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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Singapore to roll out system that detects illegal bunkering by Jan 2018

New SAFER project is working to develop new analytics-based technologies to improve maritime operations.

Updated on 22 Aug 2017 08:41 GMT

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and IBM on Tuesday announced that they are working on the development of a new analytics system that will be used to help detect illegal bunkering activities.

The initiative forms part of Project SAFER, derived from 'Sense-making Analytics For maritime Event Recognition', which is a collaboration between MPA and IBM to develop and test new analytics-based technologies, aimed at improving maritime and port operations to support increasing Singapore's growth in vessel traffic.

So far, the two project partners have jointly completed the pilot trial of three modules, which will be rolled out progressively from September 2017.

In total, there are seven modules under Project SAFER which offer new capabilities for automating and increasing the accuracy of critical tasks that previously relied on human observation, reporting, very high frequency (VHF) communication, and data entry.

The seven modules are:

- Automated Movement Detection (Pilot trial completed)

- Bunkering Analytics (In development/testing)

- Infringement Analytics (Pilot trial completed)

- Pilot Boarding Detection (Pilot trial completed)

- Prohibited Area Analytics (In development/testing)

- Utilisation Detection and Prediction (In development/testing)

- Vessel Traffic Arrival Prediction (In development/testing)

The pilot trial of the three modules that have been completed are: Automated Movement Detection, Infringement Analytics and Pilot Boarding Detection.

MPA and IBM are still developing and testing the other four modules, including the bunker analytics module which will be used for the detection of illegal bunkering activities.

The other three uncompleted modules aim to provide advanced information on traffic density within Singapore port waters; detect vessels moving into prohibited areas; and predict vessel arrival time.

The four modules in development are to be rolled out by January 2018.

Infringement Analytics

One of the three modules where pilot trials have been completed is Infringement Analytics. Up until now, the MPA's port inspectors have been guided by their intuition to look for suspicious activities rather than quantitative information when patrolling the waters. As a result, this may lead to them missing certain events of interest. With the machine-learning-based analytics and vessel prediction models developed for the SAFER system, the inspectors are able to detect suspicious or abnormal vessel behaviour through alerts that are sent them. This enables them to take a more targeted approach when conducting inspection, hence improving the efficiency of their daily routine.

Automated Movement Detection

MPA's Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) handles more than 1,000 vessel movements daily in Singapore's port waters. One of the many roles of the Vessel Traffic Management (VTM) officers is to enter the start and end time and location of vessel into the Port Traffic Management System whenever a ship master reports its movement over the radio system. Using cognitive and analytics technologies to detect and predict vessel movements, this module reduces radio communication between MPA control centre and ship masters and eliminates the need to enter ship movement details by automatically detecting the start/end time and location of vessel in real time. In addition, SAFER is said to improve the accuracy of the information in movement time and location by up to 34 percent, as well as frees up VTM officers to carry out their other roles.

Pilot Boarding Detection

This SAFER module enables the MPA to automatically detect the pilot boarding time thus validating PSA Marine's pilotage service level. The system will also facilitate dispute resolution, if any.

"We will continue to develop our digital strategies through the use of data analytics and machine learning technologies to optimise our port operations and enforcement to meet existing as well as future demands," said Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of the MPA. "The SAFER project will enable us to reap immediate benefits especially in the areas of next-generation port enforcement and monitoring of vessel movements."

Image: Illegal bunkering illustration: SAFER project.

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