Home' Baird Maritime : September 2011 Contents FOCUS ON NIGHT VISION EQUIPMENT
The Portuguese capital Lisbon lies on the Tagus, one of
Europe's busiest rivers. On such a busy waterway, accidents can
happen all too easily, especially when darkness falls or fog or
smoke impedes vision.
Every day, the Lisbon ferry service faces the daunting task of
bringing hundreds of commuters and tourists safely across the
river. To avoid collisions, the ferries have been equipped with M-
Series thermal imaging cameras from FLIR. One of those vessels is
the 'Lisbonense', whose Captain Rui Sousa is very pleased with all
of the new equipment installed on his ship.
"We have everything we need," he says. "There are sensors
everywhere making this one of the safest ships on the Tagus."
Unlike normal cameras, thermal imaging cameras rely on
thermal contrast instead of visual contrast, producing crisp clear
images regardless of lighting conditions. The camera can even
provide crisp thermal images in smoke so thick that normal
eyesight is rendered completely useless.
The M626L camera installed on the 'Lisbonense' has
been mounted on top of a pole to provide a better overview
and improved range. The control unit is incorporated in the
ship's bridge with a dedicated TFT screen constantly showing
the thermal imaging footage. The unit includes an uncooled
microbolometer thermal-imaging detector that produces
thermal footage with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and a
visual lowlight camera to provide the best possible vision in
"If this ship will ever be involved in a collision it has to be due
to some kind of human error," says Captain Sousa.
However, the M-Series is more than just an aid to avoid
collisions. The strong currents in the Tagus make any man-
overboard situation very dangerous, particularly at night. The FLIR
M-Series produces clear images even in the darkest of nights, so a
person who has fallen overboard can be seen clearly in thermal
imaging, his or her bodily warmth standing out clear against the
background of cold water.
This aspect of FLIR's products was what appealed to the Norwegian
Society for Sea Rescue (NSSR) Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (NSSR),
who recently upgraded the night vision equipment on several of its
vessels. In winter, the northern parts of Norway are enveloped in utter
darkness for months at an end, which could seriously reduce the
effectiveness of the NSSR crews in emergency situations.
As a test FLIR cameras were installed on several different types
of rescue boats. Following positive feedback from the crews, the
NSSR is now considering installing FLIR cameras on its entire fleet.
Moreover, they found that the cameras are not only useful in poor
visibility, but even in broad daylight.
"We received a call that a large wooden pole had got loose
during a storm and was floating around, forming a potential
hazard to ships," says NSSR engineer Andreas Grorud. "But it was
hard to spot the dark tree-trunk sized pole with the naked eye. But
when we switched on the FLIR-camera we could make out the
floating pole quite easily, because the warmer wood showed up on
the IR-camera display in stark contrast to the cold water."
For more information contact:
FLIR Systems, Netherlands
Raymarine lets you control the camera
UK-based Raymarine's T-series thermal imaging camera can be
fully integrated with its E-series widescreen navigation display.
Designed for simple operation, the T-series camera helps boaters
see hazards such as buoys, floating debris, rocks, land, bridges and
other vessels, in total darkness. Moreover, by linking it up with an
E-series display, the user can directly control the camera using its
HybridTouch interface to pan, tilt or zoom.
For further information contact:
September 2011 BAIRD MARITIME
Clear vision with FLIR thermal imaging
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