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Maritime partners unveil Autonomous Guard Vessel

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Maritime partners unveil Autonomous Guard Vessel. Image: C-Job
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A consortium of maritime partners unveiled the concept design of an Autonomous Guard Vessel on Tuesday 7 July. C-Job Naval Architects, in collaboration with LISA Community, Seazip Offshore Service, Sea Machines, MARIN and eL-Tec Elektrotechnologie, created a modern design which will support the offshore industry by exploiting technology available today.

Modern autonomous design

The novel design is smaller and lighter than most current guard vessels used to protect offshore operations and boasts sustainable solutions as well as exploiting the benefits of autonomous shipping. In addition, the Autonomous Guard Vessel (AGV) is set to operate more efficiently as well as require lower operating costs due to no crew being required.

This clean and lean concept to replace conventional guard vessels came to life in a project group facilitated by LISA, a community for maritime professionals. The project group resulted in a consortium, which includes C-Job Naval Architects, SeaZip Offshore Service, Sea Machines and recently joined by MARIN and eL-Tec elektrotechniek BV. Their combined industry knowledge created this viable, innovative, and sustainable alternative which benefits both wind asset owners and guard vessel operators.

Offshore structures surveillance

The Autonomous Guard Vessel is specifically designed for surveillance of offshore structures throughout their life cycle, ranging from wind farms to substation platforms and cable routes. With any area that needs to be secured, the AGV can continuously monitor nearby marine traffic visually as well as via radar and AIS data. With any vessel that approaches the area, measures will be taken to secure the area in order to avoid collisions and damage to the offshore infrastructure. An intruding vessel can be communicated with and will receive information on how to safely navigate the area as well as being physically escorted away from the site by the Autonomous Guard Vessel. Additionally, the encounter will be recorded to provide video footage in case of any violation or accident.

Pelle de Jong, Founding Partner LISA, explains “Guard vessels perform an essential job, however, it is not the most exciting one for crew. Combined with the fact that conventional guard vessels are mostly outdated and thus aren’t necessarily the most comfortable let alone sustainable, it can be difficult to find well-trained crew willing to do the job.

“The group set out to improve upon the overall process of securing an offshore area while incorporating sustainable solutions and reducing overall cost. By utilizing the knowledge we have as a group as well as the technology already available, we succeeded in creating a design which does this and more.”

Sustainable features

Thanks to incorporating state-of-the-art technology, the Autonomous Guard Vessel does not require crew onboard the vessel.  Therefore, accommodations can be eliminated in the design, meaning the ship will be considerably smaller than existing guard vessels. The smaller size creates a number of opportunities, such as using batteries thanks to reduced propulsion requirements. Additionally, the reduced power and lack of onboard crew leads to lower operational costs.

Sustainability is key to ensure both the viability and durability of the design. Rolph Hijdra, Autonomous Research Lead at C-Job Naval Architects, says “We are pleased we were able to develop a battery-powered design, ensuring the Autonomous Guard Vessel is free of harmful emissions. Additionally, the ship has solar panels across the top which allows for the continuation of navigation and communications in case the batteries run out of power.

“Contrary to current guard vessels, the AGV will continue to be operational even with rough sea conditions and have minimal underwater noise owing to the smaller size, reduced propulsion requirements and absence of a diesel engine.”

Multiple AGVs onsite

The Autonomous Guard Vessel will recharge its batteries via a charging station. The charging station can be moored independently or connected to existing equipment onsite. Depending on the situation, charging could either be via a cable connection to the on-site equipment such as an offshore transformer platform or locally generated using renewable fuels.

The consortium envisions an offshore site will need a number of Autonomous Guard Vessels, which can take turns in monitoring the area and recharging. Harm Mulder, Operations Manager at SeaZip Offshore Service, says “The Autonomous Guard Vessels will be constantly patrolling the area and take turns recharging. One fully charged AGV will remain on stand-by supporting operations if a situation arises. For example, when an intrusion is detected – one of the AGVs will monitor, warn, and escort the intruding ship to safety, while the others continue normal operations. Alternatively, it could take over from a monitoring vessel in case the battery runs out of power.”

Human intervention via Command Center

While the consortium continues to work on the Autonomous Guard Vessel design, they have considered human intervention for the unmanned vessel. Conventional guard vessels patrolling offshore structures, from installation through to decommissioning, have few incidents that require intervention from those onboard the vessel. For those exceptional circumstances the Autonomous Guard Vessel, if human intervention would be required, will be connected to a Command Center which could control the AGV remotely to ensure correct action is taken. In addition, all data collected by the AGV will be send to the Command Center. This can be a standalone on a mother ship or a shore-based station.

Smart vessel technology for niche market segments

Frank Relou, Business Development Manager at Sea Machines, says “Smart vessel technology will have the most significant initial impact on small workboats, such as this guard vessel. The development of autonomous technology for vessel operations are occurring on an international level but namely in niche segments, such as the guard vessel and other examples, currently operating in (with supervised autonomy), marine survey, fire, patrol, aquaculture and offshore wind operations.”

Maritime

Port of Kiel builds port apron in Ostuferhafen

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Port of Kiel builds port apron in Ostuferhafen. Image: Port of Kiel
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The PORT OF KIEL has redesigned the port apron in Ostuferhafen, which is the freight and logistics centre on the fjord. Where once stood a grain silo, there is now an expanded pre-stacking and stand-by area of three hectares for trucks, trailers and passenger cars.

The State Premier of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther, visited the Ostufer-hafen on 12th August to hand over the grant notice coming from the State Programme Economy for 5.44 million Euros.

“Located on the interface between continental Europe and the Baltic Sea Region the ports of Schleswig-Holstein are an integral part of European transport chains. With its modern and efficient port infrastructure the port of Kiel contributes to strengthening Germany’s competitive ability and increasing the growth potential of our economic area”, said Minister-President Günther.

The construction works for the new port apron took two years and required and investment of about 7.78 million Euros. On behalf of the State Capital City of Kiel, Lord Mayor Dr Ulf Kämpfer accepted the grant notice.

“This redesigned entrance area makes the Ostuferhafen even more efficient. By shifting traffic to the sea routes we contribute to achieving overarching climate goals. In addition, the PORT OF KIEL closely cooperates with the rail company of DB Netz in order to enable hinterland transports to be transhipped in-creasingly by rail. On a local level, the new on-shore power supply plants and the further elec-trification of port operations are important components of our climate protection strategy.”

The project to redesign the port apron included dismantling three hall areas of the former grain silo, excavation and road works as well as drainage, lighting and security measures and the connection of the area to the infrastructure. Through the new and generous port apron it has been possible to merge formerly separated pre-stacking areas, shorten distances and gain more space for trucks, busses, trailers and passenger cars.

Furthermore, IT solutions have been developed to accelerate the handling processes at the gate, which also allow truck drivers to reduce personal contact. Dr Dirk Claus, Managing Director at the PORT OF KIEL: “Even under the current circumstances the Ostuferhafen operates in a reliable and safe way. The port of Kiel has proven its systemic importance regarding the transshipment of cross-border freight transport.”

In the first seven months of the year 2.1 million tons of cargo have been tran-shipped via the Ostuferhafen (+ 1 %). Additional volumes have been transported by the ferries of the DFDS shipping company to the Baltic States or they have been delivered by the SCA-RoRo-freighters from Scandinavia.

Not only general cargo and forest products are unloaded resp. transhipped in Ostuferhafen but also project and heavy cargo, scrap metal and agricul-tural products. The integrated passenger terminal to handle cruise vessels emphasizes the universal character of this port part.

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Maritime

Kalmar’s long-term partner Saigon Newport chooses robust, fuel-efficient Kalmar essential terminal tractor for Cat Lai Terminal

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Kalmar’s long-term partner Saigon Newport chooses robust, fuel-efficient Kalmar essential terminal tractor for Cat Lai Terminal. Image: Kalmar
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Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has signed an agreement to supply Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP) with 25 units of the Kalmar Essential Terminal Tractor TL2. The order, which was concluded through Kalmar’s local dealer Unico Vina JSC, was booked in Cargotec’s 2020 Q2 order intake, with delivery scheduled for year-end 2020.

Since its establishment in 1989, SNP has grown to become Vietnam’s largest container terminal operator. The company provides a variety of services including cargo handling, logistics, salvage, piloting, and multi-modal transportation.

The import-export container throughput of SNP today accounts for more than 90% of the market share in the Saigon Hochiminh City area and nearly 50% nationwide. SNP’s cargo-handling fleet includes a wide variety of Kalmar equipment, including RTGs, reachstackers and empty container handlers. The new terminal tractors will replace part of SNP’s existing terminal tractor fleet at the Cat Lai Terminal.

Built on a tested and proven platform, the TL2 is built to last, with a highly stable bolted chassis design to enable easier and more efficient maintenance. Smart programming combined with a highly efficient driveline can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%, while the Essential cabin ensures drivers remain comfortable and in control regardless of the task at hand.

Mr. Nguyen Duc Giang, Director, Unico Vina JSC: “Kalmar equipment is at the heart of SNP’s container-handling equipment fleet and has delivered reliable performance for the customer for over two decades. We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement and are looking forward to continuing to support them in achieving their business ambitions and further enhancing strategic business partnership.”

Nelson Tay,  Head of Solution Sales, South & Southeast Asia Market Area, Kalmar: “Thanks to the excellent work by the team at Unico Vina, we have developed an extremely strong relationship with SNP over the last 20 years and are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to support them. The TL2 continues our tradition of developing high-quality, competitively priced machines that incorporate the latest technological innovations and deliver reliable performance throughout their operational lifetime.”

Kalmar’s long-term partner Saigon Newport chooses robust, fuel-efficient Kalmar essential terminal tractor for Cat Lai Terminal. Image: Kalmar

 

 

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Environment

Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions

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Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions. Image: NYK Line
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NYK Line, Japan Marine United Corporation, and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai signed a joint R&D agreement for the commercialization of an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) that would use ammonia as the main fuel, in addition to an ammonia floating storage and regasification barge (A-FSRB).

Background

Since carbon dioxide is not emitted when ammonia is burned, it is viewed to have promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping’s impact on global warming. In addition, it is said that zero emissions can be realized by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen* as a raw material for ammonia. In particular, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions is expected to be achieved by replacing coal and natural gas as the main fuels for power generation.

Parties in Japan have succeeded in generating electricity through the use of a gas turbine with 100% ammonia. In addition, innovative next-generation thermal-power-generation technologies that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions are being developed. These technologies are aimed at generating electricity by co-firing ammonia at coal-fired power stations.

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a significant issue in the marine transportation sector. In 2018, the International Maritime Organization set the goal of halving GHG emissions from the international maritime sector by 2050 and reaching a target of zero as early as the end of this century.

Ammonia is expected to be used as an alternative fuel for vessels. As demand for ammonia fuel is foreseen to expand, the need for a transportation infrastructure for stable supply is expected to increase. Thus, the companies have decided to start this joint R&D of AFAGC and A-FSRB.

Overview of Joint R&D

Ammonia-fueled Ammonia Gas Carrier ( AFAGC)
Large-scale marine transportation of ammonia is currently carried out by multi-purpose LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) vessels. In this project, we will be engaged in the R&D of a liquefied ammonia gas carrier. It is expected that the use of ammonia, which is the cargo, as a marine fuel will contribute to the early realization of zero emissions for oceangoing vessels.

Ammonia Floating Storage and Regasification Barge (A-FSRB)
In this joint R&D project, we will be engaged in the R&D of a barge** that is equipped with a floating storage and regasification facility exclusively for ammonia for the first time in the world. This project is expected to contribute to the early introduction of ammonia fuel by utilizing the barge as an alternative to land facilities (storage tanks, regasification facilities, etc.) for the stable supply of ammonia fuel.

Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions. Image: NYK Line

Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions. Image: NYK Line

Future Outlook

This joint R&D aims not only to utilize ammonia as a marine fuel but also to establish methods for the mass transportation and supply of ammonia and to become a solution for introducing a mixed combustion of ammonia into coal-fired power stations operated by Japanese electric power companies.

As a result, the R&D is expected to contribute significantly to the decarbonization of not only the maritime industry but also the energy industry.

* CO2-free hydrogen
One way of producing hydrogen without generating CO2 is through the use of renewable energy. A second way is by using natural gas or coal together with carbon capture and storage. CO2-free ammonia synthesis is technology for synthesizing ammonia using such CO2-free hydrogen.

Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions. Image: NYK Line

Joint R&D starts for use of ammonia in marine transportation to reduce GHG emissions. Image: NYK Line

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