14 November 2020, PortNews
FSUE “Rosmorport” has begun testing equipment for unmanned navigation, the press service of the enterprise said. The project is being implemented with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation with the participation of the Ministry of Transport and the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
Last year, “Rosmorport” allocated a bundle of vessels as part of a dredging caravan for testing the technologies of unmanned navigation within the framework of the Marine Industry Center of the National Technology Initiative. The “Redout” dredger was equipped with a remote control station for the “Rabochaya” dredging scow, from which the scow will be monitored and controlled. Special equipment was also installed on the scow.as part of a single basic technological platform.
Full-scale tests began this November. Testing takes place in the Kerch Strait near the port of “Kavkaz” under the general guidance of the working group of the ‘Marinet’ industry center. The distance from the dredging area to the offshore dump is about 30 km. This distance is planned to be covered by the scow in remote or automatic control modes.
“Rosmorport” expects that in the future one crew on the lead vessel – the dredger, will be capable to simultaneously control all the ships of the dredging convoy at once. This will optimize the number of crew on board and improve the coordination of dredging activities.
Other means of unmanned technologies are also assessed by “Rosmorport”, in particular, remote pilotage, the use of unmanned service boats and aerial drones for monitoring the ice situation.
Comments: The approach by “Rosmorport” to the issue of unmanned vessels seems pragmatic and justifiable. Lower scale projects like dredging, harbor pilotage, small crafts operations can be performed relatively safe and secure due to its proximity to control stations. Larger vessels in high seas are much more vulnerable to equipment failures and foreign intrusion with inability for the real time correction or repair.