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Orolia Primed for Leading Position in Automated Vessel Monitoring with Latest Acquisition

Last month, Orolia announced the acquisiton of Netwave Systems, a Netherlands company specialising in the VDR (Voyage Data Recorders) market. VDRs are mandated by the International Maritime Organization on-board every merchant vessel subject to the SOLAS Convention. In an exclusive interview with Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide (www.hellenicshippingnews.com), Mr. Chris Loizou, Chief Business Development Officer of Orolia, discusses the scope behind Orolia’s latest acquisition and its future plans, as the company is increasingly looking to lead the industry in terms of high added-value services, like automated vessel monitoring.

How does the acquisition of Netwave Systems strengthen Orolia’s existing service portfolio?

Orolia’s Marine brands McMurdo & Kannad have an extensive global commercial service network unparalleled in the industry, giving our SOLAS customers the reassurance of proximity to technical support for their critical Search and Rescue equipment. By combining Netwave’s 200 certified service stations and more than 1,000 certified service engineers, Orolia will set new standards in relation to service and customer focus for vessels travelling the world’s major shipping routes. We are already working on improving our joint service offering with more to be communicated on this in the months ahead.

Which is the size of this particular market (VDRs) globally?

VDRs are now mandatory on all vessels over 3,000gt with the VDR specification having been significantly revised in 2014. There are two primary types of VDR: those fitted on vessels built after 2002 (VDR) and a simplified version for vessels built prior to 2002 (S-VDR). Despite the global slow-down in new build SOLAS vessels, there are still over 60,000 vessels in this fleet, many of whom will require retrofit.

Which are the future plans regarding the further development of the company in the field of VDRs?

We strive to stay at the forefront of technology at Orolia and through the Netwave acquisition, we are working on new functional and service developments to ensure we offer the most effective solutions in the market. With Netwave’s imminent release of Netwave’s compact VDR for the non-mandated marine market, the benefits of the VDR data collection and analysis will be open to a wider market.

Condition monitoring of a shipping fleet is among the main talking points, when it comes to trimming down operating costs. Which are your current offerings and future plans in this particular area? Do you expect this latest acquisition to help towards this direction as well?

The ability to monitor, communicate and track fleet activity in a consistent, real time and cost effective manner are the cornerstones in turning vessel performance data into operational cost savings. The combination of Orolia’s resilient positioning, navigation and timing portfolio; including our Prisma C2 innovation platform for fleet tracking; with Netwave’s SeaWise capabilities in condit maintenance, fuel efficiency and performance monitoring, mean Orolia are well placed to offer a tangible solution to making technology efficiencies a reality.

Do you feel that future fleet advances will be technology-based and which are the biggest “game-changers” in terms of changing the current way of operations? Where does Orolia-Mcmurdo feature in this future?

There are several factors that will drive innovation in fleet management and technology is certainly a foundation. The other aspect is global legislation and the willingness to use mandates to drive national or global aspirations, be they crew safety, operational efficiencies, vessel security or environmental monitoring and enforcement.

Previously, the combination of legislation and innovation has led to industry defining changes in safety with the GMDSS rules, fishing conservation with VMS solutions and most recently fire safety in SOLAS vessels with ATEX safe communication requirements.

Orolia is uniquely positioned to help support and drive fleet technology advances as the global leader in resilient PNT, which is the key to unlocking the benefits of real time time-synchronised monitoring and data analysis. As well as our unique solutions, including the Netwave acquisition, Orolia’s global service network ensures we have the human capability factor that ensures the effective delivery and support of technologies that will support the already rapid modernization the maritime world.

In the wider non-mandated fleets McMurdo is also driving innovation with it’s Omnicom solutions, offering vessel monitoring, communications and search and rescue capabilities to the artisanal fishing communities that often get left behind as the industry develops.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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