SEA-KIT has entered into a contract to provide geo-data specialist Fugro with a first-of-its-kind XL-class unmanned surface vessel (USV) for operations in the North Sea. The 18 metre-long vessel will be built at SEA-KIT’s expanding UK production facility on the Essex coast.
The SEA-KIT XL USV has a 7-tonne payload capacity and powerful bollard pull, making it suitable for towing spreads and larger sensors. The vessel can launch and recover a wide variety of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and payloads, and features fully redundant station-holding capability, Cat 0 operations for unrestricted use, and a large lithium UPS supply for ship systems.
This build will feature the latest developments in uncrewed systems technology, including the next generation of SEA-KIT’s proven proprietary remote helm USV control and surveillance platform, G-SAVI.
SEA-KIT recently sponsored the virtual Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Conference, with Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, as keynote speaker. Themed ‘The Reality of MASS’, this year’s event focused on developments made in the commercial and defence maritime sectors and sparked in-depth discussion on how autonomous vessels are now providing realistic opportunities to achieve net zero emissions in shipping.
Ben Simpson, SEA-KIT CEO, commented: “Following the successful delivery and award-winning operations of the 12m vessels built so far for Fugro, we are delighted to announce this order for the first, larger SEA-KIT XL Class USV. The XL design is a result of industry collaboration aimed at overcoming the complex challenges of effective uncrewed operations at long range in heavy seas. Our 18m USV will push the boundaries of robustness and versatility, meeting the increased challenges of endurance, communications and station-keeping head on.”
Ivar de Josselin de Jong, Director of Remote Inspection at Fugro, said: “This order is an exciting next step in the roll out of Fugro’s remote and autonomous strategy and the development of our global USV fleet. The Blue Eclipse is the first 18m USV in an anticipated global series of long endurance and more capable USVs that will be deployed in the offshore energy sector with comparable ROV inspection performance to regular DP2 vessels. Equipped with the Fugro Blue Amp electric eROV and being operated from one of our nine global remote operations centres (ROC), we will be able to support our clients in achieving safer and more efficient data collection operations, whilst contributing to our mutual carbon footprint reduction ambitions.”