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Offshore Sea Surveillance
The main purpose of offshore surveillance systems is to protect offshore installations like platforms, loading buoys, wellheads and pipelines, while assisting in traffic regulation.

Threat: Fishing
Different type of fish seems to thrive around offshore installations. This fact is well known and subsequently attracting fishermen. Two different ways of fishing around offshore installations may be especially harmful and dangerous:

Trawling
Trawling around offshore installations may damage sea floor installations and cause pollution by oil and gas leakages. There is normally a zone around e.g. a platform of some 500m where trawling is prohibited.

Fishing at night using light
In many areas, especially under southern hemispheres smaller fishing vessels are fishing close to unmanned platforms, or even under it using light. In some cases the light is actually an open fire! This is extremely dangerous, and there are known cases where both fishing vessel and the platform have disappeared!

Threat: Collision
Most of the offshore vessels are of a physical size (tankers, supply vessels, standby vessels, trawlers), which make them a considerable threat in a possible collision situation.

The surveillance system is tuned for early detection of targets at longer ranges - with alarms. An early warning of a collision threat is imperative since it takes up to 50-60 minutes to shut down the operation and evacuate a platform.

Threat: Sabotage & Terrorism
This is becoming an increasing threat in some offshore areas. These types of intruders are normally based on smaller, fast moving vessels, which means that detection of smaller targets in offshore areas is becoming important.

Offshore Sea Surveillance Objectives
Vessel traffic monitoring and guidance:

  • Detect potential collission situations and intrusions into protected areas, e.g. 500m platform zone
  • Support logistic operations
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Traffic statistics
  • VHF communication with own vessels as well as intruding vessels to redirect them in case of intrusion

Environmental monitoring:

Oil spill detection
Sea state/wave height detection for operational safety

Offshore Sea Surveillance Solutions
The system configuration depends on what of the above listed services shall be included in the system. It will also depend on the number of offshore installations to be monitored. The following configuration drawing is only giving an overview of what may be included. A configuration may consist of one radar with Extractor & Tracker and one Operator Traffic Display; no servers or any other sensor shown in the drawing. But it may also be extended to - for all practical purposes - any number of radars and other sensors and Operator Workstations, all distributed, but integrated in one or more TCP/IP networks.

Sensor Sites
A sensor site may consist of any combination of the above shown sensors. It may further be extended by VisSim’s RTS3000 Transponder, VHF/DF, UHF, MF/HF, VisSim’s AtoN3000 Aids to Navigation Transponder and other sensors and applications as required.

VTS Operator Console
A VTS Operator Console is based on a Traffic Display with S57 chart as a minimum, and may be extended by CCTV displays, VHF Communication, Met & Hyd, Oil Spill Display, Wave height display and other as necessary. Note that many applications may also be based on pop-up menus in a Traffic Display instead of own display.

For larger installations, covering a wide area it may ease the operation using a large screen display like the following:


VTMS Server
The VTMS server is the systems "brain". It can be installed in master/slave configuration for redundancy and may also have RAID hardisk as a further redundancy.

System Components
VTMS3000 - Vessel Traffic Managment System
VisSim’s Offshore Sea Surveillance is based on VisSim VTMS3000. The heart of the system is the same, but it is adapted to special offshore operational requirement. More about VTMS3000

Radars
The primary sensor for target detection and tracking is the radar with VisSim ETS3000 Extractor & Tracker. Offshore Surveillance may due to the open sea, and normally not so dense traffic use commercial maritime radars with antennas in the order of 8-12 feet length. Due to VisSim’s special precipitation detection and processing module we are normally recommending horizontal polarized antennas. Note that VisSim is also delivering ex-proof installations consisting of radars in pressurized domes if the radar shall operate in areas where gas leakage may occure.
More about Radars

ETS3000 - Radar Extractor & Tracker
The radar is providing reflected radar video, or echos to the extractor & tracking system, which is processing these data for target detection and tracking. Extreme weather conditions with waves exceeding 15 m is a challenge to the radar surveillance system, and massive steel constructions and moving cranes are often creating numerous of ghost echoes. ETS3000 Extractor & Tracker has been refined based on more than 10 years of operation experience during such severe target detection and tracking conditions. More about ETS3000

Meteorology
The installation may use one or more sensors as shown depending on the requirement. Wind may sometimes be a problem for offshore buoy loading.
More about MET

AIS
AIS is used to identify targets. This eases the operations as the VTS operator does not have to call up the vessel and enter name manually. AIS target data are integrated with radar data by the Multi-Sensor Tracker.
More about AIS

VHF3000
VHF is an essential tool for Surveillance Operations. It is used to communicate with own vessels as well as communicate with vessels on a collission course in order to make them deviate the course. It is also essential in search and rescue operations.
More about VHF3000

CCTV3000
A long range CCTV camera helps in identifying targets like radar echoes from floating debries and also smaller crafts without AIS. CCTV is also usefull for monitoring operations like buoy loading, search and rescue as well as operations close to offshore installations. More about CCTV3000

Oil Spill Detection
Offshore installations like drilling platforms, production platforms, wellheads, pipelines as well as tankkers during loading operations reprsent a constant danger of oil spill. The earlier a spill can be detected the better the chances for limiting a possible environmental damage. More about Oil Spill
More about Oil Spill Detection

Wave Height Detection
Rough sea is influencing almost all offshore operation. VisSim’s Wave Height Detection Module is using data from the same radar as the radar detecton & tracking system to estimate wave height, length and direction. More about Wave Height Detection. More about Wave Height Detection

Miscellaneous
VisSim’s largest Sea Surveillance system offshore North Sea is protecting more than 60 platforms, FPSOs, Loading Buoys and numerous sea floor installations like wellheads, pipelines, cables etc. based on more than 60 radars, 25 VHF Base Stations on IP, 12 platformbased AIS Base Stations integrated and more than 50 Operator Workstations, all integrated in one TCP/IP network - covering more than 400 NM of rough North Sea waters.

In addition the system is receiving AIS data from coastal AIS chains in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This large Sea Surveillance system is controlled from StatoilHydro’s Control Centre outside Bergen, protecting StatoilHydro’s own installations and in addition installations from Shell, BP and Transocean.

The following pictures are showing one of the platforms, Troll, compared with the Eiffel Tower, and towing Troll to its site offshore North Sea.

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