Tyne Gangway despatch fully automated Forward Operational Deployment System (F.O.D.S) for the Australian Antarctic Supply Research Vessel

The gangway post production cleaning process|The gangway and track in place on the test plinth|Assembling the equipment pre fat|Pre fat hook up arrgt|The hpu delivered complete with control manifold|Control desk during elec function testing

The 160-metre ASRV will perform numerous tasks for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). “The new vessel is a multi-mission ship designed to sustain geographically dispersed stations, support helicopter operations, sustain shore parties on remote islands, map the seafloor and undertake a variety of scientific activities across the Southern Ocean.

The F.O.D.S consists of a 9.3 metre rack & pinion driven gangway complete with two fixed davits and one radial davit, the equipment is operated by hydraulic and electrical control systems. The application is to deploy specialist scientific instrumentation for environmental monitoring in one of the most hostile areas on the planet… The equipment will be installed on an Australian Government Antarctic Survey vessel under construction by the Damen shipyard group.

The installation consists of a Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) complete with main, cleating and locking cylinders, a manifold to control a bow mounted weathertight hatch high above the waterline, once opened a gangway will then extend 9.3 metres carrying a scientific boom. The hatch and equipment will be installed with Trace Heating elements to prevent ice build-up. When fully deployed the scientific booms will rotate to their working positions to gather environmental data for analysis within the onboard research facility.

The full opening and closing sequence is automatic, controlled by the PLC interface and initiated by the control joysticks located on the control panel. The system is fitted with mechanical locks for both ‘open’ and ‘closed’ positions, preventing unnecessary incidents.
When the hatch is open and secure, the operator will then be able to deploy the gangway using the control joystick and the Rack & Pinion hydraulic drive.

The hydraulic system is driven by twin Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC) electric motors driving pressure compensated axial piston pumps. The drive system gives 100% redundancy as the complete sequence can be completed with one pump. The IP65 solenoid valve is fitted with manual overrides for emergency operation and illuminated caps, giving the operators and ships engineer’s immediate verification of the energised valves controlling operations. All of the automated sequences is controlled by a Siemens PLC the complete electrical system having been supplied by Middlesbrough based MJR Controls. An additional feature is a pendant controller which allows the PLC to be overridden in an event of a proximity switch failure, the pendant is to be used with caution by engineering staff to enable the gangway to be recovered and the hatch closed against the Antarctic’s driving katabatic winds and extreme cold. A secondary emergency hand pump can operate all functions should a total power failure occur.


The sound insulated pumps and optimised power control on all functions plus the use of bio-degradable hydraulic oil (nontoxic to marine life) increases the systems green credentials. The carefully controlled trace heating ensures that the system will function in the harshest conditions both hot and cold as the vessels home base in Australia. This is a first for Tyne Gangway as it is an in-house designed complete control system supported by our partners on the project MJR.

This is a great demonstration of Tyne Gangway’s intent to develop fully powered solutions to complex personnel handling systems internal resources. This then offers the customer a one-stop package, for the complete design and build package adopting full responsibility for the turnkey installation and commissioning.