Wednesday, November 15, 2017

First Autonomous Vessel Signs to UK Flag Registry

Unmanned Ship Points the Way to the Future
Shipping News Feature
UK – OK, so it's a strange looking beast but, despite not looking out of place on a public pond, this vessel marks a new beginning. The UK Ship Register has signed the craft pictured as its first ever unmanned vessel to the flag, as it adapts to the changes of the maritime industry. The C-Worker 7 is a multi-role, work class, autonomous surface vessel from ASV Global, to be used in a variety of offshore and coastal tasks such as subsea positioning, surveying and environmental monitoring. It can be used under direct control, semi-manned or completely unmanned. Vince Dobbin, Sales and Marketing Director of ASV Global said:

“We are delighted to have achieved the first registration of a semi-autonomous vessel for maritime operations. The MCA [Maritime Coastguard Agency] has been critical in enabling ASV to reach this pivotal milestone recognising the prominence of unmanned systems in the maritime environment.”

Although autonomous vessels are now being introduced to many fleets in both commercial and military sectors across the world, they are still relatively new in the maritime sector. Doug Barrow, Director UK Ship Register, commented:

“By supporting emerging technologies such as autonomous systems, we are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of the global maritime industry. The UK Flag is growing, as we have invested in resources to meet the demands of that growth. We have the support of the UK Government, and the wider UK maritime industries to continue our expansion.”

ASV has designed and built more than 80 vessels which are now deployed all over the world in the service of the oil and gas, scientific and defence sectors. Global registers and technology giants are taking ever more interest in the maritime sector as the advantages of autonomy are exploited. Many critics point out that, had all the vessels concerned been operated under such a system, recent tragedies at sea may well have been avoided.