Aviation has FOQA, now shipping gets BOQA

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danelec Marine

Similarly to the Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) systems widely used in commercial aviation, the marine Bridge Operational Quality Assurance (BOQA) solution from Birkeroed, Denmark, headquartered Danelec Marine BOQA provides a structured methodology for automatic electronic data monitoring, providing real-time trigger alerts and post-event analysis and feedback to correct potentially dangerous behaviors.

BOQA is a scalable cloud-based event reporting, analysis and feedback solution that is integrated with the DanelecConnect shipboard Internet of Things (IoT) platform. It provides automatic recording and transmission of data from ship navigation systems and sensors through the DanelecConnect hub to shore offices and uses analytical tools to identify deviations from operational parameters.

This will allow shipping companies to create a formal, proactive approach to operational risk management in ship navigation practices and procedures.

“The airline industry employs FOQA very extensively, and pilots use it as a proactive learning tool,” said Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danelec Marine. “Our ambition is to bring this same option to ship officers.”


Ottosen noted that the concept behind BOQA originated with a paper entitled The Proactive Use of Voyage Data Recorder Information submitted to IMO in 2013 by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF). The paper called for transmission of data from VDRs to shore for analysis against the shipping company’s established standard operating procedures. The OCIMF proposed system would identify non-conformances and give feedback to the ship’s master and crew as a learning experience to avoid future mistakes and enhance safety.

“The DanelecConnect IoT platform is a key enabling technology underpinning BOQA, providing easy cost-effective access to data from the ship for less than one dollar per day in satellite transmission costs,” says Ottosen.

Initial tests of the Danelec BOQA are currently underway on vessels of five different shipping companies.

Danelec BOQA covers six broad event categories, according to Ottosen. They are navigation events, AIS events, compliance events, weather events, motion events and customized safety events. The system can be set up for daily reports and/or instant alerts for each event type.

Typical navigation event reports include breaches of cross-track error parameters and safety corridors, departures from the ECDIS active route, penetration of no-go zones, deviations from speed and heading in the active route and unscheduled stops and starts. AIS data reports can reveal collision risks from CPA and TCPA.

BOQA also captures and provides alerts on high wind events and pending heavy weather on the ship’s route as well as motion events such as list, roll, rate of turn and transverse accelerations.

“BOQA is designed to be future-proof with a built-in capacity to learn,” said Ottosen. “New unforeseen event types can be developed by applying machine learning and artificial intelligence methods.”

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