How cutting-edge technology is assisting insurance claims analysis and investigation

Claims, Conferences, Seminars, Forums, Groundings, Marine Insurance, Maritime Accidents, Technology — By on April 4, 2018 at 1:31 PM

Phil Thompson (left) and Zarir Irani.

How cutting-edge technology is assisting insurance claims analysis and investigation

By James Brewer 

Rembrandt is helping get to the bottom of – and possibly prevent – casualties in ocean and coastal shipping.  This is not the Dutch master painter of the Golden Age, but a brand name for an advanced technology in visual reconstruction and analysis of marine collisions and groundings.

The system has been developed by BMT Ship & Coastal Dynamics, part of the BMT Group. The marine, technology and services company (based in Fareham and London) updated maritime practitioners on its progress, at a joint seminar in the City on March 23, 2018 with Constellation Marine Surveyors & Consultants, an independent business based in Dubai and run by a board whose members are resident in the UK.

Dr Thompson presents Rembrandt system.

The event was billed as offering an opportunity to learn about key developments in the forefront of technology.

Rembrandt in the BMT branding is a clever acronym built up at the origin of the project, from REal time Manoeuvring, BeRthing AND Training.

Rembrandt software has recently been taken up by among others the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Its rise to prominence comes at a time when the shipping industry and regulators are demanding high quality electronic data gathering to support accident investigation and training and safety support.

Seminar organisers

BMT Ship & Coastal Dynamics managing director Phil Thompson said that BMT had been furthering the system over 30 years and had recently intensified development.  Its earliest users included Stena Sealink and P&O Ferries in 1989. “Our involvement in accident investigation has ramped up in the last 18 months. There are many ideas about what we can do with this system.”

The versatile navigation and manoeuvring simulator offers high standards of hydrodynamic accuracy and visual display and can be used from a laptop or desktop computer, said Dr Thompson.

It automatically creates a 3D visual scene from an International Hydrographic Organisation S57 electronic navigation chart supplemented by BMT proprietary conversion tools.

Rembrandt can automatically read voyage data recorder information to improve accuracy of a visual reconstruction. VDR data can be read and displayed within minutes.

Dr Thompson said: “Even in organisations with first class training, things can happen, and from an accident investigation you can quickly switch at the press of a button from passive visual event reconstruction to put [Rembrandt] into full modelling/simulation role to allow the user to take full control of the vessel to explore ‘what-ifs’. It becomes an effective reflective learning and training tool.”

Detailed scenes of ports and other locations can be built up by adding Lidar (light detection and ranging) or high resolution imagery such as aerial photographs and user digital photographs of significant buildings and landmarks.

Hydrodynamically validated ship models are available within BMT’s existing library databases; new models are created by skilled naval architects to reflect the characteristics of a ship or class of ship.

High-tech aiding ship transfer operations.

Rembrandt users include shipping companies with installations on board and ashore, floating oil and gas installation managers, towage companies, pilots, ship’s officers on liquefied natural gas carriers and cruise liners, naval architects, civil marine engineers, port and terminal authorities, and statutory accident investigation boards.

Instances of support for key operations are:  as a guide for ship to ship transfers under challenging conditions; on ships for assessing safe operating limits in ports under varying environmental conditions, including under-keel clearance, speed of approach and complex hydrodynamics; and for rig tow-out.

Pilots can carry out conventional training, and experiment with manoeuvres before enacting them in real situations.

Rembrandt has been installed in shore-based locations including at pilotage authorities, nautical colleges, and shipping company offices. At the last-named facilities, it can allow rehearsal of manoeuvres ahead of entering into commercial arrangements that might require them, or assess port suitability for specific ship types.

Dr Thompson said that Rembrandt could be an important aid to training, as opportunities to practise taking a ship into a new port, take command of a new ship type or berth alongside a floating production unit could be limited. Despite such limitations, masters were expected to handle their ship successfully under a wide variety of circumstances, often in very bad weather.

Constellation of directors: from left Hugh Brown, Allen Brink, John Noble, Zarir Irani.

Among newest adopters are companies specialising in liquefied natural gas as part of their newbuild fit-out specification for bridge equipment. Providers of expert witness evidence find Rembrandt a powerful tool because “you can view any incident from any angle or elevation.”

A member of the audience asked: “How can this system prevent an accident?” The BMT executive said that shipping companies could feed into the enhanced predictive facility to increase the chances of incident-free operation.

On behalf of Constellation Marine, director and marine casualty expert Zarir Irani reviewed the challenges for marine warranty surveying in “today’s hyper-communicative industry,” and assessed “disruptive” trends in the marine consulting market.

In its independent capacity, Constellation can take up appointments for any shipowner, trader, insurance or law firm if not conflicted.

Constellation Marine is managed by four board members residing in the UK who have been closely associated with various facets of the marine business for many years. Capt Irani is joined on the board by Hugh Brown (formerly with law firm Holman Fenwick Willan), Capt Allen Brink who has a Durban-based consultancy and surveying business, and Capt John Noble, a salvage expert with extensive global experience.

Constellation says that it has undertaken more than 15,500 assignments over the past decade. It has a team of 18 consultants and surveyors comprising master mariners, engineers, naval architects and rig move masters. The business has offices in the UK, Singapore and Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Yemen) specialising in offshore marine warranty inspection, and ship and cargo inspections for principals, insurance companies, charterers and P&I clubs.

It says that it is one of the first surveying firms to offer live feeds of surveyor location and onsite updates to clients on their smart devices.

Capt Irani is vice president of the International Institute of Marine Surveying.

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