Wärtsilä’s evolutionary e-navigation technology facilitates electronic data exchange between ships and ports
Wärtsilä e-navigation developments are part of the industry’s drive to implement just-in-time (JIT) port arrival to improve voyage planning and execution, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and optimise port operations.
Wärtsilä Navi-Port has been approved by class society Bureau Veritas and tested in a ground-breaking pilot in 2019. Wärtsilä collaborated with Hamburg Vessel Co-ordination Centre (HVCC) and Carnival Maritime to test JIT concepts. Carnival modified voyages on its cruise ships AidaSol and AidaPerla to match requested arrival times and berthing capacity in the Port of Hamburg, reducing bunker costs and emissions throughout the route.
The next step is to conduct further trials with other shipowners and ports, says Wärtsilä general manager for ship traffic control and management solutions Dmitry Rostopshin.
“We have improved the functionality for digital communications between ports and ships,” he says.
“Now Hamburg is looking to add more ships to participate in this project,” Mr Rostopshin continued. “We are working with shipping companies to add to this idea. But it is a chicken and egg situation – ship operators want more ports and ports want more ships in the project.”
Wärtsilä could work with other stakeholders such as pilots and towage to get a critical mass for its implementation.
Ships added to JIT projects need to have ECDIS compatible with this data format. If they already have Wärtsilä ECDIS, only a software upgrade would be required in many cases. Mr Rostopshin says this investment would be paid back in terms of lower fuel costs. “Our customer cases demonstrate shipping companies can save up to 10% on each voyage and ports will have clarity of vessel arrivals, so there are opportunities for better resource information for stakeholders,” he says.
Wärtsilä Navi-Port is a solution hooked up to Wärtsilä’s Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) platform. This connects different stakeholders, shore centres and ship automation systems. Some of the FOS benefits come from shipowners gaining a better understanding of vessels and managing their operations from shore, says Wärtsilä solutions director Kay Dausendshoen.
“For example, when a ship sails through an area that has restrictions under Marpol, there could be prohibited operations,” he explains. “FOS would then lock certain valves to prevent waste disposal or send notifications if it is in a whale protection area.”
The latest FOS fleet rollout to date is with Anglo-Eastern Shipmanagement, which operates a fleet of more than 600 vessels with over 60 owners.
Wärtsilä provides automatic voyage planning and weather routeing tools through its ECDIS. “They are the most advanced and heavily automated with more data and analytics,” he says. They also have the highest levels of shore support for voyage planning.
“We can create optimised routes according to weather information and share this on a cloud server,” says Mr Dausendshoen.
These plans are then available to the bridge teams and navigation equipment on board.
“Our speed and track pilots can carry out the voyage automatically and this would be weather and operationally optimised,” says Mr Dausendshoen.
For weather routeing, Wärtsilä uses Weather News International forecast, hindcast and nowcast information. “This is distributed through the cloud and ship satellite communications to shipboard systems and shore,” he explains. This information is combined with regulatory, port and flag data, then used for automatic route calculation onshore and on ships.
“Once a planned route is in the cloud, our system will select the required ENCs and electronic publications needed for that particular voyage,” says Mr Dausendshoen. “The system will pull what is needed – it is all automated.”
What used to take seafarers up to four hours can be done in 30 minutes, “and with increased accuracy, while reducing the workload on the crew and costs of ENCs and e-publications” he says. It is computer-driven, and shore managers can make suggestions, but the ship’s master retains 100% control.