Jan De Nul And Seiche Test Automated Marine Mammal Detection During Offshore Activities

Jan De Nul Group joins forces with Seiche Ltd to start trials for the development of an automated marine mammal detection system on board of its vessels. To this purpose, Seiche’s visual and thermal cameras have been installed onboard the vessel Adhémar de Saint-Venant currently working in the Netherlands. A collaboration agreement to start this innovative pilot project with Seiche’s new second-generation HD thermal cameras was signed in May 2021. The first camera trials will be used to optimize the A.I. software for future use on projects.

Based in the UK, Seiche Ltd specialises in the design, development and manufacture of underwater measurement and acoustic systems together with advanced visual detection systems. As part of an internal Innovation Challenge at Jan De Nul Group, four Jan De Nul employees proposed the idea to use this innovative technology during marine offshore operations and initiated the pilot.

The multipurpose vessel Adhémar de Saint-Venant is currently at work on the project Hollandse Kust (noord) and (west Alpha) in the Netherlands. A team from Jan De Nul and Seiche travelled to Zeebrugge earlier this week and installed the detection system onboard. The combined visual and thermal cameras, secured to high points on the vessel for an increased visual reach, will be fully tested over the coming 2 months.

Seiche's thermal cameras on board of Jan De Nul's Adhémar de Saint-Venant
Image Credits: Jan De Nul

A two-month trial

This trial will allow Seiche Ltd to collect the necessary data for testing and fine-tuning the A.I. capacity of the automated detection function and the visual distances these cameras can cover.

Ultimately, this test will be a first step towards the fully automated detection of marine mammals, thereby setting a new standard for all dredging and offshore construction projects worldwide. The aim is to increase the level of protection of marine mammals and to reduce safety risks, costs and impact upon the environment.

Seiche's thermal cameras on board of Jan De Nul's Adhémar de Saint-Venant
Image Credits: Jan De Nul

Nicola Harris, Associate Director of Environmental Services at Seiche Ltd: “We are really excited to be working with Jan De Nul on the testing phase of our new camera systems – allowing us to really showcase the enhanced capabilities of the new devices. It is really great to see construction companies like Jan De Nul showing an active interest in developing such key tools for protecting the environment.”

Inge Van Tomme, Project Manager of the KPI Department at Jan De Nul Group: “The idea of automated mammal detection originated from an internal JDN Innovation Challenge. We chose this competition entry as the outright winner, out of many other viable ideas. By joining forces with a well experienced technology solution partner as Seiche Ltd., we are convinced that we can re-invent the way of detecting and protecting marine mammals for the whole dredging and offshore construction business on projects worldwide.”

Image Credits: Jan De Nul

JDN Innovation Challenge

In its drive to find new engineering solutions, Jan De Nul Group organizes a yearly Innovation Challenge. Develop ideas and make them happen: with this baseline the internal Department for Knowledge, Processes and Innovation (KPI) invites all Jan De Nul employees to work on his or her favourite innovation topic. By connecting colleagues with different ideas, perspectives and approaches, amazing new concepts pop up. The winning teams are supported by in-house experts to further develop their ideas.


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