XOcean conducts first USV survey in Irish waters

An Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) has been launched by XOcean off the Co. Louth coast, to undertake an environmental survey of the seabed in collaboration with Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). This is the first time an uncrewed vessel has operated in Irish waters and represents a major step forward in reducing the carbon footprint associated with offshore survey operations.

The company says its USVs offer significant benefits including safety with operators remaining onshore, efficiency with 24/7 operations, and environmental with ultra-low emissions which together leads to significant economic savings for customers. The uncrewed vessel is around the size of an average car (4.5 metres) and weighs 750kg and, it’s said, emits just one thousandth of the carbon typically produced by traditional offshore survey vessels.

Commenting on the project, James Ives (pictured left), CEO of XOcean, says: “Our USV platform has demonstrated itself to be a safe, reliable and low carbon solution for the collection of ocean data. We are delighted to be working in Irish waters and in collaboration with Dundalk Institute of Technology, on this important environmental project.”

Ireland is fast-tracking the development of its offshore wind sector in line with commitments to increase offshore wind capacity to 3.5GW as part of the government’s ambitions to deliver 70 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. This environmental research survey, utilising multi-beam echo-sounder sensors, will be used to characterise the seabed in this area of the Irish Sea.

Hildegarde Naughton, T.D. and Minister of State at the Department of Transport and former Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, has been keen to highlight the Government’s responsibility to address the urgent issue of climate change. She says: “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to promote positive sustainable action on climate change and XOcean’s low-carbon approach to delivering marine data in the safest way possible is a very positive step forward.

“The vision and innovation demonstrated by Irish-based XOcean creates opportunity for the development of sustainable projects to be conducted in a sustainable way, such as the preparation of sites and route planning for offshore wind energy projects. Transport has an important role to play in terms of tackling our emissions and the technology development of uncrewed marine vessels in a safe and carbon neutral manner is to be welcomed and embraced.”

XOcean’s carbon-neutral approach to delivering marine data has seen demand for its services grow steadily since it commenced operations in 2019. To date, XOcean says it has delivered over 100 projects globally for some of the world’s largest companies, from mapping the seabed to environmental monitoring. In the last 12 months, the company says revenue has trebled, while its team has grown from 41 to 120.

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