The Flagship maritime transport project has developed software that enables comprehensive suppression of audible warnings in order to avoid large cascades of alarms on the bridge and in the engine room.
Known as iCAS (intelligent central alarm system), the system is designed to provide a precise overview of the situation on board as it develops while freeing up staff to address the situation.
This element of the pan-European Flagship maritime transport project included both a theoretical analysis and a practical exercise in the development of a new integrated alarm system complete with display. Proven methodology from the offshore industry was used to create an alarm shelving and grouping function. The resulting system was used in a simulation of a real incident on an LNG tanker, where a full blackout generated many thousand alarms over a few minutes and more thousands during the next few days. The system focuses on alarm grouping in order to give overview and criticality and also use temporary shelving of spurious alarms to allow much reduced disturbance and more focussed operations on board. Tests were made with experienced bridge officers and the system was well received.
The Flagship– iCAS project was led by Kongsberg Maritime in Norway and was supported, delivered and trialled in conjunction with Marintek, Teekay and Autronica also of Norway, and ASME and Minoan of Greece. The Flagship project is part-funded by the EU and involves more than 40 companies and organisations.
Instant overview and situation summary
Geir Hasnes, principal engineer at Kongsberg Maritime, commented: "In addition to introducing the grouping and shelving capability, we have created a central alarm screen which delivers an instant overview and situation summary. The noise reduction in critical situations is almost unbelievable. We are confident that the concept will be integrated into standard products over the coming years. A full demonstration bridge with a simulator incorporating the iCAS system has been built at the Kongsberg Maritime facility in Norway so that ship owners can see the system operating in lifelike conditions. Responses have been very positive so far".
Tage Thorsen of Teekay Shipping said: "We had an initial demonstration of the system in our office and the group that joined the demonstration were astonished by the 'silent' bridge concept. We look forward seeing the system demonstrated on the bridge simulator at Kongsberg Maritime."
Performance and efficiency
Herman de Meester, coordinator of Flagship, commented: "Flagship has pursued the twin objectives of reducing still further both risk and the environmental impact of the world's commercial fleet whilst generating the opportunity for real commercial benefits. Flagship-iCAS is a further example of the maritime industry collaborating to improve performance and efficiency in everyone's best interest".