Originally Posted by gf0012-aust
thank god for that, I was wondering whether I'd missed something as commercial shipping had been doing this for yonks, so I was wondering why they were getting excited about something that was already standard practice on vessels a tad more complex than GM frigates...
Yep, I worked with a fully integrated ballast and stability system in a ship in 1992. Pretty basic but the system had remote detection of tank volumes and drafts (we always checked every day wiht dips) which fed into the stability system in the load computer. All ballast was remotely controlled from the cargo office with quite a bit of duplication on the bridge (no ballast controls in the engine control room). Even the load out came by EDIFACT file over INMARSAT (A in those days) and was dropped in the system by the ships network. All cargo planning was done this way as well as the lashing plan and and changes were sent back by SAT A. Vessel management and maintenance was done the same way (full electronic recording and reporting). It was clunky (the 486 and 386 computers we had were not exactly a digital grey hounds) but it worked....... and we were UMS with full bridge control and remote monitoring systems.
Since then shipboard increased integration has progressed. Integrated navigations systems (now being used on warships) have been developing over 20 years (the electronic chart arrangements have some shortcomings which need to be resolved but this effects all users ..... that what happens when you alllow a technician to develop a system .... not users) ..... none of this is new. Not a surprise that Seimens is one of the major players in this.
The large PAX vessels (noting a lot are now also pod driven) require the full modern IVMS as the professional crew is being reduced to increase the number of hotel staff to keep the shopping centre, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues going. These vessels have a massive power balance issue and have comprehensive systems for general operation (sewage, power, water, ventilation and all the fun stuff) was well as fire and damage control (some of the assumptions on how a ship may behave with extensive hull damage have been challenged by the Costa Concordia .... but lessons are learnt).
There is always the issue of crew competance and training in the use of such complex systems as they are bloody complex. When some numpty decides to tweak the system to fix and issue or something that bugs them it can have massive unintended issues ..... such as a complete black out and lots of head scratching.