Hazard Detection with the RangeGuard® system

September News

At the 2015 European Dynamic Positioning Conference, Andrew Stead, head of business development presented on the topic of Hazard Detection, addressing delegates on Guidance Marine’s efforts to reduce collisions within the industry through the RangeGuard system. RangeGuard is a freestanding, independent range finder and hazard detector. It’s like a parking sensor for ships. Up to 4 units fitted around the vessel send data back to the bridge. Through liaising with the Marine Safety Forum (MSF) in Aberdeen and engaging with our customers, it is apparent that stakeholders want more assurance against the risk of damage to their facilities. A safer 500m zone and a sensor designed to provide an additional reference for close proximity navigation is a start.

"We were seeing an increasing number of impacts in the North Sea. The number of incidents this year already exceeds all those in 2014. A major incident is just around the corner"

Andrew Stead - Speaking at the European DP Conference in June


As reported in various publications, hazard detection is very much
a current industry issue. The full article from Marine Electronics
& Technology magazine can be read here

Evolution of Position Reference Sensors  

With position reference sensors, the DP system knows where the vessel is. With environmental sensors, the DP system knows forces acting on the vessel – however, the system is unaware of the hazards around the vessel. Adding RangeGuard sensors to any vessel will be a complementary addition to existing position reference sensors. Furthermore, as an additional reference sensor it is a completely independent stand-alone bridge alarm. Our customers’ are looking for a targetless system, as the next evolution in vessel positioning. Targetless systems avoid the need to place targets on installations, and as such offer an improvement to the efficiency of the operation.

Sea trials

The flexibility of the RangeGuard system is currently being trialled on a series of vessels used in a range of operations.  Guidance Marine have already held sea trials of the RangeGuard system in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

North Sea trial

Vessel: multi-purpose support vessel ROV support
Application: walk to work on wind farms
Trial aim: measure range from the side of the vessel to the leg of a wind turbine to enable safe deployment of walk to work bridge

Project installation: 
two wide beam RangeGuard sensors have been installed to the starboard side of the vessel, to complement the walkway. The RangeGuard sensors are to be installed so that the sensor beams overlap such that when approaching a leg from the wind turbine two ranges one from each sensor, are reported. Knowing the distance between the sensors, it is possible to resolve not only the range to the target but also the relative angle. The sensor feeds will eventually be used to provide input to that DP system while station keeping by the wind turbine. The operating range for a vessel to a wind turbine is between 10 – 30m.

Gulf of Mexico trial

Vessel: offshore supply
Application: Asset approach, station keeping and hazard detection
Trial aim: gather test data from the RangeGuard system to optimise the conditions for the applications

North Sea trial two

Vessel: offshore supply
Application: docking assist and hazard detection

Trial aim:
demonstrate that linking up to 4 RangeGuard units in a single system can produce an effective docking aid and hazard detection system (SafeSurround). This could be used:

  1. To measure distance and speed of approach as a vessel approaches a quayside to ensure safe docking and have this displayed on the bridge to aid the captain and crew
  2. To monitor the gap between a vessel and offshore oil installation to warn of an imminent drive-on or drift-on collision with the structure
  3. To detect unexpected objects that form a collision risk during normal navigation or when manoeuvring

What next?

Andrew will be addressing the audience at the Annual IMCA Seminar next month with his presentation “Hazard Detection – the missing piece of the DP jigsaw”, showcasing that the RangeGuard system is a breakthrough in vessel and asset safety, Andrew’s presentation will highlight not only the need for hazard detection but also Guidance Marine’s contribution thus far and future endeavours with the RangeGuard system, and how that sits alongside our products within the current portfolio. 

Our mission

Guidance Marine are continuously finding ways to improve offshore safety, allowing work to flow with little to no interruptions and increase efficiency. We invest extensively in research to ensure our accurate, robust and reliable products are supplied to our customers. The RangeGuard system is one of the newest additions in the sensor range that Guidance Marine provide. Like all sensors, there will be continuous research and investment in to RangeGuard to meet the frequent changes in consumer demands.

The conversation of hazard detection has begun: are you involved?

The RangeGuard system and the Dashboard will be demonstrated at various conferences and exhibitions this year. To be added to the mailing list for your region, please click here.

If you’re a vessel operator and would like to discuss how the RangeGuard sensor could be a suitable application for your operations, please contact Sasha Heriot.


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