Ivar de Josselin de Jong, Director Remote Inspection at Fugro, said: “This order cements Fugro’s strategy to lead the development of remote and autonomous solutions, which is key to delivering a safer, more sustainable and more efficient approach to the construction and maintenance of marine assets. Integration of the new USVs into our global network of remote operation centres (ROCs) will allow us to provide our clients with an entirely remote-controlled inspection solution for the first time in history. In addition to applications in the oil and gas industry, we specifically foresee an important role for our new remote inspection solution in the rapidly growing offshore wind sector.”
Essex-based SEA-KIT was a clear choice for Fugro, with its commercially proven expertise in the design and build of vessels for the maritime and research industries. The two companies first announced their partnership in March this year.
The two new USVs are the first of multiple planned builds for Fugro as part of the partnership, with the schedule also including the design, build and delivery of SEA-KIT’s 24m Omega class USV in 2021.
Ben Simpson, SEA-KIT CEO, commented: “This order, our first for the delivery of a vessel for commercial use, is a real milestone for the team and testament to their hard work over the past three years. Our company vision is all about providing the technology to solve future offshore challenges now and this order is a major step forward in proving the capabilities of our USVs in addressing those challenges. It also clearly demonstrates an industry shift towards uncrewed operations and the commitment of key industry players to reducing the carbon footprint of commercial offshore operations.”
The first of the 12m SEA-KIT X class USVs is expected to be delivered to Fugro in Perth, Australia, in Q4 2020 and will feature remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) launch-and-recovery systems and station-keeping capabilities. The vessel will be used to conduct completely uncrewed ROV pipeline inspections in up to 400m water depth on Australia’s North West Shelf.
The second USV, which will have a similar fit-out, is scheduled for delivery to Fugro in Aberdeen in Q1 2021.