Supertankers Entering Port of Long Beach to Use ABB Software


Supertankers entering the Port of Long Beach will use ABB’s marine software to produce real-time data of the keel-to-seabed clearance, improving the safety and efficiency of the operations. Sensors fitted to Tesoro vessels will send information to a Portable Surveyor Box (PSB), carried by the pilot, which will verify their route to the dock. In this specific case, the system is used to continuously validate (and improve) pre-calculated motions from the online decision support system PROTIDE, which is used to calculate safe transit time windows for large oil tankers to enter the port.

The VLCC and ULCC tankers weigh up to 330 000 tons and approach the port at a draft of 20 to 21 meters with a keel clearance as low as 2 to 3 meters, meaning the data ABB’s portable solution provides is vital for safe entry to the port.

Juha Koskela, Managing Director of ABB’s marine and ports business said, “The maritime pilot is an ancient profession but marine software is becoming a vital tool in the modern day port.  This application of ABB’s decision support system will raise the safety and efficiency of ships operating in the Port of Long Beach.”

Prior to entering the harbor the pilot uses the application PROTIDE, created by Charta Software, to combine tidal, wave, route and ship data to analyze and predict the keel clearance of the vessel during the proposed transit. During transit the pilot will board with the PSB, which is a modified laptop capable of receiving data. The PSB is used during transit to evaluate the outcome of the planning and decision-making process that was done prior to the transit.  By comparing the two sets of data the pilot is able to optimize the safety of the vessel and evaluate the course chosen in the planning phase. The PSB will be circulated to different Tesoro vessels entering the harbor.

The accurate information provided by the PSB validates the PROTIDE outcome, which enables deeper draft ships to enter the port safely. This means that fewer tankers need to lighten their load to enter the harbor or to wait for the appropriate time window.

The PROTIDE system has been in operation since 2010 in the Netherlands for the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Cooperation between Charta Software, Tesoro, Jacobsen Pilot Services, the Marine Exchange of Southern California and ABB resulted in the integration of the PSB into the PROTIDE service and led to this system being implemented for Tesoro vessels in the Port of Long Beach.   

Mikko Lepisto Senior Vice President of Digital Solutions at ABB’s marine and ports business says, “ABB Ability™ is focused on creating value for our customers through the Industrial Internet of Things, and this is an excellent example of how our marine software is capitalizing on increased connectivity in the shipping industry.”

Captain Rob McCaughey, Manager Marine Operations at Tesoro Maritime Company says, “The pilots from Jacobson Pilots Services stressed the need for a system that gives a scientific approach and real-time decision support when supertankers enter the Port of Long Beach. With the PROTIDE and ABB’s portable solution we assess the risks and validate the predicted keel clearance, therefore enabling optimum and efficient port accessibility.”

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