Höegh enters the cyber revolution with New Horizon vessels

31 August 2016

When Höegh Autoliners ordered the latest additions to our fleet, the New Horizon vessels, we were determined to make them the best in their field, from hull design to technical installations. Consequently, the information technology on board the New Horizon vessels is fully integrated and connected with the land organisation via satellite. This is the start of a new generation PCTCs.

Information technology has changed the way we communicate and we are today used to being connected whenever and wherever we are. From smartphones to cars, the manufacturers promise us connectivity. Likewise, information and communications technology is revolutionising shipping, bringing with it a new era of ‘cyber-enabled’ ships.

Jan Rune Mørken, Head of Newbuilding in Höegh Autoliners says,

One of the greatest features of the information technology we have applied on board the New Horizon vessels is that all systems on board are now connected and integrated. Our crew can control the majority of all technical installations on board by viewing only one data dashboard and we can connect with them at all times. This makes sailing safer and transportation more efficient.

The start of a new era

“Shipping is at the beginning of the connectivity revolution” says Lloyd’s Lists marine marketing director Luis Benito. Many factors pull in this direction, driven by the potential for better business results, an increased need to comply with environmental and safety legislation and the opportunities brought by an increased bandwidth availability. 
Onboard the New Horizon vessels, the navigation, automation and propulsion controls are all integrated in to one system and a common technology platform. Their performance can be monitored live on workstations around the vessel and be shared over satellite with the ship operator’s office, with the system supplier and with the engine manufacturer for remote maintenance questions.

“Already on older PCTCs there is a vast amount of data potentially available. The problem is not that we have too little data, but that it sits in several systems and can therefore not be used to its full potential” says Jan Rune Mørken. “In comparison, onboard the New Horizon vessels the data is integrated in to one system, making it much easier to read and combine in analysis and simulation work.”

Morten Stanger, Vice President Merchant Marine at Kongsberg Maritime which supplies the integrated automation, navigation and information system onboard the New Horizon vessels says,

Höegh definitely shows they want to be in the front of the technological development in the maritime industry, by choosing a fully integrated and connected system from navigation to propulsion control.

Enhanced safety

With a fully integrated dashboard, the Captain and his crew can now have a greater situational awareness on the bridge, in the engine room and in other operational areas.

The dashboard has a traffic light set-up and if a sensor that reports to the system recognises something wrong it will immediately alarm this with a yellow or red lamp on the screen. The crew can go in and read what the sensor has found and take immediate action. If they face a challenge they need help with solving, they can call an expert on this particular problem on the land side who immediately logs on to the system and shares the same screen. The technical expert can also follow the crew through camera transfer and give support during for example a repair.

“This is a good support to our crew.” Says Jan Rune. “Not only are they made aware from the system as soon as something is not performing as it should and can detect potential errors at an early stage, but they can also enjoy instant support of experts from all around the world.”

Controlling emissions to air

With a vessel performance system implemented, the New Horizon vessels have a state-of-the art system to support Höegh’s work to minimise fuel consumption. The system tracks fuel consumption throughout the journey, analyses historical data and compares it to current conditions, to advise the ship’s crew on ways of improving energy efficiency.

“Minimising our environmental footprint is something we work continuously with in Höegh Autoliners and with increasingly stringent emission regulations in many waters, the need for a good emission control system is high. The engine diagnostic and emission monitoring system helps us make energy smart decisions based on a vast number of parameters analysed.” says Jan Rune Mørken.

By telling the system the next destination and required estimated time of arrival (ETA) it calculates the optimal route based on weather conditions and the vessel’s historical data.

Jan Rune says,

With the new systems we bring the sea and shore organisation closer together and we connect the past with the present and the future, securing the safest and most energy efficient operation. 



The foundation for the state-of-the-art fuel efficiency technology onboard the New Horizon vessels was laid nearly 50 year’s ago, when Kongsberg Maritime launched its first ‘AutoChief’ computerised system in 1967. Today the company develops cutting-edge technology for diverse maritime applications, covering all aspects of automation, control, navigation, safety, power solutions and dynamic positioning. Critically, Kongsberg Maritime has developed its current technology portfolio for complete integration, so that all systems on board can work together, enabling greater efficiencies on board and across an entire fleet.