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The alternative to helicopter dominance – Damen’s FCS 7011

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Damen FCS 7011 Concept

An alternative to helicopter dominance

Offshore projects can be quite some distance from the shore and the further out they venture the more the challenges can increase when transporting personnel. In the case of crew transport, Damen has designed a water-borne solution that is intended to be safer, more comfortable and more cost effective than traditional helicopter transport with the Damen FCS 7011 ( fast crew supplier )

Some Offshore projects are increasing their distance from shore.

FCS 7011 Design

Offshore oil and gas companies such as Shell, BP and ExxonMobil had particular requirements in areas such as speed, sea state, transfer window time and comfort levels on board the vessel, explained Damen’s business development manager, David Stibbe.

Design work started in late 2015. At the time Damen already had ideas surrounding a high-speed crew transfer vessel and it began seeking input from customers to ensure the new vessel met their needs. The FCS 7011 design is now finalised. Tank testing is completed and construction of the first vessel is anticipated to start in Q3 of 2018 in Turkey, with completion expected by the end of Q2 2020, according to Mr Stibbe.

Assistance was also provided by research institutions such as TU Delft, a maritime engineering and hydrodynamics-focused Netherlands-based technical university.

TU Delft carried out tank-testing with a 2.8 m 1:25 scale model of the vessel undergoing testing at 30 and 40 knots to simulate 2-3 m significant wave heights. It was found that the vessel’s movements became calmer as the speed increased.

Some key features of the Damen Fast Crew Supplier 7011

The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) advised on how to minimise motion sickness and boost passenger comfort through a host of methods, including the positioning of seating and windows, window size, ceiling height, HVAC systems, vessel layout, and even what drinks should and should not be served to passengers.

Sea Axe bow concept

“the Sea Axe bow shape reduces any uncomfortable slamming that might occur during high-speed transits.”

Vessels in the crew supply role are often catamarans, however the Damen design is a monohull called Sea Axe. This hull design came about after Damen sought cooperation between Delft University of Technology, MARIN and the US Coast Guard. Damen’s exclusively licensed and patented ‘Sea Axe’ hull shape was designed to provide high speed vessels extrodinary seakeeping characteristics, improved crew safety and comfort and fuel efficiancies. The vessels exhibit superior motion behaviour and significantly lower resistance through the water. This leads to a cut in fuel usage of 20% and, consequently, lower emissions.

“the Sea Axe bow shape reduces any uncomfortable slamming that might occur during high-speed transits. This is because the forward energy of the vessel allows it to go through the waves, instead of going over them,” said Damen product portfolio manager for research Albert Rijkens.

Sea Axe Bow

Another aspect of testing involved the vessel’s resistance at speed.

“Our results showed that, due to its long and narrow hull, the FCS 7011 has relatively low resistance at speed” said Mr Rijkens.

Positioned at the stern of the model, the FCS 7011’s ride control system – which measures ship movement and continuously determines the position of active control mechanisms through these signals – was also put through its paces. “The effectiveness of the system – enabling us to improve comfort levels even further – was also validated in these tests,” added Mr Rijkens.  

“The forward energy of the vessel allows it to go through the waves, instead of going over them”

Ampelmann Marine Access

Walk-to-work

Damen collaborated with Ampelmann on the walk-to-work gangway and Veem on the vessel’s stabilizing gyroscope. Measuring 28 m long, the gangway enables a continuous flow of personnel and is capable of transferring 50 people in five minutes. The gangway also comes with Seaqualize balancing technology, resulting in enhanced energy efficiency. Veem’s VG 1000 SD stabilizer gives the gangway a roll reduction of up to 70% in 2.5 m significant wave heights.

Dynamic positioning capability is provided by Kongsberg, and the DP2 design provides a broad range of marine access solutions for sea states of up to 3.0 Hs. The vessel will be able to land personnel on platforms and floating production units up to a landing height of 20 m.

Damen FCS 7011 Access Concept

The gangway is optional, however Damen says the vessel represents the next generation of crew change and hence it does not see basket-based transfers as being part of the equation. The stabiliser is also optional, but Mr Stibbe pointed out that while omitting this would save money and weight, it would negatively affect roll-reduction capabilities while at a standstill. While Damen is in discussions with other suppliers, such as Netherlands-based SMST, the first vessel at least will be equipped with the Ampelmann gangway system.

Interior Concept Damen FCS 7011

Interior

Aspects of the design such as hull length are standardized, however the vessel’s interior allows for a high degree of customization.

“High-density seating can accommodate up to 150 persons “

A luxury solution incorporates lie-flat seats where capacity reduces to less than 100. There is also provisions for meeting rooms and accommodation spaces are placed amidships to maximize comfort.

Crew transport seating Damen FCS 7011
Seating with Entertainment and storage Damen FCS 7011

Engine options

The engine configuration sees several layouts available. The default configuration involves four MTU 4000 engines giving 12.5 – 14.4 mW, producing speeds of up to 40 knots. Other alternatives are Caterpillar and Cummins systems.

Damen FCS 7011 by Metal Shark

Buyers

The vessel has attracted most interest from Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, according to Mr Stibbe, but operators in new frontier areas such as Guyana are also expressing interest.

For the US and Gulf of Mexico market Damen has selected Metal Shark to build and produce the FCS 7011

Metal Shark is an American shipyard based in Franklin, Louisiana, that has indoor construction and direct deepwater access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Data is powerful Damen FCS 7011 Bridge concept

Results to speak for themselves

“Most questions from oil companies are about workability.” according to Damen’s business development manager David Stibbe. With the FCS 7011 Damen gives its customers access to multiple analysis tools so a client has transparency in regard to the the performance and costs of the FCS 7011. One of these tools provides detailed operational expenditure that includes daily costs and maintenance costs. A second tool is a hardware in the loop ‘digital twin’ of the yacht providing accurate models of systems and equipment characteristics, vessel limitations and how it handles in various sea conditions. Along with this, the gangway system and DP controller, a client will see the vessels workability and advantages as a fast crew supplier.

While operators may still retain helicopters for VIP transport and search-and-rescue purposes, Mr Stibbe sees vessels such as the FCS 7011 becoming the main offshore workhorses. In time the 7011’s data analysis features will give oil companies the information they need to determine where helicopters, or water borne alternatives, should sit in the mix over the coming years.

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Superyachts & Tenders

DAMEN launches first SeaXplorer expedition yacht

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On 31 October the first DAMEN SeaXplorer luxury expedition yacht emerged from her building hall in the Netherlands.

first DAMEN 62m SeaXplorer expedition yacht launched
first DAMEN 62m SeaXplorer expedition yacht launched. Credit: DAMEN

DAMEN’s first ever SeaXplorer has just been completed and it’s a 62-metre custom-designed yacht that will be handed over to her owners in early 2020, She will be the first delivery from the DAMEN SeaXplorer range offered by yacht builder AMELS and DAMEN.

The 62-metre SeaXplorer is a customised design with naval architecture completed by Damen’s in house design team and exterior lines by Azure Yacht Design. The owners selected Carlo Torre of Monaco Yacht Temptation to create the interior design and the Fraser technical team to supervise the build.

first DAMEN 62m SeaXplorer expedition yacht launched
The inaugural SeaXplorer will be handed over to the owners in early 2020. Credit: DAMEN

The Polar Class yacht has expedition facilities for 30 days of autonomy, a fully certified helideck and helicopter hangar, plus two large tender garages and a dive store. The power generation consists of a Siemens BlueDrive system with three variable speed generator sets and DC bus. In combination with electrical propulsion motors and a battery pack, the yacht has an economical and environmentally friendly configuration.

Outfitting of the DAMEN SeaXplorer yacht took place at the Vlissingen East yard, located just a few kilometers from the yacht builder’s Vlissingen City yard where AMELS yachts are completed. The DAMEN SeaXplorer range was introduced in 2015, a crossover innovation created by a top team of experts including the SeaXplorer design team, the Damen Research Laboratory, Azure Yacht Design and EYOS Expeditions, who provided hundreds of operational design features based on their real-world expedition experience.

first DAMEN 62m SeaXplorer expedition yacht launched
Leaving the shed in Vlissingen, Netherlands. Credit DAMEN

Raymond Weil Freelancer Skeleton has an ultra sleek design featuring an open-work dial revealing sophisticated swiss movements.
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Echo Yachts launches new range of fully customizable 27m catamarans

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Echo Yachts launch new range of fully customizable 27m catamaran Motoryachts and Shadow Vessels ahead of the 2019 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS).

Australian custom superyacht builder Echo Yachts are pleased to announce the addition of two new, fully customizable 27m catamaran Motoryacht and Shadow Vessel designs to their recently launched ‘Design Collection’.

Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design is responsible for the exterior styling and layout of the innovative, stable and high-volume catamarans which feature a progressive arrangement and chiselled modern styling aesthetic with extensive glass surfaces on the superstructure.

Echo-Yachts-27m-catamaran-motoryacht-and-shadow-vessel
Echo Yachts – 27m catamaran Motoryacht and Shadow Vessel designs. Credit: Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design

One of the primary design features is the 53m2 beach club and aft entertaining space. A unique central companionway provides cabins direct access to beach club. With the water toys cleared off the aft deck and central hydraulic platform lowered, the entire stern area becomes a beautiful waterfront retreat, out of the wind and with entertaining in mind. Space for multiple jet skis, sea bobs and tenders – all protected from the weather take just minutes to launch and retrieve.

Notably the layout focuses on utilization of the above deck areas for living and entertaining, with majority of cabins below deck. The sumptuous Master Cabin of over 50m2 includes an option of a private owner’s den in the port hull. Discrete crew cabins access, dumbwaiter to serve the formal areas upstairs.

A raised pilothouse with full walk-arounds provides excellent 360-degree views, including a full glass atrium effect for skylight views. Options for elevators and wide hallways support disabled access if required.

Echo-Yachts-27m-catamaran-motoryacht-design-collection-2
Echo Yachts 27m catamaran motoryacht. Credit: Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design

The Shadow Vessel option provides support needs for motherships and stand-alone adventure cruising. With a fast transit and relocation speed of 25 knots these unique vessels provide the functionality usually only seen in much larger vessels offering helicopter operations, decompression chamber / dive room, gym, additional crew accommodation and luxurious guest cabins.

Echo-Yachts-design-collection-27m-shadow-vessel
Echo Yachts design collection – 27m shadow vessel with helicopter. Credit: Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design

Crewing requirements and operating expenses are minimized through simplicity of layout and design. Utilizing the proven benefits of the catamaran hull, including natural stability, shallow draft, high tunnel clearance, excellent efficiency and the redundancy of having twin engine rooms, each vessel type provides ultimate enjoyment whether it be optioned for private or charter operations.

top-view-of-the-Echo-Yachts-27m-catamaran-motoryacht-design-collection
Top view of the Echo Yachts 27m catamaran motoryacht. Credit: Misha Merzliakov Yacht Design

The Echo Yachts team provides the benefit of decades of multi-hull and aluminium construction experience, combined with the capacity to complete new builds quickly and to high standards. A build time frame of 18 months is projected for these vessels.

Larger variants are currently under development. Echo Yachts’ total design flexibility ensures the concept can be adapted to a broad range of sizes, models and purpose, to fulfill any client or regionally specific requirements.

Echo Yachts will be attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show held 30th October – 3rd November and available for sales and trade inquiries.

Raymond Weil Limited Edition Bob Marley tango GMT Watch. Only 1,500 world-wide.
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Anti-drone technology for superyachts

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anti-drone-yacht

There’s no real need to go into the numbers. We all know someone with a drone, there’s millions and millions of them worldwide and the numbers are only going to grow as well as their abilities. They are cheap, easy to buy and can fulfill some incredible tasks.

Drone technology also outpaces the laws governing their use and this creates an uncomfortable scenario. As we have seen in the past, great, useful technology can at some point also be used for harm and undesirable purposes and superyacht owners are fully aware of the growing threat that drones pose to privacy, safety & security on board their yachts.

When you have what is essentially an impressive display of wealth sitting alone in the water, and the mass availability and low barrier to entry for drones, the temptation for others to pry or breach security is a real threat. Paparazzi intrusion using drones approaching superyachts is already a recognised and growing problem.

As Droneworks Studios shows in the video below, anti-drone technology is already being used on superyachts, with Droneworks detailing their experience flying a drone near billionaire Roman Abramovich’s superyacht, Eclipse. Skip to the 3:50 mark to get to the main part.

So what has been developed to date as a counter measure against possible drone incursions and how do they work?

Firstly – Anti drone systems need to detect them
Secondly – Identify them
Thirdly – Track them (and record if possible for later prosecution of offenders)
Fourth – Disable/Disrupt the drone from operating in the undesired area.

So how are drones and UAV’s disabled and disrupted once detected?

Consumer drones are usually controlled through the public part of the radio spectrum (either 2.4 or 5.8 GHz). Firing radio waves at those specific frequencies—jamming them—makes a drone deaf to its controller, which would cause the drone to return home or settle to the ground. A similar outcome would occur if you jammed the GPS frequency or what’s called the low-frequency L-band.

If a drone approaches within a certain distance of a prohibited zone, most of the below systems would jam its WI-Fi and sever its connection to its controller over the 2.4 or 5.8 GHz range. If the drone keeps coming that would mean it had been programmed to attack or infiltrate, and at that point the system would jam its GPS frequencies.

So what are some of the currently available systems?

Martek Marine – M.A.D.S systems

Martek Anti-Drone have developed the M.A.D.S™ (marine anti drone system). M.A.D.S™ is a modular system which is capable of detecting all drones within a 5km range while providing you with accurate GPS positioning of both drone and pilot and the option to defeat a drone should it be deemed a threat. M.A.D.S is a flexible marinised system with great benefits for the maritime market and can be used for any application related to water; yachts, ships, ports, sea platforms, coastguard vessels, navy vessels and much more

The system comprises of two radomes, one to detect, and one to defeat drones. “In the defeat dome, there are a lot of modules with antennas, and in the detection dome, there are omni- and directional-sensing modules with antennas,” says Erik van Wilsum, Martek’s head of counter-­unmanned aircraft ­systems. “We’re aiming for the best base solution with a single type of sensor,” and customers can add other ­sensors. “We don’t interfere with the yacht’s other communications, We evoke the drone to go home by creating a busy network. … It’s legal and CE-approved.”

The system can also be complimented with a portable drone disruptor.

Martek marine anti drone system
The M.A.D.S system comprises of two radomes. Credit: Martek Marine
Martek marine anti drone system portables
A portable hand held drone disruptor is also available. Credit: Martek Marine

M.A.D.S Key Features:

  • 5 km drone detection range
  • 5 km drone identification range
  • 1 km drone disruption (defeat) range
  • 2 x 70cm diameter radomes
  • Specially marinised IP66 Ingress protection rated
  • 30 kg and 27 kg radome weights
  • Extra handheld disruptor also available

OTHER SYSTEMS THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE ADAPTED FOR SUPERYACHTS:

BlackSage UASX-L7 Automatic Drone Disruptor

blacksage-uasx-l7-automatic-drone-disruptor-drone-detection
Black Sage UASX L7 automatic drone detection and drone disruptor. Photo: Black Sage Tech

UASX-L7 Key Features:

  • 7 km drone detection range
  • 3 km automated drone identification range
  • 3 km drone disruption (defeat) range
  • Recording When a UAS operator is charged criminally, forensics data with instant replay showing flight paths, aircraft characteristics and timestamps will ensure successful prosecution.
  • Illuminators and lasers are also available to deny imagery capture of sensitive sites.

Black Sage TD1 Tactical Drone Disruptor.

The BlackSage TD1 handheld tactical disruptor is a lightweight, flexible and rapidly deployable platform for directional radio disruption. An AR15 training rifle base (non-ITAR) provides a familiar user interface requiring no learning curve to use. Pick up the rifle, select from multiple disruption frequencies and address the target with confidence. The TD1 can be deployed within seconds and requires minimal training. Compared to mounted and automated anti-drone systems the BS-500 is lightweight, compact, flexible and very affordable. 

black sage td1 tactical drone disruptor drone detection
Black Sage TD1 handheld tactical drone disruptor. Photo: Black Sage Tech

TD1 Key Features:

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple customizable disruption frequencies

ELTA Systems ELI-4030 Drone Guard

ELTA’s Drone Guard is an operationally proven multi-sensor multi-layer C-UAS solution developed for the military and homeland security market. Military grade and rugged for all types of environments, the Drone Guard is a modular turn-key solution that covers all aspects of counter threatening UAS. Portable, light weight and with low power consumption, the Drone Guard is user friendly and intuitive making it an ideal option for a wide range of users and agencies. The modules were developed by ELTA specifically for Drone Guard hence creating a compact solution solely focused on drone detection and protection.

IAI Eli 4030 drone guard
ELTA Eli 4030 drone guard. Photo: ELTA Systems

4030 Drone Guard Key Features:

  • 4.5 km drone detection range
  • 4.5 km Tracking range
  • 2.5 km automated drone identification range
  • 2 km drone disruption (defeat) range

NON FREQUENCY JAMMING – DRONE DESTROYING OPTIONS:

Boeing HEL MD

Boeing thinks a great way to defeat a drone is not just to disrupt its motion, but hit it with a precision laser, burn a hole in it, and bring it down.

In August of 2015, Boeing showed off its Compact Laser Weapon System for media in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the demo, Boeing used the laser to burn holes in a stationary, composite UAV shell, to show how fast it can compromise an aircraft. Two seconds at full power and the target was on fire. The 2 kilowatt infrared laser has no visible beam and does not create a Hollywood style explosion. Instead the surface of the drone is super-heated by the invisable laser until it melts or catches fire.

Boeing HEL MD high energy laser mobile demonstrator
Boeing HEL MD (high energy laser mobile demonstrator). Photo: Jordan Golson/wired

Boeing hasn’t specified its range, but acording to Wired, Boeing company representatives suggested that if you can see a target, even with binoculars, you can destroy it.

Depending on the target’s speed and distance, Boeing’s weapon can fire its laser within an inch or two of what it wants to hit. Because the laser moves at the speed of light, it’s easier to be precise—there’s no need to lead the target. The speed of the gimbal is the primary limitation on the targeting front.

Although current HEL MD prototypes are meant to be used from static positions, the anti drone system could be used on a moving vehicle or ship with minimal upgrades. “This represents a low-cost way to deal with the threat,” said David DeYoung, director of Boeing Laser & Electro-Optical Systems. Boeing hasn’t revealed a total price of the system, but does say it’s a one off purchase. Once you’ve got the system, the only cost is providing the power.

HEL MD Key Features:

  • Unspecified detection range
  • Unspecified destroying range
  • 2 kw infrared laser
  • 1-2 inch accuracy

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