During the ADIPEC exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Dutch firm Fugro and UAE's AD Ports Group signed an agreement that sets out combined goals to utilize remote and autonomous technologies in the region.
The agreement was signed by Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO, AD Ports Group and Mark Heine – Fugro CEO.
The companies said that the would create a platform to implement remote and autonomous technology, and to create guidelines that will ensure the UAE is prepared to welcome, and benefit from, the use of latest industry advancements.
The companies have been working together since March 2022 ahead of the arrival of the region’s first USV, the Fugro Pegasus. The USV recently arrived in the UAE and will be stationed at Al Mirfa Port, Abu Dhabi.
Captain Mohamed Al Yahyaei, Chief Harbour Master, AD Ports Group said: “AD Ports Group is committed to innovating and improving its services, deploying advanced technologies and automation across our operations to drive improvements and greater efficiency. Through strategic collaborations, AD Ports Group brought the world’s first fully unmanned autonomous commercial marine tugs, as well as the Middle East’s first terminal with an autonomous port truck system, to the UAE. By signing this new agreement with Fugro, we are expanding the range of remote and autonomous technologies available for the maritime sector, as we strive to build a safer, more sustainable and more impactful future.”
"The agreement addresses strategic pillars that Fugro and AD Ports Group will tackle together to make Fugro’s USV technologies a successful addition to the region. These pillars include jointly developing procedures for the use and implementation of USVs in accordance with the requirements of the UAE, to establish an approved remote and autonomous testing site for USVs, to create an industry compliant training program for Emirati Nationals and international mariners, covering the operation of USVs or Marine Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS)," the companies said.
David Washbrook, Director, Marine Asset Integrity Middle East and India, Fugro said: “The introduction of our USV technology marks an exciting moment for the maritime industry in the region. The support we have received from AD Ports Group has played a large role in making this a reality and we are proud to call Al Mirfa Port the new home of Fugro Pegasus.
According to the companies, automation and the use of remote technologies in the maritime sector can allow vessels and vehicles to operate more efficiently, with greater operational safety, and reduce operational costs. In the case of offshore vessels, automation enables vessels to operate safely in adverse weather conditions. Since 75-96 precent of marine casualties typically result from human error, increased use of automation in the maritime sector also has the potential to increase safety and reduce accidents."