Palfinger, an Austrian manufacturer of hydraulic lifting, loading, and handling systems for marine applications, has won a contract to deliver equipment for Ocean Infinity's fleet of robotic vessels to be built by VARD.
Ocean Infinity, a U.S.-based marine survey, and robotics company in February 2020 said it would build the world's largest fleet of unmanned surface vessels - the Armada, "to serve a wide range of industries by being fully equipped to perform a multiplicity of offshore data acquisition and intervention operations down to a depth of 6,000 meters."
It then in November 2020 said it would add "the world's largest marine robotic vessels" to the Armada fleet, which, apart from being large - 78 meters long - will be optionally crewed. It ordered eight vessels from Norway's VARD, with the first large vessel is expected to launch in mid-2022.
Palfinger will provide these vessels with rescue boats and davits as well as with winches for anchoring and mooring operations, in what is the company's first contract involving this kind of ships.
“We have been working closely with VARD Group for a long time to develop tailor-made anchor winches. These meet all necessary requirements – specifically for autonomous and remote operations – and we are proud that our technology and solutions were selected for these innovative vessels,” says Gunther Fleck, Vice President Sales & Service Region Marine at Palfinger.
According to Palfinger, the winches with all their functions are electrically operated.
"Including a wide range of safety and redundant solutions, they enable smooth operations onboard unmanned vessels. In addition to the winches, Palfinger will supply davits and rescue boats. The latter are built for operation in the most demanding environments and comply with the latest regulations defined by the maritime industry," Palfinger said, without sharing info on the value of the contract.
The new robotic ships will be built at VARD’s shipyard Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam. Their delivery is due in the period from mid-2022 to end-2023.
"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 back in November when announcing the launch of the larger robotic vessels.