Ecopetrol SA is a Colombian national corporation focused on the development, exploration and transportation of hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), its derivatives and related products.
From onshore ground facilities, the company transports hydrocarbons such as crude oil via subsea hoses to Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring (CALM) buoys.
Large oil tankers moor to the CALM buoys where floating rubber hoses transfer the HGL to the tanker, providing a safer, more reliable way to transport and load HGLs.
The tankers that transport HGL are extremely large and have extensive tanks. With drafts of 17+ meters (55+ feet) and typical lengths of 300 meters (900+ feet), approximately 40K barrels per hour (BPH) are transported to the tankers for distribution around the world.
A CALM buoy is typically moored approximately 3-5NM offshore, and is fitted with marine lanterns to increase their visibility and decrease the risk of collision from passing vessels.
CALM buoys are traditionally fitted with radar beacons (RACONs). RACONs transmit a unique radio signal that is displayed on a ship’s radar screen, giving a ship’s crew a second, non-visual point of reference to use while navigating in the vicinity of a CALM buoy.
Despite their necessity for safe navigation, RACONs have several negative characteristics. They are very expensive (approx. $35K USD), and require a large solar power supply to operate on a CALM buoy, due to their immense power consumption. Additionally, having a RACON as well as a marine lantern on the buoy leads to complications in mounting and wiring the equipment.
The disadvantages of traditional RACONs led Ecopetrol to try to find a better solution that provided mariners with the same level of situational awareness at a lower cost and simpler installation.
In collaboration with Sealite distributor Ingeniería Naval & Señalización Marítima S.A.S. in Colombia, Ecopetrol installed a SL-C510, 5-9NM Solar Marine Lantern with integrated Type 3 AIS on a CALM buoy. The self-contained lantern transmits position data via AIS, so that mariners within VHF range of the location can see the exact position of the buoy.
This solution provides the same level of situational awareness as a traditional RACON, at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, because the AIS transponder is fully integrated into the SL-C510, the entire system is quickly and easily installed and serviced.
With a maximum intensity of over 1,100 candelas, the SL-C510 marine lantern has a range of 5-9NM, and is fitted with GPS synchronization technology. Bluetooth® connectivity allows maintenance technicians to program the lantern and perform periodic maintenance checks on the light from up to 50 metres away, removing the need for technicians to climb the structure on top of the moving buoy to perform the same tasks.
There were many benefits for Ecopetrol by adding the Sealite SL-C510 Marine Lantern with integrated AIS. Ecopetrol reduced their expediture to mark the CALM buoy as a hazard to marine navigation and improved safety for passing vessels. Integrated AIS in the SL-C510 reduced both the installation time and required labor. Bluetooth® connectivity allowed the lantern to be programmed from a nearby vessel rather than onboard the moving buoy, increasing safety for installation and maintenance personnel.
All of the features of Sealite’s SL-C510 helped Ecopetrol to safely and efficiently move HGLs between the shore and vessel and added extra protection for the surrounding marine environment.
“The options for AIS before Sealite’s SL-C510 were bulky, difficult to install and expensive. My customers will never go back to stand-alone AIS with this new solution…”
– Ing. JAIRO ARTETA GOENAGA – Gerente General, Ingeniería Naval & Señalización Marítima S.A.S. – INSM S.A.S.
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On behalf of Karachi Port I am pleased to acknowledge your good service and provision of the new SL-75 solar marine lanterns installed by your firm in the harbour channel at Karachi Port. The new lanterns are very feasible and useful and equipped with the latest navigational technology.
-Captain Muhammad Altaf
As one of your new distributors (Belize and Honduras, Waller Marine Belize LTD), I would like to express my congratulations to you and your people in providing reliable, dependable and inexpensive products. Formerly we were distributors for a Canadian made product but these were found to be too expensive for the market and also offered only difficult and complicated programming. Our first order of lights from you (SL15’s) took only four days to arrive from Aussie Land, when I opened the box they were still flashing. I tested a SL60 (white) for four days (steady on) before it required a recharge…remarkable. I will be placing another order shortly. Keep up the good work.
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I just wanted to say thank you for the light and bracket Sealite supplied to Birkenhead Marina. As the other lights (old ones) need new batteries I will be replacing them with new lights from Sealite and the same brackets that you supplied with the light we received last week … Your product is excellent and the system of setting the light is good also. Thanks again for all your trouble.