In recent years, technology has disrupted our lives considerably. We no longer travel to the hardware store when we need a hammer; we use Amazon instead. We don't dial a broker to make a trade for us; we use services like Fidelity instead. We no longer have to watch movies and television shows when a network airs them; we use Netflix instead. The list goes on.

Technology has had a similar effect on many organisations. Still, some industries have been slower than others to adapt to new technologies. Much of the shipping and offshore industries, for example, are still operating with legacy tools and processes.

However, that’s starting to change. Leading maritime companies are increasingly investing in new tools that make them operate more efficiently and effectively—lowering costs while increasing output.

One such tool is called the Kongsberg Digital Survey, supported by Bureau Veritas and MAC, an affiliate of Bureau Veritas, and developed by Kongsberg Maritime. The new solution—which enables any vessel equipped with a dynamic positioning (DP) system to remotely monitor DP system performance and conduct remote surveys—successfully completed a pilot programme and digital DP annual trials on Bourbon’s PSV Bourbon Explorer 508 back in January, as part of that French shipowner’s broader fleet modernisation efforts.

Bureau Veritas successfully completed the first remote inspection and audit survey using Kongsberg’s DP Digital Survey solution on the Bourbon 508, an OSV stationed off Angola, in early 2019. Photo: Bureau Veritas

The new solution promises several benefits for all types of offshore tonnage.

“Traditionally clients would have two surveyors on board, one from a Class organisation and one from a consultancy business. Clients no longer have to have two surveyors for a DP annual audit—which is a big deal in terms of cost reduction ,” explains Najmeh Masoudi-Dionne, the global technology leader of smart ships at Bureau Veritas.

There are still some kinks to work out, however.

“Creating an environment shore side where a surveyor can feel like they’re actually on board a vessel when they’re not is a major challenge,” Masoudi-Dionne continues. While the company and its partners are still tinkering with their technology, augmented reality may play a role in the creation of such an environment, she adds.

About Najmeh Masoudi-Dionne

Masoudi-Dionne is based in Paris where she serves as the Global Technology Leader-Smart Ships at Bureau Veritas, a position she’s held since 2017. In this role she oversees a growing portfolio of cyber safety, security and performance initiatives. From connected vessels to autonomous ships, Masoudi-Dionne provides timely guidance about a variety of tech-related matters. She holds a master’s degree in cybernetics engineering from Norway. Email Masoudi-Dionne or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Whatever the case may be, it's clear that this is the future of the industry. Companies simply cannot afford not to modernise their operations with tools like this; the benefits of remote testing speak for themselves:

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  • It’s cheaper. Commercially, it's a lot cheaper—saving companies money by reducing fuel and crew costs for dedicated DP annual trials, logistics costs and eliminating the need for a surveyor from a consultancy company.
  • It saves time. By giving surveyors the ability to perform tests shore side, they are able to get more done faster because they don’t have the waiting time normally associated with offshore tests when equipment has to be restored after a test or engineers are walking from one location to another to conduct a test.
  • It’s more accurate. Having actual data, rather than relying on visual observations reduces errors, strengthening the integrity of the test results. This also gives confidence to the vessel owner and crew, and any party wishing to hire the vessel, on the performance of the vessel.
  • It’s flexible. Remote testing eliminates time constraints. The system can be tested not just during the primary DP system trial, but at any other time as well. Traditionally the vessel would be taken out of normal operation for one or two days to conduct trials, now the tests can be performed in a break or during stand-by time between offshore operations. This functionality provides the flexibility companies need to operate with agility in today’s dynamic market.

Moving forward, Bureau Veritas plans to run a second pilot before the end of 2019 to further refine the digital DP trial technology.

To learn more about how Bureau Veritas and its affiliates are transforming the shipping and offshore industries, connect with Najmeh Masoudi-Dionne on LinkedIn.