An international consortium has announced the launch later this year of a prototype autonomous offshore support vessel, a world first.
France’s BOURBON marine services company, UK-based Automated Ships (ASL) and Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime are working on the Hrönn, a light-duty utility vessel for offshore energy, scientific and fish farming applications.
For example, the vessel could provide platform firefighting support or other standby services. BOURBON will offer its expertise in fleet construction and operation to ensure reliability and cost effectiveness in the difficult maritime environment. ASL has contributed design modifications, and will also help in the hunt for financing, along with BOURBON.
The steel monohull’s Kongsberg vessel control systems will be replicated at a shoreside control center for remote as well as autonomous operation. Sea trials will take place in Norway’s Trondheim fjord, overseen by DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority.