The Blue Essence is the first offshore certified USV that can launch an electrically remote-controlled underwater robot.
During the operations, the ship and the underwater robot will be operated from a control room onshore via a satellite connection.
They will be deployed for the inspection of offshore constructions, in supporting building work and for carrying out hydrographic and geophysical research.
USVs could play an important role in the future of the maritime sector, leading to improved safety, lower CO2 emissions and a more efficient delivery of data.
Personnel can be moved from high-risk offshore environments to a control room onshore, reducing the CO2 footprint by 95% compared to traditional research methods.
The more efficient delivery of research results will be achieved by means of cloud-based processing techniques and will enable faster and better-informed decision-making.
Harbourmaster René de Vries commented, ‘We welcome this special ship in our port. It is the first time that from the port of Rotterdam a remote-controlled unmanned ship will go to the North Sea and activities will be carried out by a vessel without the presence of a crew on board, and we are proud that this pilot can be carried out safely thanks to the careful preparations of all the parties involved.
“We expect that the development of digitisation in the shipping industry will further promote the safety and accessibility of the port of Rotterdam. This pilot fits within our ambition of testing new technologies which can make our port even smarter, more efficient and better.’
The Port of Rotterdam has also recently teamed up with the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus Center for Urban, Port & Transport Economics and Shipping Transport College (STC) International to provide continuous knowledge development in the field of energy transition and digitisation.