Wärtsilä operated offshore vessel 8000 kilometers away

From the office in San Diego, California, Wärtsilä operated the offshore vessel Higland Chieftain off the North Sea coast of Scotland. The testing, which involved driving the vessel through a sequence of manoeuvres using a combination of Dynamic Positioning (DP) and manual joystick control, was carried out on August 21

Photo: Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä’s Dynamic Positioning unit developed remote control capabilities in the early part of 2016, but this was the first test carried out on an offshore vessel. The vessel, the ‘Highland Chieftain’ is an 80 metre platform supply vessel already fitted with a Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum package for Navigation, Automation and Dynamic Positioning systems, as well as a Wärtsilä drives package. For the test, additional software was temporarily added to the DP system in order to route data over the vessel’s satellite link to the onshore work station in California.

Most importantly, the Wärtsilä testing was carried out using standard bandwidth onboard satellite communication. No land-based technology was used for the communications between the vessel and the remote operator work station.

Andrea Morgante, Head of Digital, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions says: “One of the first and most critical hurdles to overcome along the path to the enablement of intelligent shipping is to develop efficient and reliable remote control and monitoring capabilities, taking factors such as bandwidth limitations and cyber security into consideration. This test provides a clear indication that we are well on the way to achieving this.”