Marine robotics operator Ocean Infinity has begun the expansion of its Armada fleet of USVs (unmanned surface vessels) and AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) with an order for eight 78-metre, optionally crewed robotic vessels. The fuel-efficient, remotely-controlled vessels, which are being designed and built by shipbuilding group VARD, will supplement Armada’s existing fleet of nine 21-metre and 36-metre vessels
The new vessels will initially only utilise a skeleton crew onboard, and eventually transition to working with no personnel offshore whilst also consuming solely renewable fuel such as ammonia.
Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity, commented: “The impact and the scale of this robotic fleet will spark the biggest transformation the maritime industry has seen since sail gave way to steam. With our new fleet we will be able to provide sustainable services to all corners of the industry from offshore energy, to logistics and transport.”
“We, as an industry, have to embrace the need to be carbon neutral. It is not, however, something that will be achieved overnight or indeed in a year, rather it will be a journey over time requiring bold leaps forward and challenge to all convention. This move is a giant step forward towards that goal.”
“Expanding our Armada fleet to include these larger vessels will enable us to support a wider spectrum of maritime activity, which from the outset will provide more sustainable outcomes with smaller crews and less power consumption than traditional vessels, whilst also creating new, safer job opportunities for the ‘seafarer of the future’.”
Alberto Maestrini, CEO of VARD, said: “We are honoured to be chosen as Ocean Infinity’s preferred partner in this unique project. We are working closely on unique custom design features and system integration allowing for remote operation, and the introduction of sustainable fuel such as green ammonia in close cooperation with regulatory bodies. Other features including high DP2 performance, vast deck space, and twin moonpools make the vessels ideally suited for various extended payload operations requiring precision such as ROV and AUV deployments and logistics.”