Cruise Line group uses advanced ECDIS and adaptive track pilots for safer navigation
Genting Cruise Lines, incorporating the brands Dream Cruises, Star Cruises and Crystal Cruises, has integrated bridge systems (IBS) and automated steering on its fleets of ships. Advanced voyage planning using accurate weather routeing applications is used and officers are highly trained to ensure optimised and safe passages.
Most of its cruise ships have Wärtsilä NACOS Platinum systems with ECDIS, radar, conning, track-pilot and sensors. These are all integrated into one onboard network, says Genting Cruise Lines vice president for marine operations and safety Captain Havard Ramsoy.
“This is also planned for the new vessels,” he tells Maritime Optimisation & Communications. “We believe in consistency fleetwide when it comes to equipment,” he explains. “This will increase the skills of the officers and navigational safety.”
Genting’s ships have Fugro equipment for accurate and optimised docking operations and Eniram services for speed, trim and voyage optimisation. Navtor supplies electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and publications and Napa is used for stability and electronic logbooks.
“These integrated systems must be user friendly, intuitive, secure and reliable.” says Capt Ramsoy. He says IBS equipment should support bridge teams and not increase the workload. “As an example, we are using the adaptive track pilot extensively,” he says. “This effectively reduces the risk of human element in the process of steering by reducing the need for a helmsman,” says Capt Ramsoy.
Genting’s larger cruise ships also have Wärtsilä’s dynamic positioning units and Fugro’s satellite positioning docking systems for effective berthing at quaysides worldwide.
“These systems show the ship’s position with high accuracy and speed inputs without delay,” he says. “Together with predictor software, they provide safer and more efficient berthing.”
This technology is an important aid to the bridge teams on Genting’s cruise ships. It is this human resource, their experience and knowledge, that makes the difference and the bridge officers that enable safe and optimised ship navigation.
“Smart navigation involves effective organisation on the bridge with a culture that fosters teamwork and encourages communication between all team members,” says Capt Ramsoy.
He says bridge officers need excellent technical knowledge of the bridge systems and to know how to operate the ship manually. “With knowledge comes confidence and awareness,” he says.
“An important aspect is having mode awareness, meaning knowing how to use the equipment and recognising the need for interventions.” This includes detecting sensor errors and switching to manual modes of ship steering.
“The combination of non-technical and technical skills is very important and will enhance situation awareness ensuring much safer navigation,” says Capt Ramsoy.
He also says the voyage plan is an essential part of navigation. “It is a detailed risk assessment done to get the ship and all on board safely between destinations,” he explains.
Genting’s process of route planning follows strict guidelines. “It starts with the appraisal, where the all the information such as charts, publication, environmental regulations, pilots, port regulation, anticipated traffic and weather is gathered for the voyage,” Capt Ramsoy describes.
Following this appraisal, the voyage is planned, and tracks are laid out in the ENCs. Genting officers also consider voyage control measures such as manning levels and safe speed. They note any mark limits and specific points from the charts.
“To prepare the officers and create a team mental model, the bridge teams have regular overview meetings for all involved where the voyage plans are presented,” says Capt Ramsoy.
After appraisal and voyage planning comes executing and monitoring the plan. “For each voyage, there are briefings before departure and arrival involving the whole team including local pilots,” he says. “These briefings give all involved a chance to provide input and sets the common mental model for the passage.”
If the situation changes during a voyage, Genting has protocols in place for amending the voyage plans. And after each arrival and departure, there are debriefings to assess the operation for further improvement.
In addition, Genting uses StormGeo’s Bon Voyage System (BVS) software for weather routeing with information assessment on board and in its onshore offices.
“We use BVS software as a common platform to assess and communicate weather information,” says Capt Ramsoy. “Our Marine Operations is constantly monitoring the weather system interacting with the ships and relaying information from the ships to a designated shoreside committee for decisions related to routeing the vessels.”
Interaction between passenger ship teams and shore managers is increasing as shipowners see the benefits of better planning for navigation safety and optimisation.
Simulators enhance bridge skills and resource management
Genting Cruise Lines uses its own full bridge simulators and ECDIS to train officers before they join their cruise ships. It provides basic and advanced training on navigation, communications and situational awareness with its own learning centre.
As Genting Cruise Lines vice president for marine operations and safety Captain Havard Ramsoy points out, all its bridge officers are trained to use the ship’s specific ECDIS before going on board.
“In addition, we have extensive familiarisation training specific for ECDIS and another covering all bridge equipment, which is done by officers during the first weeks on board our ships,” says Capt Ramsoy.
Genting also runs its our own bridge resource management courses using full bridge simulators that all its officers need to pass. “There are two different courses,” he explains. “The basic course is focused on normal and abnormal operations whereas the advanced course is on emergencies.”
This training is conducted by Genting’s inhouse instructors. “The objective is for the participating officers to demonstrate competence in soft skills, such as communications, decision making, situation awareness and leadership, and company navigation procedures,” says Capt Ramsoy. “With the inhouse training focused on our own procedures, the retention of knowledge and skills is more effective.”
He continues, “All officers who have completed the bridge resource management training will recognise the situations when back on board. In addition, the instructors will bring valuable knowledge and operational experience both to the courses and back on board their vessels.”
Captain Havard Ramsoy’s 23 years of shipping experience started in 1997 when he was a deck officer on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. He worked through the ranks to captain in 2007, and in 2011 he became nautical superintendent for newbuildings until 2013.
Capt Ramsoy was then recruited as a vice president by Star Cruises, working from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from June 2013. In 2018, he was promoted to vice president for marine operations at Genting Cruise Lines.
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