Norway has a reputation for ingenuity in the offshore space and at this year’s Nor-Shipping event, which takes place in Oslo from 4-7 June, innovation with feature heavily
Nortek will be among the Norwegian organisations showcasing their innovations at this year’s Nor-Shipping exhibition. The company has developed precision instruments to measure movement underwater, with the technology applying the Doppler principle to underwater acoustics to measure water in motion, for example currents and waves.
One application of this technology is Nortek’s Doppler velocity logs (DVLs), which are available with maximum operational depths ranging from 300 m to 6,000 m.
These can be used on their own to estimate distance travelled and calculate current position via dead-reckoning navigation. The technology is based around acoustic beams oriented in a diverging, convex configuration. Velocity relative to the bottom of the ocean is measured by estimating the velocity along each beam relative to the bottom.
By mounting a DVL on a vessel’s hull, it can function as a high-precision speed log.
The technology also has applications for survey vessels. By connecting the vessel’s gyro and differential GPS and subtracting its speed over ground from speed through the water, the net ocean current speed and direction relative to the ground can be obtained.
This impacts on some of the major issues faced by seismic and survey vessels. Currents crossing a vessel’s track can cause streamer and geophone deflection, so the ability to predict this allows precision positioning and the ability to determine the actual point of data acquisition.
Nortek says the system will help reduce operational costs by limiting the number of extra runs required for in-fills. The process of turning a seismic rig around can take several hours and can have a hefty financial impact, given the high operational costs of survey vessels. On the same theme, knowledge of local currents can help avoid costly entanglements during deployment, handling and recovery of streamers
Current meters are also helpful when carrying out so-called ‘4D runs’. This involves carrying out new surveys on existing reservoirs that often have existing installations in place to establish changes and remaining volumes. A current meter can help avoid collisions via the accurate prediction of the streamer path.
Another Norwegian innovator in the offshore space is Scanreach, which has developed wireless sensor technology tailored to the maritime environment. The company’s technology is based around sensors which are able to transmit through steel, which may be placed in difficult-to-reach areas on board ships and offshore platforms.
In its internet-of-things (IoT)-based In:Mesh network, individual microsensor nodes connect directly to multiple other nodes in the network, creating chains along which data can be transferred to a central control centre.
Since April 2018, three successful pilots of this technology have been completed. Most noteworthy of these involved the integration of ScanReach’s technology on board North Sea Giant, the 180-m long, 10-deck OSV owned by North Sea Shipping.
OSVs up for awards
Among the Nor-Shipping awards this year, the offshore energy sector is represented by Salt-designed Wind of Change. This service operations vessel, being built for French owner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs by Turkey’s Cemre Shipyard, is among a shortlist of vessels up for Next Generation Ship Award.
The vessel was previously recognised at the 2019 Annual Offshore Support Journal Awards, where Louis Dreyfus Armateurs received the Offshore Renewables Award.
Wind of Change will be deployed with Danish energy company Ørsted in the Borkum Riffgrund 1 & 2 and Gode Wind 1 & 2 windfarms off the coast of Germany. As well as being Norwegian-designed, it incorporates technology from Norwegian companies, including a 3D motion-compensated crane from TTS Group.
Shore-to-ship drone delivery trialled on AHTS
Drone delivery can be significantly cheaper and more efficient than traditional launch-based methods (image: Wilhelmsen Ship Service)
Pacific Centurion, a Swire Pacific-owned AHTS, has received the world’s first shore-to-ship 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 pre-defined 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 a 10-minute span.
“Unmanned aircraft systems are just a new tool – albeit a very cool one – with which we can push our industry ever forward”
The ongoing trial is currently focused on supplying offshore vessels at the anchorage 1.5 km from the Marina South Pier, but will gradually be extended to as far as 3 km from shore.
The trial makes use of an Airbus Skyways delivery drone, which has a payload capability of up to 4 kg.
Wilhelmsen Ships Agency commercial vice president Marius Johansen said: “Delivery of essential spares, medical supplies and cash to master via 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.
The trial also 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.