Alphatron Marine has deployed its first smart positioning system on an inland tankship to reduce navigational accidents
AlphaMINDS River application was installed on MTS’ Prinses in January 2021 for navigating narrow waterways. This is a multifunctional information navigation and docking system which uses JRC’s Lynx software to accurately position a vessel on electronic navigational charts and wheelhouse displays.
Lynx is an inhouse-developed, cross-platform and modular SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition] software for vessel control systems.
When Alphatron introduced AlphaMINDS to Riviera Maritime Media in Q4 2019, its graphics displayed information as a selected add-on to ECDIS for operational modes, such as berthing, dredging operations or passing through busy shipping lanes.
In this first application, AlphaMINDS River will display a true image of Rensen-Driessen-built Prinses in the correct position on the chart when the captain starts the inland waterways tanker. There are multiple functions to enhance Prinses’ navigation through European waterways, locks and canals. Different layers can be switched on and off, depending on the operational situation or what a master thinks is necessary to prevent accidents.
Information is collated from sensors and peripherals such as ultrasonic distance sensors, an echo sounder, vessel GPS, gyrocompass and rate-of-turn indicator. Data is processed and vessel position and motion information are displayed on the bridge.
Alphatron said one of the main innovative features of AlphaMINDS River is a lock approach function. In this function, two lock lines are displayed, indicating the predicted path of the ship compared with the outside environment. These dynamically drawn lines are used to indicate when entering a lock whether the ship is sailing in the correct direction at the right speed.
Another ship predicting feature displays a transparent image of the ship at the predicted position and time. This can be set to the following values: 10, 20, 30 and 60 seconds.
It is also possible to activate the ‘curved prediction lines’ option. “From each of the four corners of the ship, a point will be predicted every second of the set prediction time,” said Alphatron. “These points will be dynamically drawn as lines and this will give the captain a better predicted overview.”
For river navigation, JRC and Alphatron Marine introduced new river radar JMR-611 as the first to meet the stricter requirements for maximum reflection from radar monitors. It has an aerodynamic scanner and a modified motor for suitability in extreme weather conditions.
JRC said it is the first river radar to have calculation technology to minimise signals from waves on open water, which disrupt hazard and ship detection. Using the Sea State function, buoys and other small hazard echoes will remain clearly visible.
Earlier this year, JRC and Alphatron unveiled a function for navigation radar to detect and analyse waves, which navigators can use to minimise destabilising ship motions. JRC said its navigational radar JMR-7200/9200 can be upgraded with software for wave analysis.
Ship positioning, navigation and autonomous technologies will be discussed in depth during Riviera’s series of virtual conferences and Webinar Weeks during 2021 - use this link to view details and to register for these events