Wilson Sons has invested in artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) to enhance towage operations
AI enables operations to be planned using data and information, said Wilson Sons towage division regional manager Elisio Dourado.
He said IoT and telemetry are used to improve maintenance and safety and reduce emissions from a fleet of more than 80 tugs.
“In our innovation journey, we have invested a lot in AI – it is a game-changer for the whole sector,” said Mr Dourado. “AI is used to optimise fleet operations. We can improve our activities through data and AI.”
Wilson Sons uses its Stella platform for business intelligence, data sharing, operations management, predictions and forecasting, asset optimisation and real-time monitoring.
Since 2012, it has used its own marine operations centre to manage tugs conducting more than 60,000 manoeuvres per year in over 3,500 nautical miles of Brazilian waters.
Wilson Sons logs events from its tug operations and reviews them to improve safety. It has also invested in video streaming for safety and security.
“We monitor fleet health, safety and environmental performance to reduce emissions and accidents,” said Mr Dourado. “Live video streaming enables analysis if there is an incident.”
Telemetry data through IoT enables predictive maintenance of tug onboard systems and asset optimisation. “We can make real-time decisions with information,” said Mr Dourado. “This has been a huge step forward.”
Wilson Sons has seen significant improvements in its activities through these investments. Mr Dourado said this was a long-term strategy and “a new way of thinking” that required “a different mindset” from management.
Using the Stella platform, Wilson Sons can present operational data on dashboards, including information on oil and fuel levels, machinery condition and other data. This incorporates inspection cycles, maintenance activities, purchase orders and other onboard processes.
The next stage is to open its Stella platform to maritime and port stakeholders such as shipowners, tugboats, terminals, shipping agency, shippers, pilots and port authorities. These industry actors will be able to access information through application interfaces.
“There will be platform links for all actors,” he explained. “With technology, we can make better decisions for greener and cost-effective operations.”
Wilson Sons is installing closed circuit television (CCTV), network cabling and wifi on its fleet by end of this year.
There will be around 480 cameras and local internet networks installed during this programme. Cameras enable real-time visualisation of tugboat operations and manoeuvring by managers and charterers.
Recordings make it possible to store and retrieve images from the tugs for 30 days which could be used for accident and incident investigation analyses, and tug and crew performance studies.
Wilson Sons is also installing wifi hotspots on the bridge, in the galley and engineroom on its tugs, enabling its crew to connect to the internet and Wilson Sons’ systems by mobile phone or tablet and to hold meetings by video with shore-based teams.
Wilson Sons towage division regional manager Elisio Dourado presented the company’s digitalisation technologies during Riviera’s Smart tugs: the industry’s Tesla, or still on the test bed? webinar on 1 September. This was part of the Tug Technology Webinar Week. Use this link to review the webinar in our extensive library