Classification society ABS said it has been selected to class a former drillship that is being converted to a subsea mining vessel.
The industry-first project will see Allseas’ 228-meter Vitoria 10000, now renamed Hidden Gem, equipped with a deep-sea mineral collection system to recover polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor and transfer them to the surface for transportation to shore. The nodules contain high grades of nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt—key metals required for building electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy technologies.
In partnership with The Metals Company (TMC), Allseas is developing the pioneering project entirely to its own, unique specifications, including a wholly self-designed subsea vertical transport system, a subsea collection vehicle, and a surface nodule handling and storage system. The vessel, which arrived in Rotterdam in September to begin the conversion process, will become the first to be classed as a subsea mining vessel by ABS.
“This is a groundbreaking project that is advancing the frontiers of this emerging industry, which has such a vital role to play in supporting how the global market sources and manufactures sustainable technologies. The seabed is among the richest known sources for these vital metals, and we are proud to be able to support this approach to safely recovering them,” said Matt Tremblay, ABS Vice President, Global Offshore.
TMC and Allseas expect the vessel to be operational for pilot nodule collection tests by mid-2022.