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SMART MOORING ROPES AIM TO ENHANCE SAFETY

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 

Wilhelmsen has been developing its Smart Ropes mooring system over the past three years, and, following rigorous trials onboard a ro-ro vessel, the company is ready for the next phase of installations, which it says will dramatically improve mooring safety.

Synergy Ocean, Viking Cruises, Berge Bulk and Finnlines have all signed up to be first to employ Wilhelmsen’s digital mooring system. Comprising a patent-pending measuring unit, embedded within the mooring rope, the ‘smart’ unit transmits key tension, time, temperature data and other parameters. Using  wireless communication, data sent to a command module is processed and transferred to a live feed, running on a tablet or computer on the ship’s bridge, backed-up in the cloud. The system is designed to work under challenging mooring conditions typically experienced in poor weather. Helping to ensure mooring ropes have the right tension, in the right place, at the right time, all the time, the system will cut risk of over-tensioned lines, premature wear of ropes and unexpected rope failures.

Magnus Dickens, Venture Lead, Wilhelmsen Marine Products Open Innovation, said: “This isn’t a gimmick or another piece of badly thought out maritime bloatware. We have spent years developing a completely new technology, which brings accuracy, transparency and consistency to a task which is currently haphazard and fraught with risk. We are thrilled to partner up with these four, forward-learning companies who share our vision of safer, more effective, data-driven mooring operations”.

Capt Shivram Volety, Director of Synergy Ocean Maritime said: “Seeing the tension of a vessel’s mooring ropes for the first time, in real time, via an app is a novelty. But it absolutely shouldn’t be, it should be necessity. Wilhelmsen are determined to push the boundaries and we Synergy Ocean Maritime Inc are proud to be one of the first companies to be able to benefit from their Smart Ropes system. Safety is at the forefront of our operations, at sea and in port and we are always looking for new systems, products, and processes that can further improve how we work. At Synergy Ocean we are wholeheartedly committed to technology-enabled ship management for safer and efficient ship operations. That is why we are keen to explore and analyse Wilhelmsen’s Smart Ropes mooring system and want to be one of the first companies to have the system installed. It has the potential to totally revolutionise vessel mooring, making our port calls quicker, more efficient and most importantly safer”.

The first installations of the system will see four vessels using SmartRopes onboard. The vessels represent different segments with unique challenges, and Wilhelmsen will work closely with the customers to solve any specific issues. Using the latest wireless protocols optimised for low battery usage, the sensor, its outer casing and the command module elements have all been improved with engineering partner Hugg. Housed in a cigar-shaped, heavy duty metal baton, the final version of the sensor and battery unit weighs just under 1kg and has no influence or impact on the handling of the ropes it sits within.

Capturing live load distribution data, the system provides vessels complete transparency when it comes to rope tension, with the bridge able to see the tension in each of the mooring lines. The data will aid Wilhelmsen's further development of rope technology through the ‘Safe by Design’ philosophy encompassed in its Timm Ropes portfolio.

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