Reporting the facts

Since its foundation in 2011 by Gijs Hulscher, BMO Offshore has created a firm foothold in the offshore wind market with its innovative Vessel Black Box (VBB) technology. “The VBB is a vessel motion monitoring system that has its own dedicated online data management and reporting service,” explains Kirstin Timpte, Business Development Manager at BMO Offshore. “VBB is the tool that enables us to gather data and write an analysis on this and provide vessel profiling for the maritime sector. This ultimately gives a better grip on operations on how to reduce costs, increase and maintain revenues and enhance safety and efficiency during operations.”

With approximately 30 VBBs installed in the offshore wind industry across the North Sea since its first installation on a vessel of offshore services and vessel management firm Offshore Wind Services (now: Acta Marine WS) in September 2012, the entrepreneurial firm has become an established leader in the market. Working on three levels, BMO Offshore collects and analyses data before reporting easy-to-interpret and actionable insights that enable organisations to continually improve operations on the strategic, tactical and operational decision making level. Part of the service is shown real-time on-board the vessel. In addition the client receives custom made reports on vessel performance.

“We recently provide vessel motion monitoring systems for the Greater Gabbard offshore windfarm, which is jointly owned by SSE and RWE with the aim of enhancing safety, monitoring asset integrity and increasing workability,” says Kirstin. “The companies felt an urgent need to gather more information on the developments taking place offshore, particularly in the summer time when they have a lot of vessels operating for them. We won the tender for this project and our vessel motion monitoring equipment is being installed on all of the vessels operating on the windfarm, which will deliver a performance report each month. We will also inform them on the docking against the offshore wind turbine and whether it was in the norm or if any impact limit was exceeded. Should it be exceeded we will alert them. We also inform them if there is a drop in speed and offer suggestions as to how to save on fuel and train them a little in how the vessel master may influence their behavior.”

Crucial to clients in a world where time is money, BMO Offshore’s VBB helps ensure that time spent at windfarms is spent on wind turbine maintenance by analysing where time is lost through issues such as weather conditions, personnel suffering from sea-sickness or a lack of information. By ensuring customers make the best use of their valuable time at sea by measuring motions, positions and speed fed with video images, BMO Offshore gives a clear overview of offshore logistics and the various aspects involved in a contract. This is particularly necessary in an environment where every wind project is different due to the distance of the windfarm to the harbour, the harbour itself and the windfarm itself.

Furthermore, BMO Offshore also focuses on the integral human element of each project and finds facts in issues such as whether a skipper made a judgment error or whether another cause was to blame. Indeed, the human factor is a massive influence on crew comfort and a safe transfer. Skippers can be empowered by a vessel display that gives a comprehensive overview of the vessel at all times. This is particularly important during the transfer of the vessel to the transition piece and during higher sea state limits. By showing if the movements of the vessel are within the safe, caution or extreme caution categories, the VBB display objectively reports and assists the skipper throughout the journey and enables them to recognise a hazardous situation.

“Other examples of influencing human behaviour are perhaps training your vessel master. It is all about influencing behaviour and creating awareness as to how they use the vessels when they go offshore,” says Kirstin.

While the offshore market is currently challenging for most, BMO Offshore can give more insight into the operations. BMO is increasingly seeing the need for having vessel motion monitoring equipment on board their fleet. “A product that reduces cost and increases safety will be an even more crucial factor for our clients in the offshore and maintenance side of the offshore industry. It is during this phase that vessels will be going to windfarms on a daily basis, so we are in a good position for continued growth. However, our product is still not a requirement from some health and safety organisations, which is why we are focusing on speaking with a lot of institutions on the health and safety side such as RenewableUK as well as giving presentations to developers. By using our products in all windfarms everyone will be on the same page wherever they are; we speak at a lot of conferences to address these benefits,” Kirstin concludes.

BMO managing director Gijs Hulscher is listed as a speaker at Windpower Monthly’s Vessels & Access forum in Amsterdam, 24-26 May. BMO hopes to see you there!

BMO Offshore

  • Delivers operational intelligence to the maritime industry
  • Collects and analyses data to offer insights for improvement
  • Develops innovative technology, including Vessel Black Box