Future of ships


Even a vessel with Azimuth thrusters or pods have individual controls that can be manipulated individually. Not easy to stay on location, but doable.

As Owner’s Rep. during sea trials of a new DP-2 DSV with shafts driven Azimuth thrusters and no aft tunnel thruster.
I made a remark that if one engine should be lost the one remaining thruster would have to control too many things. I was told that was no problem, but when I suggested testing that, I was vetoed by the attending Class Surveyor and DP expert. (Not required. Not on the test program)

Some months later a piston rod blew out the side of one engine while they had divers in the bell.
It was in good weather so they managed to get the bell on deck and the divers in decompression, before the vessel wandered too far off location.


A sadly fatal example of the kind of edge case that makes sensor processing so difficult:


The so-called “autopilot” (which isn’t) appears to have picked up the stronger white line marking the right boundary of the left exit and veered left onto the shoulder and into an unrepaired and lethal crash barrier.

The Tesla PR spin is pretty disingenuous. Now they say that not only are you expected to take over when the YOYO light goes on, you’re expected to monitor the actions of the “autopilot” at the same level you would if you were actually driving the car. So then what does the “autopilot” save you?


Edit: Account of a similar accident. This time the crash barrier was intact and worked:



re the AZI’s, the bibby topaz proved what we all know, a human can do 2 azi’s and thats it.
It would make a good game show to let one or more punters control a vessel that was all azi

Lots of boats built with 2 stern azi and nothing else for PSV, hard to believe a DSV was configured like that?
How can you do a sea trial on a dp2 vessel without shutting one thruster down to see if it will remain on DP ( and position subject to the environment), thats what DP2 means?
Was that class or client acceptance?


Isn’t the point with a independent joystick with auto heading that you are not going to tax yourself holding heading at the same time as you focus on surge and sway?

I’m not sure if I understood the bibby topaz incident completely, but the fault was in the DP system and not thruster control? And if the operator had changed over to the IJS the accident would have been avoided?



BUT for some secret reason the IJS was not used.
Either bibby or KM covering their arse
KM was in such a panic they removed the whole DP system off the vessel
A software patch doesnt fix the design issue that is unique to KM


Yes it would be difficult to hold exact position and heading, but possible to keep reasonably close.
Close enough to get the bell off bottom and/or away from obstructions.

The vessel in question were a new build on acceptance trial, incl. DP test and FMEA proving trial in accordance with a prepared and approved procedure.

I represented absentee Owner while others were representing the BB Charterer that would be operating the vessel. My job was to ensure that procedure was followed, report any discrepancies and confirm to the financing bank on completion.

I did point out this and a few other design flaws, but the vessel was built per specs and tested per procedure, so delivery took place anyhow.

PS> As far as I know only one major IACS member approve that arrangement for DP-2 vessels.


How did you do an fmea test without emstop of each thruster or main engine?

2 stern azi meets DP2 so all class approve it, hence there are lots out there.
2 Voith Schneider do as well, an ex singapore dive company had one


This was some years ago (2008), so “I do not recall” every detail of this test, but I do remember being told off when I wanted additional testing due to the propulsion configuration. (I.e. shaft driven thrusters)

I know that 2 electric powered thrusters w/o stern tunnel thruster are approved for PSVs.
This vessel was called an “SOV”, but with fixed installed satdive set.


maybe the class acceptance had already been done?
One singapore company that recently sold a pile of psv/ahts had most fail fmea when tested by the new owners.
The issues were design, so how did they get class in the first place, which was the question they were asking?


I attended two trials. First Sea Trials then DP Trials, but Class was present on both.
We also did turning circle with thrusters at 35 degr. angle because it was “approved standard procedure” by Class. Never mind that this vessel could turn thrusters to any angle at any speed.
Here is a picture from full speed turning test at 35 degr. thruster angle:


From Fairplay today:


Autonomous tugs is coming your way at some time in the future:
So prepare to sit in a comfortable control room somewhere and watch tugs working their a*s off.

No worries about work/rest hrs. or fatigue. Going home after an 8-hr. shift and working 40 hr. weeks, with 5 weeks holliday/yr. is a bonus, OR???


Wartsila look like they will be taking over the world, Transas now swallowed, I wonder about RR?


The Russians are also joining the fun:


Fjord 1 has ordered “Autocrossing” system for 13 new electric ferries:

For the time being the bridge will be manned though.


From this article:


If you look at ship accidents and then work out if a group of people on the land well rested and not stressed would have made a better decision you have your answer.
As the skill set drops on board as it has in the aircraft industry, you start to get a trend of poor decision making on board in totally avoidable accidents.


Modern days are coming to the Great Lakes:


Jumbo’s new toy:


I agree. In the late 70’s I undertook some basic computer courses during my leave. I claimed the course cost on my tax return along with some other courses that were required. The tax department declined the deduction for the computer course on the grounds that computers were nothing to do with ships.
I responded with the facts that I was currently using a computer on board ship but I was not currently fighting a fire or delivering a baby yet both the fire fighting course and refresher ship masters medical course were claimable.
They don’t have a sense of humour and I got zip.