The IKEA way of installing marine IT
Building a vessel in China during the Covid pandemic wasn’t easy. When the entire marine IT environment at WALLENIUS SOL’s newbuildings Bothnia Enabler and Baltic Enabler was going to be installed, five weeks of quarantine was required for two weeks work. This is how we solved it.
Maybe in the future, autonomous ships will allow operations without onboard personnel but for now, sailors have no choice but to travel to and from vessels. This has also been the case with IT installations on newbuildings.
Wallenius Marine led the ship design and new building project of two 28, 000-ton CONRO vessels to WALLENIUS SOL. The vessels were built by the shipyard CIMC Raffles in China, and Soya IT was going to install the entire IT environment during the peak of the pandemic.
Remote installations paid off
Prior to the pandemic, IT co-workers would spend about two weeks at the shipyard to commission the IT platform. When China enforced a strict quarantine policy, we needed to first spend five weeks in quarantine before being able to reach the yard. This was an option that we set out to avoid, both for health and for financial reasons.
Soya IT have worked with remote IT installation for several years to reduce emissions from our operations and to save time and money. This change has paid off during the pandemic. The whole IT environment was mounted and connected entirely by the onsite electrician with remote assistance from IT in the Stockholm office. Once the systems were online, IT began remotely verifying all systems and laying the last touch in the commissioning.
Challenges with remote marine it installations
Of course, there were some challenges. One of them was the restrictions on communication applications in China and another was the time difference between China and Sweden. At first, the plan was to get just the essential systems working for the delivery from the yard and finish the installation at sea or in the next port. This was not necessary thanks to the dedication of the personnel both onsite and ashore. The installation was completed in total before the ship sailed. Not only have we delivered IT platforms on vessels without setting our foot onboard, but we have also improved how we transfer knowledge to the onboard personnel.
Like assembly IKEA furniture
We can compare the delivery of today to assembling IKEA furniture. The vessel platform is setup and configured in our office to the extent that we have a fully functional vessel. The equipment is then packed and ship to the site. Once there, the onsite personal get detailed instructions and video support when mounting and connecting the equipment. Once the platform is running, we have remote access to complete the installation and apply additional addons when required.
8 September 2022, WALLENIUS SOL’s new vessel Botnia Enabler was christened in the Port of Skellefteå, Sweden. Read more at wallenius-sol.com