Brittany Ferries’ ‘Salamanca’ uses Wärtsilä’s SPECS camera system for more efficient and safer operations

Source: press release, 9 August 2022

Brittany Ferries’ ‘Salamanca’ passenger ferry
Brittany Ferries’ ‘Salamanca’ passenger ferry (photo: Brittany Ferries)

Wärtsilä Voyage, part of the technology group Wärtsilä, has announced that its Smart Panoramic Edge Camera System (SPECS) will be used by Brittany Ferries to improve the safety and efficiency of its passenger ferry operations. SPECS will be first installed onboard the Salamanca – the 214.5-metre, 1,015 passenger ferry which started operations between Portsmouth and Bilbao in March 2022.

Navigating busy ports and berthing are two of the most challenging aspects of ferry operations. Increased vessel size, introduced in line with “safe return to port” regulations, and challenging weather conditions mean the margin for error during these manoeuvres is tiny. The SPECS super-wide cameras will give the crew a 360° view, from the edge of the hull to the horizon, streamed directly to the bridge in real-time. Live distance indications to objects around the vessel reduce risks of a collision, protecting passengers, crew and the ferry, while improved visibility helps captains navigate rough seas.

With busy schedules to keep, minutes used manoeuvring on each side of a voyage can also quickly increase costs. The efficiencies achieved thanks to the assistance of the SPECS system can maximise trading time and minimise fuel consumption. By saving fuel, Brittany Ferries is also reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, advancing the company’s sustainability strategy.

Arnaud Le Poulichet, Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Brittany Ferries says, “When the captain is confident in manoeuvring it improves safety, saves time and fuel. This clear and strong return on investment makes adopting SPECS an obvious decision. But there is more to embracing digitalisation. Using the latest technology also plays an important role in attracting high-quality crew. By having innovative technology onboard, we make seafaring attractive to a new generation of seafarers – who we must engage in the industry.”

Sasha Heriot, Head of Product, Assistance Systems, Wärtsilä Voyage comments, “SPECS will help the crew of the Salamanca augment their situational awareness whilst also enabling Brittany Ferries to improve operational safety and efficiency. The company’s proactivity in adopting cutting-edge technology is impressive and will ensure it remains one of the leading cross-channel ferry operators.”

“It is also encouraging that Brittany Ferries shares our vision of a high-tech future for bridge systems and is excited about, not only the benefits SPECS can bring today, but also how technology will advance and develop into the future. SPECS provides the core situational data that will make this vision a reality and we are delighted to be partners with Brittany Ferries on this digital journey,” Heriot adds.

SPECS also enables a host of other functions. Processed data can be exported for use in simulation and training. Brittany Ferries plans to use the data to show other crew how manoeuvring can be performed in specific conditions and ports. Export to simulation facilities can also allow for close investigation into any vessel incidents and thus reduce the risk of similar occurrences.