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Vesper Marine protects the world’s second busiest port from collision risks with a submerged wreck

Vesper Marine, in partnership with Brand Marine Consultants (BMC), Hanseatic Underwriters and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have just completed an installation of their AIS-based Guardian:protect system to protect vessels from a hazardous shipwreck within the Singapore Strait entrance channel to the harbour and alert them to its presence. This was a critical installation for a port that weekly sees more than 2,500 vessel calls and unloads more than 11 million metric tons of cargo. Only the Port of Shanghai is busier.

The dredger Cai Jun 3 sank on Mar 12th this year. Realizing the potential for danger Singapore authorities knew that action had to be taken quickly. As an immediate safeguard to warn vessels entering the Strait near the sunken vessel, two tugboats were stationed at the site of the wreck as “guard boats”, while salvage operations were on-going.

The cost of running the tugs was astronomical. Salvage company BMC contacted Vesper Marine, which specialises in AIS collision avoidance and subsea hazard protection systems, The company worked with BMC to alert inbound shipping in a manner that was more cost effective than the initial quick-response solution.

Vesper Marine’s Guardian:protect solution, a 24×7 asset protection system specifically designed to prevent accidental encroachment on marine assets by vessels, was temporarily placed aboard one of the guard boats, eliminating the need and expense of a second tug. The solution has the additional advantage of minimizing human error with smart rules that trigger automatic vessel notifications if a ship is on a collision course with the wreck. The system sets concentric electronic cordons at 5 nautical miles, 2 nautical miles and 500 metres around the shipwreck and automatically alerts vessels and the control team when vessels are predicted to come too close.

Dennis Brand, Managing Director for BMC said “We needed a partner that had a lot of hands-on experience with marking offshore hazards and Vesper Marine had done work similar to this all over the world.”

The system went live in June, then was relocated in August to a land-based location on the coast of Malaysia. This has further reduced costs, decreased liabilities for the insurer and enabled the marking and cordoning off of even more potential hazards.

The Vesper Marine solution is vitally important to the operation and safety of shipping in the area. The wreck is a dangerous obstacle at the precise location that marks the beginning of the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Singapore Strait, a critical area for one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Since the solution went live, 8011 vessels have been cautioned about their proximity to the danger zone.

Jeff Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Vesper Marine describes the wide scope of this innovative protection system, “The Guardian system is precisely designed for natural and manmade hazards, fixed and moving zones, and can be changed in real time with changing conditions. In the Singapore Strait situation, while managing safety of vessels around the wreck, as salvage operations progress, the zones can be redefined dynamically within our cloud based software, to enhance the safety of shipping, salvage operations and the efficiency of the shipping lane.”
Source: Vesper Marine

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