American Steamship Company first to install Wärtsilä semi-autonomous sailing tech

American Steamship Company (ASC) has become the first vessel operator to implement the new Wärtsilä SmartMove Suite for semi-autonomous sailing, on board the MV American Courage, a 194m Great Lakes self-unloading bulk freighter with a cargo carrying capacity of 24,300 gross tonnage.

The SmartMove system consists of a range of sensors and high-accuracy ship control systems aimed at supporting automated dock-to-dock operations. Fully retrofittable, the technology can be installed on existing vessels to ramp up their technology capabilities, Wärtsilä says.

ASC’s American Courage is claimed to be the largest ever ship capable of performing automated docking and dock-to-dock sailing operations, and will operate along the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, US. The system has been in testing on the ship since March 2020 ahead of its full launch.

“American Steamship Company chose to partner with Wärtsilä Voyage based on their ability to bring to bear their diverse subject matter experts into a cohesive team to deliver comprehensive solutions to complex challenges,” said Pierre Pelletreau VP of Engineering at ASC parent company Rand-ASC Holdings.

“The complete Voyage Smart technology package addresses the American Courage’s restricted water manoeuvring profile requirements, including a position margin of less than two metres and transit under bridges.”

“Wärtsilä adeptly familiarised themselves with our business sensitivities to drive adjustments throughout the project to benefit ASC. One example of this is the versioning of the technology that utilises the surrounding environment for vessel positioning, making it ship-based rather than on shore. The resulting impact was a further reduction of the American Courage’s operating costs.”

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About the Author

Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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