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Thursday, July 23, 2020 

Dutch company RH Marine has been performing more remote servicing, using its Remote Assistance solution, which enables vessels to remain operational, resulting in cost savings compared to the usual service provision.

In addition, Remote Assistance offers a solution if vessels are not allowed to receive external parties on board or if service engineers of RH Marine are unable to travel due to Covid-19 measures.

Vessel owners prefer to have as few external people on board as possible, while countries have closed their borders or airlines do not fly. RH Marine's  Remote Assistance provides a solution, particularly for situations such as when software settings updates are required due to changes in surrounding hardware or added sensors. “That has to be solved quickly and there is not always time to fly in an engineer,” said consultant Ehab El Amam, RH Marine.

RH Marine has built in a router with a hardware key in its on board system, that keeps the master in control of starting the connection. When the hardware key is turned on, the router is powered and connects via a secured connection over the internet eventually to the support engineer’s computer. In this way, RH Marine can remotely connect to all software systems and analyse problems quickly and safely, by either advising the crew what to do or changing software-settings if required.

In addition to time savings, total service costs can be reduced by using this technology. Normally, service engineers have an average of two to three days of travel time to and from a vessel. With Remote Assistance, these costs can be canceled. El Amam said: “These are the direct costs you save, but the real savings are in the time that the vessel is inoperative. For example, DP vessels are not allowed to sail if there is a problem with the DP system. Mostly large offshore vessels are rented for 10-thousands of dollars per day. If you can prevent such a vessel from being inoperative for single days via Remote Assistance, then it could save tons.”

Recent applications for Remote Assistance included an offshore vessel software update, which included analysis of stored data.  The DP system of a superyacht in Seattle was set-up, via a link to a DP engineer in the Netherlands. The most notable use of Remote Assistance so far is a survey vessel that needed a new interface system, which prevented it from sailing for a sea trial. El Amam was taking a flight from Florida to Boston and logged on board via the encrypted connection to the vessel's PC, enabling the problem to be investigated and fixed from the air.

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