“Innovation is the unrelenting drive to break the status quo and develop anew where few have dared to go.” In this vein, here are some of the latest innovations we have been trialling or adopted on board our managed vessels to foster continuous improvement.
REALWEAR SMART GLASSES
RealWear is a brand of hands-free, voice-controlled, assisted reality smart glasses that support real-time audiovisual communication between the crew and external parties – such as the office, trainers, and technical experts. Seafarers can receive remote guidance on tasks or real-time feedback on issues while keeping both hands on the job, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.
The smart glasses are fitted with a high-quality camera, microphone and display, and can be mounted onto a hard hat or other headwear, from where they can be activated by simple voice commands to access information or call for assistance, without the need for any physical interface.
A borescope is a flexible, fibreoptic camera that can be inserted into confined spaces for inspection purposes. This makes them extremely useful on board ships for inspecting equipment and machinery that are not readily accessible, such as engines, boilers, and piping systems. This allows crew to identify corrosion, cracks, leaks, and other issues before they become major problems, and can also be used to verify repairs and maintenance work.
REEFER ASSISTANT APP
Monitoring the temperature of reefers (refrigerated containers) on board ships is an important task, but traditional methods involve recording temperatures on paper before manually inputting them into a computer to generate reports – a timeconsuming and error-prone process.
To reduce crew workload and enhance efficiency as well as data accuracy, we are trialling a phone app that streamlines the process by allowing seafarers to import container lists directly into the app, where they can also record reefer temperatures. The data can then be downloaded onto a computer for report generation, thus saving time and effort.
STORM ALERT SYSTEMS
Chemical tankers sometimes load flammable cargo in non-inert atmospheres, putting them at risk of igniting. In such circumstances, lightning can pose a risk, so we are studying the effectiveness of portable, hand-held storm detectors as an early warning device for crews.
Small enough to be carried anywhere on board, such devices can detect and track thunderstorms in realtime, alerting the user to approaching storms and their proximity via the use of different coloured flashing lights and numbers of audible beeps. This allows seafarers to respond early to changing weather conditions and take appropriate action to mitigate potential hazards.
COVERT POSITION TRACKERS
Piracy remains a significant threat to ships operating in certain parts of the world, in particular the Gulf of Guinea. In order to mitigate this risk, we are trialling the use of covert position tracking devices – small, discreet trackers that can provide real-time location data of a vessel, even if the primary means of tracking (e.g., AIS, LRIT) have been disabled.