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Autonomous ship Mayflower from ProMare and IBM launched

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Autonomous ship Mayflower from ProMare and IBM launched. Image: IBM
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The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), an AI and solar-powered marine research vessel with a view to traverse oceans collecting crucial environmental data has been launched.  The new fully autonomous trimaran was lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England.

Following two years of design, construction and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran was lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England ahead of its official launch tomorrow.

Designed to provide a safe, flexible and cost-effective way of gathering data about the ocean, the new-generation Mayflower promises to transform oceanography by working in tandem with scientists and other autonomous vessels to help understand critical issues such as global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation. ProMare is co-ordinating the scientific studies working with IBM Research and a number of leading scientific organizations.

MAS features an AI Captain built by ProMare and IBM developers which gives MAS the ability to sense, think and make decisions at sea with no human captain or onboard crew. The new class of marine AI is underpinned by IBM’s latest advanced edge computing systems, automation software, computer vision technology and Red Hat Open Source software.

“Able to scan the horizon for possible hazards, make informed decisions and change its course based on a fusion of live data, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship has more in common with a modern bank than its 17th century namesake,” said Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer, IBM UK & Ireland. “With its ability to keep running in the face of the most challenging conditions, this small ship is a microcosm for every aspiring 21st century business.”

To enable followers around the world to stay updated with MAS as it undertakes its various missions, IBM and ProMare have today launched a new interactive web portal. Built by IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Services, the MAS400 portal is designed to provide real-time updates about the ship’s location, environmental conditions and data from its various research projects. Live weather data will be streamed from The Weather Company, as MAS is receiving forecast data and insight from the new IBM Weather Operations Center.

The portal even features a seven-armed, stowaway octopus chatbot called Artie, who claims to be hitching a ride on the ship. Powered by IBM Watson Assistant technology and created in partnership with European start-up Chatbotbay, Artie has been trained to provide information about MAS and its adventures in a lively, and accessible format.

“MAS400.com is one of the most advanced ocean mission web portals ever built,” says Fredrik Soreide, Scientific Director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project and Board Member of ProMare. “Protecting the ocean depends on our ability to engage the public in important matters affecting its health. This MAS400 portal is designed to do exactly that and tell people where the ship is, what speed it’s travelling at, what conditions it’s operating in and what science we are conducting. Users can even help Artie the Octopus fish out surgical masks, cigarette butts and other increasingly common forms of ocean litter from a virtual ocean of facts and data.”

MAS will spend the next six months in sea trials and undertake various research missions and voyages before attempting to cross the Atlantic in Spring 2021. MAS’s transatlantic voyage will be based on a similar route and pioneering spirit to the 1620 Mayflower which made the same crossing 400 years ago.

 

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Maritime

Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm

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Milaha signs key deal with major oilfield services firm. Image: MILAHA
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Milaha, one of the largest Maritime and Logistics Organizations in the Middle East, has entered into a formal agreement to cooperate with leading American oilfield services firm, Schlumberger Limited.

The Offshore & Marine pillar of Milaha signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will support value building projects while jointly driving Tawteen initiatives for Qatar. Led by Qatar Petroleum, the “Tawteen” program aims to localize the energy sector’s supply chain and create new investment opportunities to retain ‘economic value’ in Qatar.

Signed as a five-year joint development project, it will include a Qatar-owned, Qatar-flagged and Qatar-operated Oil Well Stimulation Vessel. The first of these vessels will be designed and outfitted in the country, creating the inaugural FLEXSTIM platform, which will be modified, owned and operated locally.

Pre-engineering for this significant scheme has already begun and will evolve during the final quarter of 2020.

The resulting Qatar-owned value chain will be a joint service that enhances the expertise of a global multinational service firm like Schlumberger as well as the leading Qatar-based multi-disciplined local service company like Milaha.

With over 70 years of presence in Qatar, Schlumberger supplies the petroleum industry with several key services such as seismic acquisition and processing, well testing and directional drilling, artificial lifts, well completions and groundwater extraction.

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Maritime

HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste

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HHLA invests in the Adriatic Port of Trieste. Image: HHLA
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The Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is taking a majority stake of 50.01 percent in the multi-function terminal “Piattaforma Logistica Trieste” (PLT) in the Italian seaport of Trieste. An agreement was signed on 28 September. The investment will be allocated contractually and organisationally to HHLA International GmbH. With this investment, HHLA is positioning itself in a growing market on the Adriatic whose strategic position offers great opportunities for development. This will be HHLA’s third participation in a port outside Hamburg after Odessa (Ukraine) and Tallinn (Estonia).

Angela Titzrath, Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board: “The Adriatic region has been developing very dynamically in the past few years. As the northernmost port in the Mediterranean, Trieste is the southern gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. The investment is a strategic expansion to our existing port and intermodal network. The terminal gives us the opportunity to actively participate in and help shape new and changing cargo flows and underline our ambitions to grow internationally. At the same time, we will continue to enhance our terminals in Hamburg by investing in facilities and technology. We are a Hamburg company, at home in Europe and operating globally.”

Francesco Parisi, Chairman of PLT’s Executive Board: “HHLA’s participation strengthens the growth prospects of PLT and of the entire Port of Trieste. Our development strategy in the direction of Central and Eastern Europe fits in with HHLA’s orientation. The position of the new partners confirms us in the development of the terminal expansion we are pushing ahead with.”

The terminal facilities are within the Free Port of Trieste and take up a total area of 28 hectares. In the northern part of the facilities, mainly general cargo transports and logistic services are being handled. The new heart of the terminal is emerging in the southern part: the newly developed area will start operations in the first quarter of 2021 and is designed to handle container and RoRo traffic. The capacity of the PLT terminal will then comprise a total of approximately 300,000 TEU (standard containers), 90,000 RoRo units and 700,000 tonnes of general cargo. There is also the option to significantly expand terminal capacity through additional adjacent areas.

The strategically relevant position of the Port of Trieste on the Adriatic also allows for excellent development opportunities in hinterland transport. The PLT terminal has its own rail connection. The HHLA rail subsidiary Metrans already connects the Port of Trieste with its European intermodal network.

The transaction is subject to various conditions precedent and is expected to close in January 2021.

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Maritime

Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel

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Sea Machines and Metal Shark to supply USCG R&D center with new autonomous vessel. Image: Sea Machines Robotics
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Boston-based Sea Machines Robotics announces today that it has partnered with shipbuilder Metal Shark Boats, of Jeanerette, Louisiana, to supply the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)’s Research and Development Center with a new Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel for the purposes of testing and evaluating the capabilities of available autonomous vessel technology.

The 29-foot, welded-aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel comes equipped with the Sea Machines SM300 autonomous-command and remote-helm control technology, offering the USCG a full range of advanced capabilities – including transit autonomy, collaborative autonomy, collision avoidance and remote vessel monitoring.

The RDC helps transition innovative technologies and provides premier analysis and decision support to enhance operational performance across all Coast Guard missions. During demonstrations scheduled for October off the coast of Hawaii, the RDC team will test and evaluate the Sharktech vessel’s autonomous capabilities for their potential in supporting USCG surveillance, interdiction, patrol and other missions. Following the Hawaii demonstrations, the autonomous vessel will be returned to the RDC’s New London facility, where it will be used in additional testing to investigate application to various Coast Guard missions.

“As the premier USCG facility performing research, development, test and evaluation in support of the service’s major missions, the RDC team is eager to observe Sea Machines’ system in action,” said USCG’s Derek Meier, assistant demonstration director. “The exercises will ultimately help us determine how, when, and if this innovative technology can be used to support personnel who are executing a variety of Coast Guard activities.”

“Sea Machines is proud to actively support government agencies across a variety of projects and to expand that support to the Department of Homeland Security with this important demonstration being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Sea Machines’ Phil Bourque, director, sales. “Our systems are being rapidly adopted by government and commercial operators alike, offering increases in on-water productivity and predictability, while reducing operational risk.”

“Since the launch of our Sharktech Autonomous Vessels division in 2018 we have been working to position Metal Shark for the autonomy revolution,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “We are committed to the advancement of autonomous technology, through our relationships with leading autonomy suppliers as well as through our own R&D, and we are engaged with multiple customers, from the USCG, the Department of Defense and commercial operators. With this latest delivery, Metal Shark is proud to play a role in the Coast Guard’s autonomous technology R&D efforts.”

In 2019, Sea Machines partnered with Metal Shark to make available the Sharktech 29 Defiant vessel to commercial markets, under Metal Shark’s stock boat program. Most recently, in July, Sea Machines partnered with Huntington Ingalls Industries to accelerate the deployment of self-piloting technologies in the rising market of unmanned naval boats and ships.

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