Leading position: The development of dynamic positioning is a story of how a good idea turned into a billion dollar industry.
Costly and hazardous. When oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 1970s tankers had to anchor using chain so they could load the oil from the platforms. This anchoring process was costly, time-consuming and, not least, hazardous. At that time, Kongsberg Maritime had already developed a system for dynamic positioning (DP), primarily used by diving vessels. However, Kongsberg Maritime was quick to realise the potential found in adapting the DP system to tankers in the North Sea and in developing a safer and more efficient system for loading oil to ship. The company contacted shipowners and oil companies to market the potential for such an innovation. Although this was a new and radical idea, making use of new technology in a challenging environment, both shipowners and oil companies were interested.
Leading position worldwide. In close cooperation with the oil industry, Kongsberg Maritime went on to develop a system for tankers using the weathercocking principle, allowing the long tankers to maintain an optimal position in relation to wind direction and weather. Dynamic positioning has subsequently been advanced and now enjoys a leading market position for tankers loading oil offshore from production fields. It has partly resulted in a leading position worldwide for Kongsberg Maritime within dynamic positioning. One example of product innovation, where products are developed to suit new areas of application , is dynamic positioning of shuttle tankers. Moreover, the development of dynamic positioning has formed the basis for a number of other technological innovations from Kongsberg Maritime, such as subsea and satellite based reference systems.
Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG establish world’s first autonomous shipping company
Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG are joining forces to take the next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.
“As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships. Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations. Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need,” says Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO.
Land-based control centres will be established to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally. With a combined 360 years of experience, Massterly will benefit from KONGSBERG`s unique technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen’s world-leading experience in logistics and ship management operations. Norway’s position as a leading maritime nation also creates opportunities in the development of next-generation maritime personnel.
“Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities. In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG.
A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of “Yara Birkeland” in May 2017. It will be the world’s first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara’s Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland.
“Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future. At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships. This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions. For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals,” says Wilhelmsen.
The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018. For more information, please visit: www.massterly.com
For further information, please contact: Gunvor Midtbø, Vice President Communication, Kongsberg Maritime, Tel.: (+47) 992 14 209.