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Wärtsilä to provide turnkey electrical systems for four new roro ferries

Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to provide integrated turnkey electrical solutions for four new RoRo ferries being built at the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) yard in Germany. The electrical systems to be delivered include all products and services available from Wärtsilä SAM Electronics. The vessels are contracted by SIEM RoRo Carriers Ltd., and two will be chartered to Denmark's DFDS and two to EKOL of Turkey. The contract with Wärtsilä was signed in the second quarter of this year.

The full Wärtsilä scope of supply covers the electrical systems engineering and project management, supply and installation of the cables and equipment, Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum navigation and automation, external and internal communication systems, energy distribution, the lighting system, and the engine control room consoles. The contract started immediately and first equipment is scheduled for summer 2016.

The 11,000 deadweight ferries are 209 metres in length and have cabins for 12 drivers and capacity for 283 trailers.

"We have enjoyed a successful partnership with FSG for more than 20 years, and we are proud that this good cooperation is continued with these four vessels. The success of turnkey system integration depends very much on this kind of close relationship," says Stephan Kuhn, Vice President, Electrical & Automation, Wärtsilä.

"Wärtsilä SAM Electronics are fully familiar with the products and support required for these vessels, having repeated installations on these RoRo's for many years. With the full integration and repeat of the systems, we expect an improvement in efficiency and reduction in risk," says Alex Gregg-Smith, Managing Director of FSG.

Lightweight composite cabin unveiled

A new Lightweight Composite Cabin which will revolutionise the shipping sector was unveiled today in Southampton. This innovation has been funded by the UK Government’s ‘Innovate UK’ and DSTL.

A consortium of market leading companies and advisory bodies including Carnival UK, Gurit (UK) Limited, PE Composites Limited, University of Southampton, Trimline Limited and Lloyd’s Register have been involved with its designing, engineering, manufacturing and fitting out.

This highly innovative prototype is half the weight of a typical cabin and complies with the prescriptive requirements of the FTP Code.

Tom Royle, from Wizz Consultancy was inspired to design the module and knows the number one attraction this cabin will have, he said: “Reducing topside weight is becoming an increasing problem for naval architects as the trend for larger capacity ships continues. With this Lightweight Composite Cabin, the weight of each cabin is typically halved. This could open up opportunities for more cabins to be added to ships, without the added weight.”

He added, “I believe we have finally created something which is the future for anyone working with the building or maintenance of ships.”

Today’s launch included access to a display cabin which has been assembled and fitted out like a cruise cabin to highlight the incredible high quality finish these modules can provide.

New generation cable transits designed to embrace change structured cabling systems onboard cruise ships see a lot of change

By Ruben Wansink and James P. Stahl

 The average person is seemingly tethered to their electronic devices with a near compulsive need to check email, texts, or update social media profiles. The cruise lines have responded by investing millions of dollars in infrastructure to provide wireless internet access for customers. The irony of going wireless is the amount of actual wire or cable required to support sophisticated data and communication networks. Today’s cruise ships even incorporate onboard data centers to keep passengers connected. One thing is for certain when it comes to technology, and that is change is inevitable. As newer generation technology becomes available, quite often the network cabling must be modified or replaced. In structured cabling parlance, such modifications are referred to as cable moves, additions, or changes, or MAC work.

 While new generation technology platforms trigger MAC work, the one area that has not kept up with the times are the cable transits through which the cables are routed through bulkheads and decks. The most common type of cable transit consists of a steel frame fitted with rubber blocks (See Figure 1). Each individual cable is routed through a rubber block and secured within the frame by wedge plates. Often referred to as a “multi cable transit”, these devices were first developed for shipboard use in the early 1950s. The designs have been refined many times over the years, and compared to the original devices, the modern versions represent marked improvement. However, when it comes to the volume of cable required to support today’s networks, these traditional cable transits can be cumbersome. To make a simple cable change requires loosening of the wedge plate assembly and rubber blocks. The new cable has to be routed and then the blocks and wedge plates need to be re-assembled and tightened. Compounding the problem can be when a greater density of cables is required to be routed through a transit frame than the frame can accommodate.

 To provide greater flexibility in terms of the cable arrangement, some shipyards have replaced the traditional block and frame cable transits with welded steel sleeves and flexible sealant systems. Such systems can often increase cable fill percentage and provide ease of installation. However, they still have limitations in that the liquid-applied sealants cure to a rubber-like consistency and the cables are effectively glued together. While the cured seal can be cut into to add or remove cables, this still requires diligence to re-seal the opening to patch or repair the damaged seals.

New Cable Transit Technology

Over the past few years, a new cable transit technology has emerged. These transit devices are purpose-made to handle cables passing through non-watertight bulkheads and decks that will be subject to frequent moves, additions, and changes (See Figure 2). The new generation transits incorporate self-sealing foam pads that automatically adjust to the cable load. As cables are inserted, the pads retract, thereby allowing the cables to pass through unchecked. After the cables are installed, the pads rebound to tightly seal around the grouped cables. The soft, supple foam conforms to the cables. In the event of a fire, the pads are intumescent, which means they will expand with heat to form a dense, insulative char that resists passage of flames, hot gases, and smoke in accordance with IMO FTP requirements.

These cable transit devices feature mounting plates that can be welded or screw-attached to bulkheads or decks. Individual cable transits can be ganged together to increase cable capacity. The convenient design of the transits and the associated mounting plates also maximizes the volume of cable that can be installed into a given area, which means the openings in the bulkheads or decks can be reduced both in terms of size as well as the number required

 Self-Sealing Cable Transit Advantages

Ship owners and operators benefit long term. Since self-sealing cable transits always remain sealed, there is no risk that they would ever be left unsealed like traditional cable transits, thereby eliminating compliance issues during safety surveys while safeguarding passenger safety. The added benefit is that cable changes can be made remotely by leaving pulling strings inside the cable transits. This can be a major benefit by reducing trips up the ladder and avoiding damaging overhead ceiling tiles. Cable moves, adds, and changes are made quickly and efficiently, without the need to re-open transit frames or make new openings in the division during refurbishment.      

Selecting the Right Environment for Self-Sealing Cable Transits

As advantageous as self-sealing cable transits can be, they are specifically intended for use in non-watertight divisions. Cable penetrations in watertight divisions should still use cable transit products that provide a hermetic seal such as a traditional block and transit frame or a liquid-applied sealant. The self-sealing cable transits provide an excellent air and smoke seal, but it is not a hermetic seal and thus they are not rated for use in watertight divisions. Nevertheless, in cruise line construction, a great deal of the penetrations will occur in non-watertight divisions and therefore, shipyards and ship owners can expect substantial cost and time savings.

Self-Sealing Cable Transits Are Here to Stay

Shipyards have clamored for a better way to address cable penetrations in non-watertight divisions for decades. With the introduction of self-sealing cable transits, such as STI Marine’s EZ-Path Marine Cable Transit (See Figure 4), the dream is now reality. Certification and Classification Societies, including DNV GL, ABS, BV, and others, have rigorously examined this new class of products. In fact, IACS published a document in February 2013 identified as FTP6, which included additional provisions for evaluating non-traditional cable transits. Beyond that which is required for the traditional cable transits, self-sealing cable transits have been evaluated to the additional testing and design criteria to verify performance. The resulting published Type Approvals validate conformance to both the IMO FTP as well as the additional criteria imposed by FTP6, assuring ship builders and owners of the safety and compliance of the devices. As shipyards continue to integrate self-sealing cable transits, and owners demand their use, this new class of products is quickly becoming the benchmark standard for cable penetrations in non-watertight divisions.    

Ruben Wansink is Head of Marine Sales for Europe for STI Marine. James P. Stahl, CFPS is Vice President & General Manager of STI Marine. STI Marine is a leading manufacturer of cable transits and penetration sealing systems for use in fire-rated bulkheads and decks. Email Ruben at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or James at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RENK gears up new facility with symposium

The German gear and transmission powerhouse and global market leader held its five-yearly symposium at Augsburg headquarters on 10-11 May. Part of the MAN Group, RENK used the occasion and venue to showcase not only its latest €55 million state-of-the-art production and test facility, but also as the platform to present to its customers and other stakeholders, the advances that have been made in its product range.

Titled “Propulsion Experts Meet at RENK” this year’s theme was “Innovative Trends in Marine Drive Trains” with nearly two hundred participants from twenty-nine countries located around the world. They heard selected speakers give lectures on a variety of relevant subjects, who then fielded questions afterwards.

Among high-profile topics covered were the USA’s Littoral Combat Ship program, the Italian Navy’s newbuilding strategy and Lürssen Yacht’s experience building megayachts – most noticeably the world’s largest: AZZAM. An outline of the Columbian Navy and its vessel procurement up to 2030 added an exotic touch.

Of particular interest to the large VIP section was the RENK AED© which stands for Advanced Electric Drive. This manages to combine high-speed electric motors with a reduction gear unit and is an attracttive alternative to direct-drive electric systems due its compact volume, lighter weight and quieter noise operational levels.

The testing section is the largest and most advanced of its type in Europe and though officially opened at the start of this year, it is so sophisticated that the final finishing touches were still being done to some parts as the organizers pointed out. However when it is commissioned soon, the multifunctional facility will be able to test prototypes or special equipment be they for the shipbuilding, automobile or industrial customers.

It is so large and comprehensive, the array of hi-tech hardware and software is available for external propulsion systems or components producers to perform their own test in addition to those carried out by RENK on its products.

Test Bed Manager Christian Bechtel explains “The unique characteristic of this multifunctional facility is that we literally have a lot to offer in the four assets of oil, water, electrics and perfect mechanics. All of these features benefit our customers when they thoroughly test their propulsion systems and components before installing them. It is one of the few worldwide to allow customers to personally experience testing in close proximity while protected from potential hazards.”

Environmental congress at SMM to focus on efficiency, emission cuts and digitalisation

The global maritime environmental congress (GMEC), which will be part of the SMM trace event in Hamburg, will put the focus on alternative propulsion systems, digital transport control and refined measurement electronics.

GMEC, which will be held on 6 September, will discuss how to improve efficiency in shipping while cutting emissions.

On the one hand, the tough situation in the market forces shipping companies to keep the prices for their services at competitive levels, which mainly means they have to increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

On the other hand, ever stricter international standards require investments in environmental technologies. “And customers also expect the companies to demonstrate sustainable management – that is why Green Propulsion is a major focus at SMM, the leading international maritime trade fair, to be held in Hamburg from 6 to 9 September 2016,” SMM said in a statement

The importance of this subject is also evident from the presence of leading international experts who have accepted the invitation to speak at the GMEC.

On 6 September 2016 they will address three key issues – Harmful Air Emissions, Big Data, and Alternative Energy. Speakers include Arsenio A. Dominguez from IMO, Dr Martin Stopford from Clarksons Research, Tom Boardley from Lloyd’s Register, and Oskar Levander from Rolls Royce Marine. Tickets for GMEC are now available at an early-bird discount for €350 at

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the global driver in maritime environmental protection. The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is right up front in this effort, so we are very pleased to welcome its Chairman Arsenio A. Dominguez as a keynote speaker at GMEC.

The way to significant reductions in emissions to the atmosphere will be addressed by David Dingle, CEO of Carnival UK, drawing on practical experience – the Carnival group has allocated more than $400 million to equip more than 70 cruise ships with emission control systems and flue gas cleaning equipment that combines scrubbers for sulphur cleaning with diesel particulate filters.

The classification companies are a key partner for shipping companies in technical implementation of environment protection measures. Their experts know what really works. Tom Boardley, Executive Vice President of Lloyd’s Register, will explain at GMEC where he sees opportunities for further technical improvements to achieve sustainable emission reductions.

Martin Stopford sees “Big Data” as the key topic for the future of the industry. As longstanding head of Clarksons Research, a maritime research and consulting company, he believes that shipping is moving into a process of fundamental change.

Smart Shipping calls for investments in tools such as sensor-controlled information, satellite communication, data storage, user-friendly apps, IT systems and automation – keeping up with the technology will be essential in the market.

Inmarsat Maritime has the necessary equipment in its portfolio – key innovations will be presented by its President Ronald Spithout.

Propulsion solutions will be presented by Oskar Levander, Vice-President of engine manufacturer Rolls Royce Marine.

China recently announced its intention to create emission control areas around its coasts. Limits for sulphur emissions are to be applied from 2018 onwards, on the same basis as the existing SECAs (Sulphur Emission Control Areas) in the North Sea and the Baltic and off the North American coasts.

Seven of the world’s top ten container terminals are located in China. Dual-fuel engines will be essential, but the industry has long been working on alternatives to conventional fuel. The clear favourite is liquefied natural gas (LNG). Classification company DNV GL is one of the front runners in development of this technology. Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO Maritime of DNV GL, knows the technical challenges and describes how to accelerate build-up of the necessary infrastructure.

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