Working together in a joint industry project (JIP), seven Norwegian OSV owners and ship managers are pooling their resources, implementing and testing various digital technologies to reduce emissions, increase safety and cut costs
The underlying ambition of the JIP is to digitally transform operations with minimal risks and investments – and speed their digital transformation.
Formed in Norway in 2018, the ‘Smart OSV Operation’ JIP includes Solstad Offshore, Siem Offshore, OSM Maritime, BOA, Havila, CGG Eidesvik, and Golden Energy Offshore. Class society DNV GL is acting as a facilitator for the group, co-ordinating some of the activities.
The advantage of the JIP is that it allows the seven OSV owners and managers to spread the financial burden and complexity of managing multiple pilot projects. All participants provide offshore support vessels (OSVs) as platforms to test specific digital solutions.
Under the JIP, the four work streams cover:
Centralising tasks This stream is focused on relieving the crew of some routine duties and establishing operation control centres on shore to handle remote monitoring, data processing and control tasks.
Remote inspections These would reduce costs and increase productivity by allowing experts to perform inspections remotely.
Smart maintenance This is based on condition-based monitoring by installing sensors and related equipment to save costs.
Energy-efficiency Using digital tools to optimise operations, save fuel and create deep learning, machine learning, data collection, etc.
Financed by the shipowners and completed in mid-2019, Phase I of the three-phase project focused on fact-finding, identifying opportunities, defining the direction of the initiative, and capturing the main concerns and risks to address.
During this phase, group members provided data for analysis, and researched the technology required to achieve the project goals, performed cost versus benefit calculations for all work streams, defined a stepwise approach to transferring functions and roles, and prioritised these measures.
DNV GL segment director for special ships Arnstein Eknes said it is important to move “fast to determine where we can do smart things to get results, save money and establish best practices.”
To prepare for Phase II, the group’s steering committee is applying for funding from various government agencies, scientific foundations, innovation funds and other external organisations.
In Phase II, called ’Solution Design,’ specific technologies will be selected for testing, and guidelines for the trials will be drafted.
Phase III will focus on implementing and piloting the selected solutions, presumably throughout 2020.
DNV GL principal consultant shipping advisory Knut Ljungberg said “We expect each owner to do at least one pilot. Some technologies will be piloted by all shipping companies because this makes the costs more manageable.” Since remote inspections are low cost, Mr Ljungberg said the entire group would pilot them and learn together. “On the other hand, establishing a shore-based operations centre is more cost-intensive and complex. We do not expect each shipping company to pilot everything,” he said.
Solutions will be tested covering performance management, decision support and reporting, but also navigation and dynamic positioning, automation, remote operation of machinery, opportunities for more automatic or autonomous functions and gaining insight through big data analysis.
Existing technologies will be combined in a smarter way, yielding new ways of working.
“When considering centralised or decentralised decision-making, the first step is to collect and ensure relevant data is transmitted from ship to shore and vice versa,” explained Mr Eknes. “Centralisation does not mean taking away the power of decision-making from the crew on board. Rather, it will enable people to establish a more relevant and larger picture of the actual operations that can support better decision-making.”
This could mean using a dashboard that would provide the operator with aggregated real-time information. This dashboard might be available on a smartphone or smart device, through an onboard PC, at the office or at a remote support centre on shore. Mr Eknes said information could be used to reduce machine running hours or when to schedule maintenance to save money. “This kind of dynamic knowledge and advice will allow them to establish best practices and make smarter, more efficient and more profitable operating decisions.”
Safety is also central to the effort. Digitalisation can enable companies to reduce human error while assigning staff to more valuable tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, given that crewing and office resources account for a substantial share of the operating costs, Mr Eknes said companies that can deliver a future service using fewer people empowered by technology while still being compliant will have a competitive advantage.
“The solutions that will be trialled will not only benefit individual ship operations but extend to improve the management of entire fleets.”
The great benefit of the JIP is that it includes several shipowners, said Mr Ljungberg. “It requires many resources and substantial effort, so doing it together is a smarter approach. The participants can share the risks, learn from each other and since their operations differ in some respects, the insights and benefits for the entire group are considerable.”
As a result of the JIP, DNV GL facilitators would like to achieve a 10 to 15% reduction of CO2 emissions, and a cost reduction of 15 to 20% for the owners and operators.
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