Marine and offshore survey company Ocean Infinity, which recently announced plans to build the world's largest fleet of unmanned surface vessels - the Armada, is now adding what it says are "world's largest marine robotic vessels" to the Armada fleet.
Apart from being large—78 meters long—these new robotic vessels will be optionally crewed. Ocean Infinity has ordered eight vessels from Norway's VARD. The first large vessel is expected to launch in mid-2022.
"Designed for today’s tasks but with tomorrow’s in mind, these exceptionally fuel-efficient, onshore-controlled vessels will initially only utilize a skeleton crew onboard. In due course, they will be capable of working with no personnel offshore whilst also consuming solely renewable fuel such as ammonia," Ocean Infinity said.
Oliver Plunkett, CEO, Ocean Infinity, said, "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."
He continued, "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'," Plunkett said.
The 78-meter vessels will supplement the current Armada fleet of nine 21-meter and 36-meter vessels, which are already in production and expected to operational by early 2021.
The vessels are being designed and built by VARD, the international shipbuilding group headquartered in Norway.
Alberto Maestrini, CEO, VARD, said, "We are honored 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."