USV AS orders its first hybrid unmanned surface vessel at Astilleros Gondán

    USV AS, a joint venture (JV) company established by DeepOcean, Solstad Offshore and Østensjø, has contracted Astilleros Gondán shipyard to build its first unmanned surface vessel (USV).

    USV AS

    Expected to enter service in 2025, the USV will be utilised for subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) work at offshore wind farms.

    It is estimated that the USV solution can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90 per cent compared to a conventional offshore vessel when conducting subsea IMR operations, said the companies.

    The JV concept development for the USV began in 2018 and it has been conducted in close collaboration with clients, Salt Ship Design, technology providers, and the relevant authorities.

    Maritime Robotics will deliver the system that enables auto remote control and navigation for the USV.

    The vessel will be remotely controlled from shore, but will have many autonomous features, said the developers. It will be equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that is capable of operating down to 1,500 metres of water depth.

    It will be able to operate in severe weather conditions, and, during operations, both the USV vessel crew and ROV operators will be co-located in the same remote operating centre.

    “With our new USV, we are moving the captain onshore who will still remain in control over the offshore operations. We will operate the vessel and the ROV from an onshore remote operations centre”, said Øyvind Mikaelsen, Chair of USV AS and CEO of DeepOcean.

    “This is an excellent way of reducing cost, CO2 footprint and limit personnel exposure to offshore operations.”

    The 24-metre long, 7.5-metre wide vessel will have a hybrid-diesel electric propulsion system, which also includes a battery package from Seam, that could allow the USV to operate offshore for up to 30 days without charging or refueling.

    To increase workability, the USV will be equipped with a newly-developed launch and recovery system, which allows for work class ROVs to be operated from relatively small vessels such as the USV.

    In addition to the ROV, the vessel will feature “a sizeable tool package” to perform subsea operations. The USV will be able of handling most of all subsea inspection work and subsea intervention tasks, the JV said.