Using simulators for training can minimise risk and ensure seafarers are ready to step in when things go wrong, says Kongsberg Digital’s senior vice president for maritime simulation Tone-Merete Hansen
While simulators can be used for training throughout a seafarer’s career, starting with very basic operations, Ms Hansen sees real opportunity in using them to advance skills. “I see the benefit in the advanced operational context, team training and integrated crew training.”
Complex simulator scenarios can be used to build operational awareness or operational and situational excellence in crews. “If you read accident reports there are often human errors involved and more than one thing that happens. This is often as a result of people not understanding their own or the system’s operational limits, misunderstandings or even lack of proper communication.”
“In general, officers are younger than they used to be and they have less time on board,” says Ms Hansen, noting that there has been a shift toward a much shorter career ladder for seafarers, with a result that it is harder for institutional knowledge to be passed on from superiors in the same way it would have been in previous times.
In addition, increasing levels of equipment automation mean seafarers may have more of a supervisory role over multiple processes that would previously have been carried out manually. “If something happens, you expect the operator to take manual control of something that he or she has very little experience in because, in general, things are going well and incidents do not happen much, there is limited room for onboard training and building situational awareness,” Ms Hansen says.
Simulator exercises allow crew to develop the knowledge and confidence to handle these situations without the risk of harm to people, the environment or equipment.
“It is even better than real life because in real life you could not expose your crew, your asset or the environment to the kind of risk that you can expose them to in the simulator,” she says, adding “I think that is where it is absolutely genius and people should use it a lot more.”
The concept of the digital twin, an accurate virtual representation of an asset that can simulate complex operational characteristics based on a range of data, enables testing, prototyping, operational verification and ties in well with simulator training. Ms Hansen sees simulator technology as enabling a crew to be fully skilled in operations for a newbuild vessel and its component systems before they even set foot on it. She cited the example of the Royal Australian Navy, who have produced a concept known as 'Ship Zero', a digital twin of a vessel class that enables its crew to familiarise themselves with the ship’s systems and be trained in their operations before the real vessel is delivered in the yard.
Discussing Kongsberg Digital’s recent projects in the simulation training space, Ms Hansen cited Heerema Marine Contracting (HMC), which integrated a simulator based on the K-Sim Offshore simulator into its training and operational verification centre in the Netherlands. Comprising two offshore crane operator domes and a DNV GL Class A bridge with a K-Sim DP simulator, the project integrates models of three HMC deepwater construction vessels Thialf, Balder and Aegir, as well as barges and a supply vessel. The centre is used to test and verify operations, and for training in advanced heavy-lift operations. “They can use simulation to prevent incidents and optimise operations [...] because of the fidelity, the advanced physical engine and the interface to Kongsberg's ship equipment and instruments,” says Ms Hansen.
Pacific Centurion, a Swire Pacific-owned AHTS, has received a delivery made via drone in an innovative trial carried out by Wilhelmsen and Airbus Skyways in Singapore.
The drone took off from Marine South Pier with a 1.5 kg parcel and navigated autonomously along predefined aerial corridors in a 1.5-km flight to land on Pacific Centurion’s deck at the Eastern Working Anchorage. The whole operation, comprising initial take-off, delivery to the vessel and return to base, was carried out within 10 minutes.
Wilhelmsen Ships Agency commercial vice president Marius Johansen says “The now proven, seamless operation of drone deliveries from shore-to-ship, in one of the world’s busiest ports proves the hard work, investment and faith we, and indeed our partners, placed in the Agency by Air drone delivery project over the past two years was not misplaced.”
The ongoing trial is currently focused on supplying offshore vessels at anchorage 1.5 km from the Marina South Pier but will gradually be extended to as far as 3 km from shore.
The trial uses an Airbus Skyways delivery drone, which has a payload capability of up to 4 kg. The particular model is the Airbus SN1 C1S variant, powered by a chargeable Li-Ion battery. It measures 2.42 m in diameter and weighs less than 30 kg. Its maximum wind speed for takeoff is 15 knots, it has a 10 m per second cruise speed and a 2.5-m landing zone tolerance.
“Delivery of essential spares, medical supplies and cash to masters via a launch boat is an established part of our portfolio of husbandry services, which we provide day in and day out, in ports all over the world.
“Modern technology such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), is just a new tool, albeit a very cool one, with which we can push our industry ever forward and improve how we serve our customers.”
Wilhelmsen sees drone delivery as offering a cost-effective, quick and safe means of delivering small, time-critical items, compared to traditional methods such as launch boats. It is less labour dependent, has a smaller carbon footprint and has potential to reduce delivery costs by up to 90%, says the company.
Swire Pacific Offshore commercial director Duncan Telfer commented “We are confident that this pioneering move of Wilhelmsen will create new opportunities for future collaborations with SPO, improve work efficiency and drive cost savings for players in the offshore industry.”
Customers committed to the project include Optimum Marine Management, Fleet Management, Zeaborn Ship Management, Pola East, SK Shipping and sister company Wilhelmsen Ship Management.
The trial incorporated another technology that could revolutionise the maritime and offshore world, as the drone was carrying 3D-printed consumables from Wilhelmsen’s onshore 3D printing micro-factory.
This was established in partnership with additive manufacturing and metal fabrication specialist Ivaldi Group. Wilhelmsen and and Ivaldi established a micro-factory in Singapore in September 2018 to allow on-demand production of 3D printed parts.
With older vessels and equipment, parts may not always be carried by OEMs, and the supply chain involved in getting a part to a vessel from wherever it is stored can be another issue. 3D printed parts get around both of these issues, allowing for out-of-production or hard-to-find parts to be delivered to vessels in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost they might otherwise incur.
Berge Bulk is a customer partner in the joint programme and procurement manager Sim Teck Siang comments “Operating and managing over 50 vessels, we require marine parts to be customised and delivered to our vessels efficiently and in a short amount of time.
“The advancement of 3D printing technology, and its capabilities of using a diverse range of materials to produce the parts we require, is impressive.”
Four cruise ferries under construction for Norway’s Havila Kystruten incorporate digital solutions into their design and construction that help them surpass environmental requirements.
The vessels will operate on the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal route and will be built two apiece by Turkish shipbuilder Tersan and Spanish yard Barreras.
In May 2018, the Norwegian Government awarded 11 new licenses for the passenger and cargo route from Bergen to Kirkenes. For the first time, the licences have been split between two operators, and new entrant, Havila won four of the 11 licences. A key requirement for the new licences is reducing CO2 emissions.
Havyard Design & Solutions was awarded the contract for the vessel design and equipment package for the four vessels. An extensive design process was carried out to ensure the energy consumption requirements for the ships were met. Weather data, sailing schedules, charging possibilities and simulation tools were all used to design the hull lines, which are capable of achieving the desired energy consumption levels even when using a traditional diesel-electric propulsion system.
However, the vessels will be powered by a fully integrated Kongsberg LNG power and propulsion solution. This includes two LNG fuel tanks with process system, control and safety systems, four Bergen gas engines, Azipull main propulsion thrusters with permanent magnet (PM) drive motor, PM tunnel thrusters, and Neptune 200 stabilisers.
An innovative 'power by the hour' service agreement has been signed with Kongsberg Maritime to cover both planned and unplanned maintenance, parts and labour. Remotely monitoring equipment was central to the Kongsberg deal, and the equipment aboard each vessel will be monitored from shore, with engineers able to connect directly to the vessel to carry out remote service activities.
It is hoped this will result in reduced downtime for the vessels, ensuring they meet the service requirements stipulated under the Norwegian coastal route concession award.
Delivery of the vessels is scheduled for Q3 and Q4 2020.
An innovative robot developed to carry out smart inspections and repairs in the Åsgard oil and gas field off the Norwegian coast is to undergo final trials in the Trondheim Fjord before entering service.
The snake robots are actually self-propelled robotic arms able to transit long distances and carry out inspection, maintenance and repair activities in confined spaces that conventional underwater vehicles cannot access.
They combine the range of an autonomous unmanned vessel with the access capabilities of a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and the intervention capabilities of a work-class ROV.
The flexible and slender body combines joints, thrusters and payload modules to allow the robots to operate in restricted areas, and different modules can be connected in various combinations to fit the snake robots out for various operations.
Seabed docking stations mean the robots do not need to be removed from the water for charging and allows for 24/7 mobilisation without the need for a surface vessel. This makes subsea operations safer, greener and more cost efficient.
Developer Eelume was established in 2015 as a spin-off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology focused on industrial subsea applications of the robots. Equinor, Kongsberg Maritime, the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway funded the spin-off company Eelume in its start-up phase.