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IS Holland America Line: Safety guaranteed for all ocean voyages

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INTERSCHALT improves safety by retrofitting VDRs for the entire fleet and providing a software solution with automated data flow from vessel to shore

– Retrofitting VDRs for the entire fleet
– Cruise operator, 800 – 2, 000 passengers, 15 cruise ships
– Improved safety through automated data flow and alarms

Schenefeld/Germany, March 7, 2014 – Holland America Line is widely recognized as a leader in the premium segment of the cruise industry. The company’s fleet of 15 ships annually offers more than 500 cruises to 415 ports of call in 98 countries, territories or dependencies. This demands a commitment to safety and sustainability, which led Holland America Line to retrofit the VDR system of its entire fleet with the INTERSCHALT VDR G4, opening up a wealth of new technical possibilities.

“Replayer”, VDR G4’s online monitor, provides a detailed picture of the ship’s position in real time on a chart and can transfer this playback to a notebook or a smartphone so that the captain can access an overview of the current situation at all times even from his cabin. Important information about radars, alarms, the positioning on the electronic chart, machine data from the conning display and helm data is available in real time.

Safety is a top priority for all cruise operators, and Steve Nevey, Nautical Superintendent, Technical Operations of Holland America Line, is no exception: “We have a great responsibility to safeguard the well-being of people and oceans we sail upon. Ongoing training and adherence to rigorous standards are vital to preserving and protecting our guests, our employees and the environment. It is essential to the successful conduct of our business.”

Online monitor for each ship

Holland America Line’s 15 ships are ocean-faring cruise liners which belong to different classes. The smallest ship, ms Prinsendam, carries 835 guests and the largest ship, ms Eurodam, carries 2104 guests. The difference is also evident in terms of the number of fire doors onboard, which range from 300 to 2, 000 per vessel. Using the online monitor, the captain can see at a glance whether the watertight doors are all properly closed or, in the event that they aren’t, which locations need to be re-checked. The online monitor provides reliable information and is individually customized and optimized for each ship.

Of course, Holland America Line has a control center in Seattle where the information is collected in an ERC (Emergency Response Center) and experienced nautical officers offer their support in cases of emergency.

BLUETRACKER via VDR and satellite

New features: the information automatically flows through the newly installed VDRs and INTERSCHALT’s BLUETRACKER software solution via satellite communication, which means that in cases of emergency the crew no longer has to also worry about transmitting data but instead can take action and simultaneously receives support on account of the data, which is transmitted automatically, via email, SMS or to smartphones, etc.. This way, the onshore team can provide valuable assistance.

In addition, by storing the data and automatically transmitting it, the VDR G4 provides important knowledge: the stored data always depicts reality 1:1 since false alarms, for example, are also recorded.

The data comes from the entire vessel and is retrieved via interfaces. The Annual Performance Test (APT) also involves checking to see whether the information is really correct and whether the data of the measuring points is actually being received. Everything that is connected is tested. Due to the various different ship classes and ages of the ships there are very different technical standards on all Holland American Line vessels, which the technicians are specifically prepared for.
On account of the constant analysis being carried out, the Service department can also proactively suggest measures and, after consulting with the crew, implement them.

Retrofitting process to be completed in 2nd quarter 2014

The Holland America Line project began in Q2/2012 and will be completed in Q2/2014 with a total of 15 ships being retrofitted. Steve Nevey, Nautical Superintendent, Technical Operations at Holland America Line, has been happy with the project’s progress to date: “We wanted to get the INTERSCHALT VDRs onboard our ships as quickly as possible as we were impressed with the quality of the device and the quality and presentation of data. The automated processes contribute to improving safety and quality. Our ERC in Seattle now receives more standardized data for processing and receives it much more quickly. As a premium cruise operator, it is of paramount importance for us to be able to meet the highest safety standards.”

Steve Nevey adds: “We are very pleased with the project’s progress. As a premium cruise operator there are of course restrictions on our ships with regard to when and where technicians can go. As a result, we had to stick to a precise schedule as some work can only be carried out in a dry-dock. The quality of INTERSCHALT’s service has really impressed us. From the retrofit right up to the APTs, everything has been carried out on time and to a very high standard, even the dress code on the bridge where only the captain and his crew wear white.”

About Holland America Line
For more than 139 years, Holland America Line has been a recognized leader in cruising, taking guests to exotic destinations around the world. Today, Holland America Line’s fleet of 15 elegant, mid-size ships offers more than 500 sailings a year visiting all seven continents. Cruises include both popular and less-traveled ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, South America, the Panama Canal, Australia, New Zealand and Asia – as well as unique voyages to the Amazon, Antarctica and extended Grand Voyages. Holland America Line also continues to set new standards for environmental leadership. Holland America Line earned its ISO 14001 certification in June 2006. As the internationally recognized standard for environmental management, ISO 14001 encompasses virtually every aspect of Holland America Line ships’ operations.









Using BLUETRACKER, ship information is transmitted from ship to shore: left image, for example, shows the FEI (fuel  efficiency index), right image shows a map with the position of the  vessel (vessel tracking). Data analysis ashore provides the possibility  to reach a better efficiency and security









The online-monitoring through BLUETRACKER is integrated in MEECOS, the Maritime Energy Efficiency Comprehensive Optimization Suite offered by INTERSCHALT.

ms Zuiderdam and ms Zaandam, Caribbean








All cruise ships of Holland America Line will be retrofitted with INTERSCHALT BLUETRACKER and the VDR G4 until second quarter 2014. Travelling will then be even more secure. Picture shows the ms Zuiderdam of Holland America Line. (Images: Holland America Line)

INTERSCHALT maritime systems AG – the premium partner for the shipping industry

INTERSCHALT maritime systems AG’s products and services span the entire life cycle of a ship and its value chain. The value chain includes highly efficient software and satellite communications solutions, automation systems, electrical equipment and service, support, education and training, making INTERSCHALT an all-round product and service provider for the entire shipping industry. The company’s product portfolio aims to make ship operations safer, and work on board – as well as on land – easier and more efficient.

In addition to the headquarters in Schenefeld near Hamburg, eleven centers in Europe, North America and Asia provide a global and efficient service network, supported by partner expertise directly on site. More than 300 employees at INTERSCHALT generate approx. 60 million euros’ worth of business per annum. www.interschalt.de


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