Fugro’s Blue Essence, an offshore certified uncrewed surface vessel (USV) with an electric remotely operated vehicle, will begin its first project in the Netherlands. The vessel is controlled from an onshore remote operations centre via a satellite connection and is used for inspection of offshore assets, construction support services, and hydrographic and geophysical surveys.

USVs play an important role in the future of the maritime sector by improving safety, reducing carbon emissions, and delivering data more efficiently. USV operations remove personnel from high-risk offshore environments to an onshore remote operations centre (ROC) and reduce carbon footprint by 95 per cent when compared to traditional survey methods. Cloud-based data processing allows near real-time data delivery, leading to faster and more informed decision making.

The USV is equipped with Fugro’s Blue Volta, an advanced electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV), and a launch and recovery system. It is the first ROV developed with deployment from an USV. The eROV has a high definition camera and sensors installed for capture of high-quality images of pipeline and subsea structures.

Also read: Fugro’s USV Blue Essence visits the Netherlands for the first time

First time in Rotterdam

‘We welcome this special vessel in our port,’ says René de Vries, Harbour Master of the Rotterdam Port Authority. ‘It’s the first time a remotely controlled uncrewed vessel will go to the North Sea from the port of Rotterdam to carry out a project without any personnel on board. We are proud that this project will be executed safely due to the careful preparation of all parties involved. We expect the development of digitalisation in the shipping sector will improve the safety and accessibility of the Rotterdam port.’

Erik-Jan Bijvank, Group Director Europe and Africa at Fugro, adds: ‘Fugro is a leader in the operation of USVs. Since 2020, Fugro has been deploying its Blue Shadow USV fleet for medium- to large-scale hydrographic survey applications. Recently, Fugro’s first Blue Essence completed its first remote inspection in Asia Pacific. I am excited that we now also have this newest generation of USVs available for European clients. Over the coming years, Fugro will further expand its fleet of USVs for safer, more sustainable solutions for marine operations.’

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