Collaborative navigation planning is a key focus on vessels managed by Thome. It is achieved by consolidating data such as port, tidal, and weather in one easy-to-use interface and providing a shared view to create an efficient workflow. This leads to smarter situational awareness, enabling Thome navigators to optimise voyage planning and mitigate risk.
“Safe and smart navigation plays a central role in Thome’s operational philosophy,” says Thome Group Executive Vice Chairman Claes Eek Thorstensen. “Using data from different sources, we can accurately plan our routes to optimise fuel consumption and mitigate risks in real-time if necessary, such as changing weather conditions.”
Thome has partnered with service providers OneOcean and Chartworld to integrate digital nautical services for smart navigation. “These digital platforms provide all the tools in one place, from fleet management and navigation to compliance, operational reporting, and meeting safety obligations,” says Group Marine and Safety Manager Mayuresh Jayade.
“Having such smart digital navigation solutions, which are highly automated and configurable, helps to drive efficiency,” he explains. “As real-time conditions change, such as the weather or NavArea warnings, navigation decisions can be quickly and readily reviewed, and adjustments made to the passage plan.”
Voyage stakeholders can simulate potential navigational options and assess the commercial and regulatory impact of each option to make better-informed decisions since these platforms are integrated with Marpol (such as OneOcean’s Enviromanager), regulatory requirements (OneOcean’s regs4ships), guides to port entry, and seasonal load-line maps to optimise cargo-carriage capacity.
“Thome places high importance on ensuring compliance to work and rest hours of the crew on board,” says Mr. Jayade. “Smart navigation technology allows a reduction in manual entry requirements which reduces the potential for human error and time spent calculating elements of the plan.
“All the data from smart navigation is presented in the same geographical context and the impact of changes in circumstances and the environment on other parts of the voyage can be easily identified and evaluated.”
Training is critical to Thome’s focus on improving navigation safety as “the digital revolution in smart navigation can only be achieved through equally competent personnel to operate it,” says Mr. Jayade. Thome provides IMO 1.27 and 1.22 model courses on ECDIS and bridge team management, and every officer is trained in type-specific ECDIS before being deployed onboard vessels in the fleet.
“To keep up with the latest technological advances in EDCIS and bridge team management, we make sure our navigators have up-to-date training and refresher courses at regular intervals on the same type of equipment they will be using when on board,” says Mr. Thorstensen.
New training systems
In 2021, Thome officially opened a full-mission navigation bridge simulator with 320° of visualisation. It uses Kongsberg Digital’s latest K-Sim navigation simulator.
“Trainees can use equipment that looks, feels, and has the same functions as real onboard equipment while operating in a safe training room environment,” says Mr. Jayade.
This new system is being used to conduct navigational training including bridge team management, ship handling, ship-to-ship maneuvers, deck simulator assessments, and ice navigation.
Thome developed methods to deliver training when travel was restricted during the Covid-19 pandemic which led to logistical challenges including mobilising officers to global training centres.
“However, we were swift to respond to this situation and developed e-navigation workshops where our inhouse trainers conducted sessions with 20 to 30 officers to enhance their skills on navigational tasks, bridge team management, and ECDIS,” says Mr. Jayade.
Thome also incorporates information and lessons learned from maritime incidents in training programs.
“Opportunities are used to discuss case studies from industries where human element and human error were a contributing factor in the incident related to navigation of the vessel,” he adds.
This includes Shell’s Partners in Safety Learning Engagement Modules relevant to smart navigation and digital navigation aids.
“To ensure our officers continue to upgrade their knowledge and skills, we have adopted a computer-based training platform that includes a wide choice of training libraries and modules on smart navigation, passage plan using ECDIS, and various other navigational aids on the bridge,” says Mr. Jayade.
These modules are updated as and when a new regulatory requirement affects particular hardware or software on bridge. Periodic navigational audits, analysis of voyage data recorder information and real-time navigational assessments using a video feed from the bridge enable Thome to verify the performance of bridge teams as per its safety management systems and industrial practices.
“Findings from a review are fed into our campaign regimes which run across the fleet every quarter,” says Mr. Jayade. “This is further enhanced and driven during vessel visits by our safety coaches and marine superintendents.”
The article is written by Martyn Wingrove of Riviera Maritime Media.