Thermal cameras give boost to crew safety in Iceland

A display showing what a thermal camera is seeing in the helm of the Vikingur AK 100

A case study on utilizing thermal imaging on board fishing vessels has shown the technology’s potential to increase safety on board fishing vessels.

The case study, which used a Teledyne FLIR thermal camera, installed thermal imaging on the 72.5-meter Vikingur AK 100, an Icelandic fishing vessel that typically targets mackerel, herring, capelin, and blue whiting. Operated by HB Grandi, the thermal imaging was installed by Sónar, a navigational, fishing, and electronic communication equipment provider for ships and boats.

The installation, a release from Sónar and Teledyne FLIR said, had the specific goal of improving safety in the challenging conditions faced by Icelandic pelagic vessels, which often face poor visibility. The enhanced imaging technology, Sónar  Co-Founder Vilhjálmur Árnason said in a release, will help captains see ice and other objects in the water even if visibility is low.

“It really allows the captain and crew more situational awareness, particularly in case of MOB and icy conditions,” Árnason said. “The captain can easily see the crew on board in the dark and are able to spot dangers in advance or if one of the crew has entered the water. The increased visibility also enables us to see the floats and buoys during purse seining, and although we are yet to obtain hard data for increased fishing performance, it is without doubt making the crew's lives easier, and crucially, safer.”

The project used Teledyne FLIR’s “M364” thermal imaging camera, which according to Teledyne uses exclusive company technology that can blend visible camera details with thermal imaging, overlaying color imagery with the thermal imagery. The overlay, the company said, can allow vessel captains to identify color-coded information, such as navigational aids and other vessels, in foggy conditions that normal imagery can’t penetrate.

“The new FLIR camera has definitely had a great impact on our work onboard Venus,” Vikingur AK 100 Captain Albert Sveinsson said. “It enhances crew safety a lot, as well as making night work much easier and less stressful. I would not want to be without it after having experienced what a big difference it makes.”

Árnason said that the company is now working to aid the wider adoption of thermal imaging technology on fishing vessels. 

Photo courtesy of Teledyne FLIR  


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