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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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Maritime

Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal launched

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Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal launched. Image: Intellian
Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal launched. Image: Intellian
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Intellian C700 Iridium Certus® maritime terminal has now been launched and is expected to quickly secure a reputation as the most powerful and technically advanced Iridium Certus® terminal on the market.

With its best-in-class RF performance, the C700 can deliver out-of-the-box uplink speeds of 352kbps and downlink speeds of 704kbps by default, with equally impressive low-elevation-angle RF efficiency thanks to its unique 12-patch phased array antenna technology.

It will support three high-quality, low-latency phone lines simultaneously; and as a solid-state antenna with no moving parts inside, the C700 is especially robust, requiring no scheduled maintenance over its lifetime.

The advanced performance of the C700 provides customers across all markets with the flexibility to deploy it as the primary communication antenna or as a companion to a VSAT system for seamless redundancy.

For primary communications, the Below Deck Unit (BDU) incorporates key features which make it ready to deploy without additional cost, including firewall, IP PBX, WAN port and built-in Wi-Fi. Hardware and software functions such as these, incorporated into the system, make the C700 the most powerful, feature-rich L-band solution on the market, delivering best in class performance and functionality.

The innate stability and reliable connectivity afforded by the C700 also make it an ideal platform for future safety services, including the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

The C700 delivers installation efficiency both through the product design and the commissioning process. The BDU, weighing approximately 1.2kg, is available as a standalone bulkhead mount system or a 19” all-in-one rack-mount version.

With its small, lightweight and space-saving form factor, the C700 can be carried on board by just one technician or crew member for rapid and low-cost installation. Once the C700 is installed, the built-in, user-friendly AptusLX software enhances the commissioning and setup experience of customers and partners.

Wouter Deknopper, Vice President and General Manager of Maritime, Iridium, observes: Many vessel owners and operators may decide against VSAT for budgetary reasons, lack of deck space or the absence of adequate coverage on their voyage routes, so Iridium Certus is ideal as a primary means of communication, supported by the ease of upgrading to the C700 from an existing system.

“Iridium Certus also excels as a VSAT companion, combining the benefits of LEO with GEO, and L-band with Ku-band. VSAT can suffer from certain degradations and also isn’t global. That’s where you need a strong hybrid system, and Intellian of course is a highly respected manufacturer of maritime VSAT antennas and the new C700, so it is in a strong position to offer a very competitive turnkey hybrid package on the market. The flexibility of the airtime packages Iridium and our partners offer for Intellian customers is also an essential consideration in such uncertain times for the shipping industry and beyond.”

L-band is particularly resistant to rain fade and other forms of atmospheric interference, and the C700’s 12-element antenna arrangement is designed to supply rapid and efficient tracking performance, leading to optimal high-speed data and voice connections. Troels Christensen, Product Manager, EMEA, Intellian, explains: “The signal stability is exceptional even on fast boats or smaller vessels in rough seas, where you may experience heavy pitch and roll.”

An attractive proposition for crew communications with its multiple high-quality voice lines, the C700 is also protected with Intellian’s international support and service network infrastructure, and comes with a three-year warranty for parts and labor.

“The fact that it can be retrofitted by reusing a vessel’s old mast mount, cables and power supply saves additional time and money,” adds Mr. Christensen. “There’s no need for extra boxes, there are no hidden costs, and Iridium Certus provides truly global coverage, even at the poles, so the C700 is an L-band innovation that pays ample dividends not just for smaller vessels, but right across the board.”

Eric Sung, CEO, Intellian Technologies, concludes: “We’re delighted to partner with Iridium and believe our C700 is a great addition to our innovative maritime product portfolio. The new C700 antenna is a great choice for multiple customer segments, delivering an affordable solution which leads the market in speed and functionality.”

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Maritime

Korean Register authorized to provide statutory services to Brunei

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Korean Register authorized to provide statutory services to Brunei. Image: Unsplash
Korean Register authorized to provide statutory services to Brunei. Image: Unsplash
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The Korean Register has been appointed to deliver statutory services on behalf of the Government of Brunei.

Korean Register will act as a Recognized Organization (RO), with KR surveyors conducting vessel surveys and audits, issuing certificates for Brunei’s flagged ships and ensuring full compliance with the SOLAS, MARPOL, ITC, ILL, and MLC regulations and international conventions.

Brunei is a country where the oil and gas industry accounts for 90% of the national economy, as a result, the shipping industry is well developed and focused on the transportation of these commodities.

KR has had a presence in Brunei since 2016, when it joined with a local partner in a joint venture to provide engineering services, third party inspection and certification services for oil and gas plants.

Hyung-chul Lee, Chairman and CEO, KR said: “This is an important achievement for KR, building on our solid reputation in the oil and gas sector. We are delighted to be expanding our services to our customers in Brunei and look forward to providing immediate, high quality services wherever they are.

“Today, KR is known as one of the industry’s most reliable class partners, clearly demonstrated by the fact that we are now authorized to act as RO – conducting surveys, issuing certificates and ensuring compliance with international regulations – by 81 flag administrations all around the world.”

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Environment

Damen Shipyards Group completes rebuild of ‘OceanXplorer’

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Damen Shipyards Group completes rebuild of 'OceanXplorer'. Image: Damen Shipyards
Damen Shipyards Group completes rebuild of 'OceanXplorer'. Image: Damen Shipyards
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Damen Shipyards Group has recently completed the extensive rebuild of cutting-edge research vessel OceanXplorer at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam. The vessel will contribute significantly to OceanX’s mission – to explore the ocean and bring it back to the world. In this way, the initiative aims at the building of a global community engaged with understanding, enjoying and protecting our oceans.

Upon completion of the project, OceanXplorer has become the most advanced exploration, research and media vessel in the world. As OceanX’s new flagship, she builds on the legacy of the organisation’s first vessel, Alucia and takes things to the next level. Equipped with a series of submersibles, sonar arrays, manned submarines, an ROV and AUV, OceanXplorer is able to explore and map the depths of the oceans.

The vessel is able to collect live samples and bring them aboard where they can be analysed by scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories – with the capabilities, amongst other things, to carry out DNA sequencing.

OceanXplorer’s outstanding research facilities are paired with Hollywood quality filming and media studios – developed in partnership with renowned filmmaker James Cameron. With this, the vessel’s findings can be live-streamed to audiences worldwide at the exact moment of discovery.

Damen served as main contractor in this complex and challenging project, fulfilling an extensive scope of work that brought together various disciplines from across Damen Shipyards Group – including offshore and survey newbuild, repair & conversion and yachting specialisms.

The project required Damen to rebuild the vessel – a former offshore survey ship – in essence from the main deck upwards by stripping the existing accommodation and adding a complete new and much larger accommodation to house the new laboratories, workshops and submarine hangar. Also a fully integrated heli hangar was added to the superstructure as well as extensions on both sides of the accommodation decks to house new cabins over the (increased) full beam of the vessel. Following the structural part, the work included overseeing the complete integration of all ship’s systems including specialist hydrographic and laboratory systems and an innovative IT infrastructure to facilitate the combination of state-of-the-art research facilities with the on board Hollywood standard cinematography and media studios.

Damen worked closely with OceanX’s specialist teams, developing the scope of the project in order to fulfil all requirements. This included responsibility for the interior and exterior of the vessel. The ship is unique in its combining of up-to-the-minute research facilities – courtesy of renowned naval architects Skipsteknisk – and top-of-the-line interior accommodations, designed by Christina Fallah. The vessel’s additional interiors as well as its exterior were styled by Steve Gresham.

The project also required Damen to undertake a docking scope, including removal and refurbishment of azipull and bow thrusters, blasting and coating of tanks and complete overhaul and upgrading of crew accommodation.

Tjarco Ekkelkamp, project director for the OceanXplorer project at Damen said, “This has been a challenging project, the result of which we are very proud of. On the one hand, this shows the extensive capabilities of Damen as a group – the powerful synergies within our group, covering both newbuild and repair & conversion capabilities and spanning commercial vessels and superyachts. On the other, this is a vessel that represents a force for good in the world – one that will enhance human involvement, understanding and ultimately conservation of our oceans. With our strong commitment to maritime sustainability, we are delighted to have played our part in the development of OceanXplorer.”

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