Wärtsilä has developed a new lock-entry assist system that will help vessels during their approach and entrance into waterway locks.

Canada-based CSL Group is also involved in the development of the system, which is expected to be deployed on CSL’s 22,600t Trillium class bulk carrier, CSL St Laurent.

CSL St Laurent currently serves the route between St Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes in Canada.

The Wärtsilä system is designed to cater to the increasing size of vessels operating on these routes and to help avoid any damage that can be caused to both the ship and the lock walls.

The system is expected to make ships’ entry into waterway locks safer, faster, and efficient.

Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions vice-president Joonas Makkonen said: “This project once again emphasises Wärtsilä’s leadership capabilities in creating greater efficiencies for marine operators through its Smart Marine approach.

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“Our extensive in-house knowledge and experience, combined with the industry’s broadest portfolio of products and systems, has enabled us to utilise the very latest technologies to deliver a level of innovation that is completely unmatched, and which adds real value to our customers’ businesses.”

“This project once again emphasises Wärtsilä’s leadership capabilities in creating greater efficiencies for marine operators through its Smart Marine approach.”

The lock-entry assist system is capable of using high-performance global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to measure the ship’s position at centimetre accuracy level once it enters the lock.

It is also designed to use speed-adaptive controls, along with the thruster and rudder, to ensure that the vessel enters the lock in a consistent manner with reduced influence of external forces such as wind and currents.

The system can automatically control the ship’s lateral position and heading during entry to enable the operator to concentrate on controlling the vessel speed.

Wärtsilä is currently developing a customised touchscreen interface to simplify the operation and enhance situational awareness of the system.