Keppel’s remotely operated tug earns new ABS notation

Oct. 4, 2021
ABS has awarded the first remote control navigation notation to Keppel Offshore & Marine’s remotely operated harbor tug.

Offshore staff

SINGAPORE ABS has awarded the first remote-control navigation notation to Keppel Offshore & Marine’s (Keppel O&M) remotely operated harbor tug.

A trial of the 65-m (213-ft) tug, controlled from a remote location at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Maritime Innovation Lab, was successfully performed in April 2021. The second phase of the project, scheduled for late 2021, will see the vessel perform autonomous collision avoidance tasks while under remote supervision.

The Maju 510 tug is owned and operated by Keppel O&M’s joint venture company Keppel Smit Towage.

According to the classification society, the project was one of a series of initiatives to inform the development of the recently published ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote-Control Functions, which introduced the REMOTE-CON notation and another recognizing autonomous functions. The guide sets out a goal-based framework for the implementation of these technologies on vessels and offshore units.

Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president, Global Engineering and Technology, said: “This landmark project demonstrates the rapid advance of remote control and autonomous technology at sea. This vessel is the first to receive the REMOTE-CON (NAV, OP1) notation and is blazing a trail others are sure to follow.”

Romi Kaushal, managing director of Keppel Smit Towage, said: “Remote and autonomous functions can significantly enhance safety and efficiency of tug operations by automating simpler tasks, allowing the crew to focus on more technical or crucial matters.”