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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Safety SmartWatch; VR training; Largest LNG barge in US; Voltaire launched, Power X MoU

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. SmartWatch aims to eliminate preventable accidents on board ships

  2. Fincantieri Begins Construction on the Largest LNG Barge in the U.S.

  3. Virtual reality can ‘transform’ offshore wind training

  4. Next-Gen: Jan De Nul's Jack-up 'Voltaire' Launched in China

  5. Power transfer outfit Power X signs MoU with Japan’s largest shipping company

  6. ‘Fireflies’ with infrared vision set to transform turbine inspection

Two offshore workers in hardhats and PPE look at a SmartWatch

“SmartWatch, a wearable for seafarers, aims to prevent the many mishaps that not only cost lives at sea, but incur huge costs (SOL-X). Image from Riviera.

Singapore start-up SOL-X plans to use their SmartWatch to monitor crew health for dangers of heat stress, fatigue, heart attacks, and lack of situational awareness. Currently, there is no real-time information for crew members who may be suffering from these types of problems, and may not even know themselves that there is something wrong. Not only do these types of mistakes cause unneeded accidents and loss of life, but also costs $29B in yearly insurance claims.

“According to the European Maritime Safety Agency’s 2019 annual overview of maritime casualties and incidents study, as much as 66% of incidents are caused by human factors, with crew fatigue and lack of situational awareness among some of the major contributing causes.” SmartWatch could detect up to 99% of heart attacks beforehand as well as heat stress by monitoring the surrounding areas for heat index. GeoFence software can also remind crew they are entering hazardous areas. The device is even rated ATEX Zone 1 for hazardous environments.

Render of Crowley LNG barge

“Courtesy Fincantieri Marine Group”. Image from The Maritime Executive.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is building the largest LNG bunkering barge in the United States for Crowley, where it will operate under charter for Shell. The 400 foot barge will be the largest of its kind with the ability to hold over three million gallons of LNG. “‘We congratulate the men and women of Bay Shipbuilding on the start of this innovative, landmark vessel that will help the maritime industry meet demand for cleaner operations with reduced emissions,’ said Tucker Gilliam, vice president, Crowley Shipping. ‘In partnership with Shell, this vessel will expand the availability of LNG to vessels and help advance the transition to lower-emission fuels as the industry seeks to reduce emissions.’” LNG vessel orders have been accelerating recently with 240 ordered in 2021 - more than the last four years combined.

First person view handing a wrench to an offshore wind turbine worker on top of a turbine in orange PPE

“VRAI believes virtual reality has much to offer industries like offshore wind where work takes place remotely (source: Fassmer Industrial Training)”. Image from Riviera.

England and Ireland-based VRAI is working to enhance offshore wind training with virtual reality. Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) recently launched a working group called XR@OMCE to speed up the adoption of immersive training in the offshore wind sector. ORE Catapult said simulated environments allow for training with good technique that wouldn’t be safe or convincing in an non-simulated environment. VRAI is already working with the United Nations and RAF, but with new funding from the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP), it will be working on offshore wind training in Europe. The first application is for fire safety training, but they see many areas for potential expansion.

Jan De Nul Voltaire jack-up on the water

“Credit: Jan De Nul”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

Jan De Nul has officially launched next-gen jack-up vessel Voltaire from COSCO Shipping Shipyard in China. It’s the second jack-up in the company’s fleet and the largest. It’s expected to be delivered in H2 2022, able to support next generation wind farms, a concern with the rapidly growing size of wind turbines. The crane capacity will support over 3,000 tons, and will be put to work on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm installing 277 GE Haliade-X turbines rated for up to 14MW each.

Power X power transfer vessel trimaran on the ocean

“Power X has signed agreements with Japan's leading shipowner and shipyard to develop a prototype Power ARK (source: Power X)”. Image from Riviera.

Japanese company Power X, who plans to build vessels loaded with batteries to transport electricity from offshore wind to shore, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s largest shipping line, NYK. The MoU sets terms for the development of the Power Transfer Vessels and related energy storage and electrical systems. The Power ARK transfer vessels will be a collaboration between the two companies who will jointly develop and test prototypes. “NYK senior managing executive officer Tomoyuki Koyama described marine batteries as a way to solve some of the obstacles facing renewable energy adoption and expansion. ‘By bringing much-needed innovation to zero-emissions vessels and offshore wind energy, Power X is taking a big leap beyond conventional battery storage.’” Imabari Shipbuilding is the builder and is investing $8.86M in Power X. We look forward to seeing a prototype in 2025!

Wind turbine inspection drone hover at an offshore wind farm

“Firefly Inspect combines drone technology with infrared technology to monitor wind turbine blades (source: ORE Catapult)”. Image from Riviera.

Thermography in drones makes wind turbine blade inspection faster, cheaper, and better. Innvotek and Mapair, both based in Cambridge, tested a drone system with infrared and artificial intelligence (AI) to inspect composite structures. Using technology originally developed for airplane wings, they use a 1,000 watt heat lamp to test for defects in blades. Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult collaborated in the tests held at ORE Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, UK. The drones autonomously maneuvered and used thermography to capture surface temperature variations, revealing hidden imperfections below the surface. Regular inspections are required for turbine blades as they are exposed to harsh conditions.

“Development of the technology was jointly funded by Innovate UK and Canada’s National Research Council with additional support from Cranfield University, Université Laval and Canadian company BI Expertise. The project (Multiple Robotic Inspection of Composite Aircraft Structures Using Active Thermography – MultiAcT) has been awarded the EUREKA label for outstanding R&D achievement.”

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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