Maritime Route Optimisation Really Can Save Fuel Instantly at Low Cost

By George Backwell at July 27, 2013 05:17
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Weather forecasts are plentiful and readily available but there is very little information available to mariners about the ocean i.e. ocean currents, tides, waves and other phenomena. Tidetech was founded in order to fill this 'black hole' of oceanographic data by commercially creating data products to help improve the choice of routing of ships by making the most favourable use of tides and currents (weather conditions too) for the voyage in hand. Fuel savings at extremely low cost thus become available to the ship operators.

Routing display, North Atlantic track: Image courtesy of Tidetech

Tidetech has now teamed up up with Computer Aided Engineeringsoftware specialists NAPA to supply tidal current prediction data for route  optimisation, initially for South East Asia and UK–Europe. The companies decided to join hands after a successful three-months trial aboard a cruise ship using Tidetech’s Singapore and Malacca Straits models.

This new agreement between Tidetech and NAPA includes developing an expanded data model to cover the chosen cruise ship’s full operating area of Phuket, eastern Thai waters, east side of Malaysia and the Malacca and Singapore Straits.

Ship transit – Malacca Strait: Photo courtesy of United States Navy

Tidetech managing director Penny Haire said the trial had demonstrated the capability for flexible, custom data delivery and the instant, low cost efficiency gains to be found through access to integrated oceanographic data. "We supplied a custom data file which is pre-defined by NAPA to suit the bandwidth capability of the vessel [for download]" Ms Haire said. "Integrating our data into optimisation systems and software is a relatively simple, quick and low-cost way for ships to gain demonstrable percentage savings in bunkers and emissions."

To ensure maximum information with minimum bandwidth, Tidetech, NAPA and the cruise line together defined the critical areas of operation. Tidetech then extracted focused data from the broader model.

Executive vice president for operations at NAPA, Esa Henttinen explained that Tidetech’s knowledge in ocean data and meteorology, combined with NAPA’s expertise in shipping software, has resulted in material reductions in CO2 emissions and increased eco-efficiency.

Penny Haire added that cruise ships and passenger ferries were already well equipped to download these data files. "Passenger vessels in particular usually already have broadband connections aboard," she said. ‘With optimisation solutions in place, it’s relatively straightforward to integrate the data once downloaded.’

In addition to expanding its SE Asia model to Thai waters, Tidetech is also developing a 100 m resolution model for the Singapore Straits and a 1km model for the South China Sea region.

Straits of Singapore & Malacca: Image courtesy of Tidetech





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