Making life easier, and cutting costs
With 30 years at sea, Captain Pekka Hynönen is Master of M/T Neste, a product tanker currently running between North Sea, Gibraltar and Baltic Finland. His company, Neste Oil, began trialling AVCS in November 2008, and after seven months, Captain Hynönen says moving from multiple systems to just one has made life easier in a number of ways, as well as saving the company money.
"For passing through the Kiel Canal, for example, we only need two charts - in the past that would mean we had to buy the full folio, which is very expensive" says Captain Hynönen. "With AVCS we can buy just the bits we need, which saves us money."
Captain Hynönen's employer, Neste Oil, is a Finnish-based oil refining and marketing company as well as carrier of chemicals and petroleum products. As an owner/manager, it runs five crude oil tankers and 26 product tankers, some owned by the company, others leased on long term contracts. The company's shipping operation employs over 500 people, 430 on board, and works mostly in northern waters, particularly in the North Sea, in the Baltic and around Greenland. In total Neste Oil has some 5,200 employees.
"We have actually been using electronic charts for about fifteen years," says Captain Hynönen, "not full ECDIS, but an electronic chart system. And it's been good. But when the company heard about AVCS we were interested, because it is one system."
As things stood, Masters like Captain Hynönen found themselves having to switch constantly between three different systems. The main one, an ENC service running S-57 data, provided pretty good coverage, but there were gaps, which needed to be filled using ARCS raster charts. And restricted coverage overall meant paper charts had to be used constantly for backup. Now, with a Furuno bridge layout and twin Furuno ECDIS units running AVCS, on most routes the Captain can simply use one system, berth to berth.
Now we have the one system, it's easier, it's cheaper, and the company likes that we have only one system for the whole fleet."Captain Pekka Hynönen, Master of M/T Neste
"There are exceptions," says Captain Hynönen, "such as around the coast of Greenland, where we still have to use paper charts for backup. But apart from that particular coastline the coverage is very good, and it makes life much easier. We have one system. We buy the charts we know we will need - for example the North Sea, the Baltic, Gibraltar to Norway - and we can buy any additional licenses when we need them, very easily. Then when we are on the voyage, I have all the information I need right in front of me, on one screen, from the start of the voyage to the end."
Another benefit of the system is the information AVCS does not put on-screen: "It is very helpful for me to be able to deselect certain kinds of information - such as sea depth - which I don't always need. Deselecting information I don't need makes it easier and clearer to see the information I do need."
In the past, Captain Hynönen sometimes found himself having to fall back on commercial data, which was not regulation-compliant and it was a no-correction system. "The regular weekly updates we get with AVCS mean we know the information we are using is up to date. We get all the updates on CD through the post, which is convenient, and if we know the post won't arrive in time, we just download what we need from the internet."
Similarly with obtaining new charts when they are required: "Of course these days everyone wants everything as soon as possible," says Captain Hynönen, "but we have no problems. Whatever new permits we want we can get as quickly as we need them."
Neste Oil has now been trialling AVCS for seven months, and Captain Hynönen believes he is not the only enthusiast in the company: "Before we had S-57 and ARCS. ARCS was ok, but it wasn't ECDIS, and we had to use paper. Now we have the one system - it's easier, it's cheaper, and the company likes that we have only one system for the whole fleet."
- One system, berth to berth
- Flexible licensing, saves money
- All the right information, clearly, on one screen
- Easy ordering, easy licensing, easy updating