Aiming to offer efficient safety and evacuation plans in case of maritime accidents, a project has been developed in Cyprus to create high-tech rescue systems to locate passengers.
Louis Olympia cruise ship was used to test this new system that deals with search and rescue of passengers and is of special international interest.
The system is a product of the EU-funded project Lynceus "People localisation for safe ship evacuation during emergency".
The idea for the project came following the accidents of the Sea Diamond in Santorini (2007), Costa Concordia (2012) and the recent Korean ferry boat disaster Sewol.
Its aim is to prevent deaths in maritime accidents due to the inability of current technology to identify the exact position of people when on board during the evacuation procedure or in the sea.
The project aims to do this by providing low cost and robust innovative technology for localising each individual to be rescued on board or in the sea, thus maximising the probability of safe rescue and minimising loss of life.
The project idea was by Zacharias Siokouros, Louis Technology Director and head of MARINEM (Marine Institute of Eastern Mediterranean).
The system aims to provide the possibility of locating and rescuing passengers trapped in cabins, halls or other ship departments, or those who fall in the sea.
Rescuers will also have personal knowledge of all passengers, even about the heart condition of a particular passenger.
The Project Technical Leader is Tasos Kounoudes, of SignalGeneriX Ltd.
The project secured EU funding of €2.5 million through the Research for SME associations (FP7) and was launched in April 2012. It is estimated to cost a total of €3.3 million and be completed in 12 months.
LYNCEUS wants to develop a distributed wireless sensor network system that will enable ship safety officer and team to monitor the location of each passenger for safe evacuation.
And to monitor in real time the status and spread of the emergency (flood or fire) and also provide engineers with vital information for proper maintenance and optimisation of the ship operation procedures.
Developments to date have been presented in major international maritime conventions and featured in a special edition of the journal Lloyd's Register.
It is supported by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the European Cruise Council (ECC).
Euronews will also prepare a documentary about this project as their TV production crew was in Cyprus at Louis Olympia to record the pilot studies that will take place. The cruise ship will travel from Rhodes to Santorini, to Iraklion and Piraeus.
The objective of Lynceus project is to investigate and demonstrate ultra-low power wireless body-area-network technologies for enabling unobtrusive localisation and tracking of people for on board and overboard search and rescue as well as for safe evacuation of ships during an emergency.
The LYNCEUS technology aims to revolutionise current emergency management and ship evacuation practice through the development of beyond the state-of-the-art real-time emergency management and safe evacuation systems.
This will significantly contribute towards early localisation and rescue of people in danger located on board a ship or in the sea.
Its novel technology will be transferred into the SME-driven market segments of smoke alarm/fire detection systems, lifesaving equipment, emergency management decision support systems and assistive search and rescue equipment.
The proposed research will generate high societal and market impact for the European SMEs, and will enable major technological breakthroughs in the areas of ultra-low power wireless systems, wearable antennas, wireless and sensor electronics, digital signal processing and decision support systems.