Kotug International’s successful remote control trials with a harbour tug in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, were recognised at a leading industry awards ceremony. A consortium of technology innovators won the new Autonomous & Remote Operations Award at Riviera Maritime Media’s Sulphur Cap 2020 Conference, Awards and Exhibition, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
This award recognised the impact of digitalisation and future autonomous technology on maritime industries. The winner from a crowded field – including other projects involving tugboat remote control – was Kotug’s remote control trials. These involved remote manoeuvring of Tug Training & Consultancy’s 15-m training Rotortug Borkum from the Netherlands, and from Marseille, France, in 2018.
The long range of that 1,000-km French test, as well as the importance of the Netherlands trials for further developing remote control technology, was noted by the panel.
“We appreciate our efforts being recognised in this way,” said Kotug innovation manager Koos Smoor. “We did this project together with Rotortug, Alphatron, Veth, OnBoard and M2M Blue. They worked on this with us to make it a success.”
Stakeholders in the project include Kotug (project management), Tug Training & Consultancy (remote control centre in Rotterdam), Alphatron (camera visualisation and system integration), KPN (data sim cards for 4G connectivity), M2M Blue and Onboard (data connection via combined 4G and local area network and virtual private network), Rotortug (vessel owner) and Veth (steering and engine control systems).
Kotug considers this technology particularly suitable for unmanned fire-fighting and pollution control vessels. In October 2018, the Netherlands’ minister of water management Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen visited the tug and observed its remote operation extinguishing a simulated fire on a nearby jetty.
Offshore support vessel owners were recipients of awards at the event. Seacor’s pioneering decision to convert 10 offshore supply vessels to battery power secured the operator the Hybrid Power & Propulsion Award. The strong collaboration between operator, technology providers and class society ABS – as well as the abundant efficiency and emissions benefits of hybrid operation – clinched the trophy for this landmark offshore ship conversion project.
Teekay Offshore subsidiary ALP Maritime Services’ chief operating officer Leo Leusink picked up the Emissions Reduction Award. This was awarded to Wärtsilä and Teekay Offshore for innovations on shuttle tanker Aurora Spirit – the first of a series of innovative hybrid shuttle tankers.
This vessel features gas-burning engines capable of running on volatile organic compounds emitted from the oil cargos, reducing a potent source of emissions. A battery system supplying electric propulsion also makes the vessels unique in their segment.
Riviera’s Intelligent Monitoring & Maintenance Award, intended to recognise the growing importance of data in optimising ship operations, was secured by two-stroke engine developer WinGD’s trial of its diagnostics and predictive maintenance platform on crude oil tanker Energy Triumph, owned by Golden Energy Management. The trial involved collection and analysis of engine and machinery data to provide real-time knowledge of engine status and was welcomed by judges for providing proof of return on investment for WinGD's substantial project on remote engine diagnostics.
The Efficiency Improvement Award was won by a variable-speed, permanent magnet shaft generator arrangement supplied by WE Tech to Stena Line’s E-Flexer series of high-efficiency roro vessels built at Avic Weihai shipyard.
The Ship of the Year award was award to Sovcomflot’s LNG-driven Aframax tanker Gagarin Prospect, delivered earlier this year. Sovcomflot's pioneering of dual-fuel technology in the large tanker section was welcomed by judges.