Safety and stability for ferry shipowners

Tuomas Hakkinen and Jussi Siltanen discuss the new NAPA Stability for ferries solution

Safety and stability for ferry shipowners
The latest version of NAPA Stability for Ferries automatically calculates weight onboard

By Alex Smith |

With over 30 years of expertise in maritime technology, NAPA has a strong track record of delivering innovative solutions for various vessel types. Following the successful launch of the newest version of NAPA Stability for cruise ships in 2022, NAPA has now turned its attention to ferries, creating a unique solution for managing their very different needs. 

“The whole operative nature of these ship types is different,” says Tuomas Hakkinen, account director for ferry and ro-pax business at NAPA. “Ferries go from A to B several times a day, carrying both passengers and cargo. They must stick to a schedule and compete in terms of the amount of cargo they can carry. Therefore, the software must be adapted to the uniqueness of those operations. Having provided solutions for the ferry industry for over 20 years, we know what our customers require.” 

The latest additions to the NAPA Stability software provides essential features to meet ferry operators’ needs. The updated cargo-loading function now automatically calculates weight onboard, enabling cargo numbers to be filled faster and with minimal interaction. It is also capable of monitoring unknown cargo weight, such as that added by trucks carrying goods. 

“The unknown cargo monitoring tool is something that’s really valuable for operators from a safety perspective,” says Hakkinen “It’s very important to know the weight of cargo in order to load the correct place onboard a vessel to ensure that your safety parameters are calculated properly. The addition of the tool is a big improvement from previous versions of the software.” 

NAPA Stability’s newly added features for ferries also meets the International Maritime Organization’s Type 4 requirements for loading computers, which will be mandatory for all passenger ships by 2025. The damage stability feature has been renewed, including the water on deck calculation capability. 

All this data is then sent to a cloud platform, NAPA Fleet Intelligence, which allows an operator to see real-time loading progress and provides an overview of the safety of the fleet’s operations. Having data in the cloud also enables NAPA to continuously develop and improve its solution by adding new capabilities for its customers.  

“We don’t just say ‘here is the software’ and move on,” says Hakkinen. “We are always developing the software to improve how it works for our customers, which is the biggest reason why we are a market leader for loading computers.” 

NAPA has worked with passenger ferry operators such as CalMac Ferries, P&O Ferries, Stena Line and Finnlines to refine the solution, adapting the software according to their experience and feedback. The company also plans to further meet the specific needs of their ferry customers with the launch of NAPA Stability for RoRos, a similarly tailored stability management solution for roll-on/roll-off vessels, in 2024. 

“We collaborate very closely with our customers,” says Jussi Siltanen, go-to-market lead at NAPA. “Each of our customers have slightly different processes that require slightly different solutions, so we co-develop with them to meet their specific needs. Our long-time users provide very valuable feedback, and we want to make sure our solution is as intuitive as possible for them.” 

Alongside NAPA Stability, operators can also make use of a range of other NAPA modules to improve services. These include NAPA Emergency Computer, which provides a colour-coded vulnerability status overview of risks onboard. The system also monitors for faulty sensors, open watertight doors and sea conditions, and can simulate realistic drills to help improve preparedness. In an emergency, the software can automatically relay information to shoreside emergency response services about the exact onboard conditions.

Another NAPA solution, NAPA Logbook, can ease onboard operation by automating data entry as well as streamlining regulatory and technical reports. Then, along with other NAPA onboard modules and third-party sources, it seamlessly relays all this data to the shoreside via NAPA Fleet Intelligence. The platform can then be used to create custom reports based on requirements for a single vessel or the whole fleet, helping ferries comply and avoid penalties. 

NAPA Fleet Intelligence integrates the fleet data it receives to create a comprehensive fleet profile. This profile then enables everyday safety and voyage optimisation, testing of new operational plans and validation of long-term strategies like benchmarking performance, testing more efficient ship designs, and more. These capabilities are especially impactful for smaller operators, whose limited computing resources may have previously held them back from developing them in-house. 

“The launch of NAPA Stability pioneered safety data transferability to shore with cloud technology,” says Siltanen. “With that, we set a bigger trend of the growing role of shoreside teams in stability and safety operations management – now they can seamlessly support shipboard crew in voyage planning, benchmarking performance for better efficiency, faster support in case of emergency and much more. This is especially critical for the ferry sector, as operators typically do not have full-fledged fleet operation centres onshore, or they are working with limited resources.” 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door. 

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