Vessel Motion Monitoring: Improving safety at sea

Vessel Motion Monitoring (VMM) is a software tool that can be installed in a vessel’s system to analyse motion and weather data. It provides the operational intelligence needed to guarantee that the safety of not only the vessel, but also the personnel aboard, are as optimal as possible.

The data gathered by the system can improve transfer safety, crew comfort, and ensure that the vessel is being utilised properly – to prevent any unforeseen damages. The system interface includes a range of sensors for accurate monitoring of any point on the vessel using the system. The system will give alarms and warning when the motion level exceeds under-defined limits.

“Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)” is a generalised term to describe the software usually used in commercial fishing vessels. This system has allowed these commercial vessels to regularly track and monitor the activities of the vessel itself, and its surroundings. Environmental factors play a key part in keeping a vessel under control, and these systems allow for vessels to contribute to the national and international levels of vessel surveillance.

Though VMS was primarily intended for managing fishing vessels, the system, and consequently, the data, can be used for other purposes. VMS, itself, can help in Search and Rescue (SAR), particularly when the SAR organisation participates in the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. Some VMS have built-in Emergency Beacons, which use radio signals to give a good indication of their current position – the full title of this is “Emergency Position-Indication Radio Beacons” or, abbreviated: “EPIRB”. If a vessel doesn’t carry an EPIRB, it likely has SART capability, although a fishing vessel that only carries dedicated VMS software may not be able to have an emergency. At the very least, for these fishing vessels, a Search and Rescue agency would be able to receive a last reported location of the vessel from the Fisheries Management Centre.

There are several features and benefits of Vessel Motion Monitoring Systems (VMMS):

  • Improves the safety of the vessel and personnel aboard
  • Allows for user-set parameters
  • Gives the user oversight of all motion parameters
  • Alerts for vessel impacts, on both landings and foundations
  • Gives a live account of current conditions
  • Alerts for high revving of vessel engines
  • Alerts user if transfers are becoming high-risk
  • Alleviates nausea and sickness of personnel
  • Protects vessel from damage
  • Determines vessel efficiency
  • Supports user selections and decisions
  • Collects data for analytical purposes
  • Quick and easy to install

VMMS significantly improve the safety and reliability of vessels during offshore transfers. The system allows the user oversight of all motion parameters, and provides a more accurate overview of the weather conditions, and the current state of the vessel, as well as making voyages more comfortable for the vessel’s personnel.

There are several companies that offer Vessel Motion Monitoring Systems, one such company is the SeaRoc Group, whose marine management system, SeaPlanner™, boasts an industry-leading version of a VMMS, where multiple projects can be managed from a single system providing all important centralisation for optimising safety and efficiency.