Svitzer, Kongsberg Maritime, and ABS to develop remote control tug

Svitzer A/S, Kongsberg Maritime and ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) have signed a deal to jointly develop the Recotug – the world’s first commercial tug to be fully operated from a remote operations centre on shore.

The project’s aim is to develop a remotely controlled tug that will be able to perform a full towage operation. All involved anticipate the solution, and the achieved safety level, shall lead to maritime authorities (class and flag) approving the technology, ultimately permitting Svitzer to conduct commercial remote tug operations in the Port of Copenhagen.

Svitzer is bringing a newly built tug with crew as well as tug-specific technical solutions, while Kongsberg Maritime will provide the remote control systems, the autonomous technology and will lead the integration of systems and technology. ABS will offer the guidance and expertise necessary to obtain regulatory approval.

The project is a natural continuation of the first Svitzer/Kongsberg Maritime (formerly Rolls-Royce Marine) project announced in 2017, centred around remotely operated navigation of the Svitzer Hermod tug in the Port of Copenhagen. As a result of the project, the partners safely conducted a number of remotely controlled, non-towage specific manoeuvres on water. From the quay side in Copenhagen harbour the vessel master, stationed at a remote operating centre, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, went for a sail and safely docked again.

“While we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry,” says Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Svitzer’s global COO.

“We are determined to be at the forefront of the innovation in this space to ensure we are well positioned to meet changing demands. We start with one tug and explore from there how to best leverage technology, improve safety and efficiency and meet our customer’s demand for reliable & cost-efficient services, also in the future. Technology is changing our lives across the board and at Svitzer we want to influence and drive how technology will transform towage over time. Safety comes first, and this entire project is first and foremost relying on the implied safety case.”

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