ABB’s Capability Marine Equipped Wonder of the Seas
The world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, set off on its maiden voyage in early March 2022, becoming the first woman in the world to feature the new ABB Ability Marine Braking Assistance. Designed for safe and smooth emergency stops, the automatic braking system is the result of a collaboration between supplier and owner initiated at the request of Royal Caribbean Group.
Following complete sea trials by shipbuilder Chantiers d’Atlantique and acceptance by owner, the DNV-approved marine braking aid provides the latest example of leveraging technology to improve safety for ships, sailors and passengers.
Marine braking assist, triggering an automatic braking sequence via the push of a button, optimizes angles and power of all Azipod propulsion units based on vessel position, heading and speed to allow for maximum braking efficiency . Crucially, operators have time to attend to other urgent matters while maintaining control of the steering.
“At ABB we take great pride in introducing new technologies to the industry to improve security and add value to our customers. Marine Braking Assistance is a good example of a co-creation project where we have collaborated with Royal Caribbean Group to develop a solution that makes a real operational difference,” said Kalevi Turvo, Global Program Manager, ABB Marine & Ports. The adoption of automated processes that improve safety is of particular importance at a time when regulators are moving forward on creating regulations for autonomous vessels.”
Marine braking assist can be compared to an automatic braking system (ABS), the safety benefits of which car drivers today expect as standard. Automation of the braking sequence also minimizes the wear and tear the system experiences due to vibration cavitation and heating of the braking transformer under manual control.
Hardly stopping a ship in an emergency can be extremely stressful. Unlike slamming on the brakes of a car, for ships with shaftline propulsion the loss of steering capability results in complete astonishment. For a vessel equipped with a podded propeller, the pod way emergency stop procedure allows for a very rapid stop with limited steering capability, but it calls for step-by-step manual actions by the helmsperson, at times when other issues may arise. requires immediate attention.
Anders Essen, Vice President of Global Technical Operations, Royal Caribbean Group, said, “We have a long history of innovating to improve maritime safety. I see the introduction of marine braking assistance technology on our ships through a close collaboration with ABB. It’s a pleasure to do.”
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