Automated voyages, pilotage and docking is being developed to improve navigation safety and reduce fuel consumption
As part of e-navigation testing, Wärtsilä Corp collaborated with Hamburg Vessel Co-ordination Centre (HVCC) and Carnival Maritime to test a just-in-time (JIT) arrival concept. Aida cruise ships used Wärtsilä Navi-Port to seamlessly exchange data between ship and shore under real-life conditions, to optimise port arrival times in 2019.
Carnival modified voyages on its cruise ships AidaSol and AidaPerla to match requested arrival times and berthing capacity in the Port of Hamburg, Germany, reducing bunker costs and emissions throughout the route.
Wärtsilä NACOS Platinum navigation systems connected directly to HVCC for continuous communications and JIT arrivals in Hamburg were used on both cruise ships. HVCC co-ordinates vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Hamburg in close collaboration with the relevant authorities.
There were also benefits to the port operator, says HVCC managing director Gerald Hirt.
“Wärtsilä Navi-Port enables seamless communication of data between ports and vessels,” said Mr Hirt. “Ultimately, vessel approaches are even more efficient, resulting in reduced emissions.”
Wärtsilä Navi-Port is a middleware hooked up to Wärtsilä’s Fleet Operations Solution suite. It applies the port call message standard as defined by the Sea Traffic Management (STM) validation project, in which Wärtsilä was a key contributor. During STM developments and trials, more than 300 vessels participated, of which 130 used Wärtsilä’s navigation systems.
Wärtsilä general manager for port business development Matteo Natali says there are considerable advantages in adopting JIT arrival technology.
“There was a common wish to enable the industry to make a step change in operations and sustainability,” he tells Maritime Optimisation & Communications. “We did software upgrades on ECDIS and connected to HVCC’s vessel traffic system. This reduced significantly the communications layers.”
He gave an example of a storm disrupting voyages to Hamburg. “If this system was aboard all vessels calling at Hamburg this would reduce waiting times, showing the significant impact this would have,” says Mr Natali.
He expects other shipowners and ports will follow Hamburg’s example and test Wärtsilä Navi-Port and JIT arrivals. “We are talking with other ports, especially those which participated in STM,” says Mr Natali. “We are talking with major roro ship operators in the Nordics about connecting their vessels with terminals in that region, and we are talking to liner operators.”
If vessels and ports use JIT, information flows seamlessly and automatically using onboard ECDIS and port operators “for full transparency of arrival times of vessels and optimising routes,” says Mr Natali.
There are bunker cost reductions for owners and emissions reductions for regulators. “Container ships have huge amounts of emissions and waiting time, so JIT arrival makes sense,” he says.
“For example, if 50% of container ships going into Singapore had JIT arrival systems and slow steamed for optimised arrival and speed, that would cut 1.6M tonnes per annum of CO2 emissions. Then consider bulkers and tankers. Cutting waiting times outside busy ports cuts emissions,” Mr Natali explains.
“Information would be transparent, would connect ports and co-ordination systems and information would be available for port service providers to optimise their services, such as tug owners, berthing teams, pilots and agents,” Mr Natali continues.
“JIT arrival is important to all stakeholders as there are huge benefits from knowing if ships are delayed. The terminal would know and can adjust operations. Pilot and tug dispatchers and masters would also want to know.”
To use this technology, ships need Wärtsilä Navi-Port on board, a software upgrade for Wärtsilä’s latest Navi ECDIS or an upgrade to the latest Wärtsilä Navi ECDIS through a retrofit. Navi-Port can be used on a back-of-bridge Navi Planner ECDIS planning station, with optimised route data transferred to the front-of-bridge ECDIS using a USB memory stick.
Wärtsilä Navi-Port received approval in principle from Bureau Veritas for meeting the classification society’s cyber security requirements.
In addition, Wärtsilä gained DNV GL type-approval and cyber security certification by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for its Translink solution, its connected ECDIS concept.
These certificates validate Translink has the key components to ensure secure operations. It has IEC 61162-460, a recognised standard for cyber security for bridge and navigation systems.
Translink is ready to be applied for vessels with DNV GL’s Cyber Secure class notation for advanced voyage planning and execution.
“Digitalisation offers more efficient and better ways of operating and designing vessel equipment, such as integrated voyage planning including the remote update of ECDIS charts,” says DNV GL group leader for cyber safety and security, Jarle Coll Blomhoff.
“With a third-party cyber verification, vessel owners can take advantage of new technologies with assurance that it follows best practice cyber security design,” he says.
Sea Traffic Management
A non-profit industry consortium was formed in February to run the entire Sea Traffic Management (STM) ecosystem. Navelink will operate the underlying infrastructure, moving the STM-concept from initial project mode into an operational ecosystem.
All current STM projects will run on this platform, says chief STM architect Per Löfbom. Development and staging environments will help new services to be adopted and existing ones updated.
“To have a consortium of committed international industry actors running the infrastructure is a natural step towards a global secure interoperable STM infrastructure” says Mr Löfbom.
Kongsberg, Saab and Wärtsilä founded the non-profit Navelink consortium in December 2019, and Combitech is tasked with delivering the infrastructure and its operations. Their contracts last until the end of the ongoing STM projects, to at least July 2021.
The infrastructure is open to other e-navigation services and initiatives or companies looking for an operational version of the Maritime Connectivity Platform, which links shipping companies with navigation support services.
Mr Löfbom says maritime digital infrastructure will continue to evolve. “STM projects, and all the partners, will continue to influence the standards and architecture development,” he says. “Having an active commercial actor will help push the development and implementation of international standards.”
Combitech head of Navelink Anders Wendel expects further STM development to be stepwise, in close co-operation with relevant authorities, but the potential is huge.
“Imagine if all information to and from hundreds of thousands of vessels, ports and terminals across the world was digitalised and transacted over one common infrastructure using one global standard,” he comments.
“We are in the midst of making this project operative, and we are really looking forward to launching it,” Mr Wendel says.
Kongsberg innovation manager Todd Schuett says several stakeholders will benefit from this STM ecosystem. “Shipowners and operators, coastal and port authorities and their service providers can benefit from the open infrastructure we are establishing,” he says. “The infrastructure enables interoperability of e-navigation services, which is something we are all heavily invested in.”
Saab head of maritime traffic management Tomas Hjelmberg expects further results from e-navigator developers from this infrastructure. “The possibility to use a live and governed infrastructure, instead of a test bed established for the projects only, will improve the outcome of the projects,” he says, “as the results are developed and tested in a live infrastructure undertaking real-time interoperability.”
Ferry world first
Kongsberg is involved in the world’s first adaptive ferry transit conducted during normal service. Bastø Fosen VI passenger ferry sails between Horten and Moss near Oslo, Norway using adaptive transit functions. These sea trials started in December 2019 under agreement from the Norwegian Maritime Authority.
This is a key step forward in integrating autonomous technology into daily shipping operations. An integrated Kongsberg-supplied digital system on Bastø Fosen VI automatically performed all docking and crossing functions to a high and repeatable level of accuracy.
Ferry owner Bastø Fosen chief executive Øyvind Lund says undocking, sailing across Oslo fjord and berthing is all automatic. “This leaves the crew more time to focus on monitoring the vessel and ensuring passenger safety, which for us are the main motivations for adopting this technology,” he says.
“Greater accuracy permits better logistics,” says Mr Lund. “We can pre-program the time allowed for the crossing to reduce energy consumption. Digitalisation and automation are the future, and we are proud to be prime movers.”
From Finland, a consortium of industrial companies, research organisations and government authorities has launched a programme for developing autonomous navigation and digitalisation.
DIMECC has introduced its Sea for Value programme (S4V) to provide blueprints for digitalisation, information flow and preparing for advanced autonomous operations and navigation.
DIMECC S4V will be based on recommendations for regulation, business, data usage, sharing and standardisation.
This programme will implement several projects, the first to develop and trial future fairway services including remote pilotage.
Finnpilot Pilotage will test this technology, says its pilotage director Sanna Sonninen.
“The aim is to demonstrate and experiment important milestones on the journey towards a smart and autonomous maritime transport system,” he says. Early trials could involve piloting a cruise ship into berth.
DIMECC S4V will allow the programme consortia to tap into new opportunities in creating smart and autonomous products and services.
Some of these will be available on the DIMECC-led One Sea ecosystem, which is an open alliance for global commercial organisations committed to achieving maritime autonomy.
One Sea senior ecosystem lead Jukka Merenluoto thinks DIMECC S4V pushes One Sea closer to achieving its goals.
“Implementing the programme will bring us closer to realising the One Sea vision, which is to deliver an autonomous maritime ecosystem by 2025,” Mr Merenluoto says.
In the Netherlands, marine research institute MARIN is measuring the ability of autonomous navigation software to comply with IMO’s international collision regulations (COLREGS). This follows its co-operation agreement with UK-headquartered Robosys Automation.
MARIN’s maritime operations division will measure software’s compliance COLREGS and compare it with Robosys’ Voyager 100 autonomous navigation software. That software was sea trialled with three vessels in a joint industry project in the North Sea in March 2019.
On the back of these measurements, MARIN will compliance score software claiming an obstacle avoidance capability and will compile a comparison list of performance results. This will facilitate fast checking of the conformance efficiency of the software.
In February, MARIN acquired Voyager 100 software and sold its Dolphin Simulation Software to Robosys.
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has authorised its first distributors for its Admiralty Vector Chart Service (AVCS) Online. Bogerd Martin has integrated this service into its Chart Track Ship Manager and Global Navigation Solutions (GNS) into its Voyager Fleet Insight (VFI).
AVCS Online gives shore-based users and fleet planning team access to more than 15,000 ENCs to support vessel tracking, voyage planning and to use in emergencies. These ENCs are already available to navigation teams on ships.
GNS introduced its VFI Plus web service in March with free access during the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic to deliver information supporting shipping companies. This enables remote monitoring and management of ships from shore, providing data to remote-working teams as Covid-19 creates operational challenges that require better access to information.
VFI Plus also has live vessel positioning on C-Map charts or AVCS Online and overlays of current and forecast weather conditions.
ChartWorld International has become a distributor of Navico’s C-Map ENCs in S-63 format, which are supported by all ECDIS and electronic chart systems.
These ENCs have global coverage or can cover local regions. They are updated every quarter by new chart editions and notices to mariners issued by national hydrographic offices.
ChartWorld introduced version 1.2 of its voyage planning platform MyRoute Appraisal (MyRA) in Q1 2020. This considers different stages of a passage and applies voyage and safety parameters for the route calculation and safety checks. These voyage plans can be loaded on to ECDIS and have automatically calculated safety corridors.
MyRA 1.2 subdivides the voyage plan into four segments – berthing, confined waters, coastal waters and open sea – each with different safety parameters and supported by bathymetry.
ChartWorld has improved accuracy for initial route setting and route-check.
Electronics publications provider CAIM has introduced NaviGate, a back-of-the-bridge voyage planning station and partnered with Tototheo Maritime for product distribution.
CAIM intends to expand functions on NaviGate in Q2 2020 by adding PortToPort, which manages flag states circulars and creates multi-leg voyage plans. Tototheo Maritime will integrate CAIM technology into its portfolio of bridge systems and communications products.
*South Korea-headquartered eMarine Global has secured a US$1.9M contract to maintain ECDIS on 225 ships operated by the Republic of Korea Navy. This is on top of its contract to maintain the navy’s anti-submarine warfare team training systems. ECDIS on these naval ships was mainly supplied and installed by eMarine Global.
It PAYS to invest in smarter shipping
E-navigation encompasses digitalisation to cut vessel administration time by automating electronic chart management. It is providing a gateway on ships for data and information to aid safe navigation and optimise routes, says Navtor chief commercial officer Børge Hetland.
“We see e-navigation as about far more than digital charts,” he comments. “Through continual innovation and the seamless sharing of information between vessels and shore we can use it as the foundation for a new era of smarter shipping,” says Mr Hetland.
“By adding new functionalities and harnessing the power of our customers’ data we can help them achieve greater efficiency and enhanced safety.”
He also expects innovation will result in “reduced costs and diminished environmental impact” for owners.
“Together we can navigate the future of shipping for a more sustainable shipping industry, with increased predictability and optimal decision making,” Mr Hetland says.
Navtor passed a milestone in Q1 2020 with 6,000 vessels subscribing to its e-navigation solutions. These include its Pay As You Sail (PAYS) ENC subscription service, NavStation
digital chart table, Passage Planning software and NavBox, a cyber-secure navigation communications gateway. These facilitate “totally secure data transfers between ship and shore” and reduce vessel administration time, says Mr Hetland.
Navtor’s PAYS started in 2012 with the first sea trial on Havila Shipping’s platform supply vessel Havila Clipper. PAYS has become particularly popular with 70% of Navtor’s customers opting for PAYS over traditional ENC subscriptions.
“PAYS allows our customers to keep track of operational expenditure,” says Mr Hetland. “With its easy management and seamless updating, PAYS slashes the burden of administration. In short, it is simple, efficient, safe, compliant, and delivers optimal business and operational value.”
28% consumption reduction is possible
Research by academics at Aalto University, in Espoo, Finland, claims shipping companies can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 28% through voyage optimisation. This depended on combining just-in-time arrival and weather routeing intended to optimise fuel efficiency.
Finland-headquartered NAPA took this information and surveyed owners and charterers for their thoughts on how to achieve this.
On the back of these findings, NAPA’s director of shipping solutions Pekka Pakkanen says vessel operators and charterers believe voyage efficiency savings of 28% are possible.
“We are currently a long way from getting the most out of our vessels,” says Mr Pakkanen.
“Owners and operators recognise this, and their assessment of what is possible is not too far away from what studies are finding,” he comments.
However, capital expenditure and data verification were still barriers to technology adoption.
“From the responses, we can see that the main barrier to using these solutions is trust in the data they use, and the reliability of voyage predictions,” Mr Pakkanen says.
“However, as optimisation systems enter use, we are beginning to grow our library of real-life use cases.”
NAPA is improving its predictions with advanced hydrodynamic models based on years of performance data, computer algorithms and its knowledge of ship design.
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