The Thetius Innovation Lab aims to connect world leading maritime businesses with innovators to solve real problems. To improve welfare and safety at sea, we are working in partnership with Inmarsat, the leader in global mobile satellite communication, and Shell. Thousands of vessels rely on Inmarsat’s end-to-end service availability and coverage for operational communications, safety and welfare. Shell Shipping and Maritime manages one of the largest fleets of oil/chemical tankers and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers in the world, all playing a vital role in the safe and secure delivery of energy.
In partnership with Inmarsat and Shell Shipping and Maritime, we are looking for novel solutions that have the potential to improve crew safety and welfare across four innovation challenge areas spanning deck safety, fatigue reduction, admin reduction, and overall wellbeing.
We are seeking applications for solutions from startups and SMEs who want to conduct a proof of concept onboard a Shell vessel, supported by Inmarsat’s technology. Startups and solution providers who apply to the Innovation Challenge will be required to submit a pitch that details their proposed solution and a proposal for the proof of concept.
From the submitted applications, a shortlist will be generated, and successful solutions invited to pitch their idea to a decision making jury. The majority of the jury will be made up of serving seafarers, with representatives from Inmarsat, Shell, and the welfare sector also taking part.
The team behind the chosen idea will be awarded a £10,000 GBP cash grant, funded by Inmarsat, to test their idea by implementing a proof of concept onboard a Shell vessel equipped with Inmarsat’s communication and digital capabilities. The cash will be awarded upfront to the winning solution provider, and the winning startup will receive support from Thetius, Shell, and Inmarsat to implement their idea.
We are seeking solutions across four challenge areas; improving the safety of deck operations, minimising fatigue on board, reducing administration on board, and improving overall crew welfare.Improving the safety of deck operationsMinimising fatigue on boardReducing administration onboard ships and enabling remote auditingImproving the overall welfare of seafarers on board
Deck operations like mooring, anchoring, cargo work, lifeboat drills, enclosed space inspections and maintenance are some of the most dangerous activities undertaken on board. Accidents on deck are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury at sea, with deck ratings the most likely rank to become fatally injured while working.
Dangers of deck operations include being struck by mooring lines or other objects, becoming asphyxiated by entering enclosed spaces, falling overboard, and tripping or falling on deck. All deck operations require ratings and officers to maintain a high level of situational awareness and excellent communication between teams stationed throughout the ship.
We are seeking innovative solutions to improve the safety of deck operations on board. This can include, but is not limited to, solutions that help increase situational awareness, improve communication between teams stationed throughout the ship, or enhance crew training for dangerous operations.
Fatigue is often a major contributing factor to accidents at sea. In a study conducted by the MAIB, fatigue was identified as a contributing factor in 82% of groundings that occur between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00. As well as having an impact on the safety of a vessel, inadequate sleep has been linked by researchers to a significantly increased risk of depression and anxiety in the general population.
As well as sleep, there are other contributing factors to fatigue including stress, diet, and exercise. There are strict regulations for the hours of work and minimum hours of rest for seafarers while on board. Consequently, all crew members need to log and report their own hours of work and rest. Logging and monitoring work hours is a time consuming process, and disruptions to rest hours are difficult to manage and compensate for. As well as managing time off, it is also important to ensure that crew members get adequate sleep during their rest hours.
We are seeking innovative solutions to improve the management of work and rest hours and ensure crew members get adequate sleep. This can include, but is not limited to, solutions that reduce the manual administration involved in logging and reporting of work hours, help manage and plan for disruptions to watch patterns, or help crew members manage the contributing factors to fatigue while maintaining their privacy.
In recent decades, the volume of paperwork that a ship’s deck and engine crew are required to complete has grown significantly. As a minimum standard, ships must carry and maintain more than 70 different certificates, documents, and plans that are required by IMO regulations. Additionally, crew members must maintain their own personal records, including certificates of competency, training records, discharge records, visas, vaccines, and continuing professional development.
Many of these records are created manually and kept on paper rather than digitally. This administrative burden often means crew members have to work long hours outside of their watchkeeping duties to keep up. Additionally, the rise of COVID-19 has made it incredibly difficult for surveyors to get access to ships to carry out audits.
We are seeking innovative solutions to reduce the administration requirements for ships’ crews while maintaining an audit trail that can be accessed and verified remotely. This can include, but is not limited to, solutions that reduce the need to maintain paper logs and records, speed up recording equipment inspections, or automate record and certificate keeping processes.
The world’s 1.6million seafarers are at the forefront of world trade, often spending months away from home at a time, living and working in difficult conditions.
There is evidence of an increase in recent-onset anxiety and depression among serving seafarers, and in some roles, seafarers may be particularly prone to emotional exhaustion and burnout. As well as mental wellbeing, physical and social wellbeing at sea are critically important. After accidents, heart problems are the leading cause of death at sea and isolation and loneliness at sea has been shown to predispose seafarers to mental health problems.
In addition to the normal welfare requirements of modern seafarers, the rise of COVID-19 has made it incredibly difficult to repatriate seafarers who have reached the end of their contracts, and made it impossible for seafarers to get shore leave and access regular welfare services while in port.
We are seeking innovative solutions to measure and improve the overall welfare of seafarers on board. This can include, but is not limited to, solutions that capture data on the wellbeing of crew members, enhance remote access to welfare services for seafarers, address bullying and harassment on board, improve mental, physical, or social wellbeing, enable better communication with loved ones at home, or help to facilitate the repatriation of seafarers at the end of their contracts.
There are specific operational constraints that your solution must be able to work within including remote implementation, limited bandwidth, the need for plug and play hardware, and cost at scale.
The deadline for applications is 23:00 UTC on the 16th of September. A group of shortlisted proposals will be invited to take part in a virtual event to pitch their solution to a judging panel made up of seafarers and representatives of Inmarsat and Shell. Out of the shortlisted solutions, one will be selected to receive the funding and conduct the proof of concept.
To submit an application, create a pitch deck or proposal document that covers the details listed below, you may also submit a demo video to support your pitch as part of your application. The details of your pitch and proposal will be shared with the challenge partners but not be shared publicly.