Bourbon signs up to automated offshore vessel project

Bourbon signs up to automated offshore vessel project

French OSV operator Bourbon has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Automated Ships Ltd to support the building of the world’s first autonomous, fully-automated and cost-efficient prototype vessel for offshore operations, in collaboration with the project’s primary technology partner, Kongsberg.

Bourbon will provide detailed input to the development and design of the Hrönn project and will then help in sourcing finance to construct the prototype.

Hrönn is intended to be a light-duty, offshore utility ship servicing the offshore energy, hydrographic and scientific and offshore fish-farming industries. It can also be utilised as a ROV and AUV support ship and standby vessel, able to provide firefighting support to an offshore platform working in cooperation with manned vessels.

Automated Ships Ltd has progressed the original catamaran design of Hrönn since the project launch on November 1 last year, opting for a monohulled vessel of steel construction, to provide more payload capacity and greater flexibility.

Hrönn’s sea trials will take place in Norway’s officially designated automated vessel test bed in the Trondheim fjord and will be conducted under the auspices of DNV GL and the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA).

“In this era of digitalisation of industrial services, we are pleased to join this forward-looking project thus demonstrating the positioning of Bourbon as a world reference in terms of operational excellence and customer experience,” said Gael Bodénès, Bourbon’s COO.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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