Doubling up on tech to drive sustainability

MoorMaster, integrated with its shore power systems have moored and charged the world’s first fully electric car ferry, the ZeroCat MF Ampere
MoorMaster, integrated with its shore power systems have moored and charged the world’s first fully electric car ferry, the ZeroCat MF Ampere
MoorMaster reduces emissions by holding ships in the desired position without ships having to manoeuvre or use power to hold their position at the berth
MoorMaster reduces emissions by holding ships in the desired position without ships having to manoeuvre or use power to hold their position at the berth
Following the success of a pilot application at Salalah several years ago, the system has now been introduced at two further container berths
Following the success of a pilot application at Salalah several years ago, the system has now been introduced at two further container berths
At the Port of Salalah, for example, detailed studies have shown that MoorMaster has successfully reduced movement of large container vessels
At the Port of Salalah, for example, detailed studies have shown that MoorMaster has successfully reduced movement of large container vessels
Sofus Gedde-Dahl
Sofus Gedde-Dahl
Industry Database

Cavotec is increasingly combining the separate areas of automated mooring and shore power into an integrated package – one that delivers environmental and operational benefits in parallel, writes Sofus Gedde-Dahl, sales director e-ferries at Cavotec.

Timing is everything

Cavotec’s innovative unmanned mooring technology, MoorMaster, integrated with its shore power systems have moored and charged the world’s first fully electric car ferry, the ZeroCat MF Ampere, at two berths in Norway since it entered service in 2015.

The MoorMaster shore power unit is housed in a 9m high tower with Cavotec’s Automatic Plug-in System (APS) to ensure fast and safe charging of the Ampere’s battery unit, 17 times a day at each berth. APS automates the connection of cranes, ships and other mobile equipment to electrical power.

E-vessels tend to berth for relatively short periods of time. Reducing the time it takes to moor such vessels is therefore critical to ensure the necessary time for ship battery units to receive a sufficient charge before the next sailing.

MoorMaster is ideal for e-ferry applications because it reduces mooring times considerably and keeps vessels in pre-programmed positions. This maximises the amount of time available to charge ship battery units.

The technology also reduces overall CAPEX for operators and delivers substantial operational and safety benefits.

Due to the success of MoorMaster with Ampere, two fossil fuel powered vessels on the same route now also use the units to moor at the berths. This generates substantial fuel savings for the operator Norled, results in improved operational efficiency and reduces noise and air pollution.

With an estimated 6,000 calls made annually on the route, the air quality improvement and fuel cost savings compared to conventional mooring and power systems are considerable.

Electric and hybrid

The system is also operational at two berths in Finland with an electric hybrid ferry operated by FinFerries. The 90m-long vessel carries up to 90 vehicles and makes crossings – at 15-minute intervals during the day, and one round trip per hour at night – throughout the year and in all weather conditions.

These installations illustrate how Cavotec technologies are combining to ensure the quick and safe connection of vessels to electrical power in the passenger and vehicle ferry segment, where short turn-around times are critical.

In April this year, Cavotec announced orders valued at some €9m for automated mooring units at berths across Norway. When these projects are completed, Cavotec will have equipped more than 40 e-ferry ports across the region equipped with MoorMaster.

Increasingly, these benefits are being combined with the advantages of shore power. Following its aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40%, Norway has led the introduction of electrically powered and hybrid vessels.

Cavotec has become a crucial partner in this effort through its development of innovative automated charging interface and mooring technologies.

The rapid introduction of e-ferries in Norway has been the dominant driver for the wider adoption of MoorMaster in recent years, a development that we see being replicated in neighbouring markets such as Finland and Denmark.

Reduced emissions

Where vessels are hybrid or conventionally powered, MoorMaster reduces emissions by holding ships in the desired position without ships having to manoeuvre or use power to hold their position at the berth.

For larger vessels, MoorMaster also reduces reliance on tugs, thereby reducing emissions again.

It varies, of course, application to application, but in general, we estimate that reductions in emissions amount to more than 90% with MoorMaster during ship berthing due to reduced use of tugs and ship engines for manoeuvring.

Because MoorMaster units are programmed to hold vessels at set positions from and along the quay, emissions during cargo handling operations are also reduced, as vessels no longer need to move along the berth to maintain optimal loading positions.

Safety improvements

With conventional mooring techniques, ship and shore-side personnel continue to be exposed to the risk of severe – even fatal – injury. Incidents involving mooring line failure also regularly result in vessels moving adrift and colliding with other vessels and damaging infrastructure.

By removing mooring lines from the mooring process, MoorMaster dramatically reduces the risks associated with mooring.

Mooring lines present a considerable safety risk to personnel and an operational risk in terms of equipment damage. MoorMaster removes that risk altogether.

Operational efficiency

MoorMaster ensures that ships – especially larger vessels – remain stable at the berth to a far greater extent than is the case with conventional line-based mooring. This stability allows ports to handle larger numbers of containers or passengers more efficiently.

MoorMaster achieves this level of vessel stability with the help of hydraulics and PLC-based closed loop technology to actively control the position of vessels in surge and sway.

The PLC communicates with the hydraulics by way of pressure and position transducers to update the system on vessel position in real time. This information is then used to modify the hydraulic response of the system to ensure vessel motion is kept to the absolute minimum.

MoorMaster reduces vessel motion from swell, surge, and passing ships, thereby allowing ports to maintain optimal container and cargo transfer rates.

At the Port of Salalah, for example, detailed studies have shown that MoorMaster has successfully reduced movement of large container vessels prevalent during the annual Khareef season, from up to 2m to less than 0.1m.

Prior to the introduction of MoorMaster, vessels surged along the berth during the Khareef season, which in turn required cranes to be repositioned alongside vessels, reducing container transfer rates as a result.

Following the success of a pilot application at Salalah several years ago, the system has now been introduced at two further container berths, where MoorMaster units regularly moors container ships that are 400m in length, with teu capacity of up to 19,600, such as the MSC Eloane.

Infrastructure savings

In many cases, the introduction of MoorMaster paves the way for reduced infrastructure investment. The system improves pier utilisation by enabling closer vessel spacing and quay length is also extended as vessels that are moored with MoorMaster can have their bows overhanging the end of the quay.

MoorMaster can also potentially reduce breakwater extension needs. Breakwaters are used primarily to limit wave height and length in harbours.

Cavotec has developed a range of different types of the MoorMaster system that has supported its introduction at a variety of applications and berth types.

MoorMaster is extraordinarily adaptable, we manufacture a number of different models of the system to ensure that it can be retrofitted to existing berths as readily as new-build facilities.

New home

Cavotec recently opened a new, world-class production and engineering plant in Milan, where the group will continue to develop its automated mooring and shore power technologies.

The facility was built using the latest construction techniques and is fitted with both solar panels and thermal heating.

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