Safety critical operations

Technical rigour in multi-ship hydrodynamics and environmental modelling

Safety critical operations

More advanced industry applications of BMT REMBRANDT include, for example, the simulation of potentially hazardous ship-to-ship transfer operations in LNG, restricted navigation of large cruise ships or offshore oil and gas terminal operations.

Transferring cargo at sea rather than at port is often a timely and cost-effective solution, but bringing large vessels close together on open seas needs to be carefully managed to avoid damage environmental or ship damage.

BMT REMBRANDT’s Dynamic Mooring Analysis (DMA) module addresses this problem by simulating motions in response to winds, waves and currents. It also accounts for the (frequency dependent) hydrodynamic interactions between adjacent ships.

A critical aspect affecting the reliability of the results is the fidelity with which the metocean conditions are represented. For example, if there are cross seas or large differences in wave and current direction, vessels may be subjected to beam waves. Here, the strength, reliability and availability of our metocean data, ship hydrodynamics and software all support your safe operations.

Tow-outs

We are a market leader in modelling and simulating complex towage arrangements such as rig tow-outs from integration yards. BMT REMBRANDT plays a key role in providing this service to leading towage companies and oil majors.

Our experience of shallow water hydrodynamics and manoeuvring simulation means we can engineer bespoke simulation facilities at our clients’ locations to support the training of tug captains and other marine personnel. This training can be delivered in the fully immersive environment of BMT REMBRANDT’s full bridge simulator.

Autonomous vessels

One of the basic requirements for autonomous vessels is that they should navigate (by themselves) safely and avoid collisions with any other ships/obstacles or with a land mass. Furthermore, to operate harmoniously with other ships (either manned or unmanned), an autonomous vessel should behave in a manner like that of other ships in the vicinity. Since all manned craft are required to adhere to the coastguard regulations on prevention of collision at sea (COLREGs) defined by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), COLREGs-compliant behaviour will be an integral element of any autonomous vessel navigation system.

Our research has demonstrated the application of new algorithms that allow existing COLREGs to be applied safely in a crewless environment. This has been achieved by introducing artificial intelligence-based navigation systems that are able to enact the rules to avoid collision effectively, even when approaching manned vessels interpret rules differently. Most of these software developments incorporate some form of multi-objective optimisation framework, using a technique called particle swarm optimisation (PSO). PSO has been adopted in wider computational science using the position and velocities of proximate objects to simulate social behaviour, such as movement of bird  locks or fish schools.

Much of our development has been funded through industry R&D programmes. Working with a range of industrial partners, including UK pilots’ representatives and autonomous vessel designers, we have adapted the BMT REMBRANDT navigation simulator to incorporate COLLREGS-compliant AI decision making for autonomous vessel hydrodynamic simulation. We have also incorporated new machine vision developments to supplement the BMT REMBRANDT COLLREGS-compliant AI capabilities. Both capabilities provide enhanced situational awareness and risk evaluation by fusing collision avoidance algorithms with vessel specific manoeuvrability and seakeeping simulation.

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