Emerging Technologies in Marine Industry

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The world has witnessed more technological advancements in the last decade than the whole of 20th century. The 21st century was kicked off with the internet revolution followed by the vast reach of mobile/portable connected devices. The world is currently witnessing a new revolution of sorts, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics are a few of the new emerging technologies.

“Has the maritime industry kept up with these technological changes?”, “Would adopting these new technologies help the maritime industry?”. Most experts believe that the maritime industry has not been able to keep up with the technological advances and it would certainly help the industry if they are adopted.

The maritime industry has come a long way in the last 15-20 years. Ships have integrated automation in their operations. From complete manual operation of machinery and navigation, ships can now navigate on auto pilot and machinery can operate without manual interaction. This has been possible with integration of hundreds of sensors/controllers for operation machinery automatically and integration of GPS signals, electronic charts and auto pilot for navigating the vessel.

Still there are some of the new technologies that can help the maritime industry to increase its efficiency and ultimately help realise the dream of a completely un-manned vessel.

  • Internet of Things (IoT) and Automation – Crew on-board ships carry out large number of routine and mundane jobs which takes up most of their time. If these jobs are automated, it will help the crew to focus on more important jobs. This will also help in improving the efficiency of the vessel and improve the quality of tasks done on-board. Ships are already fitted with hundreds of sensors with the help of which the ship can be operated with minimum human interaction. If more and more tasks are automated with the help of more sensors and automation, the dream of an un-manned ship will become a reality.
  • Communication Systems – Most of the ships built in the 21st century are equipped with internet, but are these ships truly connected ships? A connected ship is where the all sorts of data from the ship can be viewed live by all concerned stakeholders, such as by the shore office, the concerned authorities, the charterers etc. Continuous monitoring of the machinery and complete ship can be done from the shore, assistance from the equipment manufacturers, authorities etc will be available instantly in case of a connected ship. This will also be a major step towards the realization of an un-manned ship.
  • Big Data Analytics – The sheer amount of data that is generated on a single ship is enormous due to the number of sensors and transmitters equipped on-board. Consider the amount of data that will be generated across a fleet of 100 vessels. This data cannot be analysed by traditional techniques. With the help of big data analytics data can be analysed and segregated. Predictive and prescriptive analysis would also help increasing the quality and efficiency of the vessel and in turn the fleet. Live analysis of data is also possible in big data analysis, where even minor abnormalities can be identified with the help of algorithms, which could not have been identified by human monitoring.
  • Robotics – The vast power of robotics can be harnessed to make shipping faster, safer and efficient. With recent advancements in robotics operations such as hull cleaning, hull survey and inspections can be done with the help of robots instead of doing processes manually. Robotics combined with the above technologies can revolutionize shipping industry and reduce human intervention to a minimum, thereby improving speed, safety and efficiency.


The ultimate objective of all these technologies is to make shipping/maritime industry into one of the most innovative, efficient and effective industries. Reducing human interaction and intervention to a minimum will reduce the chances of accidents and incidents as 80% of the incidents occur due to human error. But, till the time these technologies are not prepared for all possible situations, an un-manned ship will remain a dream.

Database CobWeb – The future of Vessel Database ?

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Data CobWeb – The future of Vessel Database ?

We all have studied the techniques of maintaining Database at some stage. We have discussed with our colleagues about this tedious task day in & day out. We’ve had similar debates about Vessel wise Database vs Global Database. However, these insights are lost in the very Group Discussions & hence we go for a universal rule:

Get back to work doing the task again & again

     …..till we find a problem.

Most times, we find this issue only when the situation is out of hands.

Coming back to the topic & asking ourselves the question.

What is a Data CobWeb ?

Like a Spider’s net, with one common point. Data Cobweb can be described as a one point common library for all your Databases.

So, Database Centralization ?

……. YES !

Allow us to quantify the facts for you !

Our team has been fortunate to have conducted 50+ interviews with top shipping & PMS software companies to help us have streamlined our take on the above topic.

Refer to the below pictures for better understanding.

Vessel Database Centralization

Needless to say, the difference between both of them is massive.

More so, to justify why De-Centralized DB is a hassle of an experience, we would attempt to show some insights that would influence your view in a broader fashion.

Here, the quick collaborative outline for root causes we think are of prime importance:

  1. VolumeDepth of Data
  2. VelocitySpeed of data built
  3. VarietyVariance in Data
  4. Veracity– Trustworthiness.

The Last Lap:-

Volume: Depth of Data.

As we start building the Vessel database, it starts with small volume but with time and usage the depth of the database drastically increases. The one which initially only included Data captured from OEM manuals now also include various other modules in the database. Apart from PMS and Stock Items, these modules would range from Crewing database to Accounting to procurement.

Some organizations also include their various Trading Certificates, Class certificates in the databases.

A Centralized database gives a chance to include whole fleet of vessels data into one common central library.

– Velocity: Speed of data built

If we take Speedy building of databases into consideration; In case of Vessel wise database, we have to construct and capture the data from scratch, whereas in case of Centralized database, we need not capture the data again as the data captured earlier is already present in central library. All need to be done is, just select the matching equipment’s and distribute the data from One vessel to other vessel equipment wise. Which will eventually result in building database in lesser time.

Variety- Variance in Data

In centralized database construction, “Data Variance” could be a deciding factor, wherein if in a vessels database there are 12000 odd spares and similar count with same makers and built yards is present on the other vessel (Say Sister vessel) and both databases are being separately managed, it becomes tricky task. Where as in case of centralized databases this “Variance data” factor can be taken into consideration at the initial stage of constructing database and only not matching equipment data will be captured and rest can be distributed from the Original vessel.

This effect can be a large in a fleet with about 20 vessels i.e. 20 different or same Databases, and how about 100 vessels i.e. 100 Databases.

Centralized database gives owners good way to track everything on one single platform.

Veracity- Trustworthiness.

Building a trust on a centralized database can be a fruitful decision, if taken at right time. In the long run, Centralized database gives an advantage over de-centralized databases. A centralized database will not have Duplicate Spares, maintenances, components, attachments etc. Tracking of various requisitions becomes easier as everything can be monitored at one single location. Icing on the cake would be if your centralized database is Cloud or web-based, as the database can be accessed from any platform, be it on Mobile or at any other medium available.

…………and the final report:

There are Pros & Cons to both of the mentioned approaches.

Some works better for one company while the other works better for the second.

One should understand the purpose they want to acheive.

What are your thoughts ?

Ask your self this question.

You have a Vessel Database, how much percent of the database is useful?

                                                                                           –Food for a thought !