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Titans: Google maps versus ECDIS

Humans have been using maps for thousands of years. It is therefore not surprising that ‘Cartography’ as a subject exists, which is the art and science of making maps. The oldest known maps are preserved on Babylonian tablets from 2300 BC. They were later depicted on scrolls and paper. But it’s not until the electronic age that maps have come alive. Google Maps and ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) can be considered to essentially serve the same purpose.

Journey towards maritime autonomy

In 2015 a company operating in a niche area with a unique use-case approached us with a specific request. They wanted to know if we could provide the technology to operate semi or partially remote operated vessels. When asked if they meant manual operation with the capability of remote operation, we were surprised by their response. Their ambition was fully unmanned vessels, remotely operated with the capability of autonomous operation. Installation was completed, and the ves

The autonomous versus automated conundrum

The terms autonomous and automated are often used interchangeably in the marine industry. This is not unique to the marine industry, but is done so in other industries too. The difference between the two is dictated by the degree of human intervention. An automated vessel does not have the level of intelligence or independence that an autonomous one has. The range between Manual - Automated - Autonomous tends to be a sliding scale of different capabilities of man vs machine.

Regulations in shipping requiring compliance in 2017

Looking ahead, there is an avalanche of regulations headed our way. While some are truly international coming from the IMO or applicable by region such as the ones put forward by the EU, there are others that are national such as those enforced by the USCG for example. However, what is confusing most people is how varied some the regulation are in scope. The EU MRV regulation is a classic example that appears to clash with the IMO reporting system, causing concern in the ship

Must we comply with both IMO and EU MRV?

The European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation is something we discussed in 2013 in our blog MRV more teeth than SEEMP. At the time, the regulation was perceived as something that was a long way on the horizon. Things have since begun to heat up and some of the requirements under the EU regulation must be complied with, in 2017. After the EU set itself on a clear path towards the MRV of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from ships, the IMO has em

What is this "Bubble Business"?

Although generally accepted as a promising fuel saving solution, there are only a handful of vessels fully installed with the Air Lubrication System (ALS). Results from CFD simulations and towing tank tests indicate a change in performance, even up to 10% depending upon the hull form. For ALS it appears that having a large flat bottom surface area increases the benefits. ALS works on the basic premise that using air bubbles at the interface between the hull and water will red

Digital danger: controversy and concerns of data lifecycle in shipping

The shipping industry appears to be transmuting and adapting to the current world scenario. We find ourselves with fuel prices still low, some sectors are struggling with excess tonnage while other sectors have higher than break even earnings. Regulatory compliance, monitoring and reporting requirements are either piling up or just around the corner. As the industry transforms, data driven services and analytics are being brought to the forefront and are being rapidly adopted

What? Measuring "Real-time Boil-off"?

With sensor information on board LNG vessels and enrichment using the laws of physics and mathematics, companies have developed the technology to precisely ascertain the real time rate of boil-off on an LNG vessel at any instant and in any situation that the vessel finds itself. The LNG rate of boil-off is not an unknown entity as such, as it can be calculated in test conditions in a laboratory. This has however not until recently been attempted on board in a scientific manne

Who will bin the "Noon Report"?

Virtually every shipping company today uses noon reports to understand and monitor what is happening on their ships. These reports are traditionally sent by the Captain every day, based on data gathered manually by the crew. The content and format of the report is usually pre-agreed by the company and sent at noon. The noon report has grown over the years to give a snapshot of what has happened on board the ship since the previous noon i.e., in the last 24 hours. Since the ti

“Not in my lifetime!” Really?

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mind, cannot change anything – is a saying that we must constantly remind ourselves. Most people agree that the pace of change today is faster than it has ever been before. All indications are that change is only going to get more rapid. The maritime industry is characteristic of being steeped in tradition. While upholding tradition is honourable and is of utmost importance, I suspect that what it also m

OMG! What do we do with all this data?

The industry-wide trend of digitalisation means many companies now find themselves overwhelmed with large amounts of data. When the data begins streaming in, there naturally arises the question as to what is to be done with all this data. Data naturally brings with it new set of issues to tackle, the chief among them being accuracy, storage, security, transfer, sharing, and filtering. Most companies do not have the expertise to deal with large amounts of data. Just dealing wi

Dawn of the "Open Platform": standardisation in big data

In the past data was only collected if it was required and most likely by whoever needed it. Therefore the amount of data being collected was relatively small. Gradually the value of the data became apparent when it was understood what the data could reveal. When analysed by an expert set of eyes it could give insights and trends that could not be easily picked up otherwise. This made people wonder what does the data that they are not yet collecting reveal. Thus began the rac

Rise of the ‘"Third Umpire" in the shipping industry

To understand the significance of a third umpire in the shipping industry one must first understand what brought about the advent of the third umpire in games such as cricket, tennis, rugby, soccer, etc. In the game of cricket there usually were two umpires on the field who make decisions on the game as it progresses. Whatever decision the two umpires made was final and usually unchallenged even if they were considered controversial by the players or spectators. This however

Its not just about big data

Like the hot tropical sun ‘Big Data’ seems to have appeared on the horizon of several new industries. Industries such as Shipping, Mining, Oil and Gas, etc. that were not in the initial footprint of Big Data appear to be feeling the early subtle heat. Although conservative and steeped in tradition, the promise of better insights and quest for higher profits has made many curious about big data. Not to be left behind many companies have joined the bandwagon by either making ea

Performance: the new word on the block in the shipping industry (Part 3)

Performance Based Maintenance System (PBM) In the current economic climate Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) appears deficient as it only ensures that the condition of the vessel is acceptable for breakdown free routine operations. This performance however may not be adequate to remain competitive commercially. With real time monitoring, the shipping industry has entered the age where the maintenance of vessels will from now on be based purely on their performance. Monitoring

Performance: the new word on the block in the shipping industry (Part 2)

Planned Maintenance System (PMS) PMS allowed ship owners or operators to carry out routine maintenance (predominantly by the ship’s crew) at predetermined intervals. The obvious reason for introducing PMS was due to the prohibitive costs associated with breakdown and emergency repairs. Especially profound were failures that were likely to result in total loss, claims from injuries or excessive downtime. The real challenge with a breakdown was its unpredictability, i.e., when

Performance: the new word on the block in the shipping industry (Part 1)

The Shipping industry has progressed a great deal over the last century. In the last few decades we have progressively made merchant ships operationally safe and thereafter taken swift action to ensure their security. Both safety and security have been predominantly achieved by regulatory waves. These have come one after the other, driven by dangerous accidents and disastrous events. Recently however on the top of everybody’s mind is how to keep themselves in the green, both

The impact of a leader's first meeting

Early in my career I was called into a meeting along with all other employees to be addressed by the new head of the company. He announced that he didn't know any of us, but he had this impression that we were all incompetent and had to improve or leave the company. Towards the end of his speech he challenged us to prove his assumptions about us to be wrong. It surprised me that someone who was meeting us for the first time and had limited understanding and appreciation of ou

MRV - More teeth than SEEMP

A product Eniram intuitively developed several years ago precisely for the monitoring and recording of vessel performance is come to the forefront with the MRV (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification) initiative being proposed by the EU for monitoring reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transportation. This product which is widely installed on our customer’s vessels is known simply as the EVP (Eniram Vessel Platform) and is in fact the dynamic data collection


The future of shipping lies in having the technological expertise to measure vessel performance in order to achieve optimal fuel efficiencies and support regulatory demands. Given the increasing fuel costs and environmental pressures on compliance, freight rates are now very close to operating costs, leading to razor-thin margins, and, in many cases, operating losses. It is not surprising that given the confluence of business conditions in the maritime industry, companies are

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