Autonomous trials in North Sea

A series of autonomous operations trials were held on the North Sea on March 19th and 20th, 5nm off the coast of Den Helder in the Netherlands.

Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610 Twin Axe vessel SeaZip 3 from SeaZip Offshore Services, was outfitted with collision avoidance technology and took part in several nautical scenarios to determine precisely how the vessel would interact with seagoing traffic.

The trials were part of Joint Industry Project Autonomous Shipping, a two-year research project started in 2017. SeaZip 3 took part in 11 scenarios in which she interacted with Octans, a training vessel of Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz, and Guardian, an emergency towage vessel operated by The Netherlands Coastguard. The autonomous system was provided by Robosys Automation and was connected to the onboard autopilot and machinery control system. Although it performed evasive manoeuvres safely, it was concluded that further development of autonomous systems was needed, to cope with complex marine traffic situations in a more efficient way.