Danish Maritime Days 2016

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Fairplay.IHS.com | October 2016 | 9 ↘ Safety at sea is changing. The traditional way of carrying enough engineers on board to deal with problems is being replaced with sensor-satellite-software technology to enable troubleshooting, maintenance planning, and fleet benchmarking from an onshore operations centre. ABB, the propulsion systems specialist, has opened its second integrated operations centre. This facility, in Helsinki, is dedicated to passenger, cargo, and ice-capable vessels; it complements the initial facility in Billingstad, Oslo, which is responsible for customers in the oil and gas sector. The emphasis is on working with ships' engineers to help fix breakdowns. "We're not at the point where we can replace the hand of the engineer or the sight or smells of the environment," one expert told me. It's a candid comment that suggests there's a long way to go before either operational efficiency or safety can be handled from shore, without the aid of human intervention. Nevertheless, an element of changing safety at sea is a reassessment of the tasks that must be carried out by the seafarer, and the training needed. It's no real surprise that the rapid evolution of vessel operations technology is running far ahead of marine training: the ship is trying to catch up with what already exists on shore. Aviation safety is often held up as the gold standard, not only as regards what the technology can do but also how the human users of that technology can be trained to get the best from it. There are still some very basic hurdles to be overcome. Talking to Carnival Maritime operations centre in Hamburg, I asked why seafarers on ships are sometimes reluctant to follow the advice of the high-tech wizards in the operations centres. The reason is pretty obvious: seafarers are running the ship, data analysts are not. The latter offer advice based on the flow of data from condition monitoring; there are 11,000 individual data points on each of the cruise ships in this fleet, with analysis providing focused action. ABB is absolutely correct in describing the new technology as a "decision support tool". It is advice, underpinned by data analytics, but still advice. The captain chooses how the advice should be applied. Data analytics offers predictability and indicates performance but the hard part is trusting the execution. It has taken decades to get electro-technical officers fully accepted and their remit will now include working with the sensors and information flow the equipment generates. Given the changing technology, the role of engineering officer will also change. The officer in charge might no longer need to be an engineer in the traditional sense but a broader technology officer; the chief technology officer might not be a mechanical engineer at all. Learning to trust data-generated advice ofthatdatahaschangedtheworldofshippingisthe differencebetweenoldblackandwhitetelevisions andthenewsensationofcolour.Nowwehavea millionTVchannelsandlittletostimulateuson anyofthem;sonow,wehavedatainabundanceand fewguidestotakeusfromparalysistoinformed action.Decision-makersneedtohearthisloudand clear.Donotexpectareturntogood-oldmarket cyclicalityuntilthemaritimeanalyticsleader replacessomeofthelightweightsintheboardrooms oftheshippingworld. Thekeymessagehereistoavoidthetemptations ofunderestimationandoverestimation–thebigdata equivalentsofScyllaandCharibdis–thefirstof whichmisunderstandsthevalueofsubjectmatter experts,thesecondmisjudgeshowlongitwilltaketo adoptthedata/insightcollaboration.Wemustrefine thatleadershipmessageifshippingistoadoptit. Shutterstock 'New technology is a decision support tool: advice underpinned by data analytics' Shutterstock fo ce th on 11 th te un terstock FAIRPLAY Industry insight

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