By Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine systems operation
The Association of Maryland Pilots serves the Chesapeake Bay, the longest pilotage route on the East Coast of the United States, with nearly 200 miles of waters. Vessels of almost 48 feet draft routinely transit the narrow channels of the bay, which themselves are only 50 feet deep.
We recently supplied the AMP with our SafePilot Portable Pilot Units (PPUs) and a Port System server solution to enable consistent, real-time information sharing between almost 70 pilots.
The scale of the waters presented a unique challenge: due to the long pilotage route, there was a requirement for piloting navigation sensors to be charged during the piloting operation. To accommodate this, we developed a special navigation sensor: the “Chesapeake Class” CAT XT.
The CAT XT combines the CAT Rate of Turn (CAT ROT) sensor with the CAT I GNSS high-accuracy positioning sensor. It is used in paired units, with one connected to the ship’s AIS pilot plug and power adaptor for continuous charging. The other is located on the bridge wing, running on a built-in battery. When the battery is flat, the pilot simply swaps the two units, allowing a continuous operation, a capability that is completely unique to Trelleborg’s CAT XT product.
The SafePilot system is a key part of our Smarter Product Portfolio, which we are developing to better support the ‘Port of the Future’. We are driving toward an offering that focuses heavily on data-driven technologies, and the real-time and strategic decision making they enable. With ports and terminals are already beginning to automate their processes on the land side, there is also a huge opportunity for optimization through automation on the jetty side too.
A seamless arrival means optimized unloading and departure, all closely intertwined with overall efficiency. This can only be achieved through the deployment of reliable sensors that provide the data key for managing approach, berthing and dispatch.
The SafePilot system server solution synchronizes data between pilots. Updates to information can be made on shore, and distributed in real time to ensure accurate decision making during the piloting operation. Recordings of all operations can be stored for future review and pilot devices backed up in the SafePilot Engine. I’m proud to say we are the only piloting technology company to offer both hardware and software, to form an integrated and efficient user experience.
With delivery completed in May 2016, the full scope of supply included 160 CAT XT (operated in pairs), 80 SafePilot piloting software licenses with Pro Navigation, Docking, River and client / server modules, 80 iPads and one SafePilot system server solution.
We carried out commissioning, installation and integration was on site, and trained each pilot individually in the use of the system, ensuring best practice use and safe maneuver within the bay.
I’ll leave you with a few words on the project from Beth Christman, Captain / Director responsible for Navigation Technology for the Association of Maryland Pilots: “We have been using PPUs since the 1990s, so we’re well versed and experienced in the requirements we have of the system. We turned to Trelleborg for the latest supply as the company was able to develop a purpose built system to meet our needs.”