Industry News




Knud Hansen designs new green RoRo vessels for Finnlines

Knud E Hansen, a Danish consultancy that provides design, engineering and project management services to shipyards and ship owners, has signed a contract with Chinese firm Nanjing Jinling Shipyard to develop the basic design of three RoRo vessels, based on the Finnlines/Grimaldi/Knud E Hansen design.

Even though the vessels will be based on the same hull as the Grimaldi Green 5th Generation vessels, they will be adapted to handle heavy cargo and operation in cold climates. The customisation is a result of cooperation between Finnlines and Knud E Hansen.

With a length of 238m and width of 34m, the vessels are designed to meet the Finnish / Swedish ice class, 1A Super.

The design of the vessels is intended to be flexible for all types of RoRo cargo, with a capacity of 5,800 lane metres and over 5,000m² of vehicle decks.

The vessels, which are expected to be delivered from 2021, will use electricity from large lithium batteries in port, ensuring zero emissions while at berth.

The batteries will be recharged through shaft generators employing a peak shaving system during navigation.

An air lubrication system using a thin layer of bubbles below the keel will also be installed to reduce hull resistance.

Knud E Hansen has more than 80 years of experience in ship and yacht design, providing cutting-edge solutions to the maritime industry.

The company provides the services through more than 90 naval architects and marine engineers in Denmark, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, the Faroe Islands, Greece, and Spain.

Knud E Hansen combines continuous innovation, exchange of ideas with clients, and experience to develop solutions that meet the needs of each individual customer.




CMA CGM launches eSolutions to digitise customer experience

Market Spectrum’s Nautic Alert has launched a new system that allows operators to plan, manage and control the discharge of untreated bilge water on-board commercial vessels as a part of an Internet of Things (IoT) marine solution.

Commercial ships require oily water separation systems to properly discharge water, but many vessels currently store the untreated fluid in their bilge and release it during port stops.

The new Nautic Alert X2 solution is intended to enable vessel personnel to monitor the amount of untreated bilge water in real-time, either on-board or remotely, and identify the exact water level in the bilge compartment, as well as changes in the level over time.

The solution utilises Nautic Alert Nevata’s SMART bilge pump controller technology, allowing personnel to disable discharge or redirect the untreated bilge water into an on-board oily waste holding tank in situations when discharge is not allowed.

Vessel operators are able to remotely set the master discharge settings from their phone.

The system is also capable of re-starting discharge operations in emergency high-water conditions.

Its bilge discharge control function is expected to assist commercial mariners in complying with necessary maritime and government regulations.

In addition, the company anticipates that the solution will help protect the environment, ensure regulatory compliance, and provide a cost-effective alternative for discharging bilge water from commercial and charter vessels.

Nautic Alert keeps a log detail of every bilge activity with a corresponding timestamp and GPS to assist in the creation of audit and compliance reports.

The solution has been certified for use on both the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network and the Iridium Global Satellite Network.

Bilge technology. Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto / Nautic Alert




NextDecade agrees to fund widening of Brownsville Ship Channel

LNG development firm NextDecade has signed an agreement with the Brownsville Navigation District to finance the deepening of the Brownsville Ship Channel in Texas, US.

The venture is officially known as the Brazos Island Harbor (BIH) Improvement Project and is expected to receive a $300m investment.

According to the contract, NextDecade will pay 100% of the costs to deepen the channel from the Gulf of Mexico to the site of its Rio Grande LNG project, which is nearly half the length of the BIH project.

The channel will be deepened from 42ft to 52ft to accommodate larger vessels. It will also enable the company to establish a new LNG export terminal at the Port of Brownsville.

Additionally, NextDecade agreed to widen the bend near the entrance of the channel.

NextDecade policy and corporate affairs vice-president Dean Ellis said that the company is comfortable committing to the BIH project as it would help build Rio Grande LNG and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline, which will bring natural gas from the Permian Basin to the port.

According to an estimate by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the project is likely to cost $350m.

Port of Brownsville director and CEO Eduardo Campirano said NextDecade’s commitment would help in securing more funding for the entire project.

Campirano said: “It is probably the most important project for the future sustainability of the port going forward. It’s very significant not only for the port but really for the region as a whole.”

In 2007, BND allowed port staff to develop a strategy for executing the BIH project. Subsequently, the USACE completed a feasibility study in 2014 that recommended deepening the channel to 52ft.

In 2016, US Congress granted its permission to the project, making it eligible to receive federal funding.

The BIH deepening project is likely to generate 6,000 jobs during construction and approximately 5,000 permanent jobs, most located in Cameron County.

Caption. Image courtesy of 




Wärtsilä secures waterjet supply contract for high-speed ferry

Finnish firm Wärtsilä has secured a contract to supply its newly launched modular waterjet for high-speed ferry being built for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Under the contract, Wärtsilä will deliver four WXJ1200 waterjets for the new 100m-long wave-piercing catamaran ferry being constructed at the Incat shipyard in Tasmania, Australia.

The ferry is capable of sailing at a speed of 36k and can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 239 cars, or a combination of trucks and cars.

Wärtsilä said that the new series of waterjets provides improved efficiency with reduced cavitation and underwater noise levels.

Based on axial jet technology, the new waterjet increases cavitation margins for optimum vessel operational flexibility, according to Wärtsilä.

Wärtsilä Marine propulsion director Lars Anderson said: “The well-proven design of Wärtsilä’s waterjets has led to a significant number of repeat orders from world-renowned fast ferry builders, such as Incat.

“Also, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is already operating multiple catamarans powered by Wärtsilä waterjets, which means that both the yard and the owners are very familiar with the best-in-class quality and performance of our waterjet solutions.”

Along with the four WXJ waterjets, Wärtsilä will also deliver the Wärtsilä ProTouch operational control system.

The equipment is expected to be delivered in May 2020 while the ferry is scheduled to be handed over to the owners in late 2020.

Incat Tasmania CEO Tim Burnell said: “We have worked with Wärtsilä for many years already, and we have complete confidence in their waterjets.

“The new WXJ series takes the performance to an even higher level, bringing even greater value to this exciting new vessel.”




Ocean Infinity completes subsea inspection on Grande America wreck

Seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity has concluded an operation related to subsea search, inspection and operations on the wreck of the MV Grande America.

Ocean Infinity carried out the inspection as per the terms of the agreement signed with marine services company Ardent.

Grande America capsized and sank on 12 March in the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France after its cargo of containers and vehicles caught fire during a voyage from Hamburg to Casablanca.

To locate the wreck, Ocean Infinity deployed its fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).

Remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) were subsequently used by Ocean Infinity to carry out a programme of inspection and operations to determine the state of Grande America.

The operation was conducted from Ocean Infinity’s vessel Island Pride, which had been in Gibraltar prior to this tasking.

Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett said: “We are pleased that we were able to rapidly deploy Island Pride, in answer to the call for assistance following the loss.

“At a depth of approximately 4,600m, our data-gathering technology was used to assess the state of the wreck, and the high-quality imagery that we collected was pivotal in guiding our ROV team in executing the subsequent intervention.

“With three permanently mobilised highly capable vessels, each with a complete set of the latest deepwater technology tools, deployed across the globe, we are uniquely placed to react quickly to crisis situations across the world’s oceans.”

Grimaldi, which owns Grande America, had previously reported that the ship had 2,210 vehicles and 365 containers onboard when the incident occurred.




ABS, Google and SoftServe test AI-powered corrosion detection solution

ABS, Google Cloud, and Ukraine-based SoftServe have concluded an experiment project using artificial intelligence (AI) models to identify corrosion and coating breakdown levels on ships and offshore structures.

During the trial phase, the AI-powered project integrated automatic structural anomaly detection and remote inspection to deliver improved monitoring of structural anomalies.

In the future, the AI techniques could be used to assess images to understand corrosion and coating breakdown trends.

ABS chairman, president and CEO Christopher Wiernicki said: “Digital innovation in AI will change how surveys and maintenance strategies are executed, driving more condition-based approaches to class and maintenance.

“We are building a future in which digital tools can remotely assess the condition of a ship or offshore unit, and automatically detect and measure coating breakdown and other structural issues, improving safety and reliability.”

ABS said that its technology depends on much more sophisticated AI tools created by Google Cloud.

ABS deputy chief digital officer Kashif Mahmood said: “We are excited to team with Google Cloud and SoftServe to effectively apply AI technology to the marine and offshore industries.

“By combining our deep domain experience in offshore and marine structures with Google Cloud’s extensive knowledge of AI applications and SoftServe’s development capabilities, we were able to take this idea from concept to reality.”

In association with industry and clients, ABS focuses on developing compliance, optimised performance and operational efficiency for marine and offshore assets.

Earlier this month, ABS Advanced Solutions joined forces with Mission Secure (MSi) to use data for real-time monitoring and streamline cyber protection.

With the integration of the MSi platform, ABS clients will be able to improve cyber defence of industrial control systems that operate modern day vessels and offshore platforms.

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NAPA signs agreement for Inmarsat’s Fleet Data IoT service

Maritime software provider NAPA has signed an agreement to enable ship owners and managers to access and analyse real-time on-board data through an application hosted on Inmarsat’s new Fleet Data IoT service.

Fleet Data, which has been developed by Inmarsat and Danelec Marine, collects data from on-board sensors.

The data will be pre-processed and uploaded to a central cloud-based database equipped with a dashboard and application process interface (API).

It will be used by NAPA to offer services for vessel performance monitoring, analytics and optimisation.

Fleet Data will be made commercially available earlier this year.

Inmarsat Maritime Business Development vice-president Stefano Poli said: “This partnership and the NAPA application will help overcome key difficulties faced by those frustrated with the challenge of aggregating vessel data onboard and getting it efficiently onshore to improve fuel optimisation.

“It will allow ship operators and managers to access, control and analyse their own data through the NAPA application on Fleet Data and via a secure platform that is fully scalable, fleet-wide and now commercially available on both Fleet Xpress and FleetBroadband.”

Last year, Inmarsat published research on digital transformation in shipping, which indicated that ship operators and managers plan to spend an average of $2.5m on IoT-based solutions within a period of three years.

However, research suggested that if more data could be delivered and analysed in real-time, a greater maritime appetite for IoT-based solutions would emerge.

NAPA Shipping Solutions Development director Pekka Pakkanen said: “Our NAPA Fleet Intelligence platform is built to utilise ship performance data from all kinds of data sources such as noon reports or AIS, and to scale according to the data available, allowing as many vessels as possible to use data to improve their operations.”

Last month, Inmarsat announced the launch of a new service, Crew Xpress, to improve seafarer connectivity.

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Qatar Petroleum initiates order for new LNG vessels

Qatar Petroleum has issued an invitation to tender for the construction of more than 100 LNG vessels over the next ten years.

The company’s latest decision comes as extra shipping capacity is required for its North Field Expansion (NFE) Project, which will increase its LNG production to 110 metric tonnes per annum starting in 2024.

Qatar Petroleum’s tender also covers shipping requirements for the LNG volumes that will be purchased and offtaken by Ocean LNG from the Golden Pass LNG export project in the US, with operations expected to start by 2024.

Ocean LNG is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (70%) and ExxonMobil (30%).

The tender includes options for replacement requirements for Qatar Petroleum’s existing LNG fleet, which includes 45 Q-flex and Q-Max ships.

Qatar Petroleum president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “With this significant step, Qatar Petroleum embarks on another major LNG ship-building campaign expected to initially deliver 60 LNG carriers in support of the planned production expansion, with a potential to exceed 100 new LNG carriers over the next decade.

“This important initiative reinforces Qatar Petroleum’s commitment to its global reputation as a safe and reliable LNG producer.”

LNG company Qatargas will execute the shipbuilding programme on behalf of Qatar Petroleum.

Al-Kaabi further added: “This tender, along with the recently released engineering, procurement and construction tender for four new mega LNG trains planned as part of the North Field Expansion Project, constitute two monumental and historical milestones as we make major strides in our commitment towards the further development of the world’s largest non-associated gas field.”

Caption. Image courtesy of