REMOTE CONTROL (real) SHIP
Ships, like aircraft, are
increasingly controlled by electronic systems.
Rolls-Royce has created a virtual-reality drone
prototype in Norway that simulates 360-degree views from
a vessel’s bridge. The latest supply ships serving
the offshore oil and gas industry in the North Sea, for
instance, use dynamic positioning systems which collect
data from satellites, and wind and motion sensors to
automatically hold their position.
Crewless ships are making mainstream for two reasons.
The first is safety. Most accidents at sea are the
result of human error. So, wity sophisticated sensors
and computer systems, autonomous vessels should make
shipping safer. As for piracy, with no hostages it
would be much easier for the armed forces to intervene.
The second reason is cost. For non-urgent cargo, it’s
best if the ships sail slowly because a 30% reduction in
speed by a bulk carrier can save around 50% in fuel.
But that would be at the expense of increased
expenditure on crew, as crew costs account for over 40
percent of operating expenses for large container ships.
Also, ships would be 5 percent lighter and burn 15
percent less fuel if the crew’s “hotel” were replaced
with cargo space and the electricity, air conditioning,
water, and sewage systems for the crew were eliminated.
Given the benefits, there are some hurdles that need to
be resoved before drone ships can roam the seas.
The ability of them to detect other vessels and take
avoiding action will be crucial. For this, radio
messages from other ships, along with those from
coastguards and port authorities will be automatically
routed to the shore captain.
Another important issue is the ships can be hacked by
modern technology pirates. This is why encrypted
data communication is high priority on the maritime
industry’s list before ghostly vessels ply the trade
While this new trend is good for many, it’s not
for ship captain profession. Very soon (Roll-Royce
said They might be deployed in regions such as the
Baltic Sea within a decade) , we’ll see 10 captains in
an onshore facility easily operate over 100 ships. As
for model ship enthusiasts, we are going to see less
attractive vessels, susch as ones that have a slim, tall
tower instead of the good looking superstructures
that partly serve as a hotel to the crews ? No
rails, no lifeboats, just the hull and the cargo
floating on water? The situation is becoming
just like the current streamlined warships as compared
to its elaborated, majestic-looking predecessors.