Svitzer Harmod. Credit: Kongsberg Maritime

Partnership Planning Remote-Controlled Tugboat for Port of Copenhagen

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2320
February 23, 2021

A agreement has been signed to develop the world’s first fully remote-controlled tug to operate at the Port of Copenhagen.

The deal was signed between global towage operator and Maersk subsidiary Svitzer, maritime tech company Kongsberg Maritime and classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Together the partners will develop RECOTUG™, planned to be the world’s fully operational and full remote-controlled tugboat capable of performing full towage operations controlled from a remote operations center.

The newbuild tug will be supplied by Svitzer with Kongsberg providing the remote control system, autonomous technology and integration. ABS will bring the guidance and expertise necessary to obtain regulatory approval. Once approved, the tug is planned to work at the port of Copenhagen “for years to come.”

“While we are still several years away from seeing remotely operated tugs with no crew on board in commercial operation, there is no doubt that advanced autonomy is progressing fast across the maritime industry,” said Ingrid Uppelschoten Snelderwaard, Svitzer’s global COO.

The project is a continuation of a 2017 partnership between Svitzer and Kongsberg Maritime (then Rolls-Royce Marine) which involved a demonstration of remote controlled operations using the tug Svitzer Hermod in Copenhagen. The demonstration included non-towage specific maneuvers like docking and undocking and basic ship handling.

“We start with one tug and explore from there how to best leverage technology, improve safety and efficiency and meet our customer’s demand for reliable & cost-efficient services, also in the future. Technology is changing our lives across the board and at Svitzer we want to influence and drive how technology will transform towage over time. Safety comes first, and this entire project is first and foremost relying on the implied safety case,” Snelderwaard said.

“Kongsberg Maritime is leading the market in maritime autonomy and are involved in several projects that define the remote and autonomous vessel control systems for tomorrow; this venture takes that ground-breaking work a step further by integrating these key technologies into a new context of operation,” added Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime.

“As a data-centric organization, ABS is a leader in the maritime application of digital technologies. As safety moves away from the things you can see and touch, to things you cannot see such as software and data, ABS has been spearheading development of next generation safety approaches that draw on our expertise as a technical integrator,” said Christopher Wiernicki, ABS Chairman, President and CEO.

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