Eco uncrewed surface vessels head to the North Sea

An offshore certified uncrewed surface vessel (USV) with an electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV), is set to begin its first project in the Netherlands. During operations, Fugro’s Blue Essence vessel will be controlled from an onshore remote operations centre (ROC) via a satellite connection and will be used for the inspection of offshore assets, construction support services, and hydrographic and geophysical surveys. 

USVs play an important role in the future of the maritime sector by improving safety, reducing carbon emissions, and delivering data more efficiently. According to Fugro, USV operations remove personnel from high-risk offshore environments to an onshore ROC and reduce carbon footprint by 95 per cent when compared to traditional survey methods. Cloud-based data processing allows near real-time data delivery, leading to faster and more informed decision making.

René de Vries, harbourmaster of the Rotterdam Port Authority, says: “We welcome this special vessel in our port. It’s the first time a remotely controlled uncrewed vessel will go to the North Sea from the port of Rotterdam to carry out a project without any personnel on board. We are proud that this project will be executed safely due to the careful preparation of all parties involved. We expect the development of digitalisation in the shipping sector will improve the safety and accessibility of the Rotterdam port.” 

Erik-Jan Bijvank, group director Europe and Africa at Fugro, says: “Fugro is a leader in the operation of USVs. Since 2020, Fugro has been deploying its Blue Shadow USV fleet for medium to large-scale hydrographic survey applications. Recently, Fugro’s first Blue Essence has completed its first remote inspection, in Asia Pacific. I am excited that we now also have this newest generation of USVs available for European clients. Over the coming years, Fugro will further expand its fleet of USVs for safer, more sustainable solutions for marine operations.”

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