ABS to class first subsea mining vessel

Oct. 7, 2021
Allseas’ Hidden Gem will be the first to be classed as a subsea mining vessel by ABS.

Offshore staff

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands Allseas has chosen ABS to class its subsea mining vessel Hidden Gem.

Formerly the drillship Vitoria 10000, the 228-m (748-ft) long Hidden Gem is being converted to a subsea mining vessel, in an industry first.

The vessel is being equipped with a deep-sea mineral collection system to recover polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor and transfer them to the surface for transportation to shore. The nodules contain high grades of nickel, manganese, copper, and cobalt—key metals required for building electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy technologies. 

In partnership with The Metals Company, Allseas is developing the pioneering project entirely to their own, unique specifications, including a wholly self-designed subsea vertical transport system, a subsea collection vehicle, and a surface nodule handling and storage system.

The Hidden Gem will be the first to be classed as a subsea mining vessel by ABS.

Matt Tremblay, ABS Vice President, Global Offshore, said: “This is a groundbreaking project that is advancing the frontiers of this emerging industry, which has such a vital role to play in supporting how the global market sources and manufactures sustainable technologies. The seabed is among the richest known sources for these vital metals, and we are proud to be able to support this approach to safely recovering them.”

Published in 2020, the ABS Guide for Subsea Mining is said to be the only international standard addressing design, construction, and operations of subsea mineral collection equipment.