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March 28, 2016

Voyager News

Cyber-activity, connectivity, human communication and a better weather forecast

A busy month in February, which saw two of the leading societies publish guidance on tackling cyber risk, collaboration on joint software and plans made for the design and eventual construction of smarter ships. Elsewhere, connectivity is still on its inexorable rise, with new impetus for the internet of things, smart data collection and even a better weather forecast.

MOL gathers operational data
Japanese shipping major based Mitsui OSK Lines will trial a new system of onboard data gathering and transmission to a Ship Data Center operated by class society ClassNK.

The SDC offers consolidated management of vessel operational data and MOL says it has been working on a shipboard IT environment that will collect data from onboard and relay it to shore in real time via the ships’ broadband systems.

The analysis it hopes to perform on the data repository will allow it to build a vessel operations support network which will contribute to safety, reduced environmental impact and optimising operational management.

The company also hopes to deliver improved training and education options to its seafarers through better understanding of its shipboard operations.

Met Office provides weather underway
Weather forecaster UK Met Office has launched SafeVoyage, to provide weather information for vessels travelling in open water. Its system offers a weather forecast for the entirety of a ship’s route, anywhere on the globe, with data presented in a graphical format including wind and sea conditions and regular tabulated data for significant wave height, swells and wind.

Forecast start times can be generated to drive inform decisions concerning route optimisation and departure time – optional thresholds can be set for prevailing wind conditions.

“In marginal situations it is vital to make decisions based on the best information possible. SafeVoyage provides reliable information to support decisions that could impact safety and efficiency,” explained Patrick Sachon, head of oil and gas, and renewables at the Met Office.

Club warns on communication breakdown
Breakdown in communication between masters and their bridge teams during pilot operations is a major contributor to accidents, a joint study by UK P&I Club and Solis Marine Consultants has found.

Despite claims from accidents attributed to human error falling in number, the study authors pointed out that even where more information is available onboard, there will still be areas where further detail is required by the bridge team.

Even when a Master is familiar with a certain port there will be many aspects of entry that can only be properly completed once the pilot has boarded. This is an opportunity for the Master to seek the information and advice that will fill in the missing gaps for transit, manoeuvre, berth and tugs arrangements.

The bridge team must ensure that they are aware of information relating to transit to and from the berth, including the route agreed, speed and timing, local traffic regulations and emergency anchorage areas. Details of the tugs used should be known as should berth limitations including vessel size, turning areas, mooring plans and speed limits.

Cyber guidance on the rise
Classification Society Lloyd’s Register has become that latest to issue guidance on tackling cyber-security risks in shipping. The first edition of LR’s guidance on cyber-enabled ships is the result of detailed work and consultation with industry and academia and contain a route map to help understand the implications of digital technology.

A cyber-enabled ship consists of multiple interconnected systems and due to the rapid pace of technology development, prescriptive approaches to risk management are not a suitable solution. Instead, a ‘total systems’ approach is required, taking into account how all systems on board and ashore are designed and installed, how they connect, and how they will be managed.

Its US counterpart ABS also published Guidance Notes on the Application of Cybersecurity Principles to Marine and Offshore Operations, the first volume in the society’s new CyberSafety series, with best practices for maintaining digital defences in maritime and offshore operations.

The eventual series of Guidance Notes, Guides with Optional Notations, Advisory Notes and related Publications will comprise a risk-based management programme for asset owners to apply best practice approaches to four key cyber areas: cybersecurity, automated systems safety, data management and software assurance.

LR and ABS join forces on software
The same two class societies have formed a joint venture company to launch software tools for compliance with the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Common Structural Rules (CSR), which entered into force on 1 July 2015. Common Structural Rules Software LLC will offer version 2.5 of the CSR Prescriptive Analysis and the new CSR Finite Element (FE) Analysis software, based on input from both ABS and LR.

The application allows for assessment of whole vessel structures, including new bulk carrier and oil tanker designs. Both class societies will use these new tools to evaluate new designs to the CSR.

“This software constitutes a new industry standard,” said ABS chairman, president and CEO Christopher Wiernicki. “In our collaboration as two of the world’s leading class societies, we continue to achieve our primary objective to enable the advancement of the maritime industry through reliable and dependable software applications.”

The CSR Prescriptive Analysis software turns user input data into useful output information, including a summary report with required and offered scantlings, with a graphic representation of any deficiencies.

NITC back in the fold
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) has marked the country’s return from the economic wilderness by re-joining Intertanko as a full member. The decision is reported to have been conveyed in a letter written by Intertanko chairman, Nikolas Tsakos, to NITC managing director, Ali-Akber Safaei, according to an Iranian news agency said.

Intertanko’s general counsel Michele White explained in a statement that NITC was a long standing members of the organisation, prior to the introduction of EU and US nuclear-related sanctions. “With the recent lifting of these sanctions, Intertanko is pleased to be able to welcome them back as members, provided they are able to meet the membership criteria.”

This requires them to have International Group P&I insurance cover (or an equivalent) and to be classed with a member of IACS. White said NITC expected to be able to meet these requirements in the near future.

ICS backs open register performance
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has backed the performance of the Open Registers which flag the majority of the world fleet, noting a number of positive indicators in its Industry Flag State Performance Table for 2015/2016.

The table provides an annual overview of the performance of the world’s ship registers against a number of criteria, using data available in the public domain including Port State Control records, the ratification of IMO and ILO Conventions and participation at IMO meetings.

“One thing the ICS table has demonstrated for many years is the lack of substance to arbitrary distinctions that are sometimes made between the performance of open registers and so called traditional flag states,” explained ICS director of policy & external relations, Simon Bennett.

“About two thirds of the world fleet is now registered with the eight largest ‘open registries’, all of which show impressive levels of performance. While they might have been relevant 20 years ago, the ICS Table continues to show that such distinctions are no longer helpful,” he stressed.

Inmarsat joins the LoRa Alliance
Satellite operator Inmarsat has joined the LoRa Alliance, a group dedicated to developing a global standard for the Internet of Things (IoT) and says it will provide the Alliance with satellite connectivity to enable the deployment of IoT solutions.

LoRa Alliance is a non-profit organisation founded in 2015 by stakeholders across the IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) industries, with the goal of standardising the Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) being deployed worldwide to enable IoT, M2M, smart city and industrial applications.

The members of the Alliance aim to guarantee interoperability between operators by making LPWAN the open global standard for IoT applications.

“Joining the LoRa Alliance is a natural fit for Inmarsat,” said Greg Ewert, Enterprise President for Inmarsat. “Our portfolio of M2M services, powered by our global network, have long been used to extend the reach of our customers’ M2M networks in a number of vertical markets, powering the Internet of Everywhere for solutions worldwide.”

LR and CSSC to develop ‘cyber ship’
Meanwhile China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has signed a Joint Industry Project with Lloyd’s Register Asia to design a new ‘cyber ship’. The 38,800 dwt smart ship project will employ new technology and applications as part of what is being called an ‘I-Dolphin’ design.

This will include real-time data transmission and collection, large-capacity calculations, digital modelling and remote control, all of which will be designed into the ship to improve the vessel’s navigational safety and operational efficiency.

LR’s existing Rules already address certain aspects of system engineering, including provisions for embedded software, networks, and integration with other aspects of the ship’s hardware where part of the systems or features are essential for safe operation.

By working together with CSSC and other I-Dolphin project partners, LR will look to develop additional class Rules content, to understand which is the most efficient, safe and environmentally friendly route to take in the design, operation, survey and maintenance of smart ships.

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