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Project Title:

The Optimal Navigation Support System

Project Reference:


Project Website:

not available

Start Date: 2001-07-01 End Date: 2003-06-30

In the past the navigation of ships has been more of an art than a science, relying heavily on the knowledge and skills of captains to maximise ship safety and navigational efficiency. There have been some supporting developments in this area including the introduction of limited hull monitoring systems and the availability of sea and weather state information but these have been very restricted in their application. There is a need for a system to support ships' captains in strategic voyage planning from the perspective of efficiency and safety and with decision support capabilities that allow them to integrate on-board stress monitoring with sea and weather state information to support optimal tactical navigational choices during the course of any voyage. As ships become larger and more sophisticated issues of tracking fatigue and ensuring appropriate maintenance become more complex. This requires the ability to track the actual experience of the ship so that a comprehensive picture of the stresses it has been subjected to can be created and used as the basis for planned and preventative maintenance. OPTINAV seeks to address these issues in a comprehensive and integrated was and has the potential to improve both the safety and the economics of the shipping industry.


OPTINAV has three sets of objectives related to the past, present and future of a ship. For the past OPTINAV will enable a record of the stresses experienced by the ship, most importantly correlated with the prevailing sea and weather state information at the time, to be built up. It will also provide valuable information to insurers of the ship, potential purchasers and captains again, who will benefit from being able to understand how the stresses in the ship responded to actions taken in the past for a given set of ship, sea and weather data. For the present OPTINAV will measure actual stress levels in the ship and compare these with acceptable tolerance levels. It will provide the captain of the ship with continuously updated information on the remaining fatigue life of the ship on the basis of actual stresses incurred during the current voyage. For the future OPTINAV will offer innovations in both the long term and short-term perspectives of the voyage. In the long term it will offer the facility to combine ship, sea state and weather information to plan the best available route. In the short term it will combine the three sets of data to provide the captain with a clear idea of the stresses that the ship will experience over the next few minutes, half and hour, hour, etc. if he continues with his current course and speed and help him to identify alternatives if the response of the ship is expected to be outside its normal tolerances.

Description of Work:

The principal activities of OPTINAV will focus on:
- Creating a system that will anticipate oncoming difficult navigational situations either jointly or separately, for hull structure, ship's equipment/performance, passengers and cargo, based upon continuously monitored data;
- developing reliable methods of automatic monitoring, prediction and shore-based expert guidance;
- creating an advanced yet flexible system of data logging and processing;
- providing a means of continuous review of ship's fatigue life which will be used to prioritise maintenance requirements;
- exploring new algorithms for extracting implicit relationships within databases and through information from the load cycle spectra to assist in planning of inspection and maintenance of the ship; and
- using the above data and algorithms to minimise costs by anticipating major defects and to provide a uniform level of reliability throughout a ship's life.
The proposed work within the project is structured into seven distinct but complementary workpackages.
WP1 is focused on the identification of requirements across a broad range of users including captains, other crew, naval architects, ship owners, ship buyers, ship yards, ship builders, marine insurers and classification societies.
WP2 will build on the identified user requirements to produce a comprehensive system and prototype specification which will then be developed in WP3.
In WP4 the prototype system will be installed in at least two ships and pilot tested over a six month period.
The results of the pilot exercise will be evaluated in WP5 and the prototype updated on the basis of these findings. Dissemination and exploitation, and project management activities will be undertaken throughout the course of the project.


RDI Hellas S.a.

Contact Person:


Contact Information:

Address: 62 Vas. Sofias Ave.
Postcode: 11528
City: Athens
Region: ATTIKI
Country: GREECE
Tel: +30-1-7298280 -290
Fax: +30-1-7298286
email: redihellas@rdihellas.gr

Other Partners:
  • C. International Ltd
  • Glafcos Marine Limited
  • Datamat Ingegneria dei Sistemi S.p.a.
  • Peltours Insurance Agencies Limited
  • Elefsis Shipbuilding and Industrial Enterprises S.A
  • Lowestoft College