A remote-controlled ship carrying British oysters to Belgium becomes the first cargo vessel in the world to traverse the seas without a crew

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

A boat carrying a cargo of British oysters across the English Channel has become the world’s first ever shipment completed using remote control. 

Mersea Island molluscs were on-board the 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel heading to Orstend in Belgium and there was not a single human being on-board. 

It successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish and then made a return journey with some Belgian beer on-board.

Myriad technological gadgets and innovations fed data back to a control room in Maldon, Essex where two workers completed the 22-hour trip. 

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The British vessel is equipped with cameras, radar, microphones, thermal imaging and a back-up autonomous system to keep it and other sea-goers safe. 

‘This voyage has been months in the making, and to see it all come together is amazing,’ said Ben Simpson of SEA-KIT International Ltd. 

‘[The USV’s] potential lies in its ability to be adapted to a range of tasks, whether it be transit, hydrographic surveys, environmental missions, or marine safety and security. We’re tremendously excited to push the technology to its limits and see what we can achieve.’ 

Its journey across the Channel opens up the possibility for future trips also without a crew. 

Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.   

Remote pilots use a system known as Global Situation Awareness’ which obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar. 

The intrepid mission was done with the support of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department for Transport, the Foreign Office, officials in Belgium and the European Space Agency.

Mersea Island molluscs were on-board the 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel heading to Orstend in Belgium and there was not a single human being on-board. A myriad of technological gadgets and innovations fed data back to a control room in Maldon, Essex where two workers completed the 22-hour trip
Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine. It successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish (pictured) and then made a return journey with some Belgian beer on-board

Its developers say that, in the event of catastrophic failure of these systems, the autonomous features will kick in and allow it to avoid a collision. 

This, according to its developers, is the direction the company envisions the project going, as autonomy becomes a viable full-time prospect. 

Future endeavours will involve larger vessels by the mid-2020s and other firms, such as engineering giant Rolls-Royce also focuses on autonomous shipping. 

Zakirul Bhuiyan, a senior lecturer at Solent University, told The Times that the technology is ‘already there’ but faces bureaucratic hurdles.    

Professor Martyn Thomas, of Gresham College, said: ‘There are obvious benefits, such as removing people from a potentially dangerous environment.’ 

WHAT IS SEA-KIT?  

Sea-Kit is a British vessel which is remote-controlled at a central hub in Essex. 

It was designed by Hushcraft Ltd in Tollesbury, Essex and SEA-KIT Maxlimer was initially developed to take part in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to find new ways to map the seafloor. 

The 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.

Remote pilots use a system known as Global Situation Awareness’ which obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar.

it completed the world’s first cargo-carrying remote-controlled trip when it transported oysters from Essex to Belgium. 

Dimensions: 40 foot (11.75m) long and 7.2 feet (2.2m) wide

Propulsion: Hybrid diesel-electric system

Range and speed: Up to 22,000km at 4 knots (4.6mph)

Can fit inside a shipping container

Future endeavours will involve larger vessels by the mid-2020s 

Port of Rotterdam Authority launches ‘Rotterdam Food Hub’

Population growth and increasing prosperity, particularly in emerging economies, have resulted in ‘agrofood’ becoming a growth market. After the United States, the Netherlands is the world’s largest agriculture exporter. Almost €92 billion was traded in 2017, which is one of the reasons why the Port of Rotterdam, with its 16 million tonnes of throughput per year, is market leader in Western Europe.

Speed is crucial

“We aim to further accommodate our client’s growth in agrofood,” explained Emile Hoogsteden, Director of Containers, Breakbulk & Logistics at the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “The Rotterdam Food Hub offers excellent opportunities for this: not only are Maasvlakte’s large deep-sea container terminals just a stone’s throw away, but the Rotterdam Food hub will also have access to multiple berths for sea-going vessels especially equipped for refrigerated cargo.” Berths for inland vessels will also be available and warehouses will be located immediately adjacent to the quays to enable refrigerated and frozen cargo to be stored, processed or transported quickly. “In agrofood, we work with perishable goods, so speed is crucial,” stated Hoogsteden.

Hotspots

Another advantage of the Rotterdam Food Hub is that various shared facilities can be used on the site. For instance, quays and services for transport, storage, access control and customs can be shared efficiently. Hoogsteden: “The Rotterdam Food Hub forms a fantastic and extremely welcome addition to the agrofood hotspots that already exist in the Port of Rotterdam, such as Cool Port and the large cold storage warehouses including at Maasvlakte and Eemhaven. Its location close to Greenports such as Barendrecht, Ridderkerk and Westland is, of course, also ideal.”

Kwestie riviercruiseschepen ligt politiek gevoelig na ongelukken

Source: Omroepzeeland.nl

Aanvaring cruiseschip en tanker op Westerschelde (foto: HV Zeeland)

De aanvaring tussen het Zwitserse riviercruiseschip Viking Idun en de Maltese tanker Chemical Marketeren is niet het enige incident. Eind maart botsten bij Nijmegen een riviercruiseschip en een vrachtschip tegen elkaar, zonder dat er mensen gewond raakten. Afgelopen week vielen zeven gewonden toen een riviercruiseschip tegen een aangemeerd schip in de haven van Rotterdam voer.

Meer dan 600 oversteken

Riviercruiseschepen maken steeds meer gebruik van de Westerschelde. Dit jaar worden meer dan 600 oversteken, van en naar de Belgische havens, verwacht. Die oversteken gebeuren meestal ’s nachts. Aan boord van de riviercruiseschepen zijn merendeel oudere mensen als gast aanwezig, een kwetsbare groep.

De Westerschelde wordt gezien als binnenwater, waar dezelfde regels voor gelden als bijvoorbeeld de Rijn en de Maas. Daarom is beloodsing niet nodig. De regels voor varen op binnenwateren zijn onder meer dat golven niet hoger mogen zijn dan 1,5 meter, dat het zicht 1000 meter moet zijn en dat de voertaal Nederlands of Engels is. Vorige week werd nog een tanker stilgelegd in de Vlissingse Sloehaven, omdat er niemand aan boord was die Nederlands of Engels sprak.

‘Westerschelde indelen bij Noordzee’

Voorzitter Jan Lonink van de Veiligheidsregio Zeeland is al jaren bezorgd over de toename van het aantal riviercruiseschepen op de Westerschelde. “Wij hebben er vroeger zelf voor gepleit om de Westerschelde bij de Noordzee in te delen, als zeewater. Het is nu als gemeente ingedeeld al rivier. Maar de Westerschelde is een hele specifieke riviermonding, met sterke stroming en heel verschillend scheepvaartverkeer. Wij willen niet verbieden, maar de risico’s onder controle te krijgen.”

Terneuzens raadslid Giel van Boom (TOP Gemeentebelangen) en Tweede Kamerlid Rutger Schonis (D66) (foto: Omroep Zeeland)

Inmiddels zijn er politieke vragen gesteld. Eerst door het Terneuzense raadslid Giel van Boom van TOP Gemeentebelangen aan het college van de gemeente Terneuzen. Hij vraagt zich af of verplichte beloodsing niet mogelijk is. Na het incident in de haven van Rotterdam werden kamervragen gesteld door het Middelburgse Tweede Kamerlid Rutger Schonis van D66. Hij is bang dat hulpdiensten niet zijn voorbereid op een ongeluk met een riviercruiseboot, waarbij veel passagiers betrokken zijn.

Politiek gevoelig

De politieke gevoeligheid is door de vragen zo toegenomen dat bijna alle partijen, die te maken hebben met de veiligheid op de Westerschelde, niet voor de microfoon van Omroep Zeeland willen reageren op deze kwestie. Alleen de Veiligheidsregio Zeeland, bij monde van voorzitter Jan Lonink, spreekt haar zorgen uit. “Mede vanwege de toename van het aantal riviercruiseschepen op de Westerschelde hebben wij besloten om niet meer om de vier jaar een risicoanalyse te doen, maar om de twee jaar.”

Beloodsing op zee (foto: OZ)

Op advies van het Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat zegt Rijkswaterstaat geen commentaar te willen geven, behalve op schriftelijke vragen. Gevraagd naar eventuele maatregelen om de veiligheid van riviercruiseschepen te verbeteren wordt geantwoord: “Wij wachten op de resultaten van de Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid naar de aanvaring. Mochten resultaten uit dat onderzoek naar het recente incident er aanleiding toe geven om de regels aan te passen, dan is dat een mogelijkheid.”

Niemand spreekt zich uit

Het loodswezen in zowel Nederland als België waagt zich ook niet aan uitspraken over de mogelijkheid van verplichte beloodsing. Net als de branchevereniging Schuttevaer. Rijkswaterstaat reageert alleen schriftelijk: “Beloodsing wordt alleen verplicht gesteld indien dat nodig is. (Inter)nationale afspraken verzetten zich ook tegen deze maatregel.” Lonink reageerde wel voor de camera, maar terughoudend. “Dat moeten, denk ik, deskundigen met elkaar bepalen.”

Het wachten blijft dus op de resultaten van het onderzoek door de Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid naar de aanvaring. Contact met deze raad leert dat die uitspraak wel een jaar op zich kan laten wachten.

Port of Rotterdam Bullish on Blockchain – Powering Forward with New Projects

April 28, 2019

Source: The Blockchain.com

The Port of Rotterdam has reported that the first blockchain applications in the Netherlands maritime hub are ‘beginning to take shape’, with Blocklab – a joint venture between the port authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam carving the way.

In a recent statement, the Port of Rotterdam said that the Blocklab team, led by Aljosja Beije and Janjoost Jullens, is concentrating on two ‘domains’: logistics and energy.

Blockchain is extremely suitable for coordinating processes in decentralised networks of companies and institutions. In a network without central leadership, trust is often lacking. It is exactly this trust that is needed for the large-scale data sharing that simplifies and accelerates processes. Blockchain provides that trust, partly because all relevant data is recorded in a secure way on a huge number of computers. Manipulating or deleting data is virtually impossible.

Sustainable energy

There are two key networks in the Port of Rotterdam in which such a decentralised element plays an important role. The first is the traditional centrally-controlled electrical grid, supplied by a few dominant power suppliers with coal-powered plants. This is changing now that the energy transition is slowly beginning to take shape. In and around the port there are now numerous wind turbines and solar panels supplying power to the electrical grid. This is resulting in an increasingly decentralised grid.

Such a decentralised electrical grid faces a number of significant challenges. The supply of sustainable energy sources is, for example, extremely irregular. This demands a smart network that continuously aligns supply with demand. ‘Blockchain is the technology that can facilitate such a smart, decentralised gird and help achieve the promise of the energy transition. The focus on blockchain is an offensive strategy, geared towards increasing the share of sustainable energy’, explained Janjoost Jullens, BlockLab energy lead.

Efficiency in logistics

Things are very different in today’s logistics network. This is a decentralised network in which the majority of positions are occupied by small and medium enterprises. For instance, an average 28 parties are involved in transporting sea containers, and they have to exchange data a total of some 200 times to ensure that a container reaches its intended destination.

Blockchain can significantly improve the efficiency of this process. ‘In this network, deploying blockchain is much more of a defensive strategy, focusing on retaining market share’, explained Aljosja Beije, logistics lead at BlockLab. ‘Platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba are also emerging strongly in logistics. You could see these as the equivalent of coal-fired power plants: efficiency is created through centralisation. For existing parties in decentralised networks, cooperation is the only option they have to improve their efficiency.’

Beyond the hype

At some point, it seemed as though blockchain was the solution to every problem, but there has been an increasing skepticism in recent years. Anecdotally, it has proven to be difficult for all parties in a network to hook up to a blockchain. If this could be achieved this would, according to skeptics, create an application that could just as easily have been built using existing technologies. Have we gone beyond the hype?

Beije understands this skepticism. ‘The hype revolved more around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These were fantastic experiments, and we learned so much from these. We also saw many unsuccessful ‘proof of concepts’ at government agencies, but it is difficult to implement a decentralised solution in an organisation that, by definition, is organised centrally. And yes, many solutions are, in principle, also possible without blockchain. But where do the solutions lie? Blockchain is certainly not the solution to everything, but it can tackle the problem of trust that stands in the way of solutions.’

Cross-sector applications

The opportunities for blockchain mainly lie in cross-sector applications: applications involving parties from different sectors. Cooperation between these parties is often not an obvious choice. Beije mentioned the example of we.trade, which was established by a consortium of banks to facilitate international trading company transactions. For an international transaction, various processes are generally needed that are implemented in sequence. Blockchain enables these processes to be implemented simultaneously so that the involved parties no longer need to wait for each other.

Another successful application is komgo, a platform from companies including Shell, ABN Amro, ING, Rabobank, and Gunvor. The objective of komgo is to eliminate the paperwork associated with the trade in commodities. ‘Don’t forget that the technology is actually only four years old. The concept has existed for longer, but it’s only in the last four years that we have blockchain protocols on which we can build concrete applications.’

Trade platform for energy

Logistics and energy are two examples of cross-sector domains in which blockchain is promising. Achieving international freight flow requires not only logistics service providers, but banks, customs agencies, and other parties. In the energy sector, this concerns both producers and purchasers of energy.

BlockLab is working hard on a number of concrete projects. Together with S&P Global Platts, BlockLab is building a platform that coordinates the supply and demand of energy. ‘You can’t simply switch the sun and wind on and off. This makes it difficult to make optimum use of these sustainable energy sources. What happens now is that wind farms are paid to shut down the wind turbines, simply because the grid operators cannot use all that power. In Europe and North America, we are losing billions through these kinds of inefficiencies’, explained Jullens.

Price incentives

An intelligent trading platform can offer price incentives that encourage purchasers to modify their behaviour. For instance, storing energy temporarily until they need it. Or using energy at the times when the supply is greater. For instance, a cold storage warehouse that uses wind power at night to reduce the temperature by a few extra degrees so that they can switch off the refrigeration system during the day.

‘With blockchain we can design such a trading platform safely and efficiently. Moreover, we can automate the trade by establishing ‘smart contracts’. Such a smart contract is a collection of logical rules that enables decision-making processes to be automated. For instance, the option of using energy automatically from a charged battery if the energy price exceeds a certain value.’

Digital civil-law notary

Beije’s team is working with ABN Amro and Samsung on Deliver, an application in which documents, data, and other assets can be transferred from one blockchain to another while retaining their integrity. Beije makes the comparison with a civil-law notary. ‘Take, for instance, the most important document in sea freight, the bill of lading. Whoever has the bill of lading, is the owner of the cargo. The owner of the bill of lading can use this as security in obtaining trade financing, but can of course only do this once.’

In practice, there are examples of companies who misuse the bill of lading. ‘With blockchain, we can make documents such as the bill of lading really unique. We can play the role of civil-law notary, but also prove that there is just one copy of a document and from which source that document originates. As civil-law notary, we ensure validated and thus reliable data. This creates unparalleled opportunities for automation and transactions and even new business models.’

Containers from South Korea

The three initiators aim to use blockchain to develop practical applications. ‘For instance, there is already an app for tracking & tracing, which we used in the first pilot to monitor containers between South Korea and the Netherlands, but also for supply chain finance. We aim to continue expanding the number of apps and in this way build a complete app store’, explained Beije. ‘It is important that this civil-law notary doesn’t hold on to data. We don’t record the bill of lading in the blockchain; we only record what type of document it is and where it is. The source of the document must remain the owner of the data.’

According to Beije, in blockchain-land, there is currently a lot of discussion about the interoperability of various blockchains. The developments in recent years have mainly made clear that in the future, various blockchains will exist next to each other. ‘That doesn’t need to be a problem, but those blockchains will need to be able to communicate with each other. That is a theme that takes up a lot of our time.’

Important obstacles

The energy platform that BlockLab is establishing with S&P Global Platts, is complete in principle. The first practical test will take place in the Innovation Dock in Rotterdam in the coming months. ‘That is the Port Authority’s own site with smart energy meters. In the Innovation Dock we can easily show that we can coordinate supply and demand in the energy domain’, explained Jullens.

The most important thing is that big organisations gain confidence in the blockchain. They need to dare to take the step to use this on a large scale. ‘This concerns confidence as well as regulations and hardware. Take the energy domain, for instance. We need hardware for the temporary storage of energy in order to optimise the profits from sustainable energy. This hardware is just becoming available now’, explained Jullens, who is hopeful that the platform will be a success. ‘We see problems already being created in other locations because of congestion in the energy network. Problems that our solutions can help prevent. But it will be a few years before our solution is used on a large scale in the port.’

Drydock Fails in Turkey

Structural failure of a drydock in the KUZEY STAR shipyard, Istanbul, Turkey results in two cranes crashing into the water. Youtube clip dated April 14th, 2019

Validatietesten innovatieve afmeertechniek voor havens van de toekomst

Bron: Deltares

Deltares is samen met Shoretension, Royal HaskoningDHV, MARIN, Vopak en Shell op zoek naar de mogelijkheden van een innovatieve afmeertechniek voor de haven van de toekomst. Duurzaamheid en economische vitaliteit staan centraal in de haven van de toekomst. Deze havens zullen er zeer waarschijnlijk anders uitzien dan de havens zoals we die nu kennen, een voorbeeld hiervan zijn nieuwe concepten voor open havens. 

Een open haven heeft minder impact op de kustzone, maar vergt meer van het afmeersysteem om de schepen op zijn plek te houden tijdens het laden en lossen. Hier zouden nieuwe innovatieve afmeersystemen uitkomst kunnen bieden. Om te bepalen waar de grenzen liggen voor deze afmeertechnieken worden schaalmodeltesten gedaan in de Delta Basin, het 3D golfbassin bij Deltares. Innovatieve afmeersystemen spelen een cruciale rol in de stap naar een duurzamere haven waar de impact op de omgeving zoveel mogelijk wordt beperkt.

Op zoek naar grenzen

In de afgelopen jaren heeft ShoreTension een innovatieve afmeertechniek ontwikkeld die de krachten in afmeerlijnen laag houdt door slim in te spelen op de bewegingen van het schip. Op deze manier kan het schip met lage lijnkrachten toch goed stil worden gehouden. Dit maakt efficiënt laden en lossen mogelijk, ook met ongunstigere golfcondities. De afmeertechniek wordt al op verschillende locaties wereldwijd succesvol toegepast, maar de karakteristieken en toepassingsgrenzen van deze techniek zijn nog niet goed bekend. “We willen weten hoe dit afmeersysteem zich gedraagt onder verschillende golfcondities en in interactie met andere constructies, vertelt Niek Bruinsma van Deltares die de proeven begeleidt. “Bovendien is het van belang om na te gaan tot welke golfhoogte deze techniek veilig ingezet kan worden en wat dus de grenzen aan deze afmeertechniek zijn, iets dat je bij voorkeur onder gecontroleerde omstandigheden in een schaalmodel onderzoekt”.

Resultaten verwerkt in numerieke modellen om duurzame havenontwerpen uit te werken

In het golfbassin worden diverse situaties en verschillende golfcondities nagebootst op schaal 1:40. Met de resultaten uit de verschillende testcases realiseert Deltares een database die door Royal HaskoningDHV gebruikt wordt om hun numeriek representatie van het afmeersysteem te valideren. Dergelijke modellen kunnen ingenieursbureaus en aannemers gebruikt worden om haalbaarheidsstudies voor nieuwe open-havenconcepten uit te voeren. Op dit moment overwegen enkele havens al dergelijke inzichten in te gaan zetten.

Dit onderzoeksproject is uitgevoerd door een consortium bestaande uit: Deltares, ShoreTension, Royal HaskoningDHV, MARIN, Vopak en Shell. Het project wordt gefinancierd door de deelnemende partijen en Topsector Water & Maritiem (TKI Deltatechnologie). Een deel van het rapport is openbaar beschikbaar

Electronic navigation charts the way to safer Straits

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation on April 8, 2019.PHOTO: LAM PIN MIN/FACEBOOK

Source: The Straits Times

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Straits?

Four years ago, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) did just that.

It partnered with Norwegian agencies on the Secure, Efficient and Safe Maritime Traffic Management in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (Sesame Straits) project to develop new operating concepts for the world’s most congested waterways.

Yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said MPA will launch Sesame Solution II, in partnership with the Sesame consortium.

“Leveraging technology and digitisation, Sesame Solution II will focus on realising automated electronic ship-to-shore reporting services,” he said at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation organised by MPA and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

The event was held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week.

E-navigation, or the integration of various marine navigation systems electronically, improves the reliability of communications and enhances safety.

MPA is also supporting a research and innovation project by ST Engineering and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*Star) Institute for Infocomm Research, among others, to develop satellite Very High Frequency-based Data Exchange System (VDES) solutions – which allow for real-time, high-bandwidth ship-to-shore communications.

VDES can be used to share predictive analytics on navigational safety with ships at sea, said Dr Lam, noting this can help reduce the risk of vessel collisions.

Yesterday, the International Chamber of Shipping, the Asian Shipowners’ Association, and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations also signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance e-navigation development efforts.

The e-navigation solutions workshop is the first since Singapore’s election to the IALA council in 2018. Said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, MPA chief executive: “Our election into the IALA council has presented more opportunities for us to work closely with key players around the world, and we look forward to collaborating with like-minded partners under the broader framework of the International Maritime Organisation to support the implementation of e-navigation.”

Zhaki Abdullah

Autonomous ships in Singapore could become a reality with MPA’s new innovation lab

The Next Generation Vessel Traffic Management System Lab (NGVTMS Lab), jointly launched by ST Engineering and Kongsberg NorControl, will realise the development of new vessel traffic capabilities. (Photo: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore)

Source: Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Autonomous ships may arrive in Singapore’s waters in the near future, thanks to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) new Maritime Innovation Lab (MIL).

The lab was launched on Tuesday (Apr 9), in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week 2019.

Besides experimenting with future technologies, the facility will work towards boosting the sector’s technological capabilities, as well as developing “next-generation port operations”, MPA said in its statement.

“This new developer space, located at PSA Vista, will accelerate the development of new operation concepts and systems, and build local technological capabilities in key areas, ensuring that our sea port is future-ready,” MPA added.

One such key area will be the study of autonomous ships. The port authority has set up a cross-agency steering committee to ensure Singapore will be able to receive autonomous ships in the future.

The committee will formulate an implementation roadmap of autonomous maritime operations in Singapore’s port waters, as well as undertake research and development projects to build technical capabilities to handle such vessels.

MPA has also initiated five autonomous vessel projects worth S$7.2 million with various companies, including ST Engineering and Keppel Singmarine. 

One project will see ST Engineering, along with Mitsui OSK Lines, MPA and Lloyd’s Register, embark on the world’s largest ocean-going autonomous vessel programme. The programme will steer the sails of a large commercial vessel in the high seas autonomously.

ST Engineering will develop and install perception and navigation modules on the Singapore-flagged car carrier ship, which is expected to sail along a global route. This route will include locations such as the Suez Canal, Panama Canal, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore to provide data, knowledge and test scenarios that could serve as the benchmark for future autonomous programmes.

“As the maritime industry moves towards leveraging technology to develop autonomous vessels and enhance operations in a safer, faster and more cost-effective manner, autonomous ship technology can be transited to other vessel types, with potential applications in the regional harbor fleet of crafts including tug boats, pilot boats and ferries,” said MPA, ST Engineering, Mitsui and Lloyd’s Register in a joint statement.

MPA added that industry partners, research institutes and local universities will be able to use the MIL to develop their own maritime solutions and capabilities.

One such example is that of vessel traffic management, which will be studied via a separate facility, also co-located within the MIL. It was launched by ST Engineering and Kongsberg NorControl.

The S$9.9 million lab, to be completed in 2021, will look into the analysis of vessel routes, traffic hotspots prediction and detection of potential collisions.

Another focus of the MIL will see ST Engineering, PSA Marine and MPA jointly develop a remotely-assisted pilotage system that will allow onshore pilots to remotely guide vessels for safe berthing, unberthing and movement within domestic waterways to the port of call. 

“The remote, shore-based pilotage system will help to free up about 40 per cent of time spent by authorised pilots, alleviating their need to physically board the vessel from the port of call. This will enable more efficient manpower allocation, and the pilots can be redeployed for other critical tasks,” said MPA.

In addition, MPA has launched a data hub to assist with the maritime sector’s digitialisation efforts and data sharing, as well as the development and testing of applications and data-driven services.

“We are glad to have like-minded partners who strongly believe in the importance of experimentation and open innovation. Together with PSA and Jurong Port Living Lab, the MIL adds to the maritime research and innovation ecosystem, which will help take the maritime sector to a new level of development in areas such as automation, data analytics and intelligent systems,” said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, chief executive of MPA.

Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport, added: “The setup of the Maritime Innovation Lab is an important milestone in Singapore’s journey to be the global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent.”

The Singapore Maritime Week is an annual event. This year’s edition is ongoing until Apr 14, and is grouped into three sections – issues affecting the sector, digitalisation efforts focusing on start-ups, as well as outdoor exhibitions that showcase Singapore’s shipping industry’s history and heritage.

Manx Fastcraft Conducts Berthing Trials in Dublin Port Against Backdrop of Capacity Restrictions & Brexit

Source: Afloat.ie

The Isle of Man Steam Packet’s fastcraft Manannan arrived to Dublin Port yesterday to carry out berthing trials against the backdrop of port capacity restrictions and challenges posed by Brexitwrites Jehan Ashmore.

Prior to entering the port by the 850 passenger/200 vehicle Manannan, a routine yet busy succession of ferry and ro-ro freight ships departed through Dublin Bay. They were all bound for the UK to the ports of Holyhead, Liverpool and Heysham.

The Steam-Packet confirmed to Afloat.ie that the Manannan conducted the berthing trials on two berths to determine if either could be used as a back-up in the event access to the normally used berth (at Terminal No.1, the port’s busiest) should it be restricted or out of action.

Acquired by the Manx Government last year, the ferry operator is set to resume seasonal service linking Douglas and Dublin on Thursday, 18 April in advance of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The 96m Manannan which has operated on the Irish Sea since 2009 is however first scheduled to resume on another seasonal service this week between Douglas and Belfast when sailings start on Sunday, 7 April.

Afloat monitored Manannan carry out the first berthing trial in Dublin where Stena Line operate out of Terminal 2. The terminal is located adjacent to where rivals Irish Ferries use the port’s busiest ferry facility at Terminal 1. Also berthed there was another fastcraft, Dublin Swift which during the St. Patrick’s Festival began a second summer season for Irish Ferries on the core Irish Sea route to Holyhead in tandem with Ulysses and the chartered-in ropax Epsilon.

In addition at Terminal 1 last month saw the introduction of Irish Ferries much anticipated new giant cruiseferry W.B. Yeats (onto the Dublin-France service) which has doubled in the number sailings by up to 4 weekly on the continental link to Cherbourg. Up to then Epsilon served this route and Oscar Wilde since September, following the apparent closure of Rosslare based routes to France (see below).

W.B. Yeats which at 51,388grt is the largest ferry ever to operate out of Ireland and also brings a Brexit related boost to capacity on the direct link to mainland Europe though seemingly at the expense of Rosslare Europort and the south-east region. As in December, Irish Ferries announced they would unlikely resume services to France in 2019 but added they would keep this situation under review. In the meantime the 1987 built Oscar Wilde remains in dry-dock at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, so what beckons for the future of this cruiseferry?

As widely reported in the media, Dublin Port has imposed restrictions by placing a limit on the number of cruiseships calling to the capital. This is due to Brexit which will force the port to handle increased amounts of freight and cargo directly from mainland Europe, as distinct to depending on services that make up the UK land-bridge to mainland Europe. This will lead to more considered allocation of berths and in particular at Alexandra Basin where a major redevelopment is ongoing as part of the port’s Masterplan. 

The second of Manannan’s Dublin berthing trials took place upriver at Ocean Pier (notably not a ferry passenger terminal). Located here at this same berth linkspan in Alexandra Basin (East) is where the latest Brexit-Buster the newbuild ro-ro freight ship Laureline made a maiden call last week. The giant ship is among the operator, CLnD’s fleet including Celine but docks at the adjacent Alexandra Basin from also where direct services run to Zeebrugge in Belgium and Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam in The Netherlands.

Laureline which is around the same size in gross tonnage terms of W.B. Yeats, is to return for only the second time to Dublin Port today with an arrival around lunch-hour.