App as revolutionary as radar
Onboard Basto II - Krystyna Wojnarowicz, Chair and Chief Strategy Officer MARSEC Inc. testing the first REX app installation.
The testbed was undertaken by Marsec XL Norway in collaboration with Bastø Fosen ferry company to test the app, known as Rex. Bastø Fosen operates ferries in the Oslo Fjord, the most heavily trafficked fjord in Norway. The company now uses Rex, which stands for Route Exchange, on all of its five ferries.
Basto III ferry approaching Horten, Oslo Fjord, Norway
Horten on the left and Moss to the right. Own ship is represented in green and other ships are in yellow. Waypoints are numbered and show exact ETA (estimated time of arrival) at each waypoint for each ship. Red circles mean possible collision zones. Photo credit: MARSEC Inc.
The app was developed by Silicon Valley company Marsec XL together with its Norwegian subsidiary as part of a larger EU project, Monalisa 2.0, which aims to bring vessel traffic on par with air traffic when it comes to being in the digital age. Last year, Marsec founders Krystyna Wojnarowicz and Geir Fagerhus teamed up with Bastø Fossen’s safety advisor Gisle Stava to develop Rex.
Capt. Torleif Bakken (front) onboard Basto II with the REX IoT-enabled route planning tool on a tablet. Safety officer Capt. Gisle Stava (middle) plays an important role in the development of IoT @ Sea. Geir Fagerhus (in the back) President and CEO MARSEC Inc. Photo credit: Tore Stensvold.
At present, captains can use the app on an iPad via a Linus server located on their vessels. In the future, the developers expect Rex to be integrated onto a bridge screen.
Stava believes the app could become the most important safety tool for captains. “It’s like radar. In the beginning, there was a lot of skepticism, but now it’s indispensible,” he says.
With Bastø Fosen’s ferries crossing the busy Oslo Fjord eight times an hour, Stava says the risk of collisions is high.
“But if all large ships had a route exchange program, each captain could see and know what the other is planning.”
“If there’s a danger of collision and I have right of way, I can change course by simply dragging and dropping an icon on the screen. As soon as I make that choice, the captains on the other ships can see the new course and the danger is over,” Stava told Teknisk Ukeblad.
The system takes into account each ship’s characteristics, including how long it takes to accelerate and decelerate. Besides aiding quick decision making, the app can also be used to plan routes and adjust them up to 24 hours ahead of time. When routes are entered into Rex, each ship’s technical profile is already there. Wojnarowicz points to the advantages of checking another vessel’s route on a screen, rather than calling the vessel on a VHF radio:
“VHF is useful, but it can be problematic. There are many examples of how language problems and misunderstandings about which ship is being discussed have led to dangerous situations.”
App co-developer Fagerhus believes the system is now primed for installation on up to 100 vessels that regularly traffic the Oslo Fjord. He feels the collaboration between Marsec XL Norway and Bastø Fosen has been invaluable.
“Rex has many functions that we can thank Stava and his colleagues for.
“It’s absolutely essential to develop a system like this with the user in focus.”
Both he and Wojnarowicz have taken skippers licenses for speedboats and small cargo vessels to better understand the captain’s needs.
“The first results from the testbed we conducted in the Oslo Fjord point in the direction of fuel savings up to 15% per annum, which directly translates into financial and environmental benefits,” says Wojnarowicz.
“Based on these results, there is a strong belief that Internet-of-Things-enabled solutions such as Rex can lead to the building of a global system of sea traffic management and a smart intermodal transport system,” she adds.
For more information about Rex, read the article by Krystyna Wojnarowicz, entitled “Industrial Internet of things in the Maritime Industry”.