Autonomation of the Marine Environment; Hull-2-Hull

Safety and efficiency are values we eagerly strive for. With all the new innovations and intelligent data sharing, the maritime market makes its steps to a safe and efficient future. We are delighted to be able to contribute to this progress. Together with the prominent Norwegian companies Kongsberg Seatex AS, Sintef Ocean AS, Stiftelsen Sintef and the Belgian KU Leuven, Mampaey Offshore Industries is involved in the development of the Hull-to-Hull (H2H) concept.


The objective of the Hull-to-Hull concept is to address the need of the maritime community to safely navigate in close proximity of other vessels and objects, being stationary or moving. This will assist mariners in making correct navigation decisions. This will be the fundamental condition for the next step: Autonomous vessels.

The approach taken in this Hull-to-Hull concept is to establish an European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (EGNSS) based solution for Hull-to-Hull navigation in the maritime domain. The solution will benefit the different maritime domains, like maritime navigation and inland waterways. The concept includes relative positioning between objects, using EGNOS and Galileo.

Accurate navigation

EGNOS and the GNSS Galileo will be the backbone of the H2H concept.  EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) will be introduced based on ongoing standardisation activities for maritime navigation. EGNOS will be included in the concept both as the legacy service supporting single frequency GPS (Global Positioning System), and the new EGNOS V3 supporting dual frequency and multiple constellations (GPS and Galileo). Galileo will be the essential Global Navigation Satellite System in use in relative mode to provide the required accuracy.  Galileo and EGNOS give absolute position to a vessel and by exchanging this data, relative distance and bearing between the vessels antennas are determined. A high speed, reliable communication link needs to be used to exchange data between the different vessels. During Hull-to-Hull operations, distance between the vessels must be exchanged continuously.

The development of autonomous vessels needs the assurance of high accuracy at cm level. The need to augment Galileo and to support the high integrity requirements of autonomous operations, sensors will be used and combined, including inertial and proximity sensors like radar, laser and video. Sensor fusion will provide a high integrity and resilient position solution.

The Hull-to-Hull concept by use of the GNSS will open up for new maritime applications and the autonomous operations will reduce the cost of maritime operations.


With courtesy of Kongsberg Seatex

Realtime data and environmental factors

Mampaey Offshore Industries has been asked to join on account of their expertise in mooring systems and automooring technology in particular. We have developed vessel-to-vessel and quay-to-vessel mooring concepts. Currently the system is capable of detecting a vessel through distance measurement and pressure through contact. We are currently working on a more sophisticated control system with real-time data sourcing (environment data, ship data, Galileo Satellite data, navigation data etc.) and processing of environmental factors (for ship-master, port authority, etc.). The next step is to synchronize the information with vessel control systems, auxiliary systems and industry stakeholders. This will entail an internet of Things (IoT) approach through incorporating connected data sources (eg. sensors), analysing their data and processing this to a real-time information source.


Another part of the program is the development of the Float iDL, an autonomous mooring system. The mooring procedure should be a synchronized movement during positioning. This is to ensure a smooth connection made between vessel and auto-mooring system, on the right spot on the vessel’s hull. The FloaTiDL will include the intelligent Dock Locking System® which makes the magnetic mooring connection between the vessels. The automated magnetic mooring system of Mampaey Offshore Industries that combines sway, surge and yaw control. (For more information about iDL® click here). Once a connection is made, the auto-mooring system should switch to a monitoring state, reading and predicting movements and adapting and reacting to these movements, to keep the vessel safely moored. This information will be available in real-time and shared with the vessel’s monitoring system, and possibly with system’s in the vicinity for which this data is relevant (ie. Port authorities, bunker vessels, tugs, etc.).

It makes existing applications more efficient by having the location in better control of the own vessel relative to other vessels, which allows reducing the proximity zones. It also allows performing operations under more stringent environmental conditions, whilst increasing safety, including safety of persons, equipment and environment by the use of the real-time dynamic mooring analysis.

Design of the intelligent Dock Locking System®

The H2H project was successfully kicked off at GSA in Prague on 8th of December 2017. The project will start out with review of user requirements, standards and regulations, as well as the concept definition. The development of this prominent concept will be finished in 2020 having completed various demonstrations with simultaneous operations including on-site testing of an autonomous vessel through this framework.

More information about the H2H project, the work packages and the timeline you can find on the website of the Hull-2-Hull project were regular updates about the development will be posted.

April 18, 2018