U.S.-based seabed survey and ocean exploration firm Ocean Infinity has hired VARD to design and build a new series of six multi-purpose offshore vessels that will all be operated from shore and will eventually run on green ammonia.
This order of six, 85-metre, optionally crewed robotic vessels will take Ocean Infinity’s remote vessel fleet to 23 vessels, which the company says is the largest in the world. To remind, Ocean Infinity in early 2020 said it would launch a new marine technology and data company Armada, boasting the industry's largest fleet of unmanned surface vehicles (USV).
The new vessels of VARD 9 80 design will expand Ocean Infinity’s current Armada fleet of nine 21-meter and 36-meter vessels, plus eight 78-meter vessels which are already in production.
In a statement on Monday, announcing the orders of six new offshore vessels Ocean Infinity said:"With Ocean Infinity’s control infrastructure and remote control center currently undergoing commissioning, transformational low-emission remote operations are becoming a closer reality for the global maritime industry,"
Ocean Infinity said that the new contract between Ocean Infinity and VARD facilitated the next phase of a joint development between the two companies, including VARD’s subsidiaries, Vard Design, Vard Electro, and Seaonics.
"VARD’s vessel systems management and automation techniques coupled with Ocean Infinity’s systems integration capability and remote operations infrastructure will enable remote ship operation on a uniquely global scale," Ocean Infinity said.
Richard Daltry, Technical Director – Surface Technology at Ocean Infinity said “Armada will play a huge role in enabling the global maritime community to reduce its carbon emissions from operations at sea. These new 85m vessels will be optimized for inspection, maintenance, and repair and light construction work to offer remote, ultra-low carbon services to the offshore energy market. Like the 78m series currently under construction, the new design continues to drive minimalized environmental impact with its integration of new fuel-cell and battery technology.”
Dan Hook, Chief Technology Officer at Ocean Infinity said “The team has made significant progress in recent months; commissioning our shore-side remote control infrastructure, running ROVs remotely and developing our fleet management capability. The way in which we will optimize the control and operation of these remote vessels is key. We’re wholeheartedly committed to our goal of transforming operations at sea, to enable people and the planet to thrive, and we’re proud to demonstrate that with the announcement of this next phase of Armada”.
VARD won the contract to design and build the eight highly advanced, 78-meter vessels in November 2020. The first four are underway while steel cutting for the fifth began recently at Vard Vung Tau in Vietnam.
The new series of six vessels, which will have a length of 85 meters and a beam of 16.4 meters, is scheduled for delivery from Vard Vung Tau in 2025. The first vessels will have the full suite of new technology and equipment installed and integrated at one of VARD’s shipyards in Norway utilizing VARD’s global integrated value chain.