Fugro USV gets green light for UK waters
Fugro has received approval from the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to operate the first uncrewed surface vessel (USV) with an electrical remotely operated vehicle (eROV) in UK waters.
The MCA granted Fugro’s Blue Essence category 2 approval, meaning the vessel can be operated within 60 nautical miles of a ‘safe haven’.
The next stage in the UK regulatory process is obtaining Category 0 MCA approval which will allow the vessel unrestricted service subject to the agreement of relevant port authorities.
“The opportunities this development opens for UK operations are really exciting. Fugro’s Blue Essence fleet has already been successfully operating in Europe and Australia and recently completed a fully remote inspection off the coast of the Netherlands, in Europe’s busiest part of the North Sea, demonstrating the benefits of this innovative way of working,” said Nick Simmons, Director USV and Remote Working Europe and Africa at Fugro.
“We are delighted that the USV can fly the UK flag and are looking forward to undertaking our first operations in the UK soon.”
Blue Essence, developed in partnership with SEA-KIT International, is equipped with Fugro’s Blue Volta eROV and an array of geophysical equipment to undertake subsea inspection and site characterization surveys.
According to Fugro, the 12-meter-long USV is said to consume significantly less fuel than large ROV support vessels resulting in a 95 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and enabling real-time data delivery, leading to faster and more informed decision-making.