Safer dynamic positioning (DP) on ships and floating offshore installations is promised by a development which has received strong backing from Statoil.
A new test method for DP – which allows vessels to keep station at sea without anchors – was demonstrated recently on Viking Poseidon, a ship used year-round for subsea work.
Failures in DP systems can cause collisions between vessels and offshore installations as well as being hazardous for operations such as diving and pipelaying.
Norway's Marine Cybernetics has solved the problem with its CyberSea Simulator, which draws on methods employed in the aviation industry.
Statoil has been a prime mover in creating this solution through its LUP supplier development programme.
Other backers include classification society Det Norske Veritas, Kongsberg Maritime and a group of contractors, shipping companies, suppliers, yards and government agencies.
Testing takes the form of sea trials with mobile equipment and lasts about a day. The DP system can also be tested prior to installation in the vessel.
An initial application for this new technology could be on vessels carrying out subsea work for Statoil.
"We want to extend this method for testing DP to other safety-critical control systems," says senior discipline leader Ole J Nordahl in Statoil's subsea technology and operations unit.
"These could include power supplies, propulsion and navigation, and make a substantial contribution to enhancing offshore safety in line with our overall goal."
Statoil has not only contributed specialist expertise to the Marine Cybernetics development but also covered the cost of testing the technology on Viking Poseidon.
This project is one of more than 150 at small and medium-sized Norwegian enterprises in which the LUP has been involved since 1991.