^ Rembrandt V5.0 Ship Maneuvering Simulator in Action – Image Courtesy of BMT Group at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK7xJDhgmsE&index=17&list=UULg29MtpXa1PiooXqE1CzNQ
The Need for Deft Ship Maneuvering
In 2014, as many as 2,773 sailors lost their lives in maritime incidents. And although a strong regulatory environment has cut down shipping losses since 2005, any loss of human lives is deplorable. You can never overdo the efforts to cut down such unfortunate incidents.
These are the findings of the report Safety and Shipping Review 2015 by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. The report also noted a 32% decline in the number of total ship losses – 75 in 2014 vis-à-vis 110 in 2013.
As has been the case over the past decade, foundering or sinking continued to be the chief cause of ship loss in 2014. This is followed (in decreasing order) by grounding, fire/explosion, hull damage, machinery damage / failure, and collision.
Cargo vessels made up most of the lost ships followed by (in decreasing order) fishery, passenger, tug, ro-ro, and container vessels. South China Sea and South East Asia recorded maximum losses while East Mediterranean and British Isles reported the most number of incidents.
The point is, maritime accidents cause considerable loss of life, limb, property, and commerce. Properly trained pilots and skillfully designed ports go a long way in preventing these scenarios. And this brings us to the Rembrandt V5.0 Ship Training-Maneuvering Simulator.
Rembrandt V5.0: Features & Merits
Rembrandt V5.0 is a high-fidelity ship training-maneuvering simulator that provides precise models and simulations in order to generate numerous possible scenarios that a ship pilot will experience while guiding the ship.
This simulator also accurately recreates collision incidents to help investigators correctly establish the sequence of events that resulted into the collision.
But the best part of the Rembrandt V5.0 simulator is its ‘what if’ feature. Through this, it provides visualizations on how the pilots could have prevented the collision by responding to the situation in a manner that is different from what they actually did.
Meteorological and oceanographic consultancy BMT AGROSS developed the Rembrandt V5.0 in collaboration with the marine survey company BMT Surveys.
These organizations developed the Rembrandt V5.0 over a period of 20 years after utilizing over a century of experience in the behavior of ships in marine and offshore applications.
It represents the culmination of a meticulous combination of numerous relevant streams such as fluid mechanics, hydrodynamics, software simulation, and naval architecture.
No wonder then that the Rembrandt V5.0 is such an economical, flexible, reliable, accurate, and customizable tool. PC-based and designed as it is for a standard windows interface, the Rembrandt V5.0 is also incredibly user-friendly.
These features have ensured that the Rembrandt V5.0 frequents the bridges of leading international cruise liners such as Princess, Cunard, Carnival, and P&O Cruises.
And it is not only the cruise liners that are employing the Rembrandt V5.0 to good effect. The list of its illustrious clientele includes legal firms, pilot organizations, ship operators, port authorities, and design consultants.
Now, the makers state the main objective of this simulator as the recreation of collisions and the generation of scenarios for training pilots. Prevention of collisions is not the main aim. Reconstruction however does help understand the causes of collision and avert disasters in the future.
Risk Mitigation is of course the primary application of Rembrandt V5.0. Through accurate modeling and simulations, it generates numerous possible scenarios and regenerates collision incidents in order to identify, assess, and prioritize risk mitigation.
Such risk dilution transforms into better:
- Ship Accident / Collision Investigation
- Training of Ship Pilots
- Port Design and Operational Procedures
This versatile simulator uses data from multiple sources such as radar images, voyage data recorder (VDR), and Automatic Tracking System. Plus, it utilizes environmental data, sound files, and other details such as changes in speed and course in order to improve accuracy.
Ship Accident / Collision Investigation: Rembrandt V5.0 regenerates the progression of events that led to the collision. This helps investigators, port authorities, lawyers, and other stakeholders pinpoint the true causes of the collision.
Now, shipping accidents can be exceptionally complex on account of the involvement of myriad factors. Rembrandt V5.0 simplifies the complex scenario thereby avoiding lengthy and expensive litigation.
In order to ensure precise recreation of the ships involved in the collision, the simulator uses multiple models. You can judge the accuracy from the fact that it considers a whopping 750+ parameters before modeling the ship. This gives a ship model as similar as possible to the real one.
Rembrandt V5.0 recreates large as well as small collisions involving diverse vessels such as tankers, cruise ships, bulk carriers, and ferries. Investigators get to see a 3D recreation from numerous angles that helps establish the chain of events that culminated in the collision.
Most importantly, the simulator gives an idea of what could have happened had either or both the involved pilots/vessels adopted a different course of action. This feature helps prevent collisions in the future.
Training of young pilots is particularly important when they are handling large vessels. And because larger vessels carry more cargo per unit fuel consumption, the vessel size is rising by the day.
Although the CSCL Globe is the world’s largest container ship at present with a capacity of 19,100TEU, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ (MOL) 20,150TEU container vessels will outsize it in 2017. MOL has chosen Samsung Heavy Industries to build these ultra-large vessels.
Over the past decade, the sizes of ships have expanded by a staggering 80%. This will continue and make maritime management increasingly tougher in the days to come.
Accidents involving such ships can cause more casualties, lead to greater financial losses, create tougher issues during salvage, and block maritime traffic for longer durations.
If a 80% loaded 19,000TEU container ship capsizes, the total loss could exceed $1billion. And if two such container ships collide, the total loss would exceed $2billion. If there ever was a billion dollar question, this is it.
The MV CSCL Globe is the World’s Largest Container Ship at Present
Such training is extremely important to get a life-like grasp of handling the vessel in difficult situations such as when sailing:
- in bad weather
- through narrow passages
- on treacherous routes such as those with underwater rocky projections near coastlines
- in congested shipping lanes
The aforementioned report by Allianz notes that December is the month of the most maritime incidents in the northern hemisphere and August in the southern. December is winter in the north and August is winter in the south. This is when maritime weather can be very destructive.
Piloting a large ship is delicate business. Learning on the job is fraught with hazards, for you do not know:
- how other vessels will respond
- the effect that flaws in port design will have on safe navigation
- your operational limits
And while ship maneuvering simulations are the pragmatic solution to these challenges, full bridge simulators are expensive and sometimes unnecessary. This is where the Rembrandt V5.0 stands apart.
Because it is affordable, you can use it for more frequent pilot training. This way, trainee pilots can practice it more often to hone their skills more effectively. Needless to say, this will lower the risk of incidents. The Rembrandt V5.0 is available as a portable laptop solution.
Through all this, the simulator prevents the shortage of skilled and trained pilots. The lack of proficient pilots can be another reason for collisions as shipping lines may be forced to rely on second rate pilots.
Proper Port Design and Operational Planning is essential to:
- restrict the cost and duration of port construction
- eliminate ultra-expensive rebuilding
- facilitate rapid and efficient port operations that enable the port to run at maximum-possible capacity
Ports these days have to be able to handle increasingly larger and greater number of vessels. Building and/or expanding ports is a billion dollar operation. Moreover, construction and expansion restricts port activities causing delays.
Take too long and the port will lose business to competing ports. Speed up operations too much and you might end up with a flawed port construction that is not only expensive to correct, but also causes expensive delays and loss of business. Haste makes terrible waste.
With the precise simulations that Rembrandt V5.0 provides, designers and builders can visualize the port and its operations well in advance. Armed with this foresight, they can cut down construction time and costs to a minimum while eliminating reconstruction altogether.
Like all other technologies, the Rembrandt V5.0 is only as accurate as the data fed into it. If users receive incorrect VDR data, the simulator will not reconstruct the events correctly. In such cases, the users may have to rely on information from the Automatic Identification System (AIS).
Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) & Automatic Identification System (AIS)
VDR is often called the Black Box of a ship. What a Black Box does for an airplane, the VDR does for a ship – collect and store important data. A VDR is mandatory for all vessels that need to comply with the IMO’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
Housed inside a robust, tamper proof enclosure, the VDR withstands heat, pressure, fire, explosion, shock, impact, and other challenging conditions. Investigators can retrieve sailing data for the immediately preceding 24 hours to understand the reasons for the accident.
Through numerous sensors, the VDR records the following data:
- position, date, time, speed, heading, depth under the keel, wind speed, and wind direction;
- audio data from the bridge;
- VHF radio communications;
- screen capture of the in-use navigational chart every 15 seconds;
- order and feedback response of the engine/propeller and the rudder;
- status of hull doors / openings, hull stresses, and accelerations on the hull; and
- direction, status, and amount of thrust exerted by the thruster
SOLAS requires all vessels of 300 gross-tons (GT) and above to install an Automatic Identification System (AIS). The AIS is an automatic tracking system used by vessels and marine traffic controllers to locate vessels and trace their courses. This information helps prevent collisions.
AIS data supplements radar data. The radar continues to be the chief tool for collision prevention. Located along the coast, AIS base stations track vessels fitted with AIS trans-receivers when vessels are near the coast. At high seas, satellites with AIS receivers undertake such tracking.
Technologies such as the Rembrandt V5.0 will be instrumental in rapidly building an army of pilots who are skilled enough to guide their ultra-large vessels through the most challenging of routes.
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