Remote monitoring and enhanced communications enable advances in technical shipmanagement
V.Group has applied remote monitoring, data analytics and communications technologies to improve key performance indicators (KPIs) for procurement, certification, defect reporting and applying best working practices within a fleet of vessels.
These technologies, along with collaborative thinking, were adopted for the Fleet Cell of the Future prototype developed this year for technical management and marine support services.
V.Group ran a testbed of the fleet cell model in Glasgow, Scotland this year covering management of a fleet of 17 ships.
“We enhanced technical management, changed the layout, improved our processes and introduced more KPIs to measure the output of the fleet cell,” said V.Group director of strategy, innovation and transformation Jon Key.
“We then looked at how people communicated with each other, worked together and solved problems,” he told Maritime Digitalisation & Communications during the SMM exhibition in Hamburg, Germany.
He explained that the fleet cell is open to new approaches, has quicker communications and recall of data between shipmanagers and crew on board ships within the cell. “We have developed more efficient ways of monitoring the ships,” said Mr Key, who added there were challenges still to overcome.
“We have developed more efficient ways of monitoring the ships”
Satellite communications enable electronic documentation and data transmissions between the fleet cell and managed vessels. “Increasing requirements for data means we need higher bandwidth for uploading and downloading,” he explained.
“Many vessels do not have high tech communications, so it is challenging to collect data from these ships.” Mr Key said there were methods of overcoming these challenges for owners and managers.
“We need to retrofit communications for the level of analysis we are heading to,” he explained. “We are grappling with communications and collaborating with customers on the hardware on their vessels.”
Another way is to keep raw data on the ship instead of sending it all in packages. “Data can remain on vessels and be analysed on board,” said Mr Key. “Data can be integrated, and a selection can be brought back to shore.” This data can be converted to information on board for the crew to use to make efficiency improvements and improve safety and reliability.
“We do not need all of the data at our fleet cell. The best place for this data is to enhance decision making on board,” he said. This can be displayed on dashboards on the bridge for crew to analyse operational data more effectively.
“Crews need actionable and operational information, while onshore management needs different information to drive their decisions”
“Crews need actionable and operational information, while onshore management needs different information to drive their decisions,” said Mr Key.
Once information is transferred from the ships it is displayed and analysed by shipmanagers as the fleet cell has multiple high-definition screens displaying vessel status, performance and positioning data.
V.Group’s fleet cell of the future is about improving teamwork and decision making. It has introduced daily meetings and provided everyone in the cell with the permission and responsibility to solve problems.
“It is about changing our workflows and empowering everyone on the team to try new things and see if they make a difference to the results we deliver for our clients,” said Mr Key.
“We have a pipeline of technology we will be trying out in the fleet cells”
V.Group is introducing more fleet cells to improve efficiency in other shipmanagement teams. In total it could have 45 in place to cover the whole of the managed fleet.
“We want to have every fleet cell working with the same technology and sharing experiences with colleagues around the world,” said Mr Key.
“We have a pipeline of technology we will be trying out in the fleet cells. We would then adopt new technology once it has proven it is effective.”
V.Group has an innovation portal to assist technology evaluation and has collaborations with universities and other institutions to develop ways for better data analytics and fleet remote monitoring.
“We use a range of data for analytics, including noon reports, ship position, machinery condition monitoring and fuel efficiency,” said Mr Key. He expects more ships will transmit digital data as paper records are phased out.
“The problem with paper records is they are inefficient and can have an impact on safety,” he explained. “Putting this online would be better for seafarers, clients and provides faster access to the information and adds more value than manual paper pushing.”
Digital information can be viewed outside of the fleet cell in real-time on mobile devices using V.Group’s ShipSure 2.0 application.
This enables clients to monitor vital data such as fuel consumption, sailing speed and conditions at sea. They can also check whether planned maintenance is overdue, and why, and request copies of test certificates.
ShipSure can generate critical spares alerts, compare budgeted running costs against real expenditure and generate invoices for procurement.
V.Group is using video conferencing between its fleet management centres worldwide and is testing it for remote ship management. “It helps with team collaboration on global projects and can be used to diagnose issues in real-time,” said Mr Key.
The group is opening an innovation centre in Mumbai, India, to enhance crew management. “We will be able to mobilise and recruit crew in different ways using new technology and new applications,” said Mr Key. Seafarer records will be in a digital format in a database and used to manage crew deployment and training.
V.Group is using digital records and fleet cells of the future to reduce the amount of paperwork ship captains must deal with. “We are testing new ways of reducing email on board so captains and crews can concentrate on safe navigation,” said Mr Key.
“They do not need email overload as this has an impact on safety. Captains do not need hundreds of emails and we do not need report duplications.”
V.Group intends to continue its technology evolution, to develop new innovations in remote monitoring, shipmanagement decisions and technical and crew management.
Klaveness Ship Management (KSM) has received class approval from DNV GL after remotely conducting a machinery planned maintenance system (MPMS) survey.
DNV GL’s surveyor sat in an office in Oslo, Norway, while the chief engineer of KSM’s caustic bulk vessel Ballard used remote screen sharing to present the vessel’s planned maintenance system and onboard maintenance routines from Bahrain. Prior to the survey, KSM provided the DNV GL surveyor with a video recording of a traditional engineroom inspection.
KSM intends to implement condition-based monitoring on board its ships. To achieve class notation for condition-based monitoring, MPMS notation must be in place necessitating an initial survey on board some KSM vessels.
Remote surveys can reduce cost for shipowners by eliminating surveyor travel expenses and the procedure offers the possiblity for surveys to be completed in part or, potentially, in their entirety while the vessel is at sea.