Sennen Spotlights: Marine Coordination

29th March 2023

As part of our new series, Sennen Spotlights, this month we tackled Marine Coordination within the Sennen software, alongside the professional support and contributions of our Senior Consultant, Mike Young.

Week 1: Marine Map

This week we are focusing on marine maps and the importance of being able to filter live data according to the task in hand. 

There are many different marine management softwares out there, each designed to bridge a specific gap in a particular maritime industry. The Sennen marine map was designed in the control room of an operational offshore wind farm. It is unique in that it was designed specifically to manage the complex day to day activities of a large offshore wind farm. The key to making a perfect marine map is getting the balance right between not enough and too much data on screen. This is achieved with Sennen by having selectable data sets, map overlays and historical roll-back, where the user can select any date and time in the past and see all the data as it was.

Having a roll-back function to see the exact status at any time in the past was also a valuable tool, especially during incident investigations and contractual discussions with contractors and asset owners.

In a previous role, I managed the control room and a team of marine coordinators and it was important that each person could select the data that was relevant to their own roles and responsibilities. During mobilisation, for example, it was important to zoom in to the port area to see the activity of wind farm and non-wind farm vessels. During the day, we needed to see the number of people onboard each vessel and the transfers that had taken place. If we were working on a specific project we might want to see the inter-array cable network or the holes in the seabed left by installation vessels. All of the time, we had to keep an eye on accurate weather forecasts and live wave height data. Using the Sennen marine map meant we could customise the data we were seeing without making the visual experience too convoluted.

Mike Young, Senior Consultant – Offshore Wind, Sennen

Week 2: Vessel Data

This week we are focusing on how digitising vessel and aircraft data enables safer and smoother wind farm operations. With Sennen, this is covered by the Vessel Management and Transport Certificates dashboards.

Just like personnel and tools & equipment, vessels are an integral resource that need to be effectively managed. There can be several data streams originating from a vessel that need to be displayed. By integrating with the data streams, the Sennen offshore software tool is able to show the physical movements of a CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel) such as heave, sway, surge, roll, pitch and yaw. It can also show the engine characteristics such as throttle percentage, fuel levels and engine hours. This allows the control room and operator to fully understand the sea conditions as they are experienced by the vessel rather than looking at data from a forecast or a wave buoy/radar.

By integrating with personnel tracking equipment, communications equipment and having the day’s shift plan created within the Sennen shift planner, the software can also show who should be on a vessel and who actually is on a vessel. The operator is fully in control of what is happening out at sea. The software is also able to check that vessels or aircraft have all the necessary certificates and inspections, ensuring they are deployed safely. 

At London Array, before Sennen was deployed, it was often the case that a new vessel would arrive on site for a particular project accompanied by a large folder full of hard copies of certificates, licences and inspections. These would be shared with the marine coordinators to copy and store in yet another folder. Now, all vessel documents are recorded in a database that can be reviewed before the vessel even arrives. If anything is out of date or expires during the project, the marine coordinators are informed.

Mike Young, Senior Consultant – Offshore Wind, Sennen

Week 3: Exclusions Zones

This week we are focusing on exclusion zones, what they are for and how they are managed within the Sennen offshore software tool.

Right from the very beginning of an offshore wind farm project it might be necessary to ensure vessels do not enter a specific area of the wind farm – the exclusion zone. This could be because of seabed survey results, construction and operations activity, installed assets and other non-wind farm marine activity. An exclusion zone must be communicated to all associated parties including those not directly involved in the wind farm, for example the local fishing industry.

Before we implemented the Sennen software, when I was at London Array, we were only able to create basic zones on our marine map and they were only visible to the marine coordinators. The vessels operating on site were given a written list of the zones in the morning before sail. Any changes during the day had to be made via radio communications which often resulted in confusion. Also, the basic zones were not specific enough to the actual risk resulting in zones being far bigger than they needed to be. Now the zone data is live and shared with all users so they can all work from a centralised list.

Mike Young, Senior Consultant – Offshore Wind, Sennen

What’s more, users can customise exclusion zones to meet their exact requirements. Dynamic zones can be created in any shape and size to cover a specific risk area such as an exposed cable. Zones can even be attached to a moving object such as a construction vessel so that the zone is always relevant to the risk.

Week 4: Live Manifest

This week we are focusing on the manifest required before a vessel leaves the port. 

A manifest is a register of who is planned to be travelling onboard a vessel and the vessel master/captain needs it before they leave the port. The manifest will show a range of information but, at its most basic, it should show the names of the passengers (PAX), the vessel they will be travelling on, the collection port, the offshore assets they will be transferring to and the return port. In  realtity, however, things are never that simpleand  the manifest will change throughout the day in response to events in the field.

Sennen has a Live Manifest capability that allows any changes to be displayed instantly for all users to see. Whether the changes are due to staffing issues or an additional turbine down,  the plan for the shift can be quickly updated and  revised information will be visible to all in the Live Manifest. In this way,  everyone is kept aware of  exactly what vessels have sailed and which transfers have taken place. It also makes it easy to identify  SIMOPS (simultaneous operations) as the plans are changed, ensuring the new activities and locations interact with each other safely and efficiently.

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