Situational Awareness Solution Helps Crew in Difficult Times

Brittany Ferries Salamanca Ferry. (Photo: Brittany Ferries)

Wärtsilä Voyage, part of the Wärtsilä Technology Group, said its Intelligent Panoramic Camera System (SPECS) will be used by Brittany Ferries to improve the safety and efficiency of its passenger ferry operations. SPECS will first be installed on board the Salamanca – the 214.5-metre, 1,015-passenger ferry that began operations between Portsmouth, England, and Bilbao, Spain, in March 2022.

Navigating busy ports and docking are two of the most difficult aspects of ferry operations, Wärtsilä said. Increased vessel sizes, introduced in line with ‘safe return to port’ regulations, and harsh weather conditions mean that the margin for error in these maneuvers is minimal. SPECS Super Wide Cameras are designed to give the crew a 360° view, from the edge of the hull to the horizon, streamed directly to the deck in real time. Live distance indications to objects around the vessel reduce the risk of collision, protecting passengers, crew and the ferry, while better visibility helps captains navigate rough seas, the company said.

With hectic schedules to keep to, the minutes spent maneuvering on either side of a trip can also quickly add up to costs. Efficiency gains achieved through SPECS system assistance can maximize swap time and minimize fuel consumption, Wärtsilä said. By saving fuel, Brittany Ferries also reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, advancing the company’s sustainability strategy.

“When the captain is confident in his maneuvers, it improves safety, saves time and fuel,” said Arnaud Le Poulichet, Engineering and Maintenance Manager, Brittany Ferries. “This clear and solid return on investment makes adopting SPECS a clear decision. But there is more to embracing digitization. The use of the latest technology also plays an important role in attracting a high quality crew. By having innovative technology on board, we are making sailing attractive to a new generation of seafarers – who we need to engage in the industry.

“SPECS will help Salamanca’s crew increase their situational awareness while enabling Brittany Ferries to improve operational safety and efficiency,” said Sasha Heriot, Product Manager, Assistance Systems, Wärtsilä Voyage. “The company’s proactivity in adopting cutting-edge technologies is impressive and will enable it to remain one of the main operators of cross-Channel ferries.

“It is also encouraging that Brittany Ferries shares our vision of a high-tech future for bridge systems and is excited not only about the benefits that SPECS can bring today, but also how the technology will progress and develop. in the future. SPECS provides the baseline situational data that will make this vision a reality and we are delighted to partner with Brittany Ferries on this digital journey.

SPECS also enables a host of other functions. Processed data can be exported for use in simulation and training. Brittany Ferries plans to use the data to show other crews how maneuvers can be performed in specific conditions and ports. Exporting to simulation facilities can also enable thorough investigation of any vessel incident and thus reduce the risk of similar occurrences.


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