This month we have been very busy, its refit season! This is the time of the year when the Dover ferries go away for their annual holiday, the shipping equivalent of a spa weekend, only with more engine grease.

Our two main projects aboard the DFDS ferries have been a complete replacement of the ships BAMS (Bridge Alarm Monitoring System) and the BNWAS (Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System). While these fun acronyms may seem similar, they have totally different purposes.

The BAMS is a system which monitors alarms from all over the ship, everything from main engine oil pressure, failures of navigational equipment, to disabled toilet alarms. These alarms all need acknowledging and dealing with in different ways, and the BAMS allows all of them to be brought to a single location where they can’t be ignored and can be given a priority level to be dealt with.

This is very important to keep the bridge team fully informed about the status of all the ships system, allowing them to keep things running smoothly and safely.

The BNWAS is a system of sensors and alert units required by law to enable the ships to keep running safely. Maritime law requires a certain number of people to be alert, and on watch, on the bridge at all time. The BNWAS detects activity on the bridge, through the movement sensors or certain buttons and controls being used and triggers a countdown timer. If the system doesn’t detect any activity for ten minutes, then an alarm sounds. If this alarm is ignored, then alerts are sent to cabins of off duty crew members to indicate that there is a problem, hopefully resulting on someone checking the bridge and averting disaster.

Both these systems are vital for the ships to keep carrying passengers and freight back and forth across the Channel and have taken months of planning and designing. Now that the planning stage has finally ended, we have just a few days to install these on the ships so that they are ready to go back into service.

Our engineers are busy bees! Here’s the finished product before it gets fitted to the DFDS ships.