Course or Will? (2)

How can 28000 plastic ducks inspire an innovative marine navigation system?

On 10th January 1992 Ever Laurel, a cargo ship sailing from Hong Kong to Tacoma lost 3 of its containers during a violent storm north of the Pacific Ocean. The cargo was made up mainly of floatable plastic toys which floated free into the sea: yellow ducks, blue turtles, green frogs and red beavers.

After the incident, about 28000 of these “little creatures” were later renamed Friendly Floatees and, divided into three groups, were carried away towards Alaska, towards Oceania and towards Chile. 10 months later 111 Floatees reached the coast of Sitka, in Alaska 3200 kms from the scene of the accident.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer and James Ingraham, who studied marine currents, realised how to transform the accident into one of the greatest scientific analysis ever before organised: the movements of the Friendly Floatees were observed from satellites and recorded with OSCUR  (Ocean Surface Currents Simulation), a computer able to calculate precisely the speed and direction of wind above the oceans as well as the ocean currents.

Thanks to these analyses, oceanographers were able to foresee where the toys would “land” along the coasts of the world including those of the most adventurous group, which crossed the Bering Strait after floating between Alaska and Japan to then reach the Glacial Arctic Sea and hence proceed to the Atlantic Ocean within 5 / 6 years.

The combination of oceanic current drift studies and the tracing of locations, thanks to triangulation via satellite, were inspiration for the development of highly precise navigation technologies. For example,the Remote Control Navigation System patented by Rosetti Marino allows piloting of our superyachts from one place to another all over the planet without a crew on board.

The exclusive system is based on M2M, machine-to-machine technology, designed and tested on board Giano, Rosetti Marino Group’s tug boat and certified on Lloyd’s register. The control panel on land, relays information to the cockpit on board so that the yacht can manoeuvre accurately sitting comfortably in an armchair at home. The integration of this technology offers considerable benefits: reduction of fuel consumption, thanks to using routes with surface currents, reduction of cost of crew during service transfers, including security, onboard management and insurance.

And there is more!! During the 2018 ITS Tugnology, held in Marseilles last year, Captain Carsten Nygaard controlled several movements of tug boat Giano directly from the stand. The operation was carried out simply using 4G signals ( just like the ones we use on our new generation smartphones) and encrypted VSAT( used for TV broadcasts). All this is without a server or third party technology.

The rote remote control in the engine room and the propulsion systems, as well as the anti-collision systems are all encrypted via standard LAN cables and exploit an architecture of systems able to guarantee safe, continuous data transmission with a 4G Android backup which ensures a constant signal, without geographic limits with ample, regular  broadband. Navigation and the important areas on board are monitored 7/24 with CCT even for night vision.

The subject of safety at sea is of increasing interest particularly in certain seas throughout the world, not only with regard to maritime traffic (totally monitored by integrated Sea Traffic Management System exactly like the one used by air traffic control) but used against piracy. Remote Control Navigation completely annuls the risk of hi-jacking and hostages being held for ransome, therefore excluding the need to send a message in a bottle with the coordinates of the desert island where you might be stranded. 🙂