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European Framework for Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Ship Operations

FLAGSHIP will improve the safety of European maritime transport and make it more environmentally friendly and competitive. The emphasis of the project is on onboard systems and procedures, onshore ship management systems, the impact of new technology on present ship-, owner- and operator organisations, effective and efficient communication interfaces, and the impact of standards and regulations.

Tags: Water


The shipping industry has, over the last few years, acquired high exposure. Some has been positive, but unfortunately much of the attention has been focused on accidents and environmental damage. Shipping needs to further improve the way it operates in terms of pollution control, redundancy and foolproof mechanisms and procedures. The layout of the ship and components must increasingly address the human-machine interface, ensuring that crews can cope in the most extreme conditions, under increasing time pressures and congestion.

Globalisation and the accompanying increase in world trade lead to increasing congestion. Also, the increase in international terrorism has put more attention on the movement of dangerous persons and materials. Hence ships are being monitored and controlled more and more, and the crews need to send a steadily increasing number of reports and data to various shore authorities. Measures to reduce the administrative burden and free resources to do more operative work are urgently needed. This includes automatic reporting systems as well as decision support for compliance with new rules and regulations.

Developments, particularly within the areas of information technology and communication, make an increasingly stronger impact on shipping. The strategic exploitation of information technology concerns not only the ship and the communication between ship and shore but also requirements of knowledge integration to an extent hitherto unseen.


What all the requirements presented above have in common is the need for knowledge; knowledge about the state of the hull and the machinery onboard, about the position of the ship and events onboard, about rules and regulations, about the status of cargo and about the status of the overall shipping organisation.

The rapid development of satellite communication and the Internet have provided the means by which data can be gathered instantaneously and in large amounts. However, data is not knowledge; it is only the pre-requisite for knowledge. Knowledge results from analysing the data and processing it intelligently so that it can be acted upon either in an automatic fashion or by humans who are either acting in isolation or in an integrated (though possibly geographically fragmented) group.

The vision of FLAGSHIP is to create the mechanism by which the expertise of all the required actors can be brought together in real time, independent of their location, and given to the right people, in the right format, at the right time and incorporating the highest level of knowledge, so that they can better manage all the questions which confront a ship operator: issues relating to the ship itself and its equipment (e.g. hull monitoring, equipment diagnostics and maintenance planning), its day-to-day operation (e.g. navigation, cargo and rule compliance) as well as emergencies and other exceptional situations (collision, fire, etc.).

Description of work

The RTD activities are organised into four work packages (WP). Other work packages will demonstrate the results on three different vessel categories and carry out training of users.

WP A. Technical operations and technical management: the focus of this work package is on the ship and the ship’s equipment. Emphasis is on early detection of problems, efficient diagnosis and timely repair; also on long-term efficiency and savings by optimised monitoring and maintenance.

WP B. Nautical operation and support: improved day-to-day ship operation on the ship and in the shore office is a priority. Emphasis is on the improvement of safety and efficiency in light of more complex tasks and changes in crew responsibilities and composition.

WP C. Emergency management: improved emergency management tools both onboard and ashore. Prognosis and consequence assessment for alternative actions, as well as onboard and onshore simulator systems to prepare for a given action.

WP D. Support actions: this will cover ICT infrastructure; health and safety,

organisation and processes; incentives and controls.


Some of the expected deliverables include:

Monitoring systems for real-time assessment of hulls will extend the life of the existing fleet of tankers and bulk carriers by up to five years.

Monitoring tools for fuel efficiency indicators shall assist ship owners to improve energy efficiency by up to 10%.

The decision-support frame will reduce the time for a user’s decision by a factor of 2 compared to present bridge installations.

A factor 2 improvement will also show up in support systems for nautical operations, and particularly in increased awareness of the navigation scenario, increased safety from nautical decisions and in the increased speed of nautical decisions.

Alarm filtering will reduce bridge alarms in a given scenario (breakdown in auxiliary systems) by 80% and in the general operational scenario by 20%.

Support systems for rule compliance will improve the speed of text look-up by at least a factor 2 while also improving the quality of the search.

Scheduling and repositioning of empties will distribute the load more evenly throughout the journey, cutting the average waiting time by about 26% and therefore reducing queues and speeding up the containership’s operations.

A prognosis and assessment tool for emergency management will demonstrate improvements of between two and ten times in prognosis generation speeds and result reliability in fire and smoke propagation, hull damage and flooding.