Scholarly article on topic 'A Navigating Navigator Onboard or a Monitoring Operator Ashore? Towards Safe, Effective, and Sustainable Maritime Transportation: Findings from Five Recent EU Projects'

A Navigating Navigator Onboard or a Monitoring Operator Ashore? Towards Safe, Effective, and Sustainable Maritime Transportation: Findings from Five Recent EU Projects Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Thomas Porathe

Abstract This paper aims to summarize and make some conclusions from findings of five EU project during the period 2009–2015. In the ACCSEAS project (2012–2015) the future accessibility of the North Sea region was investigated from a shipping perspective. The EfficienSea project (2009–2012) and the two MONALISA projects (2010–2013, and 2013–2015) investigated Sea Traffic Management (STM) as a way to optimize ship traffic that might satisfy safety and efficiency demands as well as the demands for lower emissions. The paper will look in detail on the navigational solutions and the user tests that has been done with ship officers, pilots and VTS operators. The EU commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 2050 is another factor acting on the shipping industry. By “slow steaming” and just-in-time-arrival, substantial reduction in emissions can be made. A surprising finding was the large number of planned offshore windmill installations in the North Sea. Managing a growing number of ships in a shrinking sea space will led to issues of who is in control: the master onboard or the central coordination mechanism overseeing the whole traffic situation. The task of the mariner risk being reduced to keeping the ship in a time-slot-box, monitoring an ever better automation. In addition, slower speeds lead to longer voyages, which risk being less socially attractive. Lack of competent seafarers is already today a problem. Finally, the issue of unmanned ships will be considered, the MUNIN project (2013–2015), Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks. Even before this project has finished the industry has picked up some of these new possibilities and has proposed different solutions for unmanned ships, one of them electrical, with zero emission.

Academic research paper on topic "A Navigating Navigator Onboard or a Monitoring Operator Ashore? Towards Safe, Effective, and Sustainable Maritime Transportation: Findings from Five Recent EU Projects"

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Transportation Research Procedía 14 (2016) 233 - 242

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

6th Transport Research Arena April 18-21, 2016

TRANSPORT RESEARCH ARENA

A navigating navigator onboard or a monitoring operator ashore? Towards safe, effective, and sustainable maritime transportation: findings from five recent EU projects

Thomas Porathe a*

aNorwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NO-7491, Norway

Abstract

This paper aims to summarize and make some conclusions from findings of five EU project during the period 2009-2015. In the ACCSEAS project (2012-2015) the future accessibility of the North Sea region was investigated from a shipping perspective. The EfficienSea project (2009-2012) and the two MONALISA projects (2010-2013, and 2013-2015) investigated Sea Traffic Management (STM) as a way to optimize ship traffic that might satisfy safety and efficiency demands as well as the demands for lower emissions. The paper will look in detail on the navigational solutions and the user tests that has been done with ship officers, pilots and VTS operators.

The EU commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 2050 is another factor acting on the shipping industry. By "slow steaming" and just-in-time-arrival, substantial reduction in emissions can be made.

A surprising finding was the large number of planned offshore windmill installations in the North Sea. Managing a growing number of ships in a shrinking sea space will led to issues of who is in control: the master onboard or the central coordination mechanism overseeing the whole traffic situation. The task of the mariner risk being reduced to keeping the ship in a time-slot-box, monitoring an ever better automation. In addition, slower speeds lead to longer voyages, which risk being less socially attractive. Lack of competent seafarers is already today a problem. Finally, the issue of unmanned ships will be considered, the MUNIN project (2013-2015), Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks. Even before this project has finished the industry has picked up some of these new possibilities and has proposed different solutions for unmanned ships, one of them electrical, with zero emission.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +46-70-668-1819. E-mail address: thomas.porathe@ntnu.no

2352-1465 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Road and Bridge Research Institute (IBDiM) doi:10.1016/j.trpro.2016.05.060

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunderresponsibilityofRoad and BridgeResearch Institute (IBDiM) Keywords: e-navigation; route exchange; ACCSEAS; MONALISA project; MUNIN; EfficienSea

1. Introduction

We must be doing something right as the number of shipping accidents is in steady decline. Since 1997, the frequency of total loss as a percentage of the world fleet has more than halved by both the number of vessels and tonnage (IMU, 2015). However, accidents do happen.

1.1. Collisions and groundings

In the beginning of October 2011 the 225 meters long container vessel Rena was approaching the port of Tauranga on the North Island of New Zeeland at about 2 o'clock in the morning. They were in a hurry and needed to reach the pilot pick-up point before 3 o'clock, at the very end of the tidal window for the port. On the voyage up to Tauranga, the vessel took several short cuts to improve on its arrival time. Also on the final legs towards the pilot pick-up station Rena where cutting the voyage plan short. With all systems working and two officers and a lookout on the bridge Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef in 17 knots (see Figure 1, left). One may wonder why. There is still only an interims report from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission of New Zeeland (TAIC, 2012).

Similar accidents happens every year. Some of them pass relatively unnoticed; others make the headlines like the Costa Concordia, the Exon Valdez or the Torre Canyon in its days. Today ships are equipped with transponders regularly sending out their position. Had the Tauranga pilots, or the NZ Coast Guard been looking they could have seen that the Rena was heading for danger and sent out a warning. People make mistakes; that is the part of the human condition. However, with more eyes watching, the chances of catching them early increases.

Fig. 1. Left: The final track of the container vessel Rena. The solid line is the voyage plan and the hatched line is the actual track ending on the Astrolabe Reef (Image from TAIC, 2012). Right: The collision between Baltic Ace and Corvus J in the English Channel in 2011. On this screen compilation the final minutes has been reconstructed from AIS data (VesselFinder, 2012).

A dark and windy December evening 2011 in the English Channel the car carrier Baltic Ace collided with the container vessel Corvus J. Baltic Ace was underway for Kotka in Finland traveling up the northeast bound traffic separation scheme while Corvus J was on a southeasterly course inbound for Rotterdam. The web site VesselFinder (2012) made an animated reconstruction of the collision based on AIS positions (see Fig. 1, right). On the reconstruction (where the final minute of Baltic Ace maneuvers are missing), it appears that the give-way ship Corvus J, is not yielding until very late when Baltic Ace has already started to make an evasive port turn. In the collision that followed the car carrier sank within minutes killing 11 of its crewmembers. The accident took place on international

waters outside the Dutch coast and both ships were under convenience flag. No accident investigation has so far been conducted. Narrative based on Maritime Bulletin (2012).

"If people only followed regulations, none of this would happen" is a statement frequently heard after an accident. However, humans are not machines and again, we have the human factor at the sharp end of an unsafe act. One wonder why traffic is not managed in a more active way in the world's most trafficked strait with more than 144 000 ships passing in 2012. Voyage plans resides electronically onboard. By collecting and coordinating them, it is possible to detect ahead of time, if two ships is at the same place at the same time.

1.2. e-Navigation

The fact is that there is so much more information available today that could be used for the benefit of safety and efficiency. The Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is by now mandatory for all larger ships. These ships also has to do a voyage plan from port to port. This voyage plan reside electronically in the navigation system onboard. At the same time, ships must have an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that transmits their position and name. However, information from the voyage plan is not used to avoid close counter situations or to monitor navigation errors.

In 2006, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) started the work on a concept called "e-Navigation" defined as the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth-to-berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment (IMO, 2015).

Some opportunities brought by this new concept has been investigated in five EU projects that the author has taken part in during the years 2009 to 2015. This paper will take a closer look at some of the findings of these projects. Predominantly the aspect of safety, but also to some extent efficiency and sustainability of ship operations illustrated by the two accidents summarized above.

2. Prototyping innovative e-Navigation solutions

In the introduction, the grounding of the container vessel Rena in New Zeeland and the collision between Baltic Ace and Corvus J, in the English Channel, both in 2011, was briefly presented. They are examples of unnecessary accidents that can be avoided by technology already available today.

2.1. Ship traffic management

Every ship leaving port has a plan. At the destination the ship is expected at a certain time and resources are allocated, such as tugs, a berthing place, cranes and trucks. Usually the ship will plan for the shortest possible way, as bunker cost is one of the main expenses. The voyage plan is then used as a template for the ship's mates during the transit. The voyage plan may need to be adapted during the voyage due to weather or to give way for other ships. However, in general the ship is planned to be at a certain spot at a certain time during the whole voyage. We can think of this spot as a "moving haven", a box moving over the chart, the boundaries of the box is some sort of "safety zone" within which you do not want to have other ships or reefs. If you keep your ship in the box, the system will take care of both separation and under keel clearance. Even if the plan would need to be updated several times during a voyage depending on e.g. winds, currents and engine performance the predictability of a vessels whereabouts and arrival to destination would be much improved compared with today when there only is an uncertain ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) for the port authorities to rely on. According to the harbormaster of a major Scandinavian port, commercial AIS web sites is often used to check that expected vessels really is on track for a planned berthing (personal communication).

The idea of using the already existing ship voyage plans as a starting point for ship traffic management was developed in four EU project from 2009 up to present day:

• The InterReg IVb Baltic Sea proj ect EfficienSea (2009-2012),

• the 7th framework project MONALISA (Motorways and electronic navigation by intelligence at sea -2010-2013),

• the InterReg IVb North Sea project ACCSEAS (Accessibility for shipping, efficiency, advantages, and sustainability - 2012-2015), and

• the 7th framework project MONALISA 2.0 (2013-2015).

This idea was termed route exchange and the objective was to predict ships future positions.

2.2. A taxonomy of ship routes

One might think of a ship's voyage ahead in time as consisting of different parts: first, there is the whole voyage. This voyage plan can be made many months ahead and must be in place before the ship can leave port. We may call this the ship's strategic route (see Figure 2). Once the ship is underway with the strategic route uploaded in the navigation system, the short-term predictions (10-90 minutes ahead) will be very accurate. This short-term prediction may be called the tactical route and can be transmitted though the ship's AIS (or the like) to other ships in the vicinity. We also have the familiar very short term predictions (maybe 0-3 minutes ahead) given by the ships inertia though speed and rate of turn that many systems already today use as the "course-speed vector" in radar and ECDIS displays.

Predicted route

0-3 min. Computed by static and dynamic predictors.

Fig. 2. A suggested taxonomy for ship routes (inspired by Jan Hendrik Oltmann, WSV).

2.3. Strategic route exchange

The strategic route coordination process was investigated in the two MONLISA projects. It can simplified be explained as follows (see Figure 3): The ship makes the voyage plan in port, just as today. (1) The route is then electronically sent to a coordination center (2). In the center, the route is automatically checked for under keel clearance, separation to other ships, violations of NoGo areas, etc. During this time, the route is marked as "pending" on the chart display onboard (3). Next, one of two things can happen: The coordination center "recommends" the route immediately (5), or it suggests some changes to the route, and sends a new route suggestion where the "not recommended" part is in red and the new suggestion is in dashed green (4). There can then be a negotiation back and forward until there an agreed "recommended route" dashed in green (5). The ship finally confirms to the route and it becomes an "agreed", coordinated route with a green backdrop (6). (Porathe, Lutzhoft, et al., 2013). During the voyage, the "agreed" rout may need to be updated, but there is always a green route for the traffic coordination.

Fig. 3. Route exchange process between ship and the traffic coordination center (Porathe, Lutzhoft, et al., 2013).

Strategic routes are not openly shared and only the coordination center can see all ships' strategic routes. Strategic routes can be planned years ahead as e.g. in the case of ferry companies. There will be priority issues here as well as there is with landing and start slots in the aviation industry. However, these could be solved in a similar way.

2.4. A "moving haven"

The ships planned position in the chart can be visualized as a box with a certain width and length. Within the box, the ship is on route, and on time. The width of the box can be set to a distance that will conveniently give the ship room for evasive maneuvers on the high seas, while in confined waters, the cross-track distance will be smaller and navigation will need to be more closely monitored. The length of the box will depend on the time precision required. However, for traffic separation purposes the length should not be too long.

In the case, a ship leaves its box there will be an alarm onboard and ashore. In the case of Rena, above, the pilots waiting further ahead would be notified and could call out a warning that they were steaming towards danger. In the case of the Baltic Ace, Corvus J collision, the traffic coordination center would have detected in advance that two boxes were to be at the same place at the same time.

In confined areas with high traffic density one might even envision a "conveyer belt" of slots moving in a pre-planned manner and ships entering the area would have to catch an empty slot much like landing and starting slots on an airport. One such area with high traffic density will be the future southern North Sea between UK and Holland. Figure 4 shows a composite image derived in the ACCSEAS project. To the left is the English coast at Kent and to the right Den Haag in Holland. Traffic density plots has been added as darker lines over the sea area. From southwest to northeast are the major traffic through and from the English Channel. The northwest - southeast traffic pattern is the ships between Humber and the English east coast and Rotterdam. The orange areas is present and future windmill parks. Very few are jet built, but the image show the present planning status of the area (4coffshore, 2015).

Fig. 4. The planned future state of the southern North Sea based on data from the wind energy web site 4coifshore.com (2015).

2.5. Tactical route exchange

The tactical route exchange was investigated in the EfficenSea and the ACCSEAS projects. This intended route process is different and much simpler than the strategic route coordination, which involves a traffic coordination center. In the tactical case, a number of waypoints ahead of the ship's present position is transmitted though AIS to all ships within radio range. A ship can see other ships' intended routes by right clicking on a ship's AIS symbol in the electronic chart and select "show intended route", see Fig. 5.

Fig. 5. A ship's intended (tactical) route is displayed by right clicking on the AIS symbol and selecting "Show intended route". In this case the Own Ship (to the right) can see that the intention of the right-of-way ship on its starboard side. It will see that the intention is not to cross in front, but to turn to a parallel course in the same lane.

3. Testing with users for professional acceptance

The concept presented above was tested with prototypes in different iterations during the years 2012-2014. The first study on the tactical route exchange was conducted at the Simulator center at Chalmers University in 2012. The scenario was a passage through the Sound between Sweden and Denmark with two vessels, one passing from south to north, and one from north to south. The focus of this study was the tactical route exchange ship-to-ship. This study is described in detail in Porathe, de Vries, et al. (2013).

The second study was conducted at Chalmers in 2013. The focus this time was the strategic route exchange ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship. The scenario was a ship entering a coordination area sending its voyage plan to the coordination center, and negotiating a green route. Later the route is changed, first initiated by the ship due to weather, and later by the shore due to port delays, and then drifting timber. Details of this study is published in Porathe, de Vries, et al. (2013).

The last scenario was then repeated onboard two Korean training vessels in a Korean archipelago context in April 2014. Details of this study is presented in Porathe, Borup, et al. (2014).

A final study - again focusing on the tactical route exchange - was conducted in the Simulator Centre at Chalmers in October 2014. The environment was the Humber Estuary in the UK and the approach to the ports of Immingham and Hull, with high traffic density and congestion. Details of this study are published in Porathe and Brodje (2015).

The participants in all these studies has been professional bridge officers and pilots with long experience and cadets and in relevant cases, pilots and VTS operators with experience from the areas simulated. The lengths of the scenarios has often been several hours why the number of participants has been in the range of 10-20 for each study.

Qualitative data was collected by video during the simulations where the participants were encouraged to think aloud and comment on their experience.

3.1. Results

Detailed results has been presented in the papers referred to above and this paper will only give an overview of the findings from the four projects mentioned.

The findings from the prototype tests with strategic route exchange in the two MONALISA projects were generally positive. They showed good professional acceptance as scored on a "professional acceptance rating."

Findings from the prototype tests with the intended route feature in the EfficienSea and ACCSEAS projects suggests that it serves its purpose well. Early concerns raised regarding possible risks if ships did not follow their intended routes (e.g. in case of an overtaking) was revoked in the later study (Humber Estuary). Experienced officers and pilots considered it beneficial to know other ships intentions even if they deviated from them. The reason was that if was considered easy to see the reason for a deviation. The professional acceptance rating used in the last studies showed good acceptance scores.

Most participants, both younger and older were more or less positive to the ship traffic management concept. Having said that, there was discussion on the yet undecided scope of the proposed route exchange system and the role of the new coordination centre; would it be monitoring, advisory, assistance, or full control? Would it become a challenge to the ultimate authority of the captain? Where would responsibility and liability lie for delays, costs incurred, accidents etc.? Several participants expressed the likelihood of conflict between the coordination centre and vessel on the issue of control and the coordination centre and ship-owners on the issue of costs. All participants agreed that the final decision needed to stay with the captain onboard.

4. The navigating navigator or the monitoring navigator

If we stop for a minute and reflect on the systems developed in the projects discussed above, we might see two things: first, we have the potential of a system creating a safer traffic situation. Secondly, automatic monitoring together with automatic track keeping capabilities will lead to a situation where the bridgework is increasingly reduced to monitoring more and more reliable automation.

This brings us to the discussion about the "navigating navigator" versus the "monitoring navigator." No doubt "deskilling" is a problem that follows with automated systems in all occupations. The use of satellite positioning systems has led to mariners losing proficiency in the use of sextant and sight reduction tables, although the method is stilt taught at maritime colleges. The use of advanced traffic management systems where the mariner's task is reduced to keep his ship within a moving box will risk that mariners become less proficient in many tasks that belong to active navigation. However, IMO's Sub-Committee on Radio Communications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) in 2011 decided that the navigator should be kept in the loop as a "navigating navigator" (IMO, 2011).

Automation and technical robustness is the reason for the decline in ship accidents that was mentioned at the beginning of this paper. An important task for developers will be to ensure that modern technology is used for safety improvement while still keeping the navigator in the loop, practicing skills that allow him or her to step in and perform professionally for the rare situation that automation fails.

There seems to be two directions: Either we find a way of reversing the roles on the bridge. Letting the navigator go back to more or less manual navigation, with skills intact, and always in the loop; or we remove the onboard

navigator and let the ship navigate autonomously, monitored, and sometimes remotely controlled, by an operator ashore.

5. Towards unmanned ships?

We will touch on one final project here: Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks, MUNIN (2013-2015). The reasons for investigating unmanned ship are many: cost reductions, safety gains, but maybe most importantly, decreasing emissions. The European Commission has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. For such a vast undertaking, all parts of the society needs to participate. Also the maritime industry.

About 90% of the world's transports are done on ships and there are no alternative solution. However, shipping has a much lower carbon footprint per ton-mile than trucks and airplanes. In a future with a continued growing economy the transportation need will increase many times over to 2050. At the same time, the emissions must be decreased. There are presently no alternative to fossil fuel for ships (leaving wind and nuclear aside). However, by slowing a typical container vessel down from 14 knots to 11 knots, the fuel consumption is more than halved (Stopford, 2009). This is called "slow steaming". But if ship go slower, more ships must be added to the transportation system to make up for the lost capacity. A study by Pierre Cariou (2011) shows that slow steaming anyhow has the potential of reducing emissions by around 11%. This is close to the target of a 15% reduction by 2018 that was proposed by the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee, 2009. The total greenhouse gas emissions from the global maritime transport industry (2.2% of the world's total) are estimated to have been cut by 20% from 2007 to 2012, the International Chamber of Shipping stated recently (2015) and aims at reducing emissions by 50% to 2050. Some of this can be done by more efficient engines and fuels and some can be done by more efficient traffic management. Route exchange, as described above, can contribute by reducing speed through just-in-time-arrival without reducing the capacity of the maritime transport systems. However, to be really effective, speeds needs to be reduced to what is called "super-slow speeds" (10-12 knots, or lower). In these speeds, energy efficiency is optimized. For the transport system, this means more and bigger ships, but also drastically longer voyages.

In 2014, a consultant at a major shipping company revealed his listing of the three, in his opinion, biggest threats for the company in the coming five to fifteen years. As number one came "the unattractive industry". His doubt was whether the shipping industry would be able to attract the millennium generation born between the early 80s and the early 00s (Wichmann, 2014). In a report to the IMO in 2010 the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) reported that "our results indicate that the industry will most probably face a tightening labour market, with recurrent shortages for officers, particularly as shipping markets recover" (Lang, 2010). The international shipping industry will require an additional 42,500 officers by the end of 2019 to cope with the expected growth in the main cargo carrying fleet, according to the latest Manning report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry (gCaptain, 2015). It could be that unmanned ships will be necessary to keep up the transport capacity.

The MUNIN project investigated the feasibility of unmanned, autonomous merchant vessels. The ships will be manned while departing and entering port and unmanned during ocean-passage. When unmanned, the ships will be controlled by an automatic system informed by onboard sensors allowing the ship to make standard collision avoidance manoeuvres according to international regulation. The ship will be continuously monitored by a remote shore centre able to take remote control should the automatic systems falter. Technical and legal problems are envisioned to be solvable. Human error remains, but is shifted to the programmer and maintenance level as well as the remote control centres. For the humans in the shore centres the usual problems of automations remains as well as a pronounced problem of keeping up adequate situation awareness through remote sensing. The big challenge for a future autonomous technology will be to show that an unmanned system is at least as safe as a manned ship system, and to provide the shore control operators with adequate situation awareness (Porathe, Prison, Man, 2014)

For details of the MUNIN findings, please see the reports on the project web site.

6. Conclusion

This paper has summarized some results from five different EU projects 2009-2015. The results all points to possible improvements in safety and efficiency of future ship traffic. The projects have made it possible to build prototype applications and test them on mariners to assess "professional acceptance". The results has been disseminated though committee work and conferences and thus been forwarded to the international legislation process in the IMO through organizations such as e.g. IALA's e-Navigation committee. Tangible outcomes are already visible, e.g. in June 2015 the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee approved the "Guideline on Software Quality Assurance and Human-Centred Design for e-navigation", a product of the Human Centered design work conducted in the EfficienSea, MONALISA and ACCSEAS projects.

It remains to be seen how the proposed ship traffic management and other e-Navigation inventions will be received and incorporated into future shipping, but it is the authors firm belief that the EU funded research projects mentioned has promoted international European cooperation in a very valuable way that hopefully in the future will pay off in terms of safety and efficiency.

Acknowledgements

MONALISA 1 and 2 has been possible thanks to funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework program for infrastructure TEN-T, ACCSEAS by InterReg North Sea Region and EfficienSea by InterReg Baltic Sea Region. The MUNIN project was funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Program.

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