Yet, prior to discussing the advantages of a remote operations centre, it is important to understand what it is and how it can be utilized by the industry. 

The overall concept of a remote operations centre is based on an autonomous vessel, with some or no crew onboard, which will be operated by the crew onshore, through technological communication and connections. The implementation of this project includes identifying business and user requirements, mapping relevant rules, regulations and risk considerations, and performing data analysis. 

To better understand the concept of the centre, DNV GL published a video explaining how its ROMAS project, which will be explained below, works. 

What are the advantages arising from building a remote operations centre? 

#1 Ship’s engine control room can be “moved” onshore  

The engine control room can be moved to an engine control centre onshore, where a chief engineer can operate from. One or more chief engineers can remotely operate the propulsion and auxiliary machinery systems on a whole fleet of vessels, as seen at DNV GL’s ROMAS project. 

#2 Crew connection 

All crew members will be fully and directly connected with each other; The centre will connect marinecrew, and commercial management department and functions. 

#3 Operating from safer grounds 

The remote centre provides the ability to operate equipment from safer grounds and with better vantage points. Consequently, this enables greater ease of machine operation, less fatigue, and increased efficiency and productivity. 

#4 Vessel optimization 

Vessel optimization is a way to boost vessel efficiency through vessel tracking. Understanding the data received from the vessel’s state, is another step to improve vessel performance. 

#5 Improved productivity 

Remote operations centres can boost productivity, allowing for quick and proactive maintenance of a vessel, to maximize equipment uptime. 


Remote operations centres of today 

Columbia Shipmanagement has opened a high-tech Performance Optimisation Control Room in Cyprus.  

The goal of the Control room is to optimize vessel performance by connecting technical, marine, crew and commercial management department and functions. It has been stated that the centre will be manned in a 24/7 basis by qualified personnel that will optimise vessel safety, crew rotation and training, performance (speed, consumption, delay, weather routing), disaster avoidance, maintenance (including preventative maintenance through sensor and camera technology), and contractual compliance. The Control Room will also allow remote monitoring with results uploaded to other Columbia offices and clients. 

Referring to this collaboration, Socrates Theodosiou, co-CEO, Tototheo Maritime, applauded the leaps in communications and connectivity technology. 

In addition, DNV GL collaborated with Høglund, Fjord1, and the Norwegian Maritime Authority to explore the concept of moving the engine control room from the to a shore-based centre, while ensuring a safety level that is the same or better than today’s conventional operation, also known as the ROMAS project. 

As explained in the video above, the project’s first phase will develop technical solutions and set out a framework of regulations, rules and verification methods to facilitate the remote, shore-based operation of ship machinery and systems.