Simulated sailing of tankers
To validate the proposed safety measures of a project to transport crude oil, our department of Simulation, Training & Ports was contracted to carry out several real-time simulations.
Because of the unique environment and First Nations and stakeholder concerns about tanker safety, a number of environmental and safety measures have been proposed, including the use of purpose-built escort tugs. To validate some of these proposed measures, Northern Gateway contracted FORCE Technology’s department for Simulation, Training and Ports to carry out more than 100 real-time simulations of the 200 km (125 miles) route from the open sea to Kitimat and back with the assistance of BC Coast Pilots.
Fast-time simulationsThe process of simulating sailings with large tankers is structured around both fast-time simulations and real-time simulations. Fast-time simulations are runs made by a computer programmed with navigational parameters. They are made quickly and provide an overview of how to sail ships safely through different areas, for example where the route narrows. The fast-time simulations proved to Enbridge that the proposed marine routes could be navigated by vessels up to Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) class without the assistance of escort tugs for the design weather conditions.
Real-time simulationsAfter the fast-time simulations, FORCE Technology started real-time simulations. The real-time simulations verified for the BC Coast Pilots and Northern Gateway the conclusions of the fast-time simulations. The real-time simulations then assessed two-way, crossing traffic and emergency scenarios which provided Northern Gateway with additional information required to develop marine safety plans. Real-time simulations also focused on the number of tugs required for berthing and unberthing tankers at the marine terminal.
The advantage of real-time simulations is that both captains and local pilots navigate the same route under different weather conditions, thus gaining an overview of possible operational limitations and the optimal manoeuvring strategy for a given weather condition. Moreover, real-time simulations uncover possible technical and human errors under difficult conditions, thereby increasing seafarers’ ability to operate the ship safely in real life.