Inbound Tanker RYMAN to Port of Rotterdam

The recent storm Ciara has forced us to use the helicopter for boarding ships for an extended period of time since this weekend. The inbound MT RYMAN , 250 m long and drawing 13,6m deep came into port today, underway to BP jetty 1 in Oil harbour 6 in Port of Rotterdam . Thanks to the professional crew and bridgeteam of RYMAN it was a pleasant and smooth operation from start to finish. 

Pilot Transfer on a Winter Night

The job of the Maritime Pilot involves transferring from the piloted ship to a tender or fast launch vice versa. In the below video the outbound ELBCARRIER is disembarked at Maascenter pilot station, on a winter night. All procedures and safety measures are in place to make this critical operation succesfull.

Kotug take 2019 MP Autonomous & Remote Operations Award


The empty bridge of tug RT Borkum as it is remotely controlled by a captain at a simulator on shore

Remote controlled tug trials featured highly in nominations for the new Autonomous & Remote Operations Award

A new category this year recognised the development of technology that paves the way for innovative means of controlling ships. The winner of the Autonomous & Remote Operations Award from a crowded field – including several projects in the tugboat sector – was Kotug’s remote control trial, as part of which it controlled Tug Training & Consultancy’s (TTC) 15-m training Rotortug RT Borkum from more than 1,000 km away. The long range of the test, as well as its importance for the further development of remote control technology – both in the tug segment and or larger workboats and vessels – was noted by the panel.

A master used an Alphatron Marine integrated bridge simulator in the port of Marseille, France to control the tug in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The captain took control of the tug via a secure internet link over a 4G connection and visualised operations on board RT Borkum using camera images. The tug’s bridge systems and the simulator used were supplied by Alphatron Marine.

“A master used an integrated bridge simulator in the port of Marseille to control the tug in Rotterdam”

Connectivity for the Marseille trial and other Kotug tests was managed by M2M Blue, which provided a stable data connection with a virtual private network tunnel by combining local area network and 4G connection cellular networks. KPN provided the data SIM cards for the stable 4G internet connection.

Master commands made remotely on the simulator were converted to protocols that were transmitted to the tug over the internet. Information was then fed back to the remote centre over the 4G connection to the Alphatron simulator. Real-time sensor technology and video gave the remote captain the situational awareness needed for safe operation.

“We appreciate our efforts being recognised in this way,” said Kotug innovation manager Koos Smoor, accepting the award. “We undertook this project together with several partners who worked on this with us to make it a success.”

Rolls-Royce crewless ships `will likely be crusing the seas by 2020´

Source: Wellston Journal

Rolls-Royce crewless ships `will be sailing the seas by 2020´

Rolls-Royce’s quest to bring crewless ships to sea is charging ahead after the engineering giant said it has been working with Government-backed groups on the project.

The company plans to release its first fleet of autonomous ships by 2020, in a move that could cut sea transport costs by as much as 20%.

Rolls-Royce is now working with bodies in Northern Europe, including the Norwegian Forum for Autonomous Ships – established by Norway’s Maritime Administration – and DIMECC, funded in part by the Finnish government innovation investment arm Tekes. It is also embarking on major research projects in Britain and Singapore.

Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce’s vice president of innovation, told the Press Association that teams are working to develop regulation that will cover the first iteration of commercial ships like ferries and tugboats, before embarking on cargo vessels that will sail across international waters.

“The development will start in a few countries, and these flag states will give the vessel permission to operate before we have international regulations in place.”

The technology is expected to adopted by major shipping firms that are looking to boost efficiency and profitability amid weak global demand. The industry slowdown has impacted giants like AP Moller-Maersk which unveiled a full-year loss of 1.9 billion US dollar (£1.5 billion) earlier this month.

But autonomous ships are expected to make waves across the industry – not only for the crews that run those ships, but the insurers and security firms that back them.

Jonathan Moss, a partner at law firm DWF and international shipping expert, said: “The maritime industry as a whole may suffer in terms of employment levels.” The “massive boom” in the maritime security over the past six to seven years will be dampened, as there will be no crew to protect from piracy, and ship cargo will be stored more securely.

Unions have already raised concerns about the adoption of crewless ships, particularly as technology out-paces industry training.

“The pace of change is a challenge to safety and there are also many unanswered questions about the legal implications of the way in which operational and management responsibilities are being taken away from ships’ staff,” a spokesperson for the Nautilus maritime union said. “We are concerned that technology is seen simply as a way to cut jobs and cut costs.”

Mr Levander of Rolls-Royce admitted that skill sets will need to change, with more demand for work in areas like cyber security. However, he said crewless ships are likely to boost on-shore jobs that are generally safer and present a more sustainable lifestyle for staff.

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DP World boosts feeder capabilities

Source: The Maritime Standard

December 15, 2019

DP World is strengthening is container feeder activities with the acquisition of Feedertech
DP World is strengthening is container feeder activities with the acquisition of Feedertech

Unifeeder, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DP World, has announced the acquisition of a 77% stake in the Singapore-based Feedertech Group. The deal, which is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2020, is the latest stage in DP World’s strategic move to build up its end-to-end logistics capabilities, to serve the needs of shipping lines and cargo owners.

The acquisition will expand the company’s feedering and short-sea operations into new geographical areas. Feedertech operates two businesses: Feedertech, which is an independent feedering service, and Perma, a regional shortsea network. Both connect Asia to the Middle East trade routes via the Indian Subcontinent. Feedertech currently calls at around 50 ports, generating a combined revenue of around US $200 million from a broad customer base, and transports more than 600,000 teu a year.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO, DP World, said: “Feedertech has a strong reputation as a reliable and independent feeder and regional shortsea operator and offers us exposure to the fast-growing coastal shortsea trade in the Indian Subcontinent. This is highly complementary to our existing India logistics strategy.” He added that there are advanced plans to launch a new, dedicated India-Gulf region service to meet the needs of its customers in the near future.

Ali Maghami, founder and chairman of Feedertech, said he believed that the transaction with Unifeeder and the support of DP World will allow the management team to take the business to the next stage. He added, “Both Feedertech and Unifeeder share similar business models and have a common desire to reduce inefficiencies. Being part of the DP World family will allow us to benefit from the group’s relationships with end customers and its wide global network.”

Air quality sensor in the Port of Rotterdam checks sulphur emissions from shipping

Source: Port of Rotterdam press release

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management recently installed an air quality sensor on Splitsingsdam at the Port of Rotterdam’s Maas Entrance. An application with real-time readings displays vessel emissions for inspectors when vessels enter or leave the port. This is one of the additional measures ILT is taking to monitor sulphur dioxide emissions from shipping.


Air quality sensor, Splitsingsdam, Rotterdam. Photo: ILT

Stricter regulations from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are placing significant restrictions on sulphur emissions from shipping. In protected areas, such as the North Sea, a maximum permitted sulphur level of 0.1% has already applied since 2015. As of 1 January 2020, sea-going vessels on the world’s oceans may only use fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.5%. The current maximum is 3.5%. High-sulphur fuel will only be permitted on vessels that have scrubbers – an installed filtration system – on board.

Hoek van Holland

The ‘sulphur sniffer’ was originally installed at Hoek van Holland. It has now been relocated to the ‘Lage Licht’ on Splitsingsdam in the centre of the approach channel, where it will have a much better reach. The previous location was too far away from the area in which the largest vessels enter the port.

Small plane

ILT has also been using a small Belgian plane to monitor sulphur emissions since 2018. The Belgian coast guard has been monitoring shipping emissions using a small Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences plane for several years. A sensor extracts the air from beneath the plane to measure a vessel’s SO2 and CO2 emission concentrations. ILT is now also using this. Using the plane means that ILT can now also monitor vessels far out to sea.

Bunker tanks

In recent years ILT has observed that approximately 95 per cent of vessels arriving in Rotterdam complies with the sulphur regulations. In addition to the standard inspections in the Port of Rotterdam, ILT will also be sampling sea-going vessels’ so-called bunker tanks from 2020. From that point, vessels without scrubbers may no longer have fuel containing sulphur levels higher than 0.5% in their tanks.

Autonomous ships on Dutch horizon

The Port of Rotterdam is creating an environment where autonomous ships will become the norm, through IoT and IBM Watson

The Port of Rotterdam is moving closer to its plan to enable autonomous ships to call into port, and is currently replacing thousands of sensors to be compatible with the IBM Watson Platform it purchased in 2018.Download this free guide

The internet of things (IoT) strategy of the Port of Rotterdam is driven by two main challenges: transition from using fossil fuels and digitisation of processes and information.

The ultimate goal is autonomous ships. Think huge fuel-efficient vessels with a skeleton crew and an artificial brain, that sail the seas sustainably and navigate ports with great accuracy, thanks to rapid data exchange with terminals, agents and customs authorities.

Shipping companies and container terminals are making great strides towards that goal, says Jeroen Ramakers, IT Architect at the Port of Rotterdam Authority: “Our customers are automating everything that can be [automated].

“Today, when visiting the large container terminals, such as Rotterdam World Gateway, you hardly see any people walking the grounds. Our customers are way ahead of us in the digitisation of their operations.”

The first autonomous ships will still have crews on board for navigation. In later phases, the captain can perhaps steer his ship from shore and the vessel will navigate the seas autonomously.

But before any of this can become reality, all relevant data needs to flow seamlessly between all parties involved. Data such as water and weather conditions, terminal capacity and logistics.

In 2018, the Port of Rotterdam Authority purchased IBM’s IoT Platform Watson. Working with networking giant Cisco and IT services company Axians, the port started to collect a variety of weather and water data including water level, currents, saline levels, wind and visibility.

Saline levels are relevant because a higher percentage of salt in the water means a greater buoyancy, and this affects a vessel’s fuel consumption. “We replaced these five sensor types so they worked with Watson,” said Ramakers. “It was the hardest task we gave our supplier. Once that was done, we could start changing other sensors, too.”

Previously, sensor data was read, translated into information, analysed and turned into forecasts. “Now we can very accurately calculate conditions 24 hours in advance,” said Ramakers. “Our aim is to create one generic platform that collects all data: that means replacing thousands and thousands of existing sensors in quaysides, roads and boulders. All that data needs to come together in one platform that will be able to communicate with autonomous ships.

A port of Rotterdam spokesperson said that data has already led to a surprising cost saving. “When we constructed quaysides, we built them to withstand the forces of ever larger ships,” they said.

“However, our sensors have measured these ships are actually not taxing the quaysides as much as we had calculated. Now can now start constructing more cost-efficient quaysides that require less material and match the required functionality.”

The drive to automating shipping is a global challenge, and the Port of Rotterdam is of the international network organisation, known as Port Call Optimization. It meets regularly to discuss and agree upon standards for data exchange. “We have to work together – nobody can do this on their own,” said Ramakers.

Russia’s Sole Aircraft Carrier Catches Fire in Northern Port


Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, caught fire on Thursday during maintenance work in Russia’s Arctic port in Murmansk, with five people reportedly injured, Russian news agencies reported.

One source told the state-run TASS news agency that the fire had started on the upper deck and that thick, black smoke was billowing from the vessel. The area of the fire has reached 600 square meters, Interfax reported.

Six people have been injured, TASS cited a source in the regional disaster medicine center as saying.

The Baza Telegram channel reported that firefighters are struggling to get the fire under control as the thick smoke prevents them from reaching the source of the flames.

The Admiral Kuznetsov has had a troubled history since it was buit and launched by the Soviet Union in 1985. It has been undergoing repairs at a shipyard near Murmansk following combat operations in Syria, where it was blighted by problems and lost two aircraft due to malfunctions with the carrier’s arresting gear.

The additional repairs were not expected to affect the Admiral Kuznetsov’s return into service in 2022, Russia’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) said two days before the fire erupted. It was not immediately clear when or whether the ill-fated aircraft carrier would return to the Russian Navy.

LoRa sensors and gateways to run aboard ocean freighters

Ocean freighters will use LoRa low-power wireless sensors and gateways to monitor ship systems. (Semtech)

Maritime shipping giant Wilhelmsen will implement a potentially massive Internet of Things platform aboard ocean-going freighters around the globe that relies on LoRa low-power wireless connectivity.

LoRa sensors and gateways powered by Semtech chips will be used to monitor the condition of the vessels and track the ship’s assets. The Things Industries is also a partner in the venture.

“The new system is expected to benefit our customers immediately and is a step toward autonomous vessels,” said Jon Helge Ulstein, senior project manager at Wilhelmsen in a statement. The Norwegian company, founded in 1861, services half of the global merchant fleet with products, services and technical management from 2,200 locations.

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Semtech chips are already used in many land-based IoT networks for various industries. Equipment running the LoraWAN specification is already deployed in 100 countries, but now will be deployed for the first time aboard ships serviced by Wilhelmsen.

The three companies successfully completed a proof of concept of the LoRa devices and using a TTI mesh network aboard a freighter ship last summer off the coast of Norway. LoRa was the right choice of wireless technology, since its range is long enough to service an entire ship but not so long-range that it uses too much power that can quickly exhaust batteries in sensors, said Marc Pegulu, vice president of Semtech’s Sensing Products Group.

In a typical ocean-going freighter, he estimated it will take 2,000 or more sensors to collect data connected to three gateways. The data will be collected and sent by satellite to a data center in Norway for monitoring.

LoRa (short for Long Range) is a spectrum modulation technology that can connect devices up to 30 miles apart and requires little energy to prolong battery life up to 10 years. The LoRaWAN specification works in the unlicensed band and complements Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular. Pegulu said for ocean going freighters, Semtech chips operate over three bands to effectively connect around the globe: 915 Mhz in the Americas, 868 Mhz in Europe and 470 Mhz in China.