As safety continues to dominate the shipping industry agenda, particularly in relation to heightened interest in new Arctic routes, Synectics sees integrated surveillance solutions having a major role to play in reducing risk to crew, vessels and cargo.
The global surveillance solutions specialist, exhibiting at Nor-Shipping 2015 (Hall B01-15 at Norges Varemesse, Oslo), has witnessed increased interest from shipping operators looking to use surveillance technology as a ‘situational awareness’ mechanism, rather than just an isolated security tool.
Dimitris Nikoleris, Business Development Manager for the Marine sector, at Synectics, explains: “Last year we saw the concept of ‘Connected Ship’ emerge as a dominant trend, advocating a ‘joined up’ approach to ship technologies in order to improve safety standards and shipping efficiencies. It was a movement that put surveillance in the spotlight.
“Debates around Arctic route navigation combined with wider recognition of surveillance capabilities, has boosted interest further still, with technologies such as thermal cameras being used specifically for ice hazard monitoring to ensure safe passage through challenging environments.”
New options, such as the Arctic Ocean passage that has opened up north of Russia, potentially enable ships to travel from Asia to European destinations up to two weeks faster than traditional routes. However these new routes present dangers in terms of floating ice, storms, near zero visibility and sheer remoteness for emergency support.
Synectics has been developing surveillance solutions for these types of hazardous environments for decades, and recently marked the 30 year anniversary of its COEX camera stations which have been protecting marine and oil and gas assets across the globe since 1985.
At Nor-Shipping, Synectics will be demonstrating key technologies from its COEX product suite including the TriMode, which provides three light-condition operating modes in one unit (colour, mono and thermal imaging), that enable users to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, day or night.
Synectics will also be demonstrating other models from its C2000 and C3000 range – fully operational at temperatures as low as -55°C – including the recently launched High Definition IP COEX™ C3000 camera stations with on-board compression technology and native IP output.
But while advances in camera technologies have a lot to offer safety-conscious marine shipping operators, the greatest potential lies in integrating high-quality visual data with other vessel systems through surveillance command and control platforms.
Nikoleris continued: “Solutions such as Synergy 3, which we will be demonstrating at Nor-Shipping, enable data collation and analysis from multiple ship systems including surveillance cameras, radar, Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS). Pulling visual, audio and numerical data into a single command and control environment gives operators full and real-time situational awareness.
“In addition to facilitating security measures such as approaching vessel recognition and absolute positioning, this also provides valuable ‘on-ship’ awareness that could, in some cases, be life-saving. “For example, integrating systems in this way enables bridge crew to maintain constant visual and audio contact with deck crew. Should any incidents occur (from technical machinery issues to man-overboard) immediate response protocols can be actioned and the bridge can update crew in real-time of any potential hazards that may impact on vessel operations.”
As wireless connectivity at-sea improves, Synectics expects that port/vessel integrations will become more commonplace to support safer dockings and departures, as well as improved port security.
Nikoleris said: “Nor-Shipping is 50 this year. As part of that anniversary the show is focusing not just on the here and now, but on looking forward to what we are likely to see in the next fifty years. Without doubt, surveillance command and control platforms facilitating greater levels of communication between vessels and on-shore teams, such as sea traffic control, port security or the coastguard, will have a role to play here.”