Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

144 VIEWPOINT The cruise fleet is getting bigger, both in size and number. Companies are continuing to add vessels to their fleets, creating a highly competitive industry where cruise lines are striving to attract passengers with newer and larger ships. It is important to consider the impact this growth has on being able to safely operate and navigate these vessels, particularly when they call at a port or cruise terminal. Ports are becoming more crowded as they welcome more ships and bigger vessels, which can cause challenges if they have either limited shoreside infrastructure or restricted water spaces. In addition, many port operators are still facing significant resourcing and workforce challenges. To overcome these issues, ports need to update and expand their infrastructure and both shipboard crews and port-side operators require further training to allow them to safely manage operations for larger vessels. Meanwhile, cruise ship operators are working with their most experienced navigators to select integrated bridge systems (IBS) and other advanced navigational technologies for their new ships to ensure they will operate to the highest safety standards. As digital tools and technologies empower ship operators with new capabilities, they will be able to link voyage planning, processing and execution systems to radar, automatic identification systems, GPS and compasses. This will provide bridge teams with optimal situational awareness and ultimately ensure the safe passage of the vessel. For example, Saga Cruises sought advice from classification society Lloyd’s Register when selecting the IBS for its $400 million Spirit-class ships. The end solution included a dual electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), speed pilot, track pilot and digital navigation workstations for voyage planning and checking routes for safety. The vessels have S-band and X-band main radar, as well as stern radar for tracking hazards and surround ship traffic. Once ship operators are using ECDIS as the primary means of navigation, crew members will no longer need to physically gather data from multiple sources, enabling them to prioritise other safety-critical tasks instead. This also minimises the risk of human error, ensuring that navigational data is as accurate as possible, negating the risk of collisions or groundings. This is crucial for cruise vessels as they are at a greater risk of incident, particularly in narrow or shallow waterways. To ensure that data is accurate, the industry must also move to a new storage and distribution model. The The above image shows a precision under-keel clearance simulation of a large cruise ship entering Belfast port using high gridded and granular S-102 bathymetry By Dr. Phil Thompson, BMT The next generation of navigation solutions The growing size and number of vessels in the global cruise fleet requires the industry to set new standards for navigation technology to ensure it meet the highest standards of safety