Marine Technologies LLC

Driving progress

Established in 2002 with the objective of developing a better dynamic positioning (DP) system, Marine Technologies (MT) has quickly become an industry leader in the development and manufacture of integrated control systems for offshore vessels.

Today, MT is a one-stop resource for vessel control systems, particularly DP systems and integrated bridge systems (IBS), for the shipping and offshore industries. In fact, MT’s advanced BridgeMate IBS holds DnV’s NAUT-AW class approval, which is the most comprehensive bridge class notation in the industry today. Headquartered in Louisiana, US, MT also has offices in Singapore and Norway in order to serve its different market segments and global interests.

Completing MT’s range of services is C-Comm, a business branch within communication, delivering end-to-end netline communication systems to the shipping and offshore industries. This service includes technology and communications band services, such as VSAT, as well as other content like weather and video services, and entertainment. A key development in this division has been the 90 cm carbon fibre KU Band Antenna, which due to its unique design matches the performance of other 120 cm antennas, but weighs only a quarter of these.

One of the most recent examples of these systems in action is the Island Enforcer, Island Offshore’s latest new build vessel from Bergen Group. The vessel was delivered in July 2010, complete with MT’s BridgeMate totally integrated IBS and DP 3 system. Originally ordered as a diving vessel, the project was purchased by Island Offshore once it was 80 per cent complete and converted into an intervention vessel with two ROVs and three moon pools. Describing the project details, Ole Morten Husøy, sales and design manager, says: “We were given the task of replacing the existing bridge, DP3 and automation equipment, which we completely stripped out and instead installed our own, compact consoles with a number of Multi-Function Workstations (MFWs), hugely improving on the very limited redundancy and flexibility of the traditional, stand-alone bridge system that was in the original design. In addition, we realised that the thruster control arrangement, with its total of eight sq m of panels, never would give the operator a good working environment, so we decided to design our own Thruster Control System (TCS) based on screen operation from the existing MFWs. This left only the levers and a handful of push buttons as HW and thus, resulted in an extremely compact and user-friendly design.

“We also removed 55 analogue indicators for the thrusters, pitch, rpm, direction, and wind speed, amongst others, and replaced these with 12 inch graphical displays, which show this data much more effectively. These GUIs are also available across 16 different multi-function workstations – where normally you would have an individual workstation for each function such as ARPA radar, ECDIS, Conning, etc. With our system, this is all integrated so you can access these applications from any of the identical workstations.” The level of redundancy and flexibility offered by the BridgeMate architecture and system solution ensures optimal working conditions on the bridge, where operators can easily set up the workstations to only show information on the displays that is relevant for the operation at hand.

“Alongside the main system, we also installed three of our operator chairs, which each have two multi-function workstations with touch controls and manoeuvre levers built in. These include thruster and radar controls, as well as the ability to remotely control all the other integrated bridge workstations, utilising our redundant network infrastructure. It’s a very neat system and at present I don’t know of any other vessel that has the degree of integration delivered on the Island Enforcer. We completed the project in just four months from contract to delivery, which includes remote diagnostic and monitoring services,” describes Ole.

Having completed this major project to the highest of standards, MT recently signed a contract for the supply of an integrated bridge, dynamic positioning and communication system to Askoy Shipping Group, based in Turkey, for its new in-house designed 75 m PSV. “We are delivering a turn-key IBS with DP2 communications, three operator chairs and full integration,” explains Ole. “In terms of the standard of other vessels in the Turkish market, this vessel has no equivalent in quality and technical integration capabilities. We are currently in the process of delivering the majority of the package including consoles, chairs and the DP system, in line with the target vessel delivery date of April or May this year. Once complete this vessel will be our benchmark in the Turkish market, and as such I believe will provide us with more opportunities in the region.”

As the demands of the offshore and shipping industries grow evermore complex, the level of integration and sophistication that MT’s systems in the region.”offer is increasingly being embraced by shipyards and vessel operators. “It is very positive that we are starting to get clients to realise what an IBS with multi-function capabilities can do compared to the old standard systems. Previously nobody had been looking at progress, because it is much easier to copy something you know works, and subsequently if you went on a 2005 vessel, it looked exactly the same as a 1990 vessel. One of our main challenges has been to get clients to look beyond purely price when they are purchasing, and instead at the additional benefits our systems offer in terms of much higher redundancy and flexibility, at the same price. This is beginning to pay off as more and more yards are realising the benefits – for example as we only use Ethernet cable, clients are seeing savings of over 1000 man-hours in hard wiring and engineering. The recent contracts with Island Offshore and Askoy Shipping Group really showcase just what MT can do, and I believe that seeing these systems in action will in turn increase demand in the future,” concludes Ole.

Marine Technologies LLC
Products: Vessel control systems