22 Feb 2018

The Importance of Data Replication in Seafaring

Seafaring can be one of the most luxurious and relaxing ways to travel and see the beauty of the world. It’s also one of the most effective ways to transport large volumes of raw materials and finished products, essential for economic trade among countries.

There are many facets that influence a successful voyage, such as adequate supplies for the passengers and crew -- you don’t want to get trapped in the middle of the sea without anything to eat, after all. Another is technology, such navigation systems and data replication solutions. The latter may seem nonessential, but it is, in fact, a critical component of seafaring.
data replication solutions

What is Data Replication?

To put it simply, data replication is the frequent electronic copying of data from the main database so that all users share the same level of information. In an office setting, we can see it being applied as the data in the main office being copied to all the branch offices, so that all the employees are dealing with the most updated information at all times.
From that definition, we can easily see how data replication can be applied to seafaring and how important it could be. After all, you can consider a ship as a branch office of sorts, albeit one that is constantly moving.

How Can Data Replication Aid Seafarers?

• Navigation. Data replication helps keep the navigation systems involved in seafaring always updated. By ensuring that the database on the deployed on one ship is the same as the corresponding database on-shore as well as those on other ships, the entire network of navigation systems can keep track of where all the ships are, where they are headed, and if there are any possible obstacles in their way, such as inclement weather or other ships they may collide with. If the database on board is not properly updated, it could result in navigational errors and maritime accidents.

• Logistics. A ship deals with a lot of data when it’s ashore, but even more so every moment that it’s on the water. The officers that help keep the ship running and afloat have to constantly check back with the ship’s main database to ensure that everything is in order – the passenger list, the supplies on board, and the very state of the ship itself. The information that they work with have to be constantly updated; otherwise, it could result in logistical errors that may compromise the safety of the passengers and the structural integrity of the ship, among others.

• Freight Concerns. It may be a bit slower, but it’s still a lot more economical to transport hundreds of tons of cargo through sea travel than through air travel. Slower though it may be, these cargo ships do have a schedule to follow to meet contract conditions and the like.

By ensuring that the ship has the same data as the freight company’s office on land, not only will the ship have all the information it needs to stay in the schedule but the company can also continue monitoring the ship’s progress, and thus offer solutions to speed things up if it’s looking like the ship may not make its deadline. The cargo contents also need to be kept track of both on-shore and off-shore, as inaccuracies and discrepancies could result in loss of revenue as well as issues with customs.

Data replication is valuable across many industries and businesses that involve dealing with a lot of information. For the seafaring industry, however, it is critical enough that it may actually spell the difference between a successful voyage and a disastrous one, where not only revenue is put at risk but more importantly, the lives of the passengers and the crew.