SEAMAN simulations improve fairway, port planning and design

Designing a new port, or modifying an existing one, are complicated processes involving many stakeholders and even more fields of expertise. Using the expertise of mariners, infrastructural planners, logistics experts, environmental experts and a few dozen more fields of expertise these projects are truly a multi-disciplinary endeavor. SSPA’s staff of mariners, risk analysts, plus maneuvering and port management experts have, for more than 40 years, been involved in many port infrastructure projects, in order to provide customers with efficient and safe operational solutions. At present SSPA has upgraded its in-house simulation tools, with specific focus on adequate mathematical modeling and virtual reality, all in order to meet customers’ needs for optimized solutions, flexibility and rapid response.

To understand customers’ needs and problems, SSPA invites them to an open and professional dialogue. This is where the best use of SEAMAN simulations can help resolve key issues. Since SEAMAN is designed for this, it can handle a number of customer concerns: bank and shallow water effects, stratified and time variable currents, wind and wave effects, etc. SEAMAN is designed as a tool to help solve our customers’ concerns and our simulation experts are very well versed in its capabilities. It is also important to understand and see the broader picture, to understand its purpose in order to provide clients with results and recommendations.

Various missions

A simulation program is always tailor-made. If the most efficient solution is a set of fast-time simulations, desktop simulations or even full mission with separately controlled tugs they can all be simulated using SEAMAN, using the same advanced dynamic models of ships and fairways. Sometimes the right solution might also be an incremental one, which starts with desktop simulations and ends with a full mission environment. However all the simulations are performed in different configurations of SEAMAN, with consistency of the different simulations guaranteed by the use of the same core software and the same dynamic ship models during the entire project.

To reach a good, optimized solution, close cooperation and dialog between SSPA and the customer is promoted. This also covers exchange of geospatial data, hydrological data, meteorological data, etc. Fortunately, SEAMAN handles all of the common formats for the above data. When modeling ships, SEAMAN has a built-in capability of ship modeling, the SHIPGEN and software, that draws on the thousands of model tests taken at our facilities, as well as the experience of our experts. The SHIPGEN software is completely integrated with SEAMAN. This provides the highest fidelity of modeled ships and environments, used by our experts.


The execution of simulations can take place wherever it is most convenient, either in SSPA’s own simulation lab or at the customer’s office, in order to open up for a wider range of involved representatives.

The environment in which the simulated ships operate is complex and the people participating in the simulations usually have creative ideas that come from the last simulation performed. After a simulation a pilot might say: “We will never get into the harbor using the planned manoeuver, but what if we moved this buoy to that place, and try this maneuver instead. Then the ship might enter safely”. Since these types of request are common, SEAMAN is designed with flexibility for changes, and our simulation experts, together with port representatives, will keep the integrity of the simulations results intact, making sure that the results can still be used to answer the customer’s initial questions.


The reports from simulations will be focused on the initially defined needs and answers requested. They may focus on operational limits due to weather, the need for tugs, are safety levels improved when using escort tugs versus costs, operational manuals, etc.

SSPA is also fully aware of the importance of who will be the reader; will it be onboard officers? permitting authorities? investors? The answers contain the Pilots and SSPA maneuvering experts’ opinions and conclusions on the safety of each simulation, as well as a grade, or Safety Index, automatically calculated by SEAMAN. The Safety Index takes into account available margins expressed as variables such as distance to the edge of fairway, use of rudder,
engine and a number of other factors.

Your solution partner

The SEAMAN simulator is based on decades of development by ship maneuvering experts, who have drawn on decades of model scale tests at our own facilities, customer cooperation and nationally and internationally funded research programs.

Over the past two years SSPA has made major efforts to make this hydrodynamic knowledge more accessible to its customers by developing a more powerful and flexible simulation engine, a more customizable bridge layout, 3D visualization, and a multitude of other important updates. While we are passionate about the state-of-theart technology behind these it is not in itself our goal. The goal is, as it has always been, to help customers in their daily work, business and future planning. Having developed these tools just means that we meet clients’ needs and questions even better, faster and more efficiently.

SSPA is not primarily selling a simulation; we sell port efficiency, safe operations, cost effective solutions – with all the responsibility that comes from that commitment.


The SEAMAN simulation tool offers flexibility and rapid response. Here a test of a tug situation at a given time.