A fish farm support vessel has successfully completed what is said to be one of the most complex autonomous maritime voyages ever conducted off the coast of Norway.
Technology group Kongsberg Maritime led the test by demonstrating various remote and autonomous technologies aboard the Eidsvaag Pioner, a 2013-built cargo ship owned by Eidsvaag AS and used to supply fish feed to offshore fish farms along the Norwegian coast.
The test, part of the AUTOSHIP project under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research program, involved a 13-hour voyage from Averøy, Norway to an ocean fish farm and back, covering approximately 160 nautical miles.
The demonstration showcased a combination of remote and autonomous operations throughout the different stages of the voyage and, for safety and regulatory reasons, crew members were present on board during the test. The vessel autonomously undocked, navigated out of the harbor to open sea, traversed a route between islands while avoiding other vessels, and arrived at the Ocean Farm 1 fish farm, where it carried out various maneuvers using its Dynamic Positioning (DP) system. After, the vessel navigated its way back along the route and concluded with automatic docking.
Throughout the process, the onshore captain and engineer monitored and occasionally controlled the vessel remotely from Kongsberg’s Remote Operating Centre (ROC) on land in Ålesund.
Photo courtesy Kongsberg Maritime
Technologies demonstrated supplied by Kongsberg included Auto-undocking and Autodocking, Situational Awareness System, Autonomous Navigation System, Intelligent Machinery System, Connectivity & Cyber Security System, Remote Operations Centre, and Dynamic Positioning. Advanced simulations and cloud-based communication systems were employed to ensure safe and optimal vessel operations.
The AUTOSHIP project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research program, aims to accelerate the transition to greener and safer sea transport by testing and advancing key technologies related to fully autonomous navigation systems, intelligent machinery systems, self-diagnostics, prognostics and operation scheduling, and communication technology with robust cyber security. Collaborating with Kongsberg and Eidsvaag AS, the project involves expertise from SINTEF, Norway’s leading research organization, and the University of Strathclyde in the UK.
The second AUTOSHIP demonstration is scheduled for June 1 and will involve a cargo barge navigating a section of Belgium’s inland waterway network in Wintam.