Photo: USV Maxlimer. Source: SEA-KIT

SEA-KIT to add new 12-meter USV to its fleet in 2022

SEA-KIT International is planning to build a new X-class 12-meter unmanned surface vehicle (USV) as a fleet vessel for launch in 2022.

This sixth X-class to be constructed at the company’s Essex base is expected to pave the way for SEA-KIT to meet increased market demand for unmanned vessels and to penetrate new sectors of the maritime industry.

According to SEA-KIT, this latest build is set to be even more versatile and fuel-efficient than its predecessors, with the potential for three different propulsion packages within one hull, including diesel-electric, hybrid and hydrogen hybrid.

“Interest in SEA-KIT’s designs is increasing now that we have vessels operating on commercial offshore projects globally and we are keen to develop new strategic partnerships to build our client base,” said SEA-KIT CEO Ben Simpson.

“With the launch of this vessel, we will be able to offer tailored capability demonstrations as well as charter options and additional services from next summer. It opens the door for customers to order zero emission vessels as the industry collaboratively works towards its net zero goals.”

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SEA-KIT is currently leading a Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition funded project to demonstrate zero-emission maritime operations using a hydrogen fuel cell manufactured by Bramble Energy.

The silent running and low vibration that can be achieved with hydrogen propulsion are said to enable highly sensitive acoustic devices and sensors to monitor underwater environments more efficiently and with minimal disturbance, a huge benefit for activities such as marine mammal observation.