A New Generation of Uncrewed Surface Vessels Cruises the North Sea from the Netherlands

Fugro Surface Vessel

Fugro Blue Essence Surface Vessel

Fugro’s Blue Essence, an offshore certified uncrewed surface vessel (USV) with an electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV), will begin its first project in the Netherlands, inspecting offshore assets, supporting construction projects, and conducting hydrographic and geophysical surveys.

During operations the vessel is controlled from an onshore remote operations centre (ROC) via a satellite connection. Such USV operations remove personnel from high-risk offshore environments and reduce carbon footprint by 95% when compared to traditional survey methods. Staff can analyze and interpret acquired Geo-data in near real-time, without having to mobilize offshore and spend time on complex logistics operations. Faster data-processing and data delivery leads to faster and more efficient decision-making.

The Blue Essence USV is fully operated from any ROC around the world, enabling access to a broader range of expertise, 24/7 monitoring and support, including real-time client access to vessel operations and Geo-data through a secure web interface.

The USV is installed with Fugro’s Blue Volta, electrical remotely operated vehicle (eROV) and launch and recovery system. The eROV has a high-definition camera and sensors installed for capture of high-quality images of pipeline and subsea structures. Clients can be in their office, observing the operation and inspection data in near to real-time, removing the need to be offshore.

René de Vries, Harbour Master of the Rotterdam Port Authority, said: “We welcome this special vessel in our port. 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 digitalization in the shipping sector will improve the safety and accessibility of the Rotterdam port.”

Fugro first deployed its Blue Shadow USV fleet in 2020 for medium- to large-scale hydrographic survey applications. Recently, Fugro’s first Blue Essence has completed its first remote inspection, in Asia Pacific.