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‘Historic’ demonstration of remotely controlled vessel

Rolls-Royce and Svitzer announced that they have carried out a demonstration of the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in what they term a “genuinely historic moment” for the maritime industry.

The 28m long tug Svitzer Mermod is reported to have carried out a number of remotely controlled manoeuvres in Copenhagen harbour earlier this year. The vessel’s captain, stationed quayside in the vessel’s Remote Operating Centre (ROC) within Svitzer HQ, berthed the vessel alongside, undocked, turned 360 degrees and then piloted towards the Svitzer HQ before docking again.

Built to Robert Allan design, the tug is equipped with a Rolls-Royce Dynamic Positioning System which was linked to the remote controlled system. Sensors installed aboard the vessel combined different data inputs and transmitted them to the ROC, providing the captain with situational awareness.

Rolls-Royce president – marine, Mikael Makinen, witnessed the event, describing it as “an honour to be present at what I believe was a world first and a genuinely historic moment for the maritime industry.”

The demonstration actually took place back in February but the two companies decided to delay an announcement until after they had agreed to continue their cooperation, which they have just done. A further 18 months of testing remote and autonomous operations will now follow, with class society Lloyd’s Register also continuing to take part.

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