Ice-class passenger ferry Suomenlinna II has completed a remote pilot test near Helsinki harbour using ABB’s new dynamic positioning system, ABB Ability Marine Pilot Control.
The Suomenlinna II, operated by the Helsinki Region Transport Authority was controlled remotely by Captain Heinonen from a control centre in Helsinki. The captain wirelessly operated the vessel through a pre-selected area of Helsinki harbour from Helsinki’s market square, Kauppatori. The vessel usually voyages from Helsinki to Suomenlinna fortress, the UNESCO World Heritage site on a nearby island.
The trial took place during the vessel’s off hours, away from shore with no passengers on-board, in an area free of other vessels.
The vessel, built in 2004, is fitted with ABB’s icebreaking Azipod electric propulsion system and ABB Ability Marine Pilot Vision situational awareness solution.
Captain Lasse Heinonen said: “The progress we have made with the remote trial has been remarkable. I believe we are on the right track to exploring further possibilities of this technology as we move forward.”
“We are excited about the potential impact of this test on the future of the maritime industry,” said Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Industrial Automation division. “Advanced automation solutions from ABB are making the previously impossible possible for a wide range of sectors, including shipping, which is actively searching for technologies that can rapidly deliver more efficiency and better safety.”
“Autonomous does not mean unmanned. As vessels become more electric, digital and connected than ever before, ABB is able to equip seafarers with existing solutions that augment their skillsets. In this way, we are enhancing the overall safety of marine operations,” added Juha Koskela, managing director at ABB’s Marine & Ports unit.
While the Suomenlinna II is now equipped with the new dynamic positioning system, the vessel will continue to operate via a set of conventional on-board controls, with the remote mode deployed during the trial only. Research and development will continue with the ferry and her crew.