Towage operator Svitzer has penned an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime and ABS to jointly develop a world’s first fully remotely controlled tug boat.

Named the Recotug project, the aim is to develop a remotely controlled tug boat that will be able to perform a full towage operation with all operations controlled from a remote operations centre.

The solution and achieved safety level are aimed at permitting Svitzer to conduct commercial remote tug operations in Denmark’s Copenhagen port. The project is expected to run for the years to come.

“While we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry,” said Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, global coo of Svitzer.

“We start with one tug and explore from there how to best leverage technology, improve safety and efficiency and meet our customer’s demand for reliable and cost-efficient services, also in the future,” he added.

While Svitzer is bringing the needed operational experience, a newly built tug with crew as well as tug-specific technical solutions, Kongsberg Maritime will provide the remote control systems and the autonomous technology and lead the integration of systems and technology. ABS will bring the guidance and expertise necessary to obtain regulatory approval.

Egil Haugsdal, president of Kongsberg Maritime, commented: “Kongsberg Maritime is leading the market in maritime autonomy and are involved in several projects that define the remote and autonomous vessel control systems for tomorrow; this venture takes that ground-breaking work a step further by integrating these key technologies into a new context of operation.”

Source: Seatrade Maritime