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Bureau Veritas, French Flag Resiter and SeaOwl partner for remotely operated vessel project

Date: 15 Sep 2020 Author: Raymond

Named ROSS (Remotely Operated Services at Sea), the concept and capability were successfully demonstrated by SeaOwl last week. The ROSS retrofitted, Bureau Veritas classed, supply ship ‘VN Rebel’ was operated by a SeaOwl captain based in Paris. The Paris captain was able to take and maintain command of the ‘VN Rebel’ navigating off the French Mediterranean port of Toulon with full remote control of the ship. The ‘VN Rebel’ was sailing with the required French authorities ensuring compliance with the IMO resolution for the trial of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships* (MASS). This is the very first time that this resolution has been applied in France to a ship of this size.

Bureau Veritas provided a reference framework, and risk analysis – based on its own guidance for autonomous shipping (NI 641), to develop a means for the French maritime administration to approve the ROSS concept as per IMO MSC.1/Circ. 1455 for alternative designs. BV’s detailed risk analysis and marine experts assessed the systems’ critical functions to help demonstrate equivalence with traditional maritime convention requirements for safe navigation and operations as required under SOLAS.

The analysis addressed the resilience of the communications link provided by Marlink (also a partner in the project), the remote operation of watch-keeping, and communications functions. The analysis also included the corresponding remote operations of the machinery including engine, dynamic positioning (DP) provided by Sirehna (also a partner in the project) and the cybersecurity of the system. During the test, in addition to proving the availability of remote navigation functions (steering, visual watch, VHF, anti-collision manoeuvers, etc.), the SeaOwl crew also demonstrated responses to several scenarios including a weather incident, resulting in the loss of communications connectivity, and a cybersecurity attack with the detection of a GPS blurring.

Following this successful demonstration, the next step for SeaOwl is to validate the concept of ROSS onboard a newbuilding designed to provide services to offshore platforms.

📃📷 Source: SeaOwl