Digital Ship December 2011 page 2
Vol 12 No 4
UPCOMING CONFERENCESDIGITAL SHIP
Magnushall1-2 February 2012
Scandic Hotel Bergen City28-29 February 2012
St Raphael Resort, Limassol28-29 March 2012
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navigators had been using incorrect and out-of-date chart data, citing this issue as a con-tributing factor in a number of claim cases.One of the incidents described in thatbulletin relates to a claim made by atelecommunications company which hadalleged that a submarine cable had beendamaged by a ship’s anchor.The report says, “The first assumptionwas that, if the anchor had contacted thecable, then it must have been because itwas dragging and the ship had not beenable to recover the anchor in due time.”“However, the Club-appointed survey-or quickly established that the ship had, infact, anchored directly over the cable butthat the bridge team had been completelyunaware of the hazard beneath them. Thesurveyor identified that the ship had usedan old edition of the chart, which predatedthe laying of the cable.”“Apparently, on preparing the passageplan, the second officer had not checkedthat he had the current edition of the chart.”Another case featured a ship which hadbeen damaged as it struck a hazardouswreck.Investigators of the incident subsequentlydiscovered that the current edition of thechart was in use but that it had not beenproperly corrected – even though a chart cor-rection displaying the wreck had been issuedapproximately three years previously.Sadly, as regular readers of
will be aware, incidents and accidentswhere improper or incompetent use oftechnology is cited as a contributing factorare all too common.The tools that are available no doubthave the potential to significantly enhancesafety and efficiency in the shippingindustry – be they advances in communi-cations, electronic navigation or sophisti-cated software applications – but it is clearthat these systems are not ‘foolproof’.Training, company policies and proce-dures, and continued vigilance all play amajor part in ensuring that these technolo-gies act as ‘aids’ to living and workingonboard ship – and not as distractions thatwill have the opposite effect.
Printed byThe Manson Group LtdReynolds House, 8 Porters' WoodValley Road Industrial EstateSt Albans, Hertz AL3 6PZU.K.
Marine Technologies (MT) has introducedits newest Ku-band VSAT antenna,theMT-BB100, which features a redesignedparabolic dish and feed and incorporatescomputer simulation software used in theaerospace industry.Building on the technology of the pre-vious BB90 version, the MT-BB100 gatherslocking information from an internaltuner, the satellite modem and the AGC(automatic gain control) level.The antenna is constructed of carbonfibre and weighs less than 55 kg, and isdesigned to minimise stress on belts andmotors for extended operational life andminimum maintenance.MT also says that the carbon fibre con-struction makes the antenna immune to salt,oxidation, thermal excursions and humidity.The company also claims that this newantenna is one of the first VSAT antennasin the world to be constructed with allelectronic components integrated into thedome, including the modem.It comes pre-commissioned fromMarine Technologies and is ready to con-nect automatically to the satellite networkwithout the help of specialised technicians.The MT-BB100 configuration interface isentirely web-based and can be accessedlocally or remotely through the satellitelink or other backup connections.Reconfiguring the antenna for deploymenton different missions can be done remotely,without the need for a local technician.The antenna is OpenAMIP certified andoffers automatic beam switching (ABS),selecting the best satellite source for thecoverage area. Dual antenna configurationis supported as well, using an additionalintelligent switchbox.This component provides hitlessswitching between same type or differentmanufacturer antennas using a switchinglogic that can be configured by shadowareas or signal level.MT says that no network loss should benoticed by the customer during switchingevents.MT also claims that the MT-BB100 isthe only antenna currently on the marketequipped with an embedded computeralerting the user of signal downtimecaused by heavy rain, vessel position, lackof power or sea status.The antenna remote controller unit(ARCU) chooses the best available medi-um for data transfer, and acts as a satellitebackup or out-of-bandwidth maintenancelink integrating a 3G UMTS (UniversalMobile Telecommunications System)modem with a multi-SIM card reader anda WiFi module with diversity antennas.Downtime information is stored in anonboard log that is available locally orremotely via a web interface. The systemalso informs the NOC (network operationscentre) of any downtime. NOC operatorscan be notified via an SMS (short messageservice) message via the cellular network.Diagnostics, of either a single antenna orthe entire fleet, is available via a web-basedserver that collects real-time and historicalperformance data from all ships. Event log-ging and remote diagnostics are document-ed automatically by the ARCU which sendsa short report to the NOC every five minutes,along with a complete event log each day.Other existing functions carried overfrom the BB90 include the ability to switchthe LNB (low noise block-down converter)between co-polar and cross-polar modes,wideband and narrowband tuners, or ABS.The internal tuner has been upgradedto DVB-S2 (Digital Video Broadcasting –Satellite – Second Generation) and is capa-ble of coherent locking to a tracking carri-er or monitoring the AGC level.The MT-BB100 is compliant with stan-dards required by satellite operatorsAnatel, Intelsat and Eutelsat.
New Ku-band VSAT antenna from MT
MT’s carbon fibre antenna weighsless than 55kg
Harris CapRock Communications reportsthat it has finalised development ofAssuredCare, its customer service andnetwork management programme.The AssuredCare programme willallow Harris CapRock customers to haveimproved real-time visibility into theirglobal communications through a combi-nation of customer service personnel, asupport infrastructure, proactive monitor-ing systems and a customer portal.The company says that AssuredCareintegrates best practices and capabilitiesfrom the four organisations combined toform Harris CapRock in April 2011.“While the particulars of customer mis-sions vary across the three vertical mar-kets Harris CapRock serves – energy, gov-ernment and maritime – we consistentlyhear one need: customers must have confi-dence in their communications so they canstay focused on their core missions,” saidTom Eaton, president, Harris CapRockCommunications.“AssuredCare provides field-deployedpersonnel and headquarter offices with com-plete peace of mind in their remote commu-nications, making it an extension of HarrisCapRock’s mission to be the industry’smost trusted communications provider.”Harris CapRock notes that customerswill also benefit from network optimisationservices under the programme, includingnetwork performance diagnostics, in-depthrecommendations and implementation ofperformance optimisations.A monitoring system is used toautomatically detect more than 80 per centof potential network issues for immediateresolution, while the customer portal com-bines various management systems andoperational tools to provide near real-timevisibility for users of the service.The portal provides a single point ofaccess to these various tools, as well asautomatic notifications.Live testing of the programme beganwith selected customers in October, andHarris Caprock says it is now working toport all customers’ services over to theexpanded system ahead of an official launchfor all customers in the first quarter of 2012.
Customer network management from Harris CapRock