Michiel Meijer, Head of Digital Transformation at Sperry Marine © Sperry Marine
Michiel Meijer, Head of Digital Transformation at Sperry Marine © Sperry Marine
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The latest Sperry Marine digital service, powered by Navtor, is designed to reduce fuel costs, support regulatory compliance and lessen the administrative workload for crew and shore teams. HANSA spoke to Michiel Meijer about this new product

Why should shipping companies use the digital navigation and voyage planning services? [ds_preview]What are the benefits?

Michiel Meijer: Shipping companies these days need to ensure they can operate with the best available information on every aspect of the voyage ahead; not just the correct chart availability but all the elements that could impact a safe and efficient voyage from berth to berth. By considering all the operational aspects holistically, owners can create a route that optimises fuel consumption and reduces carbon emissions.

Putting all critical voyage information in one integrated application like Navigation and Voyage Planning improves collaboration and transparency of the passage planning process and creates a simplified digital transfer of data from the Sperry Sphere to the ECDIS, reducing workload for the navigator.

Why did Sperry Marine decide to cooperate with Navtor?

Meijer: Sperry Marine’s heritage is as a leader in provision of regulated navigation systems and services. We understood that the digitalisation process in maritime required us to integrate these navigation systems with back of bridge applications and with shoreside teams. To do that we developed the SperrySphere platform which brings together the navigation tools that owners need for smarter, safer voyages.

Co-operating with a leader in navigational data like Navtor which already has the digital chart and voyage planning knowledge, was the logical choice to help us put that data in the hands of navigators, combining our respective skillsets to increase the availability of navigational safety data.

Does a ship’s crew need special training or education to use the new services?

Meijer: The process of voyage planning and the transfer of route data from back of bridge to the ECDIS is well known and understood. Using Sperry Marine Navigation Charts and Voyage Planning is a refinement and improvement of that process.

The electronic chart service simplifies workflow for fleet managers and navigators and provides full control and accessibility over charts with Navtor’s NavTracker chart management and ordering tool. This enables shipowners to take advantage of a range of data subscription models such as Pay-As-You-Sail where the vessel can unlock licences only to the charts it needs on a voyage by voyage basis.

By using chart data and notices to mariners that are automatically distributed and updated seamlessly, the huge number of administration hours and the risk of human error during manual planning can be reduced.

How can the new services be integrated into existing ship infrastructure?

Meijer: Because the Charts and Voyage Planning module is deployed and managed through the SperrySphere intelligent navigation platform, it can easily be deployed within the bridge of most modern merchant vessels.

This is a one-stop-shop back-of-bridge digital platform which manages delivery of a wide variety of safety and voyage optimisation applications and a roadmap including remote support and diagnostics of navigation equipment.

Are there already first customers using the new services and if so, what are their first experiences with them?

Meijer: SperrySphere has already been deployed on a series of very large containerships for a leading European owner, in a new concept for bridge layout and functionality that includes space saving and ergonomic design with the SperrySphere as a central planning station.

Interview: Anna Wroblewski

SperrySphereThe SperrySphere platform © Sperry Marine