Maritime Reporter Staff

the Norsemen first cast off from her misty shores in their dragon-shaped long ships, Norway's prosperity has been intertwined with the sea. An integral part of this deep-rooted maritime tradition is a spirit of innovation which has enabled this rugged, mountainous country to remain in the forefront of economic, political, and technical developments in the marine field.

As if emerging from the mists of the past, three replica Viking ships will set sail this month on a trans- Atlantic voyage to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of Leif Ericsson's expedition to North America.

Although only one of the vessels will make the entire "Vinland Revisited" trek, all three ships will rendevous in Washington, D.C., on October 9th for Leif Ericsson Day festivities.

The voyage, however, will not only celebrate Norway's millennium-old heritage, but also mark its passage into a new era of maritime development.

One of the World's Largest Fleets A nation with a population of slightly more than 4 million, Norway exerts a great deal of influence on the global maritime market through its large number of ship owners, operators, and brokers, marine-based technology companies and highly developed offshore industry.

Figures supplied by the Norwegian Shipowners' Association (NSA) show that about 72,000 Norwegians are employed in shipping-related activities, a majority of which can be accounted for by shipping companies, shipyards and ships' equipment manufacturers.

As of the first of this year, the Norwegians controlled one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, totaling an astounding 1,867 vessels and aggregating an estimated 68 million deadweight tons. This total encompasses 1,162 ships totaling 42 million dwt. under the Norwegian flag, 380 ships totaling 12.9 million dwt. under foreign flag and another 325 ships on a time charter or management basis. A full onequarter of the world's gas carriers and one of the world's largest cruise fleets with more than 30,000 berths lie under Norwegian control. The Norwegian fleet, in fact, is an important player on the world market, with about 90 percent of it engaged in cross-trading—trading outside of Norway.

Shortage of Officers However, Norway's thriving maritime sector faces some major challenges. One, according to a recently released report by a Norwegian marine industry group, is a serious shortage of officers in the near future. The study, conducted by Maritime Forum, which focuses on issues facing domestic shipowners, yards and marine equipment suppliers, estimates that Norwegian shipping will need about 1,000 officers per year, whereas the supply now runs at about 450.

The NSA has been actively seeking solutions. The association, for example, tried to launch a maritime training plan by offering $ 16 million to its members in a five-year program, with a goal of turning out 500 officers. The program, thus far, has met with very limited success. A government white paper on shipping is due out this month which is expected to address the officer shortage.

Fleet Renewal Fleet renewal is a second critical issue facing Norwegian owners. The tremendous success of the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS), established in 1987, which breathed new life into a dwindling national register, brought with it an influx of secondhand tonnage, pushing up the average age of the country's combined fleet to almost 12 years old—slightly below the world average.

Hanne K. Aaberg, NSA information officer, said, "Obviously, you cannot extend the lifetime of a vessel indefinitely, and our biggest challenge in the 90s is the renewal of the Norwegian fleet. We have made some calculations and estimated that approximately NOK 150 billion ($23 billion) will have to be invested over the next five years." According to Ms. Aaberg, Norway has 160 vessels aggregating 9 million dwt. on order. This amounts to around 15 percent of the world's newbuilding orders. A large percentage of these orders, valued $6.2 billion, are for tankers and bulk carriers.

Foreign Investment Needed Ms. Aaberg also stressed the need for foreign investment to meet the demands of financing the fleet.

"Our future financial requirements," said Ms. Aaberg,"cannot be met exclusively at a national level." Pending tax reform is expected to have a great deal of influence on foreigners investing in Norwegian shipping partnerships.

One such investment partnership, the K/S system, has come under fire by many critics for containing aging, substandard vessels. However, according to a recent report by London-based Clarkson Research Studies Ltd., the K/S fleet is wellbalanced, with 55 percent of the asset value invested in tankers and 45 percent in other type vessels.

"The average age is 13 years the world fleet as a whole," states the report.

For the most part, the K/S system is based on investments in single vessels, underwritten by a call capital system.

New Ship Management Class One of the three major ship classification societies, Det norske Veritas (DnV), headquartered in Hovik, a suburb of Oslo, has classed about 4,500 ships or 14 percent of the world's tonnage that is now in service.

According to Tore Hoifodt, DnV vice president, corporate communications, 23.7 percent of all newbuildings in 1990 were built to DnV class, which compares favorably with ABS and Lloyd's Register, which posted figures of 15.4 and 15 percent, respectively, according to DnV. DnVs growth coincides with the start of the Norwegian International Ship Register.

DnV is banking on its new Safety Management Class (SMC). To date 15 contracts have been signed with shipping companies that collectively control 300 vessels, and discussions are underway with another 20 companies controlling 600 vessels, according to Sten Bengtsson, vice president, head of department for quality & safety management class.

In a meeting at DnVs Hovik headquarters, Mr. Bengtsson claimed that human error and substandard actions caused about 74 percent of all marine losses—a figure which seems quite startling.

"Investigations show that most accidents are caused by unsafe acts," asserted Mr. Bengtsson, "but experience shows that most of the mistakes that people make are caused by factors which only management can control. Thus, the DnV classification of management focuses on management control, onboard and ashore." The DnVC Tentative Rules for Management of Safe Ship Operation and Pollution Prevention were introduced to cover independent verification of management quality.

The rules cover the IMO Resolution A647 (16) Guidelines for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention.

P&I Clubs Norway's marine underwriters have extended their activities around the world. On the P&I side, the two Norwegian mutual clubs, Gard and Skuld, cover about 90 million gross tons, or about 20 percent of the world merchant fleet between them.

An international Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club founded in Oslo in 1897, Skuld is owned entirely by its members—the owners, charterers or operators of ships and vessels who have joined together to insure against liabilities and losses they may incur in the operation of their ships.

Although an international P&I association, about 60 percent of the club's vessels are under Nordic control.

The OPA 'Monster' One of the future challenges facing Skuld is the U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990. "The OPA (Oil Pollution Act of 1990) has created a monster to keep inside its cage," said Michael Thorp, Skuld deputy director recently at the company's Oslo headquarters. "It's well to create an act with unlimited liability .

.. but you have to keep in mind what is practically possible. We are all deadly interested in protecting our environment, but if the insurance is not there, what can you do?" "We are going to behave no differently from other P&I clubs," continued Mr. Thorp, "we cannot provide certificates under the present Oil Pollution Act (OPA) conditions." The top level of liability provided by P&I clubs is $500 million, with a facility to provide an additional $200 million in liability from reinsurance brokers.

The OPA non-certification clause in the coverage states that it is not evidence of financial responsibility under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 or any similar federal or state laws and may not be shown or tendered to the U.S. Coast Guard or any federal or state agency as evidence of financial responsibility or evidence of insurance. The insurers do not consent to be guarantors.

"The reinsurance market won't be able to take it," Mr. Thorp asserted.

"The shipowner is going to be reluctant to commit his assets for fear of losing not just one vessel, but to be forced to lose his others." Mr.

Thorp believes that this will lead to operators with older, poorly maintained vessels entering the market.

Threatens Structure Of Insurance "Another problem with OPA," Mr.

Thorp continued, "is that the U.S.

government will have direct access to the insurance underwriters. This threatens the whole structure of insurance, because among other factors the P&I clubs require shipowners to fulfill certain obligations for the insurance to remain in effect. What if a ship does not maintain class for example?-it takes time for us to get that information and pass it on. But with a certificate on board, the ship U.S. authorities would still be able to sue the club for unlimited amounts of clean up costs, even though the insurance was void." Concerning the new Ship Management Class, Mr. Thorp said that if loss ratios were good over a fouryear period, then Skuld could cut its rates.

On double-bottoms and doublehulls, Mr. Thorp said that Skuld would not induce owners to buy these types of vessels by automatically lowering premiums. "But," he added, "if after a time we see there are a lower number of claims, then we may reduce premiums." Significant Oil Producer With the start-up of production from major offshore fields in recent years, Norway's significance as an oil-producing nation has risen. According to figures provided by the Export Council of Norway, the coun try produced 82 million tons of oil equivalents in 1988, with proven offshore reserves of 4.2 billion tons of oil equivalents.

Once several fields which are currently under development come on-line, domestic production is expected to increase by 1.6 million barrels a day, or 90 million tons of oil per year, enhancing Norway's status as the world's third largest oil exporter outside of OPEC.

Total investments on the Norwegian shelf for oil and gas exploration are expected to climb from $5.2 billion last year to $5.7 billion by the end of this year.

Offshore Technology Development Platforms for offshore oil production are some of the most notable— Put Marine Travelift's Experience To Work For You and certainly noticeable—examples of Norwegian engineering skills.

Some of these giant monoliths represent the largest structures ever moved by man. Norwegian specialists like Aker—whose subsidiary, Norwegian Contractors, developed the Condeep concrete platform concept— and Kvaerner have built up expertise recognized around the world.

In recent years, the principal activities of Kvaerner Engineering, which marked its 25th anniversary last month, have centered around the design and modification of topside structures on offshore platforms.

However, KE has been awarded several preliminary design contracts by Conoco Norway in connection with the Heidrun development off central Norway. This work will end up as tenders for the detail design, and is due to be completed during the fall. Parallel assignments have been awarded to Aker.

In an effort to boost its expertise, Kvaerner is collaborating with Doris Engineering of France and Skanska of Sweden on the project. The KSD (Kvaerner-Svenska-Doris) collaboration will carry out preliminary designs of the concrete hull for the tension leg platform on Heidrun.

Small Companies, Big Results An examination of the member roster of the Oslo-based Federation of Norwegian Engineering Indust r i e s (Teknologibedriftenes Landsforening) provides a great deal of insight into the make-up of Norwegian companies. The bulk of its 530 members are small- and medium- sized companies—at least by Norwegian standards—averaging 100 employees or less. These companies are typical of Norway, with efficient, streamlined production and management.

In all, 70 TBL companies either manufacture ships' equipment or build the ships or offshore structures themselves. According to the partial statistics furnished by the TBL, Norwegian companies exported about $827 million worth of marine equipment out of a total of $1.42 billion produced in 1988.

Norwegian Shipbuilding To a large extent, the Norwegian shipbuilding industry specializes in producing vessels under 30,000 dwt.

for the offshore support, commercial fishing, research and passenger sectors.

According to data provided by the Export Council of Norway, as of 1990 52 ships of 100 gross tons and over were under construction in Norwegian yards, 30 of which were for export.

Kvaerner Acquires Masa-Yards As a result of a recently completed $106 million deal, Kvaerner acquired 100 percent of the shares of Finnish builder Masa-Yards.

Renamed Kvaerner-Masa, it incorporates the New Helsinki yard and the larger Turku yard. The yards employ a combined workforce of 4,000 and add large cruise vessel and icebreaker technology to the Kvaerner portfolio. And, due to the yard's close ties with the U.S.S.R., the acquisition will provide Kvaerner with access to the Soviet shipping market.

Fast Ferry Market The company's Fjellstrand shipyard recently delivered the first high technology catamaran officially to start operations in Greek waters.

The 134-foot catamaran Flyingcat I entered service with the Ceres Flying Dolphins fleet. The 352- passenger has a service speed of 38 knots. The Kvaerner Fjellstrand yard has sold 53 high-speed catamarans to 19 countries.

Kvaerner is developing a new generation of Foilcat, a 41-meter, 50-knot prototype under construction at its Omastrand yard. The 449-passenger fast ferry will be foil assisted, with two fully submerged foils, 100 percent dynamically sup- ported, and powered by a propulsion package in each hull.

According to Nic. Nilsen, vice president of business development for Kvaerner Fjellstrand, the Foilcat will have several advantages over the Boeing/Kawasaki jetfoil, including being less costly, about $15 million to $18 million, producing less of a wake and able to carry more passengers and a larger payload. Designed with triple redudancy systems, GE LM500 gas turbines and KaMeWa waterjets, the Foilcat also has potential as a cargo forwarder as part of a total transport system.

MCMVs Being Built By Mandal Yard The new purpose-built Mandal yard of Kvaerner Batservice is constructing nine SES mine countermeasure/ catamaran vessels for the Norwegian Navy under a $333 million contract. The 23-knot, 164-foot MCMVs are an entirely new combination of catamaran and hovercraft constructed of composite materials.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered in 1992.

The project will have a major impact on Norwegian manufacturers, who will supply 65 percent of its equipment content. Simrad has joined focres with Thomson of France to supply $63.7 million in tactical equipment, while Horten-based Norcontrol Automation will supply $7 million worth of technical control systems. About $4.8 million worth of waterjet equipment will be supplied by Kvaerner Eureka.

Four Survey Ships For U.S. Owner The Ulstein Group, consisting of 30 international companies, offers a comprehensive range of products and services in shipbuilding and equipment, including diesel engines, control and propulsion systems, and hydraulic deck machinery.

A number of different vessel types have been designed over the past 30 years by Ulstein companies Ulstein Trading and Skipskonsulent A.S., including fishing, coastal passenger, cargo, ferry, well-simulation, tug, factory, multipurpose, and one of the firm's newest, surface effect.

More than 230 vessels have been built in the UT 700 series of offshore vessels alone.

The Ulstein Hatloe yard recently received a $40 million order from Western Atlas International of Houston to construct a fourth seismic survey ship for the company.

The U.S. owner contracted three survey ships last year with Hatloe at a cost of $90 million. The addition of the worth ship will boost Western Atlas's survey fleet to 34 ships.

Unique Antarctic Research- Passenger Vessel Also constructed by the Hatloe yard was a unique 5,129-gross-ton antarctic research/passenger vessel, the Polar Circle. Delivered to Rieber Shipping Company, the 300-foot Polar Circle can accommodate 120 passengers and a crew of 65. She is fitted with a 96-seat restaurant, three lounges, library and bar.

For research work, the vessel, which is capable of breaking 3-foot ice at three knots, has wet and dry laboratories, a helideck and hangar aft.

Future Concept Craft The UT 904 Surface Effect Ship represents Ulstein's latest area of involvement. A purpose-built yard in western Norway, owned jointly with fast ferry specialist Brodene Aa was established to construct these high-speed vessels in fiberglass reinforced plastic hulls with sandwich construction.

"We believe this (SES) is the future concept craft," said Bjarne Waerdahl, information manager for Ulstein. Ulstein has aggressively pursued the development of turbines, waterjets, thrusters, electronics and design for the SES.

"These vital components should be in our hands soon," said Mr.

Waerdahl, "and we are not going to fail." Ulstein Turbine is developing a powerful, efficient, compact gas turbine, which is expected to weigh one tenth of a lightweight diesel for installation in the SES. Four prototypes are scheduled for completion by 1993 in power range of 2,200- 2,900 kw, with full production to start in 1995.

According to Mr. Waerdahl, this turbine engine will also comply with the strictest exhaust regulations, even running on liquid fuel. Consumption of fuel will be 30-40 percent lower than any known turbine, and oil will be used only for lubrication.

Propulsion Solutions Part of the Ulstein Group, Bergen Diesel has more than 40 years' experience constructing marine generating sets, propulsion plants and stationary power generators.

Generator sets are produced in the range from 460 kva to 4,010 kva, and single or multi-engine propulsion plants from 1,500 to 20,000 bhp.

According to Jan A. Kristiansen, general manager of sales and marketing for Bergen Diesel, Bergen currently has 3 percent of the world diesel market and expects a turn- over of about $90 million in 1991, a substantial increase over 1990 figures.

A major supplier of medium-speed diesels to the cruise industry, Bergen's most recent deliveries were to the Crown Monarch and the three Kloster cruise ships under construction in France and Germany.

In the U.S., Bergen has supplied 50 engines to the U.S. Navy, as well as medium-speed diesels for the newly constructed Edison Chouest research/icebreaking vessel.

Engine Spares For Major Diesel Makes Located in Arendal, a small town located at the edge of the sea and built on small islands and skerries, Nyland Marine Service has been a supplier and manufacturer of engine spares for diesels for 70 years.

Taken over by the Maritime Group A.S. in 1989, Nyland Marine offers cylinder liners, cylinder covers, piston crowns, piston skirts and exhaust valve spindles and skirts for MAN B&W, Sulzer and Gotaverken diesel engines. As a specialist manufacturer of diesel spares, Nyland Marine products carry the same 12-month guarantee as the original manufacturer's. Nyland Marine spares conform to the OEM's technical and material specification criteria and are tested and accepted by all major classification societies.

Concentrating on the refit market, Nyland Marine has shown a steady increase in turnover over the last three years, rising from $8.1 million in 1988 to $18.9 million in 1990. And, although Norway accounts for its largest market at about 41 percent, Tom Erik Johnsen, the company's managing director, believes that the U.S. is an important market. Mr. Johnsen believes that the company's turnover will jump 400 percent in 1991 over last year.

In 1985, the company expanded its product line with the addition of DnV type-approved Splitex and Monex propeller shaft seals.

Last year, the firm added the portable Fuel Ignition Analyzer (FIA) to its product line. The FIA, developed and manufactured in cooperation with Autronica A/S, Marintek A/S and Fueltech A/S, monitors ignition and combustion properties, which, left unattended, might result in serious and costly engine problems.

Extensive Supply, Distribution Network An extensive worldwide distribution and supply network is one of the key's to Unitor's market position as an important service organization for the international shipping community.

"We are the only people able to carry out service in one port and complete it in another port," said Christopher V. Horn, corporate marketing manager, at a recent meeting in the company's Kolbotn headquarters. "This company's strength lies in the fact that 120 people are based at the company's head office in Norway, whilst 1,000 people are stationed around the world," he stated.

Unitor's service and distribution network comprises 58 wholly owned branch offices plus an additional 202 agents. In all, Unitor covers 837 ports and serves in excess of 15,000 vessels from over 70 countries annually.

Unitor's diverse product and service range extends from industrial gases in standardized and exchangeable cylinders to refrigerants to marine chemicals to firefighting and rescue equipment.

Breakthrough Product For Spill Response A breakthrough product for the company's newly formed Enviro division is the Unitor oil bag concept, a spare collapsible container used in the event of oil spillage from a damaged cargo tank. "Its most outstanding feature," said Mr. Horn, "is its simplicity." Usable in all types of spills, not just groundings, and made from Protex, a seawater- and oil-resistant polymer-coated fabric, the Unitor oil bag features flexibility coupled with light weight and compact size for ease of handling, operation and storage. Three versions of the bag are available—a portable model which can be flown by helicopter to the site of a tanker accident; an onboard deck-mounted version; and oil skimming version.

According to Mr. Horn, one 100- cubic-meter oil bag has already been sold to Esso Norway and Unitor has received several inquiries from U.S.

owners. Unitor recently signed a contract with Washington, D.C.- based Marine Spill Response Corporation for a tentative order for testing with the U.S. Coast Guard.

"We believe that the oil bag is the most practical solution for dealing with the containment of oil spills and will satisfy forthcoming regulations," said Mr. Horn.

Inert Gas Systems Reduce Risk Of Explosions On Tankers A subsidiary of the $7 billion Monsanto Company, Permea A.S.

Maritime Protection specializes in the design and manufacture of gas processing equipment based on three technologies—membrane gas separation, pressure swing absorption and combustion—for ships, offshore platforms and land-based industries.

Permea A.S. Maritime Protection has sold over 400 inert gas systems for marine use worldwide.

The Kristiansand-based firm's Prism Alpha nitrogen systems generate nitrogen from the air by means of hollow-fiber membranes, and have proved to be a low-cost alternative to shore-supplied nitrogen bottles on chemical, LNG and LPG carriers.

Nitrogen, an inert gas, is used mainly for purging and blanketing of tanks and pipelines. The inert gas not only minimizes the risk of explosion but also prevents degradation of cargoes sensitive to oxygen and moisture. It is also useful for drying void spaces like cofferdams.

In the offshore market, Permea A.S. Maritime Protection has supplied over two dozen nitrogen systems for installation on North Sea platforms and has even supplied a Prism Alpha unit to Conoco for a platform operating in the Green Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Mark E. Modjeska, managing director of the company, all the LNG carriers and 80 chemical carriers constructed over the last four years—over 100 newbuildings— have been outfitted with Prism membrane systems.

No More Bad Apples Prism Alpha systems have also been found to be useful for creating controlled atmospheres on reefers carrying fruits and other vessels involved in long-distance transport of perishables. The storage life of apples, for example, has been significantly prolonged in this way, thus increasing their salability.

Keep Your Cargo Under Control With about 170 installations worldwide, the Cargomaster system, which controls and monitors cargo, slop, ballast and fuel tanks, is one of the leading products from Skarpenord International A.S. All functions can be integrated into a single system to provide the operator with a unified presentation and overall monitoring.

Level, temperature, inert gas pressure and cargo density measurement functions can be integrated into the system. Optional equipment includes loading computer, draft measurement, pump and valve control and cargo line pressure.

An average cargo tank installation consists of one sensor at the top of the tank for inert gas pressure monitoring, one mid-sensor and one bottom sensor for closed remote level gauging and temperature monitoring.

By using two sensors submerged in the cargo, the system measures the density in each tank.

One important feature is the system's ability to gauge level accurately during stripping and tank washing.

Cargomaster pressure sensors are specially developed to withstand the extremely severe environment inside a tank.

According to Knut Knutsen, product coordinator for Skarpenord International, negotiations are underway for eight to 10 retrofit projects for U. S. owners for installation of inert gas measurement systems.

Besides Cargomaster, the Langesund- based company offers Valve Remote Control Systems and hydraulic actuators for all types of valves. The company is focusing on the American refit market for older tankers for new opportunities.

Waste Not The IMO Marpol 1973/78 Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships are well known to the shipping industry. These regulations prohibit dumping of plastics and synthetic materials, as well as any waste that contains the smallest amount of these materials in the ocean. Marpol regulations also prohibit the overboard discharge of oil, sludge oil and chemicals—and in restricted areas such as the North Sea or the Mediterranean, there is a total band on all dumping of any type of waste except food waste.

Waste disposal is becoming an increasingly difficult problem for fishing and merchant fleets around the world. Shore facilities for waste handling are not available in many parts of the world and onboard storage is often expensive and impractical.

According to figures provided by Jorgen Kyed, marketing manager for TeamTec, a manufacturer of incinerators for shipboard, offshore and land-based use, heavy fueloperated diesel ships produce about 1 million tons of sludge oil per year.

TeamTec's solution is onboard incineration, which is approved by IMO for end destruction of garbage, waste and sludge oil. TeamTec Golar marine incinerators meet IMO's requirements for complete and smoke-free incineration.

TeamTec Golar incinerators come in five basic models with optional variations, and are approved by the major classification societies and other maritime authorities.

Offering compact modular construction, high temperature, clean and thorough high teperature (as much as 1,200 degrees C) combustion, efficient burning of both solid and liquid waste, simple operation, low maintenance and capacities ranging from 150,000 to 650,000 kcal/h, TeamTec Golar Marine incinerators have been installed on all types of vessels, from coasters to cruise ships, with more than 1,400 units sold worldwide. TeamTec has supplied the U.S. Navy with 60 to 70 units and, in fact, the entire FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class is fitted with a specially designed model SK 25 incinerator.

Another company product, TeamTec Golar stripping ejectors have capacities from 2-1/2 to 2,000 tons per hour and can be used on tankers, bulk carriers, dredgers and as bilge and ballast ejectors on all types of vessels. About 27,000 units have been sold worldwide.

Info Displays For Cruise Ships The two main marine products offered by Scandinavian Micro Systems are the ScanRepeater, a digital heading repeater, and ScanDisplay, a large electronic LED information display.

Headquartered in Kolbotn, just outside Oslo, Scandinavian Micro Systems' ScanDisplay has met with great success in the cruise and ferry market. The ScanDisplay cruise information system consists of a Bridge Control Terminal—an IBM PC—and a large "electronic map," where the vessel's present and future itineraries, as well as other passenger information, can be shown in a moving display. The bridge control unit determines the ship's current itinerary and the ports of call as well as the text in the moving text display. ScanDisplays have been installed on one dozen of the world's largest and most luxurious cruise ships.

About 6,000 of the company's ScanRepeaters are installed on commercial, fishing, Navy and larger pleasure vessels around the world.

Developed by Oddbjorn Steinsland, the managing director of Scandinavian Micro Systems, the ScanRepeater is distributed and sold by major gyrocompass manufacturers from around the world. The ScanRepeater LR40/LR60 models have a large bright digital display with an analog indicator which allows instant estimation of the vessel's heading and turning rate. A universal interface is compatible with virtually all types of gyrocompasses.

Safer Navigation A three-month trial of Robertson Tritech's Disc Navigation Systems was recently completed in the "Seatrans Project" aboard the 4,500- ton paper carrier Nornews Express which could have an impact on navigation safety. Results from these trials are being used to define final IMO and IHO standards for ECDIS.

Conducted in collaboration with Det norske Veritas, the Norwegian Hydrographic Service and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, the trials were performed on the paper carrier's normal trading route from Trondheim to Amsterdam via Oslo and Hamburg. The Robertson Disc Navigation System stores digitized electronic charts on laser discs (CDROM) automatically updated by satellite. Norwegian Telecom, which cooperated in the project, provided satellite services utilizing the EIK Coast Earth Station via Inmarsat A.

Sensors for Disc Navigation System are standard electronic instruments which also operate as stand-alone units.

The "official" chart of the area is displayed on a large color screen, while a Navstar GPS accurately and automatically fixes the vessel's position and the radar inputs details of the other vessels in the area. The Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) is able to show the ship's position continuously in relation to planned track, navigational hazards and other vessels on a single screen.

The Robertson Tritech system uses official digitized charts, the legal equivalent to paper charts prepared by the Norwegian Hydrographic Office. Robertson is adding data from other hydrographic agencies is being incorporated in order to quickly form a database equivalent to the 2,000 paper charts needed for worldwide coverage. Each vessel can input information from its own sensors onto the chart and updates can be made automatically using the Inmarsat A or C satellite communication system but all of these details will be stored on separate discs to avoid contamination of the official chart.

Last Element In One-Man Bridge Interfaced with a variety of sensors including GPS, ARPA, log, autopilot, gyrocompass and sounder, the ECDIS is intended to form the main bridge workstation. Additional product development might allow the system to satisfy the requirements for fully integrated bridge systems, the so-called "one-man bridge." According to DnV's principal nautical surveyor, Capt. Per Larsen, it also represented the last element necessary for a true oneman bridge in all types of water.

The sensitive issue of one-man navigational watches will be discussed at a meeting this month of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee.

The issues of fatigue, as well as training will be examined.

Referring to OPA and its doublehull requirement, Hilton Cowie, marketing manager for systems, Robertson Tritech, single-hull tankers might be granted a special dispensation if they were fitted with an ECDIS system. This would be good news to tanker owners, but, unfortunately, this is only speculation.

Large U.S. Market Besides its ECDIS, Robertson, a Bird Group company, has had marked success with its autopilot, gyrocompass, joystick, and dynamic positioning systems. The U.S. is the largest single market for the company, with 50 percent of its export sales.

Besides its dominant position in the U.S. pleasure boat market for autopilots, Robertson has sold a number of joystick and dynamic positioning systems in the American offshore market. Systems have been sold to Seacor Marine, Tidewater, Nicor, Oil & Gas Marine, Edison Chouest Offshore and Freeport Sulphur Tankers and for the U.S.

Navy's A-GOR-23.

According to Mr. Cowie, a large percentage of the company's installations are refurbishments.

Future Bridge Concept Located on the "Electronics Coast" in southeastern Norway, Hortenbased Norcontrol Automation has developed an ARPA and navigation system which it believes will not only comply with the proposed future requirements for IMO/IHO, but also be an integral part of the bridge of the future.

"We are looking at new concepts for bridges," said Tom Leegaard, managing director of Norcontrol Automation. "We look upon designing bridges as one of our future product lines. This is an area we feel we can expand into," continued Mr.

Leegaard. "We are working with Det norske Veritas in this area and we are prepared to follow the rules set down by the classification societies." Norcontrol Automation-developed DataBridge 2000 ia a complete navigation system—ARPA, simulator training, route planning, sailing and voyage plotting information system.

Norcontrol's modular concept ensures flexibility and adaptability to customer specified navigation equipment and functions.

Norcontrol envisions the DataBridge as part of an Integrated Ship Control System (ISC), which would also incorporate the company's AutoChief (propulsion system automation), DataChief (alarm, monitoring and control systems for machinery), DataMaster (cargo and ballast systems automation) and administrative systems.

According to Johnny Christiansen, marketing manager, Norcontrol Automation, an ISC would reduce the cost of a ship lifecycle by reducing manning levels, optimizing fuel savings, reducing human error, reducing service and increase the ship's competitiveness.

Shipbuilding costs would also be reduced, according to Mr. Christiansen, by reducing installation, testing, commissioning and purchasing times.

Springboard To U.S. Navy DataBridge 2000 Systems have already been earmarked for the nine MCMVs under construction at Kvaerner Batservice for the Royal Norwegian Navy. The $7 million order could prove an important springboard for Norcontrol to the huge U.S. Navy market, since Norway is part of NATO.

Other stories from May 1991 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.