The prototype line catcher is remotely operated from the wheelhouse and catches the connecting vessel’s heaving line. With a wingspan of between 6 and 7 metres when activated, the crew on the connecting vessel has a larger target area to hit with the heaving line weight, while no member of the tug’s crew is exposed during the process. The automated catching arm prototype is also designed to increase the success rate of connecting the vessel to the tug.

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The remote line handling technology is installed and will be tested over the coming months on Svitzer Trym. The trials will include documenting and analysing performance in a live operational environment and recording how the technology is impacted by weather and other factors so that potential improvements can be made.

The testing process will also clarify requirements and standards that will need to be implemented for the training of crews in effectively and safely operating the remote line catcher.

The installation is being carried out in consultation and with final approval from Lloyd’s Register.

Commenting on the development, Leonardo Sonzio, Chief Operating Officer, Svitzer Global, noted:

While we may be at the testing phase, we are hopeful that this new line handling technology is the step-change that is required, and will set a new benchmark for safety excellence within the market

In addition, Mr. Sonzio added that the towage sector must evolve to meet the changing requirements, and ensure the safety and well-being of the crews that operate on the front line.