Equip customer is Rederi AB Transatlantic. Indeed, the Swedish operation (which runs a fleet of 38 vessels consisting of anchor handling vessels, icebreakers and a range of RORO, ROLO and bulk vessels) has publicly stated that SEVSAT has been instrumental in retaining and attracting crew. ‘To get a job for an offshore vessel, you need highly experienced and motivated crew. In many ways you could say it is the crew that is awarded the contract rather than the vessel. In such an environment you cannot afford to lose good crew,’ explains Thomas Andersson, the opera-
tor’s vice president for procurement. ‘It will take time and cost a small fortune to find a replacement. This is what motivated us into looking for solutions to motivate our crew to stay with the company.’ SEVSAT has also proven cost effective for the amounts of data Transatlantic’s ships transfer between ship and shore. ‘A quick look at the communication log shows that our vessels typically transmit around 20Gb/month of data and voice traffic. Such quantities are not viable with dial-up metered solutions. ‘But you still need to keep them on board for backup in case a vessel strays out of VSAT coverage in the Polar Regions or because of antenna shadow. Interference with radars has also happened on occasion. That said, all three causes of disruption can be anticipated and dealt with [or minimised – Ed] by proper forward planning.’ According to Andersson, nearly all crew are vocal on the provision of onboard Internet. ‘The most frequent asked question we have from new or prospective personnel is whether or not the vessel will be online. Meanwhile, existing staff don’t refrain from asking whether bandwidth can be increased.’ ‘The availability of a connection to the outside world is relevant both in terms of letting crew keep on top of personal matters and to address operational issues. By enabling them to stay in touch with their family and friends, we can achieve a calm and focused work atmosphere.’ Another concern of Andersson’s is the upkeep of the ships’ electronic maintenance systems, which are all online and rely on frequent updates: ‘We have experienced incidents when the ship’s entire database become corrupt and had to be reinstalled remotely. When this happened, we arranged a temporary bandwidth increase from Ship Equip allowing us to reinstall several hundred megabytes of data
Ship Equip fleet manager Frank Bjoernsen is in charge of keeping the network up and running
within hours. The VSAT connection has saved us both in time and travel expenses for support personnel, but more importantly it also prevented possible off hire of a vessel.’ Increasing volumes Rederi AB Transatlantic is not unusual in transferring 20Gb of data each month. In fact, they turn out to be a pretty average user. Earlier this year, Ship Equip ran some reports on the usage of its VSAT services across 770 ships. It found that monthly transmissions per vessel equated to 19.7Gb. This is more than double when the company carried out a similar survey one year previously, when most ships piped 9.1Gb. These figures did not come as a surprise to Ship Equip’s fleet manager Frank Bjoernsen: ‘We have seen this trend for a long time. A few years ago shipowners were more cautious and only deployed a small number of PCs onboard their ships - one in the wheelhouse, one in the machine room and maybe one in the mess.’ Such apprehension is gradually disappearing. ‘Today it is not uncommon for our customers to install WiFi networks and allow many more PCs on board, both for operational and personal use. One reason is that they have deployed corporate IT systems that
Most of our customers are on a 128kbps link. Yet they still manage to clock up volumes of between 10 and 15Gb/month Frank Bjoernsen, Ship Equip
require online access to the land office. ‘Troubleshooting equipment failures by sending pictures of the damaged equipment to vendors has become a popular way of getting acceptance of the problem and a quick response from the suppliers. Others file applications for port access and complete procedures to comply with environmental requirements before entering restricted waters.’ Bjoernsen attributes initial nervousness to previous experience with metered ‘pay-by-themegabyte’ type solutions, which – with too much data going backwards and forwards – could quickly get expensive. For a vessel transmitting 19.7Gb/month on SEVSAT, Ship Equate states the typical monthly bill will be around $3500, which equates to $0.175/Mb. With a fixed monthly charge, one would expect that rate to fall as usage increases. ‘Though we are seeing a shift towards 256kbps, most of our customers are on a 128kbps link. Yet they still manage to clock up volumes of between 10 and 15Gb/month. So the growth in data volumes cannot be attributed to high bandwidth users raising the average,’ explains Bjoernsen. ‘We continually monitor bandwidth usage and when the utilisation [of a particular satellite beam] reaches 70% within a segment of ships, we add more bandwidth to ensure there is always a margin for growth and to handle peaks. After all we want to make sure customers get what they are paying for.’ MITE October/November 2010
VSAT vindicated in Pacific vortex project
© Andrea Neal, Ph.D
In the broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists a subtropical gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. However, the area has in recent decades become increasingly home to something altogether less natural: small plastic pellets. The North Pacific gyre acts a giant vortex accumulating waste materials – primarily, plastic – that finds its way into the sea from countries around the world. The environmental activist group Greenpeace estimates that around 10% of all plastic produced annually ends up in the ocean. Of this, 70% eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor, while the rest floats or stays suspended as a translucent soup just below the ocean’s sur16
MITE October/November 2010
VSAT-based satcoms is playing a vital role in communicating the findings of a scientific project investigating a ʻplastic soupʼ accumulating below the surface of the Pacific Ocean face; much of it ending up in gyres. In some areas of the North Pacific gyre, it is thought the amount of plastic outweighs plankton by a ratio of six to one. Since it primarily consists of suspended particulates, the vortex is not visible on satellite photography despite its size and density. Nor, on visual inspection, does it appear as a continuous debris field because the
We depend on real-time updates from oceanographers and weather experts to help us locate areas of the greatest accumulations of plastic Leonara Carey, Project Kaisei
plastics break down to ever smaller polymers. In fact, these marine garbage patches can only be defined as an area in which the mass of plastic debris in the upper water column is significantly higher than average. Over the last two years, the Ocean Voyages Institute has conducted two expeditions to the North Pacific Gyre in a mission known as Project Kaisei. Institute president and project cofounder Mary Crowley commented: ‘This kind of manmade waste is now found in all of the world’s oceans. We want to increase awareness of the gyre in order to stem the flow of these materials into the oceans, as well as initiate a clean-up to help the natural eco-systems recover.’ Kaisei means ‘ocean planet’ in Japanese, and is the name of the iconic tall ship that was one of the two research vessels in the expedition. The other was the New Horizon, a Scripps Oceanography vessel. Each vessel ob-
tained a wide variety of samples from the polluted waters which are now undergoing analysis. What was immediately evident however was the pervasiveness of small plastic debris. It was found in every surface sample net that was taken over a total voyage of 3500 miles. When Project Kaisei launched its second expedition this summer, in addition to measuring the extent of the problem, the team tested an array of marine debris collection systems. The researchers will then take the collected debris to test the feasibility of detoxifying it and/or convert into fuel or other useful material. Apart from this research effort, there appear to be no other solutions on the horizon. Moreover many believe it is not possible to clean such a vast region and the aim has shifted towards more responsible handling of waste on shore (which also avoids the complications in solving problems in international waters). Because the objectives of the expeditions are two-fold – to increase our understanding and to raise awareness – their success can be measured in terms of the research team’s ability to commu-
The Project Kaisei team are collecting, measuring and analysing plasticladen seawater
nicate its scientific findings and to keep media and interested members of the public up to date with activities onboard ship. This has largely been achieved thanks to the generous contribution of satcoms equipment from Marlink. Through its sponsorship, the Norwegian satcoms provider is providing airtime via its WaveCall Ku-band VSAT service for the project. Marlink chief executive Tore Morten Olsen is unsurprisingly happy for the company to be associated with the mission: ‘Marlink is one of the largest providers of satellite communications to the global shipping industry. It is therefore vital that we support and encourage projects such as Kaisei in the important research needed to make the world’s shipping lanes safer and ecologically viable for the shipping operators, their crews and passengers.’ Project Kaisei’s Leonara Carey shed additional light on the importance of reliable satcoms:
‘Being able to communicate with our various teams on shore during our expedition is vital. We depend on real-time updates from oceanographers and weather experts to help us locate areas of the greatest accumulations of plastic trash. We also communicate through our blog and email to provide the latest information, photographs and video for use by international media outlets.’ Key requirements for the expedition were to have the ability to upload streaming video of live interviews, post edited videos and photographs for use by media outlets and to post video, photographs and daily blogs to the project’s website. In addition to the hardware, technical support was important to ensure everything keeps functioning as it should. There is no doubt Marlink’s equipment is being put to good use, with considerable quantities of data of various kinds being sent to/from shore. During the 2009 voyage, Institute founderMary Crowley, the scientific staff and other crew members conducted several live radio interviews from Kaisei from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Voyage Tracker application, which allowed team members to organise videos, blogs and photo-
MITE October/November 2010
graphs of daily events and geo-locate the expedition in real-time, was dependent on a robust link. This year, the connection was used predominantly for text-based daily blogs updates. However, notes Carey, demand for data onboard is continuously increasing to meet the ongoing requirement to communicate findings with the project’s global audience. She adds: ‘During expeditions we receive messages and questions from individuals wanting current updates about what we are finding in the North Pacific Gyre. In the future, we are looking at facilitating real-time responses to their queries.’ Most data is transmitted as email and, when necessary, attachments. It is simple but effective. ‘We would like to have the ability to use FTP to post large photo and video files, if the connection with the satellite is available,’ says Carey. Because Kaisei is a sailing
MITE October/November 2010
It is vital that we support and encourage projects such as Kaisei ... to make the worldʼs shipping lanes safer and ecologically viable Tore Morten Olsen, Marlink
ship, there are severe restrictions on where the antenna can be placed. ‘The difficulty is that it is not possible to mount the antenna on the masts, so it must be mounted at deck level and on a stable and secure platform,’ Carey explains. The low height of the antenna prevents a good line of sight to the satellite, and thus overall performance. In fact, the satcoms is only usable on a south or west heading. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that satellite coverage in the mid-Pacific region, where the project team conducts most of its work, is not good. ‘We understand the limitations and scale back usage ac-
cordingly, for example by compressing images and video footage (most of which is taken in high-definition) before sending ashore,’ says Carey. That said, the research team should be thankful the gyre formed in the North Pacific and not the South, where Ku-band coverage is even more patchy. According to Marlink, this comes down to commercial realities more than anything else. The available coverage is limited to the northern part of the South Pacific due to low demand for Ku-band services in the southern areas. Because the area is uninhabited and has no significant trade routes, and little in the way of cruise traffic or offshore oil and gas activity, no satellite owner has found it commercially attractive to cover the area with Ku-band. Vessels entering the area for research or fishery (if any) have to make do with C- or L-band satellite capacity.
Calling home from the South Pacific Launched in 1998, the 156m Paul Gauguin is the longest continually operating luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific. She was built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti and French Polynesia, accessing smaller bays and inlets that larger ships cannot reach. But to provide passengers who have paid top dollar to experience these untouched and beautiful destinations with all the comforts of a land-based luxury resort requires considerable effort. And such comforts, these days, invariably have to include ample electronic entertainment and communications. To that end, in a recent upgrade project, the vessel’s owners completely revamped the onboard satellite TV system and infrastructure for making calls on GSM mobile phones. The company turned to MTN Satellite Communications (MTN) to deliver live network TV programming, as well as supplementary services such as WiFi Internet connections and daily newspaper downloads. ‘With MTN Worldwide TV, passengers can access their favourite news, sports and entertainment programs while cruising thousands of miles from home,’ said Diane Moore, the cruise company’s executive vice president. Paul Gauguin Cruises is the eighth cruise line to sign up for the MTN Worldwide TV service. MTN’s Brent Horwitz says the product has been an unprecedented success: ‘We now have more than 40 ships with a total of more than 35 000 passenger cabins receiving our satellite TV broadcasts.’
Vessels sailing the southern seas have less choice when it comes to satcoms connectivity, but this didnʼt stop one cruise ship operator from bringing their electronic passenger amenities into the 21st century
Introduced in February, the satellite TV service delivers programming from major networks such as BBC World News, CNBC, E! Entertainment Television, Fox News, MSNBC, Sky News and Sky Sports News. MTN is also looking to develop additional options including foreign language broadcasts and major sporting events. Broadband connections to the ship are facilitated by a link on MTN’s worldwide C-band satellite network. The ship’s service plan calls for guaranteed uncontended bandwidth with the ability to burst to faster data speeds as needed to support higher traffic loads. As explained in this month’s feature on Project Kaisei (pp1416), the South Pacific is – for commercial reasons – not well served by Ku-band, leaving C-
The Paul Gauguin has undergone more than $25M in enhancements since entering into service in 1998
band VSAT or Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband as the only viable options. On top of the standard antenna installation, the Paul Gauguin employs MTN’s StreamXcel system, which provides data compression and bandwidth optimisation in order to get the most out of the satellite link. For mobile telephony, Paul Gauguin Cruises selected Norwegian firm Maritime Communications Partner (MCP). Cruise company president and chief executive Richard Bailey explains how this decision was reached: ‘One of main criteria was whether or not the chosen company could carry out the necessary installation work while the ship was still in operation and quickly bring the vessel back online with minimal disruption.’ The hardware fitted by MCP covers both GSM and CDMA standards for mobile, thereby allowing passengers (and for that matter crew members, who can also subscribe to MCP’s CrewSIM service to benefit from reduced calling rates) to use their handsets for voice, text and data communications in the same way they might on land. In addition to removing the predecessor system and setting up the new equipment, the contract also sees MCP carry out system integration and on-going network maintenance. ‘Immediately I noticed an overall improvement in signal coverage onboard the ship,’ says the maritime technical veteran Jan Erik Andersen currently serving as Paul Gauguin’s owner’s representative. ‘I expect this will directly translate to greater passenger satisfaction and an increase in use.’ MITE October/November 2010
Stena Line lines up free passenger WiFi To deliver the new service, the ferry operator had to negotiate considerable additional bandwidth from its satcoms provider Marlink. The Stena fleet will now have access to 8Mbps capacity, shared in a ‘closed user group’, which should be sufficient for passenger websurfing needs as they sail. Specifically, Marlink will provide satellite telephony to 34 ships and Internet access to a slightly smaller subset of 27. It will carry out the necessary upgrades to the ship-to-shore network on all the vessels, including the world’s largest super-ferry, Stena Hollandica, which sails between Hoek van Holland and Harwich. Marlink has enjoyed a good relationship with Stena for some years now. Chief executive Tore Morten Olsen notes they were instrumental in development of new services: ‘They were our first customer to offer pay-peruse through our Internet@Sea Prepaid Surf service.’ The four year contract renewal bodes well for continued innovation. Tommy Dybvad, Marlink’s director for the cruise and ferry segment, told MITE: ‘The operator has offered its passengers Internet connectivity as paid 20
MITE October/November 2010
Stena Line is to become the first major ferry operator to offer free WiFi-based Internet access to passengers across its fleet in a bid to stand out and attract customers from rivals in what is an increasingly cut-throat business
service for close to five years. But, they decided now was the time to open it up as a free service. In many ways they are emulating a trend seen in hotels on land, which increasingly offer Internet as an inclusive service in order to gain a competitive edge. Offered two otherwise identical hotels, but one with breakfast and web-access included in the price, which would you go for?’ The free service was first introduced as a trial on an Irish Sea route at the end of last year. When logging on from their lap-
While you wouldnʼt expect anyone to intentionally download a movie on a ferry crossing, what happens is that these applications tend to launch automatically when the computer is booted up
top PCs or web-enabled phones, passengers would first be presented with a splash screen, which included a link to more information about onboard services. Notes Dybvad: ‘This was a simple and non-intrusive step to help raise awareness of restaurants, duty-free shopping opportunities and other potential revenue drivers aboard ship. After the splash screen, they are free to point their browsers to other websites.’ But offering a free web service across the whole fleet is very different from serving one vessel. The biggest issue is the number of passengers. Last year Stena Line carried over 15 million passengers (as well as 3.3 million cars and 1.6 million freight units). A simple back of the envelope calculation indicates it could therefore be carrying more than 40 000 passengers across its fleet on any single day. Dybvad admits the service would struggle if they all tried to go online simultaneously: ‘It would be virtually impossible for anyone to dimension a maritime service for such numbers. But in the real world, actual levels of access are less and fluctuate according to the time of day and also the season.’ Nonetheless, to provide the
best possible service within practical and financial constraints, Marlink has made considerable efforts in reducing the amount of traffic that needs to go over the satellite link without impacting on the end-user experience, especially during peak hours. It has already employed content filters, and in the coming months will roll out cache-engines, as well as a variety of optimisations at its Eik land-station in Norway. The cacheing system was developed especially for this project. ‘We have deployed similar technology for other ship operators to improve the performance of their administration applications, but nothing on this scale,’ notes Dybvad. A cache retains a local copy of frequently accessed data – in the case of Stena, web-pages – so that they don’t have to be repeatedly transmitted over the satellite. For the end-user, it means also the page is served more quickly. The technique is particularly suited to popular news and media sites. The content filters prevent bandwidth hungry websites and
applications, such as web video (ie, YouTube), VoIP (ie, Skype) and also peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading. Explains Dybvad: ‘While you wouldn’t expect anyone to intentionally set in motion a P2P to download a movie on a ferry crossing, what happens is that these applications tend to come on automatically when the computer is booted up, often without the passenger realising it. This is especially likely if mum or dad have let their teenage children use the machine at home. We have to anticipate all sorts of users including non-savvy ones.’ For Stena, fleet-wide web-access may also make it a more family-friendly option than rival services. ‘Ferry trips are generally not much fun for younger passengers. They will now be able to access their FaceBook and use online chat services to help pass the time and give Mum and Dad some peace.’ Interestingly, for the time being, the operator is not phasing out its paid-for Internet on-
Ferry trips are generally not much fun for younger passengers. They will now be able to access FaceBook and
Onboard web connectivity is seen as important to entice and entertain younger passengers
board access services, or for that matter physical kiosks. ‘Kiosks still have a role to play. While you can do a lot from smartphones, sometimes it is easier to review larger documents on a proper sized screen and respond with a full size keyboard. Because the passenger is paying for the privilege, it means extra money in the kitty for the vessel operator too.’ However, there will be a point in the future – and probably not too distant future – when almost all passengers bring their own devices aboard and when the costs of administering and maintaining such kiosks exceed the revenue they bring in. But even when that time arrives, retaining the infrastructure for paid services allows the operator to offer differentiated quality of service for corporate customers. ‘Through the paid service, we have a means of delivering a faster, less congested connection to the web. Many vessels on routes in the Baltic are sold also as conference venues and not just transport from A to B. It is not hard to imagine the companies involved paying extra for a higher quality connection.’
Irish ferries move online IRISH FERRY operator Fastnet Line has entered a three-year contract for satcoms services from Marlink. The Norwegian provider will install its Sealink VSAT solution on board Julia, Fastnetʼs flagship vessel, providing Internet connectivity for both passengers and crew. ʻPassengers will be able to log on to the Internet and make telephone calls on board. It should also improve operational efficiency by strengthening communications between the vessel and head office ashore,ʼ comments Fastnetʼs manager of operations Owen Barry. The Ku-band VSAT service will provide Julia up to 128kbps bandwidth, as well as 10 simultaneous telephone channels and an administration LAN connected over a virtual private network. In addition, the contract includes Marlinkʼs Prepaid Talk and Internet@sea services, which can be sold to passengers at Fastnetʼs own defined rate.
use online chat to help pass the time. MITE October/November 2010
Ka-band will work, even in the rain MITE has obtained further details on Inmarsatʼs recently announced Ka-band high-speed maritime broadband service, Global Xpress
Against the backdrop of Comsysʼ annual VSAT conference, Inmarsatʼs Leo Mondale shed more light on the intended operational model for the Ka-band service, which it plans to have operational by 2014, to a captivated audience comprised mainly of incumbent Ku-band VSAT suppliers. The technology behind GlobalXpress will be optimised for simplified, low-cost delivery. For example, with regards to ground infrastructure, Inmarsat plans to follow the same rationalised strategy as for its current FleetBroadband service, by keeping the number of teleports to a minimum. The trio of satellites, said Mondale, will not be based on ʻbleeding edgeʼ technology but on proven Ka-band hardware. However, in contrast to the majority of Ka-band satellites currently in service, the circuits will be optimised for coverage, not throughput. This is understandable in as far as maritime is the overriding target market for Inmarsat. Anticipated secondary markets include government and military customers, the energy industry (both off- and on-shore), large corporate entities and telcos (to
provide wireless backhaul in remote areas). Interestingly, aeronautical was also relegated to a secondary market. ʻWe will not be building at the edge of the technological envelope because we know we have to contend with adverse, non-optimal conditions. In short, we are expecting it to rain,ʼ Mondale stated. He hinted that weather resistance ‒ primarily the ability to cope with rain-fade ‒ will be broadly equivalent to present day Kuband services. The similarities to Ku-band do not end there. Inmarsat expects the service to be delivered across 60cm antennas. ʻThis is the sweet-spot. Owners and operators are already used to accommodating this size on their vessels.ʼ Each of the satellites will have 89 fixed beams and six high-capacity overlay (HCO) beams to allow bandwidth stacking where appetite for data is highest. ʻWe need to take into account real-world lumpiness in geographic and data demand,ʼ explained Mondale, adding that this specification will also provide flexibility to configure services for both mobile (sea-based) and fixed
Inmarsat does not plan co-locating its proposed Ka-band satellites on the same orbit as its existing I4 constellation
(land-based) antenna sites. Mondale also revealed that Inmarsat is not planning to build dual function Ka-/L-band terminals. In their role as satellite operator, this eliminates the complexities and challenges of orbital co-location with the existing I4 constellation. ʻKeeping things separate will also benefit our customers in terms of ensuring redundancy. Besides, many mobile assets [Ed: read ʻshipsʼ] will already be fitted with L-band terminals.ʼ This approach goes to supports Mondaleʼs assertion that L-band will remain relevant, despite widespread speculation that Ka-band could cannibalise the companyʼs existing services (and those of competing Kuband providers). ʻL-band will remain an attractive proposition
in highly cost-sensitive markets, such as low-end merchant shipping.ʼ He added it will also have a role in complementing Ka-band services to ensure ʻbulletproof connectivityʼ, akin to the way a growing number of current Kuband adopters are doing as a failover. Mondale was obviously short on details relating to how the service will be marketed to end-users: whether Inmarsat will try sticking to its pay-asyou-go model or will switch to an all-you-can-eat model, which in the view of the MITE editorial desk would seem to be the more sensible option. What Mondale did make quite clear, however, is that Inmarsat intends to remain a wholesaler, working in conjunction with its network of distribution partners. Inmarsat has stated that GlobalXpress will be able to offer downlink speeds up to 50Mbps and up to 5Mbps on the uplink. For sake of comparison, typical Ku-band services on the market today offer a maximum 8Mb/1Mb, though ultimately it comes down to how much the end-customer is willing to pay.
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Itʼs good to talk, or is it? Crew welfare is often considered purely in terms of providing crew with the means to phone home as cheaply and frequently as possible, but an altogether different conclusion was reached by the delegates – representing a broad cross-section of the industry – who convened in London for ACI’s 5th Maritime Communications and Technology Summit in October. In what was a breath of fresh air, delegates discounted the mantra promulgated for most of the last decade – often but not exclusively by vendors of satcoms services (who obviously have a vested interest) – that ‘more communication equals happier, more productive crew’. Ian Lewis of NSSL, a UK provider that earlier this year won a major five year contract to provide Shell’s shipping business, STASCo, with a wireless broadband service across its fleet of 70 plus oil and LNG carriers, was one of the first to suggest that ‘Internet-enabled crew wel24
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Easier communication alone does not result in happier, more productive crew, conclude delegates at ACIʼs maritime technology conference
fare’ is not always good for the atmosphere onboard. ‘For example, crew no longer eat together. They prefer to return to their cabins and go online. But similar concerns were raised when crew started having DVD players in their cabins. There does seem to be growing isolationism, but this could be a side-effect of manning vessels
They prefer to return to their cabins and go online. But similar concerns were raised when crew started having DVD players in their cabins
Ian Lewis, NSSL
with multi-cultural crews. That said, demonstrating a preference for virtual socialising over faceto-face socialising mirrors bigger trends happening in society.’ One reason too much communication can turn into a negative is that crew feel in closer proximity to problems at home, but experience frustration since they are unable to resolve those problems. This can go on to damage morale, and, potentially, become a safety hazard if minds are wandering in different directions from the job at hand. One Turkish operator shared a remarkably simple solution to maintaining morale: football. With vessels manned by an all Turkish crew, he found the best way to keep spirits up (and ensure retention) was to bring satellite TV onboard so they could watch Turkish football matches together. A more serious point to emerge during the course of the discussion, however, was the divergence in attitude between crewing and/or technical man-
Back office blues CHRISTOPHE VANNESTE, director of ICT for Exmar Shipmanagement, offered a profound insight into the conflicting pressures acting on a typical shipping company IT department: ʻWe are effectively trapped ‒ being asked to do more with less. Budgets are subject to much closer scrutiny in light of the current economic climate.ʼ Items coming under more rigorous examination include proposals for staff training and software upgrades, as well as travelling to fix remote machines. ʻWe have to ask ourselves: are these things really necessary? Will they deliver additional value?ʼ Vanneste, who joined the Antwerp-based management company and the marine industry in January this year after working in IT departments for several blue-chip companies, went on to explain that 95% of ITʼs traditional role was to ʻkeep the lights onʼ, ie, to make sure that the servers stayed online. ʻOnce software had been rolled out and bedded in, the primary focus is to keep everything ticking over. However, this approach leaves very little room for innovation.ʼ ʻWe need to be more strategic, pro-active rather than re-active.ʼ In his view, work on innovative projects aimed at getting more from less should account for half the IT departmentʼs time, not half an hour at the end of the day.
agement agencies, who are generally speaking ‘pro crew-welfare’, and the shipowners, who control the purse strings and tend to be ambivalent at best. Meanwhile, Torm’s executive vice president Claus Jensen was quite candid in summing up his company’s experience of maritime broadband. ‘VSAT is a not quick fix for crew welfare. Technology itself does not solve problems. It creates new possibilities and, at the same time, new challenges.’ Jensen told delegates that replacing a lost crew member costs Torm in the order of US$50 000. This ballpark figure includes training the new cadet as well as the indirect costs of taking experienced crew members away from their day-to-day work in order to do mentoring etc. Torm vessels are currently equipped with a relatively generous 256kbps VSAT link. Jensen said while higher bandwidths are available, they were too expensive in the current economic climate. One of the challenges faced by Torm soon after crew were granted access to the Internet was ship PCs being infected by viruses, a situation Adonis Vio-
laris of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement could readily sympathise with. Violaris was keen to reiterate his experience of vessel email systems being overwhelmed by spam. Apart from the inconvenience and wasted bandwidth, it is not unheard of for such messages to carry malicious payloads, which if activated, can cause untold damage to PCs wired to the vessel’s local area network. Bernhard Schulte has recently deployed enterprisegrade anti-virus software in an effort to stem this constant barrage, and Violaris reports that, so far, it has been 80-85% effective in eliminating unwanted messages from reaching the company’s vessels. The solution employed by Torm’s in-house IT department was less restrained: ‘At one point, they put in place a set of filters that were so strict they closed off almost the whole web to crew on board,’ a kneejerk response that Claus felt was misguided. In his mind: ‘Torm invested considerable resources in bringing net connectivity to crews and did so for a reason. They should have focused on eliminating the viruses – not locking down the
Technology itself does not solve problems. It creates new possibilities and, at the same time, new challenges Claus Jensen, Torm
crew link to the extent it is virtually unusable.’ The view on the MITE editorial desk is that there are limits to what technology can do defuse spam and virus attacks. Surely there is mileage to be gained from educating the crew on the potential risks, thus reducing the problem at its source? Jensen went on to explain that while Internet access is important, it is not a complete solution: ‘Other communications channels, such as hard-copy newsletters and bulletins, still have a role to play.’ But perhaps, most telling, were the results of a crew satisfaction survey Torm carried out earlier in the year. Though seven of the ten most popular requests were indeed related to improved communications while at sea, overall the most important was to receive pay on time – an insight that really brings home the life that seafarers must endure.
Conditional concerns DURING A break-out session on condition monitoring, delegates expressed concern about a possible conflict of interest arising from sending operational data back to OEMs/equipment suppliers. This is because, in the majority of cases, these same manufacturers are set to benefit financially from any additional servicing or spare part sales that were deemed necessary after analysing the data. The only way to overcome this would be to shift to a radically different business model, by which owners only pay for when equipment is operational (and not for downtime). However, such a dramatic change is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. A somewhat less paranoid, more down-to-earth worry related to the extra complexity that can result when multiple equipment types are hooked up with sensors and other condition monitoring paraphernalia. Does this speak of a need for a common protocol allowing these systems to share the same cabling and other infrastructure?
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Crankshaft sensors lift engine eﬃciency Wärtsilä has come up with a new ‘intelligent combustion monitoring system’ for its two-stroke diesel engines. The system provides ship operators with data to optimise vessel engine performance and information on the condition of components in the combustion chamber. According to Wärtsilä, by operating at optimal firing pressures, fuel cost savings of up to 2% compared to deteriorated parameters can be achieved. Furthermore, the condition information ensures that maintenance is carried out at the right time, thereby avoiding off-hire costs and improving the engine’s reliability and overall performance. In detail, the new system measures the pressures in each cylinder during the entire combustion process, continuously, in parallel, and under all load conditions. By monitoring the exact position of the crankshaft, and in combination with advanced mathematical modelling of the engine, it provides accurate, realtime data for diagnostic analysis. The engine-builder states that conventional cylinder pressure measurement systems, such as portable pressure indicators, or on-line systems that measure the combustion pressure cylinder by cylinder in a scanning sequence, are influenced by movements of the fuel rack, rpm variations, and sea conditions. Monitored data covers, among other things, the thermal overload of individual cylinders; the mechanical overload of individual cylinders; the optimal fuel efficiency; power readings; the condition of the cylinders; load dependent monitoring of the combustion parameters; compar26
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Wärtsilä has devised an ingenious way of fitting sensors into its two-stroke engines to improve the accuracy of the data it collects for condition monitoring
isons between cylinders; and the tracking of gas leaks due to worn liners or broken piston rings. The technology – based essentially on the Cylmate system the engine-builder hived off from ABB – can be wired up to its existing performance and condition monitoring solution, which automatically transmits data to Wärtsilä’s server for further evaluation by engine experts, and provides structured reporting to vessel technical managers. Meanwhile, the latest creation to emerge from Kongsberg’s Maritime Simulation & Training division is a sophisticated Green Ship Engine Room Simulator (ERS) based on a Wärstilä 12RT-flex 82C low-speed common-rail engine. The scenario for the simulated ship model is a modern ‘Green Ship’ financed and operated by a shipowner, who is ‘deeply concerned’ about environmental issues, and who has also built a fuel efficient / lowemission containership using well-proven, commercially available technical solutions. The simulated ship has a high normal operating speed of 26kt and the propulsion machinery is adapted for all ambient tempera-
ture conditions, ranging from arctic (-40°C) to tropic (45°C), allowing new trading routes. The new ERS model offers highly realistic training based on the above conditions, to ensure optimal performance whilst reducing emissions. The RT Flex simulator model also includes a Sankey diagram, making it easy to visualise the energy efficiency of the engine room plant. ‘Although many of our ERS models offer Green Ship functionality, the RT-flex model features the most comprehensive fuel efficiency and emission reduction functionality that we have developed so far,’ explains Leif Pentti Halvorsen, Kongsberg Maritime’s product manager for engine room and cargo handling simulators. ‘The increased focus on Green Ship simulation is a result of growing interest from environmentally conscious owners, who are seeking to use more efficient engines like the Wärstilä 12RT-flex in the future.’ Instead of the usual mechanically-controlled fuel injection pumps and exhaust valve drives of Wärtsilä RTA engines, the RTflex82C has an electronically-controlled common-rail system, meaning that the engine room operation differs from that of other ships, so there is a requirement for specific training on this system. The new ERS model simulates the Wärtsilä Engine Control System (WECS) which triggers the electro-hydraulic rail valves for the respective functions, in addition to simulating a wealth of technical aspects including waste heat and thermal oil tank heating system. The model also simulates a selective catalytic reduction exhaust convertor, cutting the NOx emission by about 90%.
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Shipowners shape softwareʼs future Among the key topics to be discussed during the official proceedings were condition monitoring, working smarter with class societies, inventory and purchase order management, and enhanced usability. One of Nautical System’s longest customers, OSG Ship Management, also explained how they are refactoring their installation to cope with the challenges of maintaining an ever growing database that must be accessed from multiple sites (but more on that next issue). Condition monitoring ‘Machines don’t die; they’re murdered,’ was the emotive statement that senior engineer Domenic Carlucci, used to kickoff the opening session which tackled the practical challenges of implementing a condition monitoring (CM) regime. His point, of course, is that invasive maintenance – opening a piece of equipment up to check all its components are in good order – can often do more damage than good. ‘Even world-class surgeons have been known to leave items of medical equipment in the pa28
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This October, MITE was invited to ABS Nautical Systemʼs annual user conference to learn how ship operators and owners are helping shape the future development of this already mature ship and fleet maintenance planning application tients they’ve operated on. The same goes for the machinery on board ship,’ said Carlucci, adding tha the trick is ‘to know when the right time is to fix something before it blows up, resulting in a hefty repair bill as well as significant off-hire losses.’ Although CM has come a long way in the maritime industry, with periodic oil sample analysis and vibration testing being the preferred means of making sure equipment is performing as it should, it still languishes behind the offshore energy or land-based plant industries. One reason for the slow uptake is the difficulty in getting the collected data or samples analysed. Unlike chemical plants or oil refineries, shipowners cannot afford to employ highly qual-
While invasive maintenance cannot be avoided entirely, it can be minimised
ified scientist on-site, ie aboard their vessels, so the data or sample has to be despatched ashore for proper analysis, with results coming back later. To address this, ABS Nautical Systems has created an XMLbased open standard to allow external agencies to feed the results of their deep analyses back into the NS5 database. At the simplest level, these results can be presented to endusers as a traffic light indicator. Depending on the status, they can then drill down to view descriptions of potential problems and associated remedial actions to prevent further deterioration. This XML-based approach also allows images to be imported and stored in the database for future reference. In practice, the heavy analysis data received from specialist agencies will be imported to the shore-based headquarters, with only a small subset then replicated out to vessels at sea. One shipowner had a more down-to-earth question: how to mark the completion of an analysis job? Should it be marked com-
plete when the data is despatched for analysis? Or after the analysis agency has registered receipt? Or when the results arrive back on ship? In the latter cases, the job will continue to be flagged as outstanding even after the crew have fulfilled what is expected of them. The conclusion from the ensuing debate was that this really comes down to individual preference. Though technical workarounds are, in theory, possible, Nautical Systems is keen to avoid over-complexity and overautomation. Their philosophy is that the chief engineer should remain in control. But perhaps a more fundamental reason behind shipowners’ apparent reluctance to embrace CM is the conflict that occurs in trying to implement conditionbased maintenance and time-between-overhaul maintenance at the same time. The raison d’etre of
Superintendents face more admin to satisfy corporate compliance requirements
a system like Nautical Systems’ NS5 is to tell the crew onboard when a job needs to be done. Class integration In the following session, Nautical Systems’ Chris McCourt gave at-
tending shipowners an update on features undergoing development to ease the workload in preparing for class surveys and other classification requirements. ‘We want to realise a ‘pipeline’ for a collaborative ap-
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Operators discover home-grown training proach in preparing for surveys,’ said McCourt. In other words, the intention is to achieve closer integration between maintenance management and class. For the time being, Nautical Systems’ collaboration is – as might be expected – closest with ABS. While it has not ruled out working with other societies, no specific timelines have been set. Going forward, the company indicated a desire to reduce reliance on PDFs when exchanging information back and forth between ship and class, instead moving towards ‘soft-data’ exchange. Nautical Systems was sympathetic to the concerns voiced by some delegates on whether this would lead to too much data becoming visible to class societies. ‘Data exchange is a two-way process, but the shipowner will ultimately retain control on what information class can see,’ reassured McCourt. McCourt also spoke of the need to ‘close the loop’ with respect to incorporating CM into shipowners’ dealings with class. To this end, Nautical Systems has added a feature that will gener-
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ONE OF the major challenges faced in the implementation of any electronic planned maintenance system is making sure the crew onboard ship are happy to and know how to use it. Everyone knows that training is essential, but this generally easier said than done. While there are a variety of formal training options available, some operators have discovered that sometimes simpler home-grown solutions, which are tailor-made for the individual needs of their crew, work better. Over lunch, MITE heard from one operator that had taken to producing a series of YouTubestyle videos each covering certain key tasks their crew needed to be familiar with. These videos would be supplied to the fleet via periodic CD-ROMs/DVDs and then watched on any PC. Another operator ran annual/bi-annual two-hour weekly workshops. The idea was to avoid lecture-style teaching and place the focus squarely on hands-on tutorials. The crew members would be set a number of typical tasks that they had to complete on their own steam. If they reached an impasse, occasional guidance would be given by in-house pros. A common strand however were the difficulties faced in pitching the training at an appropriate level. In addition to individual aptitude, this related to the degree which crew had to interact with the system. On tanker barges, for example, NS5 or similar maintenance database systems are probably overkill; it is easier and more effective to use a simple maintenance whiteboard. But for corporate compatibility, a stripped down version of the electronic system might be installed purely for making purchase orders.
ate CM reports for class surveys, based on standards introduced by IACS. He noted, however, that class rules relating to CM are still a work in progress, with significant scope for further evolution. Some of the owners who had tested the existing feature set said that while they saw its po-
tential, more work is required to streamline the workflow.
An XML-based open standard should make condition monitoring data more portable
Inventory management One feature to get an audience thumbs-up was the introduction of so-called serialised items. These are pieces of inventory that can be individually registered entered into the NS database without being associated to a particular vessel. It is intended for equipment types that might be moved from ship to ship over their useful lifetimes. The NS development team plan to carry out further fine-tuning and additions to the actions that can be performed on these items. Nautical Systems also took the opportunity of the conference to present its bar-coding solution as a potential means of streamlining inventory management. Several different types of ruggedised handheld scanner and label printers were demonstrated to the attending ship operators. (Notably, the scanners are futureproofed in as far as they can read both traditional one-dimensional codes as well as contemporary 2D ‘pixelated square’ codes). While generally receptive of the concept, there was some consternation expressed about the time and resources needed to get the system up and running. One
estimate is that it would take between two and three weeks for everything on a small tug or work boat to be labelled up; though portable label printers could speed up the process. Nautical Systems revealed its intention to eventually align parts consumption with work-orders. In other words, if stock of an item falls below a critical threshold, a requisition is automatically generated, requesting crew to initiate a purchase order to replenish. Next up was the topic of purchase order management. As a core function of NS this naturally stimulated a great deal of discussion, particularly with respect to multi-level approval for purchase orders. It is not hard to envisage a situation whereby a technical superintendent needs to check the order from the point of view of content (ie, the requested spare part is the right one), while a shore-based financial officer might be required to sign-off requisitions costing more than a certain amount. The NS team have recently added the ability to ‘black-list’ unauthorised vendors. This would be a necessary safeguard, for example, when ordering certain engine parts that have to match those specified in IMO’s NOx Code to avoid fines or other penalties. It is also intended to help enforce part service contracts with specific equipment suppliers. Elsewhere, NS has enhanced the change logs or audit trails that are automatically created when purchase orders are made or later modified. This comes partly in response to the ever increasing requirements for corporate accountability, whether to satisfy external agencies or for internal compliance.
categories or even individual users. The philosophy here is, when the software is loaded at the beginning of the day, to immediately present users with the information they need to get on with their job, while hiding information that is not relevant. In many cases, key operational parameters can be presented in an
easy to grasp graphical format. For some tasks, graphical indicators have been introduced to show progress through a particular workflow. In addition, the development team have taken pains to reduce the number of tabs throughout the application and to avoid repeating the same information in different views.
Usability matters In a further session, NS explained the steps it has taken to improve the usability of its software. One of the most apparent changes is the introduction of socalled ‘landing pages’, which are configurable for different user MITE October/November 2010
Safer shipping of dangerous goods Dangerous cargoes, whether poisonous, explosive, flammable or even radioactive, are controlled by a plethora of international regulations. And failing to adhere to these rules not only creates a safety risk for personnel (and the environment) coming into close contact with these products, but could also expose the ship operator to fines and other penalties. With a number of new amendments coming into force in January, Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has launched a database service, aptly called GL Cargo, which it says provides a one-stop reference to all equipment requirements on board a vessel. GL marine engineer Friedo Holtermann explains the benefits of the new data-bank: ‘With GL Cargo, planners can just tick off the types of cargo space and goods classes, and then leave the remaining work to our system which can automatically generate a report on all requirements about cargo holds and equipments, such as fire extinguishing system, water supplies, ventilation, detection system, etc.’ GL Cargo contains all provisions of SOLAS II-2/19 (and Amendments) adopted by Resolution MSC 269(85), as well as the revised standard format for the Document of Compliance for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods according to MSC.1/Circ.1266. It covers dangerous goods in packaged form carried by multi-purpose vessels, containerships and ro-ro vessels, as well as solid dangerous goods in bulk shipped by bulk carriers and multi-purpose vessels. Specifically SOLAS II-2/19 sets out a regulatory framework on the safety aspects relating to 32
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The headaches caused by the transport of dangerous goods by sea are more often due to red-tape than the actual fumes they give off
the equipment and design of cargo spaces. Because of its focus on the actual ship construction, the SOLAS regulation differs from the rules imposed by the IMO’s International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDGC) and numerous national and industry bodies that govern the operational aspects of transporting dangerous cargoes, such as handling, packaging, labeling, stowage and segregation. From the outset GL Cargo was not intended to cover these operational requirements, which are already served by a number of commercial offerings. Rather, it was designed as a solution for shipowners, charterers, ship designers and shipyards to help reduce the onerous process of figuring out which particular aspects of the SOLAS rules apply to the ships they are building. Holtermann says: ‘Even for the same type of cargo, the specific requirements might vary depending on the intended cargo space.’ Holtermann believes it will also be helpful for administrations: ‘They need to be capable of deciphering the rules in order to issue the appropriate documents of compliance. Likewise port state officers can use the system in the follow up to an inspection of a vessel carrying dangerous goods. They can refer to the database to quickly check whether or not the ship is suitably equipped for that cargo.’ In its database, GL has imple-
mented a logical structure that will enable end-users to simply select the desired cargo types (flammable, toxic etc) and intended stowage location/mode on the vessel. It will then list the necessary requirements that must be met to be compliant. It is notable that GL Cargo is intended for packaged cargoes, ie those that are delivered to the vessel enclosed by some kind of intermediate containment, as well as bulk cargoes directly loaded into the cargo hold. In addition to Solas requirement, hazardous dry bulks are controlled by the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargo (IMSBC) Code, which was adopted by IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee in 2008. While progressive shipowners have been able to abide by this code
Even for the same cargo, the specific requirements might vary depending on the intended cargo space Friedo Holtermann, Germanischer Lloyd
ShipServ attempts German mind-meld SHIPSERV CONTINUES to strengthen relationships with vendors of ship maintenance management systems in a drive to make its spare parts e-commerce service more visible to vessel superintendents and purchasers The e-commerce company wants to extend its reach to German shipowners through co-operation with two Deutsche software houses, namely Germanischer Lloyd Maritime Software and R+M. The software providers have agreed to develop ʻplug-insʼ which can connect their respective maintenance and purchasing systems used on ships directly to the hundreds of suppliers on ShipServ TradeNet. German customers of ShipServ already include AJ ShipManagement, Alpha Ship Management, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement , Carsten Rehder, ER Schiffahrt, Reederei F. Laeisz, Shipcare Management and Trans Mar-Supply Founder and current chief executive of ShipServ Paul Ostergaard said: ʻIn the last year or so, weʼve
on a voluntary basis since January 2009, it will – from 1 January next year – become mandatory. GL has already developed a separate database-aided service,
seen a marked growth in interest from German owners are looking to save on their procurement costs and improve their business processes.ʼ GL Maritime Software will integrate TradeNet into its GL ShipManager solution, while, R+M will embed TradeNet into its ʻfor.SHIPʼ program. R+Mʼs Oliver Schmitz said: ʻThe whole purchase process can be being completed without media conversion and in structured data. This guarantees an efficient way to communicate with suppliers and handle requisitions.ʼ Similar plug-ins are already available for many of the major ship maintenance management systems, including AmosConnect and BASS, and ABS Nautical Systems. Indeed the latter has further deepened its relationship with the e-commerce provider through a recently announced ʻfar-reaching co-operation initiativeʼ. Ostergaard said: ʻCloser co-operation [with ABS Nautical Systems] will benefit both our client bases in
making it easier and simpler for them to gain full featured e-commerce access from within the NS5 system.ʼ The two companies have helped major operators including OSG, Crowley and Teekay Shipping bring about measurable savings and efficiency gains. For some time, these users have been able to use a direct link from NS5 to ShipServʼs Pages directory to search for suppliers. In its latest incarnation, NS5 will launch Pages internally, pre-populating their product search with data the user has entered in NS5. The next round of development will see ABS Nautical Systems create specific tools to manage Requests For Quotations (RFQs) and Purchase Order file attachments and integration of the ShipServ transaction monitor, enabling purchasers to see a dashboard view on the status of transaction. Plans further down the road include the extension of ShipServ TradeRank to enable ABS NS5 users to submit comments and feedback on sellers.
called GL Protos, to meet these requirements. Holtermann points out that the distinction between the equipment regulations and operational regulations for dry bulk is not as clear as it is for dangerous packaged goods. ‘Owing to a long and convoluted historical legacy, the IMSBC Code incorporates a mix of requirements for both operational and equipment aspects. This makes it hard for the port authorities to judge whether or not a ship is actually compliant for certain cargo types. It is also why they cannot rely on the SOLAS II-2/19 document of compliance alone; they need additional proof demonstrating it complies with the IMSBC Code too.’
SOLAS sets out a regulatory framework on the safety and design of cargo spaces
Also from next year, further amendments to SOLAS II-2/19 will come into force. For several years, says Holtermann, the dangerous cargoes working group of IMO Marine Safety Committee has occupied itself with harmonising the rules for packaged goods in both SOLAS II-2/19 (for equipment) and the IMDGC code (for operation) in order to iron out a number of inconsistencies. ‘Users of GL Cargo, however, need not worry because these modifications have already been incorporated into its database.’ GL Cargo can also generate and print out the Document of Compliance in the new standard format as long as all relevant information about space type and goods classes is uploaded to the database. ‘This brings further convenience to our clients and GL alike,’ says Holtermann. MITE October/November 2010
Ship comms served without spaghetti e
Over the years many vendors have promised plug-and-play satcoms solutions for ships. To date none have really succeeded. The closest we have ever got is probably Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband terminal, which can be fitted within a matter of hours and has relatively simple wiring. The problem with FleetBroadband however is that once connected it will happily transmit whatever data the ship’s captain or members of his crew request, charging them per the megabyte for the privilege of doing so. This might be great news for the accountants at Inmarsat but it isn’t for the costconscious ship operator trying to turn a dime in the current economic climate. Indeed, the industry circle that MITE inhabits is littered with tales of crew downloading movies and similar resulting in runaway costs, to such an extent that ‘bill-shock’ has become a set phrase. To be fair, these reports tend to be anecdotal, but there is no smoke without fire. Of course this is not to accuse Inmarsat. On the contrary, it goes to prove that their marketing hype is more than just hype. It is a testament to how easy FleetBroadband has made it for seafarers to connect to the Internet. Traditionally at this point, suppliers of VSAT systems would interject and argue that their fixed-price monthly contract business model is the solution. But as seen in last issue’s operator case study, many smaller shipping companies just don’t need the additional bandwidth or complexity that VSAT brings. Nor 34
MITE October/November 2010
Establishing a net connection with Inmarsatʼs FleetBroadband is straightforward enough, but the addon systems needed to avoid runaway costs often result in undue complexity. Is there a better way?
can they afford the higher upfront costs. This situation has led to a proliferation of add-on technologies and services – mainly from Inmarsat distribution partners but others too – designed to reduce as much as possible the risk of bill-shock. Some of these addons compress data, others restrict access to certain content types or websites, while others still put a pay-wall in front of crew. These solutions all serve their purpose, but when used in combination (as they often have to be), increase the complexity of the onboard network. Or as, Frank J Coles, president and chief executive of Globe Wireless puts it: ‘You end up with a spaghetti installation. There will be a
iFusion comes with a built-in FB250 terminal
firewall, voice & GSM system, network router, the satellite gateway and other elements too. Together these could cost upwards of US$20 000. They are also costly in terms of maintenance resources, especially over multiple vessels.’ Coles was speaking at the official launch party of Globe iFusion, the latest challenger to fight for the integrated plug-and-play ship satcoms throne. The iFusion sets out to bring together shipboard IP, administrative control, GSM voice, firewalls and a comprehensive crew communications service in a single package. The system has been under development for almost as long as FleetBroadband has been around. It begun when Globe acquired a company by the name of Seawave, and in doing so, gained the intellectual property rights residing in their ‘Integration’ platform. The project received a significant boost earlier this year, when Globe went on to buy Zynetix, a UK firm that was gaining traction in supplying the pico-cell receiver stations that enable GSM phones to be used on board ship. The system comprises a hardware element – the Globe i250 – and a web-ware element – the Globe iPortal. The Globe i250 box actually houses a fullyfledged Inmarsat FleetBroadband 250 terminal, in addition to 16Gb solid-state memory, a 32Gb solidstate disk containing the operational software and some circuitry joining everything together. By itself the box doesn’t do much since all the functionality is delivered remotely from shore through a web interface. From this in-
NSC avoids shock risk
terface, the network manager can control the firewall, web acceleration, crew user profiles, satellite gateways and the least cost routeing priority table. Crew user profiles oversee what individual crew members can and cannot do from making calls to what web-browsing permissions they do or do not have. While the system contains an in-built FB250 terminal, this is not the only way the device can talk to the outside world. Coles said the FB250 was selected as the factory default connection because of its reputation for reliability. But the box has connectors for up to 10 IP inputs. These could be a second faster FB unit, Iridium, VSAT or, when in port, WiFi/WiMAX receivers. When multiple connections exist, the network manager can decide what type takes precedence. The network manager has granular control of the firewall service, allowing him to create different white (or black) lists of accessible (or blocked) URLs. These lists can be set up differently according to the type of connection to the network being used at that time. For example, Facebook might be allowed under a high-capacity VSAT but prohibited under a narrowband Iridium link. Once set up, the rules are switched over fully automatically.
GERMAN SHIP operator NSC will replace its Inmarsat Fleet 77 units with FB250 and will use Telaurus se@COMM software to manage its communications traffic. NSC made the decision to upgrade following a six-month sea trial using the new equipment and concluded that broadband could be an advantage when deployed with Telaurus software to control airtime and applications. An NSC spokesman said: ʻTelaurus gave us a clear picture of what se@COMM could do, how communications can be controlled and how much they would cost. This was validated during the sea trials on the Memphis. ʻWe were particularly concerned to avoid the “bill shock” we know can be encountered when moving to broadband communications. It is important for us to demonstrate to our principals that we are managing the fleet to optimal efficiency. Telaurus confirmed that it is possible to have complete control and visibility of those costs.ʼ NSC selected FB250 from the three Inmarsat broadband services available because it fulfilled the desired level of connectivity with a package that can be easily installed in a retrofit. It provides data speeds fast enough to enable remote access to the shipʼs network, data replication between shoreside and onboard databases and a fax back-up channel. Furthermore, the equipment can largely be installed by ship staff with final commissioning by Telaurus. se@COMM manages email, fax, telex and SMS communications, as well as permitting controlled web-browsing. It also features pre-pricing by the kilobit, enabling users to control their communication spend.
iFusion has connectors for up to 10 IP inputs. When multiple connections exist, the network manager can decide which takes precedence
Who is this network manager? It depends, says Coles, on how hands-on the ship operator wants to be: ‘If they have capacity and willingness to do so, they can manage the whole operation. But we anticipate most don’t have the capacity, or for reasons of efficiency, would prefer to outsource the management to us.’
In the future Globe Wireless intends to offer a fully managed service to operators, effectively taking on the role of insurer against bill-shock. ‘By setting up the correct configuration, we will guarantee the monthly bill won’t exceed a set amount. If it does, we will pay for difference.’ All crew accounts are based on a personalised SIM card and not prepaid scratch cards. Notably, this also applies to webbrowsing, even when they access the Internet over a desktop PC and not the handset containing the SIM. The web acceleration functionality of the iGlobe strips Internet pages of online advertisements and down-samples any images to ensure that crew get the most out of the credit. It will also default to the made-for-mobile version of the web-pages where these are available. Globe Wireless currently charges US$5.5/Mb for crew web access and US$0.55/min for voice calls. ‘It is often said that crew avoid voice calls, largely based on a statement by Blue Ocean Wireless when they tried to break into the onboard GSM market. They reported SMS texts accounted for 87% of their revenue, with voice making up the remainder. We find the opposite. It all comes down to the relative price points.’
UPS power backup
GlobeVoice GSM Base Station antenna
Network connections for shipboard PCs
Additional GSM outgoing lines
GlobeVoice hard line for GSM access
FB antenna connector
FB250 SIM, handset, fax and GPS connectors
Secondary satellite systems (FBB, IOP, VSAT) MITE October/November 2010
Like their commercial cousins, warships only have a limited amount of deck space that can be used for mounting the large antennas to transmit voice and data communications traffic. In an attempt to overcome this limitation, a US Navy R&D lab has engineered a clever scheme to turn the ocean’s most abundant resource into communications equipment: making antennas out of geysers of seawater. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific was looking for a way to reduce the antenna loads on those huge mast arrays seen on most naval warships – the typical vessel has 80 antennas aboard. Aside from the fact that antennas can interfere with each other, piling all that metal that high can increase the ships odds of being picked up on radar. Moreover, not all antennas are needed all the time, so the Spawar Center sought a way to erect a quick, temporary antenna that could just as easily be dismantled. What they came up with is little more than an electromagnetic ring and a water pump. The ring, called a current probe, creates a magnetic field through which the pump shoots a steam of seawater. The invention relies on the magnetic induction properties of the sodium chloride found in seawater. By controlling the height and width of the, the operator can manipulate the frequency at which the antenna transmits and receives. An 80foot-high stream can transmit and receive anywhere from 2 to 400MHz, though much smaller streams can be used for varying other frequencies, ranging from HF through VHF to UHF. The Navy sees the technology as potentially replacing its 80-antenna arrays with just ten 36
MITE October/November 2010
Could temporary jets of seawater be used as functioning radio antennas?
of the seawater antennas operating at various frequencies to cover the entire spectrum currently served. And with a tested range of 30 miles, the antennas can go the distance as well. Outside of military use, the antennas could serve as compact emergency antennas for civilian watercraft, communication systems on offshore oil rigs. Perhaps, on land, municipal water fountains could even be turned into mobile phone masts! Speaking of mobile phones, it appears that sea caves can act as serviceable signal amplifiers. This is the conclusion reached by Joel Johnson, a keen diver who was cruising California's Channel Islands. One of the best parts of the trip for Joel is that his ‘cell phone’ works only intermittently even along the mainland-facing shores of the island—and most of the time not at all. ‘The freedom from the Internet compounds
Could nondescript antenna domes one day be replaced by eye-catching fountain antennas?
the sedative effects of scuba diving. On the last day before heading back to Santa Barbara, the captain took advantage of remarkably calm weather to pull the boat deep into Painted Cave, a gigantic coastal cave on Santa Cruz island. As the boat puttered into the cave many of those onboard raced to the front of the boat to snap pictures – mostly with cell phones. ‘I pulled up my camera to take a couple of shots when I felt it chirp in my hand. Text message received!’ says Joel. ‘I could hear a few other phones around me making noises as well. I don't recall how many bars I had—one or two at the most—but sure enough, the shape of the cave was somehow concentrating the signals from across the water of Santa Barbara enough to restore basic service.’ Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz are separated by 46 miles of open water. While it’s not impossible to get an occasional signal, it’s generally unusable. Joel conjectures that the shape of the cave, with its sharply descending walls, was acting like a simple reflector.
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Published on Nov 1, 2010
The October/November 2010 issue of Maritime IT & Electronics magazine includes features on the use of satellite telemetry in the Deepwater H...