Safer operation from the bridge

Shipbuilders Astilleros Gondan have worked with Rolls-Royce since the 1990s to build fishing vessels from their yard in northern Spain. But they are now building a UT design for the first time. With competition becoming more and more fierce, Iván Artime Díaz – Project Director, Astilleros Gondan, S.A. knows that they have to offer customers flexibility as well as quality.

The concept of the ‘unified bridge’ is one way that Astilleros Gondan is meeting those challenges. In a first for the offshore market, they are fitting their UT vessel with this advanced control system for their customer Simon Møkster. Ship operators in the past had to work with many different pieces of equipment. Now with just a few consoles on the bridge, their jobs have become not just easier but importantly, safer.

With engineering details such as this, not only Rolls-Royce, but also adaptable shipbuilders like Astilleros Gondan, have a clear advantage in the offshore market.

1.The new bridge set-up covers more panels and functions within arm’s reach than the previous set-up. The maritime classification rules list vital equipment that has to be within these zones and the new set-up fits more equipment in closer proximity to the user.

Within arms reach

The new bridge set-up covers more panels and functions within arm’s reach than the previous set-up. The maritime classification rules list vital equipment that has to be within these zones and the new set-up fits more equipment in closer proximity to the user.

Advanced Technology

The vessel is designed to pierce through the waves under harsh weather conditions, making it possible to keep a more constant speed, reduce the use of fuel and increase on board safety.

See more exciting UT stories from our customers

Norwegian ferries set new standard

Two new LNG-fuelled ferries powered by Rolls-Royce engines are setting new standards of comfort and efficiency on a route between Norway and Denmark.

“We are delighted with our two new vessels – the MS Bergensfjord and MS Stavangerfjord,” says Fjord Line’s President and Chief Executive Ingvald Fardal. “They put us in a sound competitive position and we have only positive feedback from our customers who appreciate the fact that the ships are much quieter than conventional vessels.”

Linking Bergen and Stavanger with Hirtshals in northern Denmark, the 1,500-passenger cruise ferries then call in Langesund on Norway’s Skagerrak. The two ferries each have 306 cabins and capacity for up to 600 vehicles.

With hulls built in Poland, the ships were outfitted at Bergen Group’s Fosen Shipyard in Rissa, Norway. Fjord Line chose gas-only engines from Rolls-Royce rather than dual-fuel propulsion units capable of burning oil or LNG. Mr Fardal explains why.

“We examined various options – in fact, the two ships were originally designed with conventional engines capable of undergoing conversion to LNG power at a later date,” he explains. “But when we looked into it, we found that the Rolls-Royce Bergen engines are more fuel-efficient, more flexible, more responsive and simpler than equivalent dual-fuel engines.”

“For us, though, there was one deciding factor. From next January, all ships operating within the boundaries of Europe’s Emission Control Area (ECA) will have to burn fuel with a sulphur content of less than 0.1%,” Fardal says.

“This means that the owners of conventionally-powered ships will either have to pay a huge premium for their fuel or install costly scrubber technology.”

Mr Fardal continues. “But LNG has a fantastic emissions profile compared with fuel oil and diesel. It contains virtually no sulphur or particulates, nitrous oxide emissions are cut by 90% and greenhouse gas by a quarter. That is why we are seeing LNG propulsion being adopted by the owners of a growing number of ships, and ship types, in the existing ECAs of northern Europe and North America.”

But what about the availability of LNG?

Mr Fardal admits that has proved something of a “catch 22”. LNG bunkering infrastructure has not been put in place until there is sufficient demand. And there are, as yet, relatively small numbers of gas-powered ships in operation, mostly in Norway. However, Norway leads the way on the build-up of LNG bunkering facilities and there is a growing number of supply sources along the country’s coast. 

At present, the two ferries are supplied with LNG by truck at the Risavika ferry terminal in Stavanger and in Hirtshals in Denmark. But from September, a newly constructed and dedicated LNG pipeline just a few hundred metres away, will feed fuel to the ships in Risavika from the LNG storage terminal there.

Naming ceremony for HMS Queen Elizabeth

Naming ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth

Friday 4th July saw the naming ceremony for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. Built at the Rosyth shipyard in Scotland, and weighing in at 65,000 tonnes she, and sister ship HMS Prince of Wales will be the largest naval ships in Europe. Rolls-Royce is working in an alliance with Thales, L-3 and GE delivering the power and propulsion for both ships.

Our equipment includes the MT30 – the world’s most power-dense marine gas turbine. A pair of MT30s each rated at 36 megawatts, will power these magnificent ships. We are also supplying the giant propellers that measure 7 metres in diameter and produce around 50,000 horsepower. And we’re supplying shaft lines that drive the propellers, the low voltage electrical systems, steering gear and rudders.

Our Neptune stabilising fins, which deploy under the water in rough seas, will steady the ships during aircraft operations.

This was a hugely proud day for the Rolls-Royce team. We congratulate everyone at the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, MoD and the Royal Navy, and we are privileged to have been a part of this historic day.

Thinking the unthinkable

Sometimes what was unthinkable yesterday is tomorrow’s reality. So now it is time to consider a roadmap to unmanned vessels of various types. Steps have already been taken, mainly in the naval area. On the way, certain functions will be moved ashore.

Engine/equipment monitoring and some underwater operations in the offshore sector could be the first. A growing number of vessels are already equipped with cameras that can see at night and through fog and snow, and have systems to transmit large volumes of data.

Given that the technology is in place, is now the time to move some operations ashore? Is it better to have a crew of 20 sailing in a gale in the North Sea, or say five in a control room on shore?

When ‘fleet optimisation’ is considered, the advantages compound. The same person can monitor and steer many ships. As conditions ashore are often preferred, it will also help retain qualified and competent crew, and is safer.

Many facilities and systems on board are only there to ensure that the crew is kept fed, safe, and comfortable. Eliminate or reduce the need for people, and vessels could be radically simplified. Attitudes and ways of working will need to change, but safe operation is possible, particularly for vessels running between two or three fixed points.

Shipping’s approach is usually about complying to regulations in the most cost efficient way while addressing the key cost issues of fuel, finance, cargo handling and crew. They can all be influenced by holistic ship design. In the future, we must not think of a ship as a number of separate processes or systems, but as a whole where all aspects affect the other. Only by thinking the unthinkable can we truly affect costs.

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