Because there is no international standard in place, only a few vessels are currently equipped to use OPS technology and the systems in use differ in their technical solutions, voltages, power and frequency. Ships with OPS equipment onboard cannot therefore be connected to all the terminals equipped with OPS.

To solve this problem, the international standardization organizations (IEC/ISO/IEEE) are preparing new standards for high-voltage shoreside power supply. The new standard is expected in early 2011 and will deal with the parameters mentioned.

Frequency as a challenging issue
One challenge is that different parts of the world use different electrical frequencies. In addition, onboard frequencies also differ. Once the IEC/ISO/IEEE standards have been finalized, all parties will be in a position to use mutually compatible technologies. This will expedite developments owing to lower costs and increased compatibility between shoreside installations and onboard equipment.

Key components of standardization
Key elements of the proposed standardization package relate to:

  • On-shore installation voltage, frequency and grounding: to deal with different system frequencies (50 vs. 60 Hz), voltage levels, network and lightning protection, short-circuit limitation and interlock with grounding switches.
  • Coverage of all categories of sea-going vessels: container, RoRo, tanker, cruise and ferry ships.
  • Interconnection systems such as connector and cable specifications, standardization of plug-and-socket, cables, cable handling systems, communication cables, communication protocol and interlocking and staff safety issues.
  • Type and routine tests including plug-and-socket, shore connection cable, cable handling device, and workshop tests, dock trial and commissioning tests for each new port of call.

Click here for more information on the progress made so far