Gulf Oil Marine says shipping needs ‘Amazon approach’ to cut emissions

Testing new lubricants ahead of IMO’s cap on sulphur in fuels led Gulf Oil Marine into a partnership with marine technology firm Azurtane, and global technology manager Don Gregory sees the potential for technology to make an even bigger impact across the sector

Gulf Oil Marine global technology manager Don Gregory was unequivocal on the potential impact of a digital revolution in shipping: he said he believes business strategies enabled by technology are a means of rapidly achieving lower emissions throughout the maritime sector.

“From the work we have done, it is very clear that if the maritime sector adopted the Amazon approach and tracked all movements and waypoints to achieve a just-in-time arrival and [optimal] vessel utilisation, the industry could cut bunker consumption overnight by 20%,” Mr Gregory said.

With the industry facing increasing pressures to limit emissions, Mr Gregory said efficiencies generated from technology would help to bridge the gap during the next decade, cutting fuel use and emissions while low- and zero-emissions technologies are developed.

“It would be a gift to the world. In fact, it would be a gift that pays you … as the 20% cut in bunker consumption comes with a 20% savings on fuel. But it needs the actors involved to work together to dispose of the old-fashioned charter parties. Ports need to make their berth management much more professional. Rewards for work done would be based upon achieving the lowest cost of delivery,” he said.

In terms of the technological direction of his own company, Mr Gregory described how the process of testing new lubricant designs for IMO’s sulphur regulations created a product development opportunity outside traditional business areas.

“Gulf Oil Marine began using remote monitoring systems on the ships used for lubricant product development and lubricant approvals by OEMs,” Mr Gregory said.

“The natural progression from our lubricant portfolio-only business has been to use the expertise to become a wider solutions and applications provider.”

The remote monitoring systems Gulf Oil Marine was using during OEM trials were developed by marine technology firm Azurtane, and the business applications for the technology vary from performance improvements to energy and emissions savings.

Gulf Oil Marine recognised that not all businesses can decipher the data from condition-based monitoring systems to make good use of it, so the partnership with Azurtane has created an opportunity to sell a service.

“Azurtane measures parameters such as fuel flow and vessel position to a very high precision,” Mr Gregory said. “But this is just data. Often operators have no time to review the data or to ascertain the meaning of the data. Azurtane converts the data into detailed information with advice on what action could be taken to overcome an identified problem or to save energy costs.”

Mr Gregory said the partnership employs specialists including naval architects and hydrodynamicists to evaluate data, and “spot real prizes that are still available” to cut back on fuel and emissions.

In one example, a VLCC was monitored for 18 months leading up to and following a drydock to show that work done during the drydock helped the vessel to cut its fuel consumption by more than 1,000 tonnes and to save more than US$500,000 in running costs.

“Other information includes real-time performance tracking. This enables the officers to make changes to, say, heading, draft or trim and see within seconds if the energy consumption has reduced or increased,” Mr Gregory said.

Mr Gregory said that, while digital twins and AI-assisted data modelling offered some amount of performance insight, it remained limited in comparison to that offered by human analysts.

“Modelling is a cheap way to get some comparison with the live situation. But nothing beats actual measurement of the live situation; the data is irrefutable, and the data [analyst] picks out unexpected situations which simply cannot be modelled,” he said.

Original article Riveria Maritime

Marine technology firm Azurtane and Solent University Game Developers collaborate on vessel docking project

Southampton maritime energy efficiency firm, Azurtane, has joined forces with the School of Media Arts and Technology at Solent University to leverage the skills of student game developers in a high precision kinematics (HPK), marine vessel docking project. The objective of the development work is to convert high precision positioning data generated by Azurtane’s HPK technology into a user interface that will enhance the vessel commander’s visualisation of the docking movements, reducing docking time and fuel consumption, as well as increasing safety.

Azurtane approached Solent University to ascertain if one of the programming degree courses utilised software that could be adapted to convert the positional data transmitted by Azurtane’s HPK into a highly visual digital twin – a screen or tablet interface that mimics the typical visual information available to a ship’s navigator when he or she is observing and managing docking manoeuvres.

“Our aim is to develop an intuitive, highly visual interface that presents positional information produced by our HPK in the most quickly assimilated way in order to make coming alongside easier for navigators on the bridge of a vessel,” Don Gregory, Azurtane’s MD says when explaining the concept for the vessel docking interface. “The students are taking the real time data from the HPK technology to produce an aerial 2D visualisation that acts as a navigation guide, displaying heading, speed and rate of rotation of the vessel in relation to the dockside. This will allow the navigator to dock the vessel with a 4 cm accuracy, even without direct visual contact of the dockside.

Azurtane will be working with two students in the 3rd year of the BSc (Hons) computer games (software development) course to undertake the initial visual design, prior to progressing to coding the input of millisecond data streams that will position the trial vessel with pinpoint accuracy. The user interface is due to be delivered for user trials on Red Funnel’s high-speed ferry, Redjet 7, in March 2020.

Explaining the reason for the collaboration with Solent University, Mr Gregory says that “any industry needs fresh ideas and up to date communication methodology. Without specialist in-house digital design expertise, where better to get the very best than from students on computer game development courses. We have been in contact with several universities in the gaming field including the highly rated Leuven University in Belgium. But Solent University proved ideal due to its close proximity to our business and a very “can do” attitude by both teaching staff and students.”

Dave Cobb, Course Leader for Computer Games (Software Development) at Solent University says, “Students at Solent University, learning the techniques, languages and mathematics of game software may not be aware how transferrable their skills can be. Gamers must be captured by and drawn into a game. That is also true in navigation. The closer an interface is to the user’s mind’s eye, the more likely it will be embraced.”

Azurtane is not only funding this industrial placement opportunity for students but is looking to continue and build on the partnership with Solent University with the aim of collaborating on future projects that will advance the safety and efficiency of deep-sea vessels.

Red Jet 7 antennae

Caption: The Azurtane vessel docking user interface will be trialled on Red Funnel’s high-speed ferry, Red Jet 7, in March 2020. Photo credit: Red Funnel

About Azurtane

Azurtane is the developer of market leading technology to reduce and prevent marine emissions. Its solutions help the shipping industry to achieve greater fuel efficiency, cut energy costs and comply with national and international environmental legislation. The company’s particular expertise lies in tailored marine measurement systems and data analysis, performance benchmarking, marine gas sensing technologies, SOx & NOx emissions determination, emissions compliance assurance and marine energy efficiency management. Further information is available at

Azurtane is located at:

Unit 14, City Commerce Centre
Marsh Lane
Southampton SO14 3EW

Press enquiries:
Mr Don Gregory +44 (0)7884 113690

Do you know which way you are pointing? Azurtane is developing the answer.

April 2019 Press Release

Southampton marine technology firm Azurtane is developing an advanced vessel positioning system. Working in conjunction with Red Funnel, the Isle of Wight ferry company, first trials are set to begin on the ferry operator’s high-speed craft RedJet7 in late April 2019. Azurtane’s new technology will be capable of positioning vessels within 4cm of a given location, something even the most experienced seafarer would struggle to achieve.

RedJet 7 high speed ferry docking

Azurtane managing director, Don Gregory, believes that there are two critical aspects to maintaining an efficient high-speed ferry service.

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