Embracing digitalisation during the COVID-19 pandemic: Successful trial of remote surveys in Sembcor


With COVID-19 severely disrupting traditional manned surveys in the marine and offshore industry, Bureau Veritas (BV) in Singapore, in collaboration with Nokia and Sembcorp Marine, has successfully completed remote surveys that pave the way for establishing a new class procedure for the remote inspection of vessels under construction. Utilising digital technology, the new solutions enable remote surveys to be performed at multiple locations, with feedback transmitted to a single monitoring station. This optimises the waiting time between surveys and increases operational efficiencies by providing connectivity between all stakeholders involved, while minimising inspectors’ and workers’ exposure to onsite safety risks, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire solution was designed and implemented by professional services experts, using Nokia’s unique digital delivery model to accelerate industrial transformation. At the pilot trial conducted in August 2020, BV, Nokia and Sembcorp Marine test-bedded remote surveys on a new-build vessel construction at Sembcorp Marine’s Tuas Boulevard Yard. Various checks were carried out to assess the integrity of the hull components, which were in various stages of construction. The checks included material verification, panel fit-up, as well as visual inspections of the sub-assembly block. Using Nokia’s cloud-based collaboration platform and FastMile 4G Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), the remote monitoring centre at Tuas Boulevard Yard communicated effectively with Sembcorp Marine’s quality control (QC) inspectors located at the vessel’s fabrication and assembly sites. The QC inspectors were equipped with rugged head-mounted cameras with high-definition video streaming and voice communication functionalities that enabled the BV surveyor stationed at the remote monitoring centre to verify production quality and spot defects. David Barrow, Bureau Veritas Vice-President - Marine & Offshore, South Asia and Pacific commented: “This project reflects BV’s digitalization strategy for the marine and offshore sectors. The pandemic situation has led to an acceleration of remote survey techniques. As we now move forward in our ever complex digital world, and manage new norms of working post COVID-19, we feel that true success is often about working collaboratively with stakeholders. “This project is a clear best practice example of working in a collaborative manner. Bureau Veritas, Sembcorp Marine, and Nokia have clearly shown in this trial that technology provides both efficiency and quality gains. And one major benefit of digitalization and remote survey that must be emphasized is that of increased safety. This benefit must be recognized. This technology reduces the risk for all involved.” Stuart M Hendry, Head of Nokia Enterprise, Asia Pacific, added: “We are delighted to be part of a collaboration with Bureau Veritas and Sembcorp Marine that promotes digital automation in the marine industry. With our Fastmile 4G CPE solution and cloud-based digital collaboration platform for remote tools, both BV and Sembcorp Marine teams working in the shipyard can communicate and work seamlessly together. Taking a lead in the digital transformation of Industries is Nokia’s focus. We are proud that both BV and Sembcorp Marine share this drive in bringing the use of technology to achieve their productivity and operation goals." As part of its innovation and sustainability strategy, Sembcorp Marine has embraced Industry 4.0 technologies including digital design, advanced manufacturing and the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIOT) to boost its production capabilities and capacity. Sembcorp Marine Head of Research & Development Mr Simon Kuik said: “The collaboration with BV and Nokia is in keeping with our ambition to achieve project execution leadership through continuous improvement in our production and process innovation. This will enable Sembcorp Marine to deliver safer, faster, and more efficient project turnaround.” With the successful pilot trial, BV, Nokia and Sembcorp Marine have further reinforced the feasibility of complementing remote surveying with specific traditional surveys without compromising personnel safety and survey quality. Such remote service delivery will likely become the new normal in vessel surveys.

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