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Approval for chief engineer to be based in shore-based control centre

Kongsberg Maritime has received Approval in Principle from classification society DNV to enable a key role to be transferred from a ship to a shore-based control centre, marking a significant step in the journey towards uncrewed vessel operations.

The move will enable the role of Chief Engineer to be located in a Remote Operations Centre (ROC), where the duties can be carried out from a desk-based workstation, instead of onboard a vessel.

From the workstation, the Chief Engineer will be able to monitor and control systems including the Power Management System, ballast water system and deck machinery on three vessels. They are the world’s first fully electric container vessel Yara Birkeland; and a pair of electric barges operated by Norwegian grocery retailer ASKO, named Marit and Therese.

Full approval for what’s known as ‘Chief-to-Shore’ functionality is expected to be granted later this year, once a period of testing has taken place, overseen by DNV and the Norwegian Maritime Authority. It is a step that can help address the industry-wide shortage of seafarers and make vessel operations safer and more efficient.

Pål André Eriksen, Kongsberg Maritime, SVP Remote & Autonomous Solutions, said: “The journey towards autonomous, and uncrewed operation of vessels is defined by a set of increments. To get there, we must take each step in-turn and prove the functionality and value before moving to the next. The role of Chief Engineer is one which already involves a lot of monitoring of automation and control systems on board. For this trial, moving this functionality to the shore-based ROC will see one person now managing a range of systems across three vessels, rather than one.”

(Kongsberg Maritime image)