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LNG World Shipping

Cargo monitoring and control: simulators improve competence

Wed 23 Jan 2019 by Ed Martin

Cargo monitoring and control: simulators improve competence
Simulators allow seafarers to safely gain the competence and expertise needed to handle unusual situations (credit: Kongsberg)

The global LNG carrier fleet is set for significant growth and given the combustible nature of LNG, the control and monitoring of cargo has never been so important  

The importance of shipping to the LNG supply chain has never been more apparent, so it is hardly surprising that suppliers of monitoring and control equipment for LNG carriers are reporting healthy order books. By way of example, French gas technology supplier CRYOSTAR reported in August 2018 a total of €108M of LNG-related orders, comprising 70 pumps, 90 compressors and more than 300 heat exchangers and vaporisers, for 25 LNG carriers from Korean shipyards owned by Daewoo, Hyundai and Samsung.

In this environment, ensuring seafarers are well trained in cargo monitoring and in handling equipment on board LNG carriers is vital.

To this end, simulators can be an invaluable training tool. Examples of their use include Kongsberg Digital (KDI)’s range of K-Sim simulators that enable safe, realistic and efficient training on procedures for engineering students and crew. These are specifically designed to support IMO’s IGF code, as well as International Convention on Standards of training, Certification and Watchkeeping for­ Seafarers (STCW) requirements for both basic and advanced training.

All of these simulators incorporate an Instructor, Monitoring and Assessment system. This has been developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Maritime Directorate, class society DNV GL and instructors worldwide. It is designed to be user-friendly and efficient in order to enable instructors to impart knowledge to students efficiently and effectively during exercises.

Using this system, instructors can configure Student Stations to specify what information students are able to access and view, including what sub-systems relate to each station and which indicators can be viewed. Instructors are also able to access a tool that allows them to asses students at all levels, from support to management. This means that instructors can shape their assessment of students around not just alarms, but also any of the available variables in the simulation model.

A new feature in this solution is the capability for the engineroom simulator and the cargo-handling simulator to be connected together, allowing for combined training between the LNG cargo operator and LNG engineer. Each engineroom simulator can also be connected up to a corresponding ship model on the bridge simulator while it is in this configuration, opening up further opportunities for team training.

“Each engineroom simulator can be connected up to a corresponding ship model on the bridge simulator, opening up opportunities for team training”

In the K-Sim Cargo line, all models are based on actual ship specifications and performance data in order to make simulation as realistic as possible. The simulators are scalable and can be configured from PC desktop levels up to operational full mission simulators that use custom panels and ship equipment. It is also possible for clients to customise solutions to meet their specific training needs, allowing for individually laid out control room simulation setups. Users can also integrate a CCTV camera function into the simulation, giving operators the ability to see, for example, what is happening at the manifold, if loading arms are connected, or if there are oil or gas leaks.

Building competence

In the LNG carrier market, K-Sim can be used to build competence in the planning of cargo loading and discharge, the use of loading computers, lining up for loading and ballasting, lining up for discharge, stripping of tanks via vacuum and ejector systems, topping up and finalising loading, aeration, inerting and nitrogen supply, compressor systems and boil off, flow control in relation to stability and mechanical forces, and communications with terminal, deck and cargo control rooms, among others.

The library of DNV SeaSkill-approved LNG exercises for cargo control and monitoring includes cargo tank drying, nitrogen purging, inerting, gassing up, cooling down of cargo and systems, loading and deballasting, boil-off gas and forced vaporisation, tank warm up, gas freeing, air purge, and emergency operations such as emergency cargo pump use and discharge.

In September 2018, KDI announced the delivery of a simulator package to Athens-based LNG carrier operator GasLog.

Through its subsidiary GasLog LNG Services, GasLog operates 27 LNG carriers, a mixture of wholly-owned vessels, vessels owned by GasLog Partners and vessels owned or leased by Royal Dutch Shell. The company puts a premium on technology, especially relating to communications and marine safety.

The scope of the contract covers an integrated turnkey training solution that combines K-Sim Cargo LNG Liquefied Natural Gas Carrier-M cargo handling simulation with K-Sim Engine Desktop simulators, including Kongsberg’s Steam Plant Dual Fuel LNG Carrier and Diesel Electric Dual Fuel DE21 models with a bridge simulator. The systems will be installed on a dedicated floor of GasLog’s Piraeus, Greece, technical management HQ.

GasLog’s competency assurance manager Archontia Leni said: “Straight from the outset, KDI’s integrated simulator solution will allow our trainee crews to reinforce and build upon our core values of teamwork, quality of service, integrity and customer focus.

“Above all, as our company credo indicates, safety means the world to us – and KDI’s innovative simulator training package will help us to establish and support a culture of crew protection and environmental awareness that resonates throughout our entire organisation.”

Elsewhere in the Greek LNG fleet, KDI has provided K-Sim training systems for Minerva Marine, Maran Gas Maritime, TMS Cardiff Gas and Tsakos Energy navigation.

Kongsberg Digital’s senior vice president for maritime simulation Tone-Merete Hansen said: “Greece is poised to become the largest and most significant shipping nation in the global LNG sector and KDI is proud to be such an integral associate in support of this drive.

“Promoting and perpetrating the smart transportation and usage of a clean, economically efficient fuel ties in very closely with our corporate desire to enable safer, greener and more streamlined working practices.”

Emerson introduces new pressure relief valves

St Louis, Missouri-based engineering products and services specialist Emerson has announced a new range of pressure relief valves.

The Anderson Greenwood 9300H low-pressure pilot-operated pressure relief valve (POPRV) is a patented design that provides leak-free operation up to set pressure, with an additional 10.5% flow capacity over valves currently on the market, according to Emerson.

The valves are designed specifically for marine LNG tanks on ships and floating production and storage units (FPSOs).

The additional capacity the valves provide allows for a smaller size, which results in initial purchase savings as well as subsequent savings on associated piping, fittings and expansion elbows, says the company. The design uses Emerson’s Anderson Greenwood 93 Series pilot-mounted flush to the valve, which provides a low profile that makes it well-suited for rough seas.

It is field-adjustable either for modulating action to reduce product loss during relief events, or to open completely at set pressure via snap action. The valves are easy to fit with monitoring technology and are certified for LNG carrier operation by major class societies including Lloyd’s Register, ABS, Bureau Veritas and DNV GL.

Emerson Automation Solutions’ product manager for pressure relief valves Brett Bockeloh said: “As the world pushes to keep pace with growing LNG demand, the need for innovative, reliable overpressure protection solutions has never been greater.

“The Anderson Greenwood 9300H’s combination of performance and reliability puts our customers in the best position to achieve their goals without the need to compromise on safety or their budget.”

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