While docking facilities are getting older, docking activities are increasing the world over. In recent times both the cost of repairing vessels and even the docks themselves after a hard landing have increased significantly. The potential cost and environmental damage of hard landings for vessels carrying hazardous cargos is staggering. According to the P&I Clubs Analysis of major claims from 1989 to 1999, 58% of claims related to property, pollution, collision and personal injury are caused by human error. Once a vessel has been docked, the danger does not stop there. Accidents, often fatal, occur all to regularly with mooring appliances. Some ports experience extreme tides, currents, and traffic that expose moored ships to drift-off. The problem is exacerbated by windy conditions.
EC-DOCK aims to provide an on-board system which will help crews and pilots manoeuvre in harbours and dock quickly, minimising the risk of hard landings (Docking Aid), and then will continue to operate when the vessel is moored to ensure that drift off does not occur (Mooring Monitor). As the shipping industry lacks a Code of Safe Practice for the use of potentially lethal mooring equipment, EC-DOCK will produce one (Code of Safe Practice for Mooring Equipment). This code of safe practice will be disseminated as widely as possible and will be incorporated in the EC-DOCK mooring monitor, so that appropriate advice is given on the handling of the equipment. To better train crews and pilots for manoeuvring a vessel, the EC-DOCK system will also be able to be used on board in simulation mode to allow dummy runs to be made in manoeuvring the vessel into dock (On-Board Docking Simulation). EC-DOCK will be modular and easily parameterisable to ensure that the system can be used by a wide range of vessels.
EC-DOCK intends to build on state of the art technologies to develop easily parameterisable modular solutions for
- A docking aid,
- A mooring monitor,
- An on-board docking simulation,
- An automatic docking and stabilisation design In addition we intend to develop a code of safe practices for the operation of mooring equipment.
The software will be easily parameterisable to allow the manoeuvring models for specific ships and configurations of control equipment (thrusters, propellers, rudders etc). It will be modular to allow for the inclusion or exclusion of any data that is available. For example up to date detailed current vectors may or may not be available for the port in question, so the system will be able to use the information if it is available and not if it is not. We will have a module to incorporate the positions and intentions of other vessels broadcast by the new AIS system.