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Product Feature: Raytheon Anschutz's 'SMARTBLUE'

By MarEx 2013-03-11 13:44:00

'SMARTBLUE' display showing electronic chart and satelite Geo Tiff displays

Following a successful launch last year, Raytheon Anschutz’s Oil and Gas surveillance, protection and incident response system ‘SMARTBLUE’ has been causing quite a stir in the industry. Designed originally to monitor and in some cases manage the water space surrounding an offshore asset, such as a platform or FPSO, the latest version now includes a greater variety of surveillance sensors bringing with it a plethora of maritime security and environmental monitoring and response capabilities.

In its basic form ‘SMARTBLUE’ can be linked to AIS and radar to provide what Raytheon Anschutz calls an ‘Intelligent Display’. That is to say that instead of a normal radar display which requires a lot of interpretation on behalf of the operator and therefore training, the ‘SMARTBLUE’ display shows the chart with more information but in a clearer and more user friendly way allowing the operator to quickly identify the maritime picture surrounding their assets and respond quickly and appropriately to any issues which may arise. With an advanced library of contact icons, the operator is also able to classify every contact the system identifies thereby making it easier to identify the operators own vessels to passing traffic and unknowns. In addition ‘SMARTBLUE’, through its icons, can inform the operator whether the contact displayed on his screen has been detected by AIS, radar or another surveillance sensor integrated into the system. This is particularly important in areas of high risk where all pirate attacks are detected by radar alone and not AIS.

‘Intelligent Display’ by 'SMARTBLUE' (left) shows more information in a user friendly was compared to the standard radar display shown on the right.

Some of the basic key features of the system include the ability to apply range rings around your assets. As a contact enters that range ring the operator is alerted and a camera is automatically slewed to the contact for the operator to identify. The camera will continue to track the contact until deselected. A series of range rings at 5NM and 10NM could be inputted into ‘SMARTBLUE’ and incorporated with a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) so that when the 10NM range ring is breached the operator initiates the first stage of response which may include contacting the vessel on VHF, when the second stage is breached a second stage of response could be initiated which may include shut down of the platform or FPSO and in some cases, evacuation.

Photo: The restricted zone of a Point of Interest (POI) breached by a rogue contact

More advanced features include the ability to suppress restriction zone alarms on your own vessels by inputting their MMSI number into ‘SMARTBLUE’. This prevents the system from constantly alarming and alerting the operator when their Offshore Support Vessels (OSV’s) are operating in close proximity.

Other advanced features include the recent integration of one the leading oil spill detection system in the World. With this function ‘SMARTBLUE’ can now detect oil droplets on the surface of the water out to a range of around 4 to 5NM from the asset. By incorporating the camera system, the operator can automatically slew the camera in the direction of the alarm to determine the extent of the spill. This allows the operator the capability of detecting, identifying and then responding to an oil spill situation much quicker than previously thought.

Due to the increase in oil exploration in the arctic regions, Raytheon Anschutz has also developed an ice detection capability on its ‘SMARTBLUE’ suite. This function takes the form of a processor which attaches itself to an X-Band radar and alters the parameters of the antenna to allow it to detect small ice bergs. As in the case of the oil spill function, a camera can be automatically/manually slewed for identification with the response being a download of the bergs position, course and speed to an Offshore Support Vessel for interception.

Raytheon Anschutz has been aware of the need to link sensor sites and assets together in order to provide one common operating picture. Their larger systems incorporate a number of sensor sites linked via fibre optic or data link to a central control centre ashore. Multiple site systems can be manned by just a few personnel whilst the area monitored and assets coordinated can be vast. The system can also be extended to incorporate OSV’s and patrol vessels which can also be fitted with ‘SMARTBLUE’ displays to download information picked up by sensor sites located on platforms and FPSO’s. The picture below demonstrates that with just four sensor sites some 30 assets or assets or more can be monitored.

Multiple assets in close proximity can benefit from the protection of just a few 'SMARTBLUE' sensor sites linked to a Central Control Facility ashore.

Raytheon Anschutz is continually evolving ‘SMARTBLUE’ within the Oil and Gas marketplace. Since its launch late last year, a dedicated Command and Control platform that integrates a variety of sensors to achieve water space situational awareness, environmental monitoring and response as well as maritime security for offshore assets is in demand. Due to a number of recent incidents, operators are being asked nowadays to undertake all necessary precautions to adhere to ‘Best Operating Practice’ and this in part can be achieved through the full implementation of a ‘SMARTBLUE’ sensor suite. Raytheon Anschutz has strived to make the system completely flexible allowing them to meet the exact requirements and budgets of their clients. If a particular sensor or RADAR is required, then Raytheon Anschutz can deliver, whether that sensor has been manufactured by Raytheon Anschutz or not. Raytheon Anschutz mission is to provide a software platform capable of reducing the risk to operators of offshore operations whilst at the same time increasing efficiency and with ‘SMARTBLUE’, they have achieved that.