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Ships That Will Sail Themselves

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  #1  
Old 4th October 2017, 20:20
kwg kwg is offline
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Ships That Will Sail Themselves

From to-days financial pages of The Daily Mail
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  #2  
Old 20th October 2017, 19:03
George Bis George Bis is offline
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Iron Mike was considered revolutionary in its time, especially when galley boys were sent up with his meal! Similarly the Bailey Board in the boiler room removed most of a Donkeymans work.
Ships will evolve to the point where humans are needed less and less but it is hard to see where it will end.
Certainly isn't sea going as I understand it but there you are.
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  #3  
Old 20th October 2017, 19:21
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Two points:-
The Daily Mail
'Financial Section'
geoff
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  #4  
Old 20th October 2017, 19:46
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Ships That Will Sail Themselves

There is nothing new in the world, I sailed on one of those back in 1965!

The Regent Pembroke, a 63,000 dwt, steam turbine engined tanker that was provided with bridge control of the engines/boilers. Unfortunately the controlling electronics were not sufficiently robust to endure the rigours of a ship's engine room and would decide to change the mode of operation without warning. From 100% Ahead to 100% Astern in a fraction of a second was not uncommon. The whole ship would shudder and vibrate something terrible until the poor engineer on watch (1 per-watch plus Lascars) was able to get things under control.

Below about 3 knots, she was virtually unsteerable, making it rather difficult to come alongside oil terminals where tugs were not available. Several dolphins were destroyed in such circumstances.

So, as she decided whether or not we went ahead or astern and the direction in which we steered - she could definitely be described as a ship that would sail herself (on occasion).
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  #5  
Old 20th October 2017, 20:01
George Bis George Bis is offline
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Sounds a barrel of laughs. However I was on three unmanned engine room ships without many problems and can remember how opening/closing MacGregor hatches changed from an all hands job (great when the deck crowd had had a heavy night) to (when the wheels were up) pushing a button.
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  #6  
Old 20th October 2017, 20:07
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I remember when the 'Iron Mike' was introduced in Blue Funnel. None of the captains trusted it and would only switch it on when hundreds of miles out at sea, and even then, the helmsman had to stand at the wheel and watch every click of the gyro ready to leap into action.
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  #7  
Old 20th October 2017, 22:49
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I sailed on several UMS ships with CP and as far as I could tell the primary result was we sailed with four engineers, including the Chief and dispensed with the electrician.
These ships were Class 3 chemical tankers built in the early 80's. Thinking how technology has moved on in 30 plus years I'm not surprised they're thinking about reducing the crew to nothing.
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  #8  
Old 31st January 2018, 12:18
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I can see it happening on short runs between close ports in the not so distant future. In that case, when something really fails, they can get a crew and/or tug out there in short order to save the day. I don't see it on long ocean passages until you start making real-life R2-D2's that can fix things.
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  #9  
Old 31st January 2018, 13:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Kennedy View Post
I remember when the 'Iron Mike' was introduced in Blue Funnel. None of the captains trusted it and would only switch it on when hundreds of miles out at sea, and even then, the helmsman had to stand at the wheel and watch every click of the gyro ready to leap into action.
Pat, on the Royal Viking Star it was hand steering from Sun down to Sun up, and during the day there was one one deckie on the bridge on stand by unless he was needed somewhere...
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  #10  
Old 31st January 2018, 13:58
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I did a lot of work on the Decca Autopilot (I think it was call the Arkus or something like that) which took it's course information from the gyro and it's rudder position from mechanically driven potentiometers fastened to the steering gear down in the steering flat.

A small analogue computer provided the steering control from all this data. I have to say it was a very reliable system, but of course all it did was steer. It didn't know if there was a ten thousand light year high brick wall directly ahead, all it knew was to keep the ship on the course selected. This was, after all, 70's technology.

Quite a leap to an unmanned ship from that ... but then think back to the 70's and what we had then to what we have now.

I think personally it's very likely inevitable, assuming we last that long.
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Last edited by BobClay; 31st January 2018 at 17:53..
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  #11  
Old 31st January 2018, 14:34
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We had arkus steering on Everards Clarity in 1968. The only time the skipper had us hand steering was in fog, close waters and if the wind was above force six. He said that the swell would put too much strain on the mechanics of it.
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  #12  
Old 31st May 2018, 16:31
john nichols john nichols is offline
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I attended a seminar at Plymouth Maritime Faculty in the 1980's or 90's all about unmanned ships and we were shown films that demonstrated the progress that had been made.
I was sceptical and queried the cost of producing sufficient new equipment and how many times each of these instruments would need to be duplicated to provide a fail-safe vessel. I asked how much shore side monitoring would be necessary and at what cost, and what happens when a ship heads towards you with a dog in command or a sudden major breakdown occurs in the engineroom? The report I wrote to my shipping company dismissed the whole idea of unmanned ships as fanciful pie in the sky dreamed up by theorists.
Many years ago I was taught that ship owners do not build ships to carry cargo or work in an oilfield etc etc. Ship owners build ships simply TO MAKE MONEY. So why would he abandon this practice to build a ship loaded with costly technology when he can still scour the world to crew his ship with extremely cheap labour. Its coming up for 20 years since I retired so perhaps I'm out of touch and there are countless drone ships now sailing the oceans.
There will likely be a lot of people who disagree with my views but that is what makes a forum interesting.
Regards
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  #13  
Old 31st May 2018, 16:31
john nichols john nichols is offline
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I attended a seminar at Plymouth Maritime Faculty in the 1980's or 90's all about unmanned ships and we were shown films that demonstrated the progress that had been made.
I was sceptical and queried the cost of producing sufficient new equipment and how many times each of these instruments would need to be duplicated to provide a fail-safe vessel. I asked how much shore side monitoring would be necessary and at what cost, and what happens when a ship heads towards you with a dog in command or a sudden major breakdown occurs in the engineroom? The report I wrote to my shipping company dismissed the whole idea of unmanned ships as fanciful pie in the sky dreamed up by theorists.
Many years ago I was taught that ship owners do not build ships to carry cargo or work in an oilfield etc etc. Ship owners build ships simply TO MAKE MONEY. So why would he abandon this practice to build a ship loaded with costly technology when he can still scour the world to crew his ship with extremely cheap labour. Its coming up for 20 years since I retired so perhaps I'm out of touch and there are countless drone ships now sailing the oceans.
There will likely be a lot of people who disagree with my views but that is what makes a forum interesting.
Regards
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  #14  
Old 1st June 2018, 11:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john nichols View Post
I attended a seminar at Plymouth Maritime Faculty in the 1980's or 90's all about unmanned ships and we were shown films that demonstrated the progress that had been made.
I was sceptical and queried the cost of producing sufficient new equipment and how many times each of these instruments would need to be duplicated to provide a fail-safe vessel. I asked how much shore side monitoring would be necessary and at what cost, and what happens when a ship heads towards you with a dog in command or a sudden major breakdown occurs in the engineroom? The report I wrote to my shipping company dismissed the whole idea of unmanned ships as fanciful pie in the sky dreamed up by theorists.
Many years ago I was taught that ship owners do not build ships to carry cargo or work in an oilfield etc etc. Ship owners build ships simply TO MAKE MONEY. So why would he abandon this practice to build a ship loaded with costly technology when he can still scour the world to crew his ship with extremely cheap labour. Its coming up for 20 years since I retired so perhaps I'm out of touch and there are countless drone ships now sailing the oceans.
There will likely be a lot of people who disagree with my views but that is what makes a forum interesting.
Regards
John, you are not out of touch and have got the argument spot on. The technology may be available but the economic case for autonomous ships is poor, other that for very short sea/ferry service. The ocean going idea, as you quite rightly state, of unmanned ships is as fanciful as pie in the sky dreamed up by theorists. That is before you get into the regulatory and legal minefield which will take several decades of debate. Regards, Chris
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  #15  
Old 4th June 2018, 21:45
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Right now on a daily basis a US Air Force pilot sits in a darkened air-conditioned room in Nevada, flying a drone with eighteen hours endurance in Afghanistan, I suspect drone ships are in our future?

Go ahead Google it, I just did.

Greg Hayden
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  #16  
Old 4th June 2018, 22:04
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There's no doubt in my mind that you're right. But those other posts are correct, it will all come down to economics. But bear in mind, money makers and bean counters will always go for the cheap option, and never anticipate the cost of disasters.

So if it comes to the state that running the ship automatically, be it autonomous or remote, is cheaper than employing seafarers .. then make no mistake, they'll go for it. And reap the profits, and do everything within their power to wriggle out of the cost of when it goes wrong.
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  #17  
Old 5th June 2018, 12:11
Dave McGouldrick Dave McGouldrick is offline
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My Goodness Bob - you've become very cynical in your old age.
Imagine thinking that shipowners will only go for the cheap option, and try to dodge any financial responsibilites - shocking.

I was on a short contract on an ex Jebsens bulker with 12 people on board including me ( that was because the cypriot W.Europe dispensation didn't cover Atlantic crossings). There were 3 Europeans and 9 Filipinos. I found out that a couple of months after I left, the Filipinos were paid off mid contract and Eastern Europeans were signed on.This because they were so much cheaper and the owners still saved money after repat. costs.

In hindsight Bob, maybe not cynical at all - just a touch of realism.
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  #18  
Old 5th June 2018, 13:11
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Ship owners Dave.

They have wallets that are harder to get something out of than a black hole !!
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  #19  
Old 7th June 2018, 09:55
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Ship owners Dave.

They have wallets that are harder to get something out of than a black hole !!
...and that is the answer? Do the Shipowners want or need autonomous ships and perhaps more importantly will Charterers fix ships with no one on the bridge or will they consider it too great a risk. If the latter then they are dead in the water! I doubt whether the the Techies or Equipment Manufacturers have even asked them? Now they are bullying IMO to support these developments.
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  #20  
Old 7th June 2018, 14:09
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Risk, risk, risk that is the question. Our bean-counters will discuss with their bean-counters and a decision will be made.
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  #21  
Old 8th June 2018, 08:59
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When the unmanned ship approaches or leaves port, what happens with regard to pilotage of the vessel?

Will there be a pilot sitting in a darkened air conditioned room somewhere, controlling the movement of the vessel.

Will the pilot be held fully responsible, as there is no 'Master' on board.

I don't think the pilots and insurers would be too happy with that scenario.


John
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  #22  
Old 17th June 2018, 20:07
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Originally Posted by BobClay View Post
I did a lot of work on the Decca Autopilot (I think it was call the Arkus or something like that) which took it's course information from the gyro and it's rudder position from mechanically driven potentiometers fastened to the steering gear down in the steering flat.

A small analogue computer provided the steering control from all this data. I have to say it was a very reliable system, but of course all it did was steer. It didn't know if there was a ten thousand light year high brick wall directly ahead, all it knew was to keep the ship on the course selected. This was, after all, 70's technology.

Quite a leap to an unmanned ship from that ... but then think back to the 70's and what we had then to what we have now.

I think personally it's very likely inevitable, assuming we last that long.
You must have come across Mogens Blanke then ?
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  #23  
Old 17th June 2018, 21:32
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You must have come across Mogens Blanke then ?
Might it have been a version of the Ferranti Argus?
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  #24  
Old 17th June 2018, 23:31
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I'd never heard of him but I looked him up. All very well except replacing one of those pots on the steering gear and getting it set up to that sort of mathematical precision by which the Decca steered the ship was not first and foremost in my mind. (Fix it now, tweek it later.)

Tell me, did he analyse similar conditions for a ship steered by hand ? … most especially since every helmsman will have a slightly different result … (although come to think of it, so will the Decca given that every sea condition will be slightly different if you take the variables down to the molecular level.)

Suffice to say the Old Man was happy to get his auto-pilot back. And that made me happy (it was my very first trip with CP Ships.)
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  #25  
Old 21st June 2018, 19:12
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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Just out curiosity, is anyone proposing to operate airliners with nobody in the cockpit? If so, I haven't heard of it.
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