Type Approved Wärtsilä SceneScan pushes DP capability envelope

Source: press release, 11 February 2020

The LNG Bunker vessel ‘Kairos’ has been fitted with the Wärtsilä SceneScan laser-based targetless relative DP reference system (photo: Jann Voss, TSI-LNG, BSM Germany)
The LNG Bunker vessel ‘Kairos’ has been fitted with the Wärtsilä SceneScan laser-based targetless relative DP reference system (photo: Jann Voss, TSI-LNG, BSM Germany)

The technology group Wärtsilä has received type approval for its SceneScan position reference system by the DNV GL classification society. As the world’s first laser-based targetless relative dynamic positioning (DP) reference system, SceneScan represents a paradigm shift from conventional DP reference systems. It can work without the need for pre-placed positioning targets, thus providing significantly greater operational flexibility than with conventional systems. Furthermore, since it doesn’t require reflector targets, costs are reduced.

Whereas DP reference systems are typically utilised on offshore vessels, the type approval tests for SceneScan were carried out onboard the Kairos, an LNG bunker vessel owned by Germany’s Bernhard Schulte KG. This extends the potential for DP applications beyond the traditional offshore sector. The system was installed and commissioned during October 2019, and the successful type approval testing was finalised in December 2019. Installation was carried out by the ship’s crew without Wärtsilä supervision, thus emphasising the user-friendliness of the system’s design.

“This type approval from DNV-GL clearly demonstrates Wärtsilä’s technical leadership in this field and provides verification of functionality. The innovative SceneScan approach cuts costs and improves safety wherever vessels are in close-quarter operations. Furthermore, by piloting this project with an LNG bunker vessel, we are again pushing the envelope for applications requiring DP capability. I fully expect the DP landscape to change markedly in 2020 as a result of Wärtsilä’s exciting and class-approved technology,” says Andrew Stead, Director NCS Navcom and Smart Sensors at Wärtsilä.

“It was a pleasure to work with the team from Wärtsilä on the approval process for SceneScan. We had fantastic technical support to implement this new technology into an existing DP system, while at the same time keeping the original equipment available on board as back up in case we have to revert back to the original design. We have acceptance of the new equipment by the vessel’s Class and the recognised organisation for the annual DP verification. Thanks to the Wärtsilä team for the excellent co-operation. We would be delighted to work with them on any further technical developments and new technologies for the safe manoeuvring of DP type vessels,” says Jann Voss, TSI-LNG, BSM Germany.

In January, the largest ever LNG bunkering operation in German waters was carried out in the port of Rostock. 1800 cbm of LNG was transferred from the Kairos to DEME’s next generation offshore installation vessel, the Orion. The safe maneuvering of the Kairos to the final mooring position was performed using the SceneScan system.

By its flexible and accurate near-field positioning sensing, SceneScan enables a further step along the path towards autonomous shipping. The ability to ensure accurate and cost-effective positioning in varying environments and conditions is a key pre-requisite for smart manoeuvring. This is an important step on the way to enable more flexible and safer LNG bunkering at sea, thus contributing to Wärtsilä’s Zero Emission Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) initiative, whereby the company in partnership with five other industry providers, aims to create a clean offshore fuel production and distribution ecosystem.

SceneScan has been awarded the Dynamic Positioning category prize in the Offshore Support Journal (OSJ) conference awards for 2020.