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Surveillance integration can achieve ‘Connected Ship’ ambition for marine industry
Source: Synectic Systems
The marine industry has been called on to embrace technology that delivers real-time situational awareness to improve vessel navigation, safety and efficiency.

“The Connected Ship” a term coined by Tor Svensen, CEO of DNV GL Maritime, is the industry’s future. To show how intelligent surveillance integration can make this future a reality, Synectics will be demonstrating its evolved command and control platform, Synergy 3, together with its DNV approved COEX camera stations, on stand 212 (Hall B8) at SMM Hamburg (9-12 September 2014).

Mark Withington, Business Development Manager – Marine, at Synectics said: “From tackling the threat of piracy, to navigating safe passage through arctic conditions and docking safely at port, the need to minimise risk and ensure crew safety has never been greater within the shipping industry.

“Tor Svenson is right to say that the deployment of integrated systems should be an industry goal and with today’s surveillance technology, it is wholly achievable.”

For example, Synergy 3 enables 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.

Combining data from radar, cameras and an AIS enables operators to identify any vessel approaching, know exactly how far away it is, and verify it against a database as either safe, or a potential threat. Through absolute positioning integration, both cooled and uncooled thermal cameras may be precisely positioned to make a visual assessment of detected threats at distances up to 10km away.

Mark continued: “On-ship awareness is just as critical as off-ship vigilance. For example, the James Clark Ross research ship uses its surveillance command and control platform to provide the bridge with real-time audio and visual information regarding the positions and activities of the deck crew, science team and testing equipment, while simultaneously detecting ice hazards to guarantee safe navigation.

Ice-class vessels like James Clark Ross are increasingly using radar and thermal camera integrations to discern differences in ice temperature to plot safe routes through hazardous sea conditions. This is freeing up shipping lanes that were previously impassable.

“Another interesting capability relates to piracy and crew safety”, said Mark. “It is possible for covert cameras to be deployed on ships so that, in the event of attack, they can relay footage of aggressors’ movements to crew who may be taking refuge in a safe room or citadel. This intelligence can then be fed back to onshore security teams who can monitor the situation and plan an informed response.”

With any form of surveillance system integration on vessels, image quality is key. Advances in camera technology have ensured the shipping industry does not lag behind onshore industries in this respect. Synectics’ latest range of COEX? TriMode camera stations, for example, allows seamless switching between colour, mono and thermal imaging at the touch of a button, to capture footage – day or night – through smoke, solar glare, ice, mist, torrential rain, fog or even complete darkness.

Mark concluded: “The show is a key opportunity for us to engage with marine industry professionals and demonstrate how integrated end-to-end surveillance solutions can deliver tangible safety and operational benefits for vessels, and keep both crew and cargo safe. The technology to help shipping operators achieve on-ship and onshore situational awareness through a ‘connected’ approach is available now and we want to help the industry capitalise on that.”
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