Test of Remote Controled PSV Successful
Gulfmark Offshore's platform supply vessel (PSV) Highland Chieftain was successfully put through a sequence of maneuvers in the North Sea under remote control from a Wärtsilä office located in San Diego, California, some 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away.
The maneuvers were made over a period of about four hours using a combination of dynamic positioning (DP) and manual joystick control. Wärtsilä's Dynamic Positioning unit developed remote control capabilities in the early part of 2016, but this was the first test carried out on an offshore vessel. The Highland Chieftain is fitted with a Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum package for Navigation, Automation and Dynamic Positioning systems, as well as a Wärtsilä drives package. For the test, additional software was temporarily added to the DP system in order to route data over the vessel's satellite link to the onshore work station in California.
The Wärtsilä testing was carried out using standard bandwidth onboard satellite communication. No land-based technology was used for the communications between the vessel and the remote operator work station.
Andrea Morgante, Head of Digital, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions says: "One of the first and most critical hurdles to overcome along the path to the enablement of intelligent shipping is to develop efficient and reliable remote control and monitoring capabilities, taking factors such as bandwidth limitations and cyber security into consideration. This test provides a clear indication that we are well on the way to achieving this."
It is anticipated that Wärtsilä's development of successful remote access to ships will also enable virtual service solutions to customers needing tuning or testing of their DP systems. Furthermore, this solution will be used for other pilot projects, such as automated docking procedures.