Metocean monitoring systems are gaining popularity since they can be used as a tool to provide operational support for maneuvering ships and to meet requirements established by state and local port authorities.
At the same time, they have also helped to meet demands associated with environmental monitoring projects and are currently used as an important source of data for application of the modern concept of Dynamic Under Keel Clearance (DUKC), whereby ports can increase their draft by up to several tens of centimeters without the need for dredging, solely by using data on waves, currents and level to their advantage.
This recent concept (DUKC) was regulated in Brazil at the end of 2019 by NORMAM 33, a Brazilian maritime standards authority that deals specifically with monitoring systems and the forecasting of metocean conditions for their implementation.
Operational port monitoring systems supporting maritime operations
Increased ship size, greater demand for foreign trade based on the maritime sector, and the need to make operations safer and more efficient have created the need for systems to support the decision-making process, such as the operational monitoring systems mentioned herein.
Ports throughout Brazil, such as the Port of Itajaí, have implemented a metocean operational monitoring system with a view to achieving greater objectivity in the decision-making process.
“Having the same database for the Maritime Authority, Port Authority and the Maritime Piloting Service means that we have greater objectivity when it comes to making decisions,” says Joelcir Zatta, an engineer with the Works and Projects Management Board of the Port of Itajaí.
“The implementation of a system for monitoring waves and currents, along with other climate monitoring, offers a reliable method for controlling the parameters established by the Maritime Authority in the Procedures and Standards of the Port Authority of Santa Catarina – NPCP-SC and specific rulings of the Port Authority of the Superintendency of the Port of Itajaí,” he adds.
Setup and sensors for the real-time metocean monitoring system
These metocean monitoring systems can vary in their composition, but the essential parameters they need to measure to be efficient are: waves, sea currents, level and wind direction and velocity. Depending on the specific environmental requirements that a port is subject to or interested in with regard to the monitoring projects, new sensors (conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidimetry) can be installed at the same point and integrated into the system.
All of these sensors are held in a datalogger that is installed in a surface marker buoy and linked to a telemetry system, normally a GSM module (it can also be by radio or satellite) that transmits the data in real time to a server; the data is used as the entry parameters for the systems for managing and viewing the information.
SIMPORT (Acquaplan®) real-time metocean system