AI man overboard detection system deployed by Valaris

An AI-powered man overboard detection and tracking system from Scottish company Zelim has completed its first deployment in the oil and gas sector, onboard the jack-up rig Valaris Stavanger.

The ZOE system will be used to provide automated person overboard detection and alerts, with Zelim having worked with Valaris to customise the software for the specific requirements of jack-up vessels.

Following an initial trial period, Valaris will evaluate the suitability of the technology for use on other assets in its fleet.

“The North Sea is a harsh weather environment that can change quickly. If someone ends up in the water, the alarm is raised and one person acts as a spotter to maintain visual contact,” said Glen Spearman, Offshore Installation Manager onboard Valaris Stavanger.

“We are totally reliant on line of sight. ZOE gives us a 360-degree view from the rig at any one time. It could reduce our response time and improve the chances of successful rescue in the event of a person overboard.”

With seven infrared and optical cameras placed around the vessel, the system is able to provide continuous monitoring of the surrounding area and will transmit an automatic alert to the radio operator if an incident is detected.

The operator can view a 10-second clip of when the alert was triggered whilst simultaneously viewing live footage. ZOE continues to track the person in the water during this process, logging the position of the vessel and the person overboard at the point of detection for mayday call geo-location, as well as providing the radio operator with a mayday script and actions checklist.

The company says that the system’s AI models have been built on a dataset of over 4.9 million labelled maritime rescue images across a range of ocean conditions.

“ZOE has been designed and developed in collaboration with the US Coast Guard. The system has been through extensive testing in adverse conditions and given a 96.8% successful detection rate up to 337 metres, which is above and beyond standard requirements,” adds Doug Lothian, Chief Technology Officer at Zelim.

“Valaris was involved with us on this project with hands-on experience of their work environment, which meant we quickly understood their specific customisation requirements.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob 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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