A consortium of maritime companies has revealed a concept design of an Autonomous Guard Vessel (AGV) revealed for the offshore wind industry. The design is smaller and lighter than most current guard vessels used to protect offshore operations.
The AGV is specifically designed for surveillance of offshore structures throughout their life cycle, ranging from wind farms to substation platforms and cable routes. The AGV can continuously monitor nearby marine traffic visually as well as via radar and AIS data. With any vessel that approaches the area, measures will be taken to secure the area in order to avoid collisions and damage to the offshore infrastructure. An intruding vessel can be communicated with and will receive information on how to safely navigate the area as well as being physically escorted away from the site by the Autonomous Guard Vessel. Additionally, the encounter will be recorded to provide video footage in case of any violation or accident.
Accommodations can be eliminated in the design, meaning the ship can be smaller than existing guard vessels. The vessel will use battery powered propulsion. Additionally, the ship has solar panels across the top which allows for the continuation of navigation and communications in case the batteries run out of power. The Autonomous Guard Vessel will recharge its batteries via a charging station. The charging station can be moored independently or connected to existing equipment onsite. Depending on the situation, charging could either be via a cable connection to the on-site equipment such as an offshore transformer platform or locally generated using renewable fuels.
The consortium consists of C-Job Naval Architects, SeaZip Offshore Service, Sea Machines, Marin and eL-Tec elektrotechniek.