Just when you thought it was safe to sail into those waters...

David Levy
January 19, 2023

Orbit Weather+ minimizes the safety risk from sailing into stormy seas

Weather conditions at sea are constantly shifting and sailing into rough waters can pose a risk to life and assets, as well as lead to costly delays. Real-time data insights are needed to optimize routing and avoid adverse weather scenarios - because data blindness can be dangerous.

Imagine a sudden tropical storm that blows up as a huge containership crosses the Indian Ocean. The captain has been reliant on a weather forecast sourced 20 hours earlier from an onshore consultant that failed to predict the hazard ahead.

Now he is confronted with the daunting decision: “Where do I go from here to safeguard my crew, ship and cargo, and still meet the ETA?”

The captain has been made data blind as he has not been able to obtain the necessary weather data fast enough to take corrective action at the right time to reroute around the storm.

AI-generated routes

The value of a weather forecast degrades almost immediately due to continually changing conditions and this can lead to erroneous voyage decision-making based on inaccurate data.

Orbit Weather+, a software solution powered by weather service provider DTN®, changes this scenario by automatically generating optimized route alternatives from artificial intelligence based on constantly updated real-time weather data.

This provides data precision and predictability to enable optimal routing and enhanced safety as the captain can shift course mid-voyage to avert a possible disaster, while also avoiding excess bunker costs from being caught in bad weather.

The platform receives updated weather forecasts every six hours via DTN APIs, which means end-users no longer need to wait for once-a-day forecasts and route recommendations. As the actual weather forecast changes, the API updates conditions and delivers new routing guidance throughout the day.

This gives the captain enhanced situational awareness to intervene at an early stage and navigate into safer waters by selecting an optimized route in communication with an onshore team that is connected to the same system.

Saving valuable time

Weather-optimized routes are provided in real time to avoid back-and-forth email exchanges with a consultant for route updates that are costly and time-consuming, delaying decision-making when safety may be at stake.

There are configurable alerts for various events - such as adverse weather - that are delivered to end-users via the web or mobile app, with the option to select a recommended alternative route.

Rerouting to avoid rough weather could though delay the ship’s arrival to offload its cargo and hamper its ability to capture the next fixture.

Therefore, the voyage calculator can generate multiple route scenarios from a range of different criteria such as ETA, speed, fuel consumption and CII rating, making it possible to select the smartest, fastest and safest route under prevailing weather conditions based on the DTN overlay.

This can also be used to optimize port calls, for example if a bulker cannot discharge its cargo in rainy conditions.

An unlimited number of instant ‘what if’ route scenarios can be generated at no extra cost with the software-as-a-service solution that is based on a subscription per vessel, rather than price per route.

With reliable real-time weather visualization, Orbit Weather+ eliminates data blindness for safer and more cost-efficient voyage routing.

To find out more about Orbit Weather+, click below.
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