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Passenger Ship Technology

Remote operations tested on Fjord 1 ferry

Fri 07 Jun 2019 by Rebecca Moore

Remote operations tested on Fjord 1 ferry
Kim Gunnar Jensen, project engineer at Fjord1, at the shore-based engine control centre used in the ROMAS project. (Source: Fjord1)

The first testing phase of the Remote Operation of Machinery and Automation Systems (ROMAS) project on a Fjord1 ferry has been completed, it was announced at Nor-Shipping this week.

The ROMAS research project, established by DNV GL together with Høglund, Fjord1, and the NMA, is working to develop technical solutions and establish a framework of regulations, rules and verification methods to enable the remote, shore-based operation of ship machinery and systems.

“The overall goal of ROMAS is to provide improved operations and cost-efficiency while ensuring a safety level that is the same or better than today’s conventional operation,” said DNV GL and ROMAS project manager principal researcher on autonomous ships Steinar Låg. “But transferring responsibilities, monitoring, and control facilities to shore also reduces the need for machinery engineers on board, which could make marine engineering jobs more attractive.”

The test campaign was conducted in Q1 2019, using the Fjord1 ferry Fannefjord, with the shore-based engine control centre established at Fjord1’s office in Molde. Fannefjord is a DNV GL-classed LNG/battery/diesel powered roro ferry that operates on the 35-minute crossing in Moldefjorden between Molde and Vestnes.

Fjord1 project engineer Kim Gunnar Jensen noted that digital and connected solutions on board enable more remote operations with increased shore support for improved safety and efficiency. “The ROMAS pilot project provides us with an arena to explore these possibilities and find solutions for a new generation of ferry transport that will benefit all stakeholders.”

ROMAS will continue to the end of 2019, supported by funding from the Norwegian Research Council. The long-term plan is to use the experience from the project to guide future operations and develop new products and services, including a 'remote ready' integrated automation system from Høglund, the applicable rules and approval in principle programmes from DNV GL, and regulations from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, to enable Fjord1 and other shipowners to consider commercial deployment for new generations of ships.

“Through the ROMAS project we are building knowledge that will be used to develop new rules and new verification methods, ensuring that the remote operations concept can be implemented with a safety level that is the same or better than today’s conventional operations,” said Mr Låg. 

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