Mooring still happens in largely the same way as it has been done for centuries: with lines and chains. But that could all change with the DockLock Magnetic Mooring System that Mampaey Offshore Industries is working on in the Port of Rotterdam. Is mooring with magnets the future?
After years of research and onshore testing, the DockLock Magnetic Mooring System is now in its final stages of development. A prototype is installed onto one of VT Group’s bunker vessels, the MTS Valburg for final testing.
In first instance the magnetic locking system is meant for the bunkering industry. Magnetic mooring pads located on a bunker vessel lock onto the hull of a ship with the push of a button. During the bunkering process monitoring and control software constantly adjust the system to changing circumstances. The safety risks of snapping or slipping lines are eliminated and the system could make the mooring process more efficient as securing onto a ship takes less than a minute and the system can be released in only 20 seconds.
Yuri Ouweneel, responsible for business development at the VT Group, is enthusiastic about the concept: “We experience difficulties while securing our bunker ships to sea going vessels on a regular basis. Sea ships are simply not designed for service vessels to come alongside and to be secured with lines. We volunteered to act as a guinea pig to further test and show the possibilities of Mampaey’s new mooring concept and to improve our own operations. But this system has the potential to increase maritime safety and efficiency not only for VT, but for the entire industry.”
Mampaey plans to bring the DockLock Automatic Mooring System to the market at the beginning of 2015. Next to vessel to vessel coupling Mampaey is also looking into using the system for quay to vessel coupling in the near future.