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Keeping afloat in a sea of information


With often over 200 alarms installed on today’s ships, the risk of information overload is real. TELEMAS’ tool can track and manage alarms by taking input from the various computers and alarms on board and presenting them to the crew in a uniform and structured way.

With funding from the IST programme TELEMAS developed a middleware tool called Umbrella. "It brings together information from various data sources on board. For instance, you might have a cruise vessel that has over 1,000 gas and fire detectors installed, organised into various zones," says TELEMAS project manager Karsten Bruns-Schüler of ISSUS, at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences.

"The problem is that there are no two ships the same," adds Schüler. "When crew first come on board, it’s often the case that they have only a few hours to familiarise themselves with the ship before the set off. The chances are that they will find it difficult to locate particular menus on the various support computers and will have had only a brief introduction to the main systems."

"An alarm might be raised to say that a fault has developed in one of the zones and that maintenance is required. A ship’s crew does not usually include an electronics technician, but Umbrella enables the alarm information to be assessed by technical staff on shore who can suggest remedial action."

The Umbrella tool was in action at Hamburg last February. "Over fifty visitors, mostly key management from shipping companies, saw the system in action," says Schüler, "and the feedback has been very positive. Prospects for system are looking good, too. One of the TELEMAS partners, Columbia Ship Management, is carrying out trials with six of their vessels linked to shore-based technical support, and another partner, Consilium, is preparing to market a commercial version of Umbrella towards the end of the year."

Karsten Bruns-Schüler
University of Applied Sciences Hamburg
Institute of Ship Operation, Sea Transport and Simulation (ISSUS)
D-422765 Hamburg
Tel: +49-40-428756641
Fax: +49-40-428756699

Tara Morris | IST Results
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