Captain Henk Hensen

Credit: Kotug

The Road Towards Autonomous Ship Handling with Tugs

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-07-27 21:30:06

Are autonomous tugs feasible? A good question, but let us first make clear what autonomous vessels are, because the term autonomous is not always used in a correct way.  The following definition is being used: An autonomous ship is a marine vessel with sensors, automated navigation, propulsion and auxiliary systems, with the necessary decision logic to follow mission plans, sense the environment, adjust mission execution according to the environment and potentially operate without human intervention (E-Navigation 09/01/19).   This means...

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Image courtesy of Piet Sinke

The Future of Tugs in a Changing World

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-07-13 19:36:10

Currently several means of transport and workboats are undergoing accelerated development towards automation and automated movement.  Almost daily publications appear about automation in shipping. Names of large maritime industrial companies are often found in these publications, giving the idea that they are a major driving force behind these developments. The question can and should be asked, how realistic are these developments? Are they generally applicable, applicable for certain sectors or trades, or perhaps not applicable at all?      In...

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Photo: Østensjø Rederi, Norway: Østensjø Rederi’s Ajax, VS escort tug, performing DNV full scale escort trials.

Ship Escorting - A Changing Mission

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-05-12 18:19:46

Ships are escorted in several ports around the world, for instance in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan. Escorting can be carried out in several ways, with all types of tugs at low speeds and with purpose built tugs at higher speeds. It is mainly the latter that is specifically called escorting. What is escorting? According to the book Tug Use in Port the objective s of escorting are: 1. To ensure a safe passage through the approach channel and...

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Credit: Rotterdam pilot Marijn van Hoorn

Tugs: Consider Training Needs and Training Tools

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-04-24 23:02:07

Training in tug operations is even harder needed than before; the time of a simple conventional 500 or 1,000hp tug is completely past.  There are many reasons why training has become ever more important: •  The work of a tug master is very often of high risk. •  Tugs and tug deck equipment are becoming more complex. •  New tug type are coming on the market with different handling characteristics. •  Decision support systems, data sensing and...

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Credit: Dutch Maandblad Maritiem

Towing Equipment with the Crucial Link

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-04-21 20:42:15

The tug’s towing equipment is the crucial link between tug and ship for transferring the forces generated by the tug to the ship. The link consists of various elements which differ by tug. These elements are in the simplest versions just a towing bitt and towline or a somewhat handier equipment a towing hook and towline. On most tugs following towing equipment can be found: towing winch; fairlead; towing line, and sometimes towing pins. Each element should...

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Photo: Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration - Capsized tug Barta

Tug Assistance: Be Aware of the Risks

By Captain Henk Hensen 2019-04-13 21:57:51

Tugs rendering assistance are operating in close proximity to a ship. If the ship has speed on, it may include risks for the tug, its crew and the ship to be attended. This is caused by the interaction effects between ship and tug and as a consequence the tug experiences suction forces and turning moments which vary quickly near the bow and stern of a ship.  The smaller the distance between tug and ship and the higher ship’s speed, the...

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