A Stalham man designed remote controlled ship has become the first cargo vessel in the world to cross the seas without a crew, says an article published in North Norfolk news.
The designer of the unmanned cargo
Designer Ben Simpson from Stalham, was born and bred at the family boatyard. He was one of two remote pilots working from a control centre in Essex, who completed the ship’s 22-hour trip from Mersea Island to Ostend in Belgium.
They used Global Situation Awareness system, that obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar and is fed back to the control room.
Maiden voyage of the unmanned cargo ship
The ship carried 11 lbs (5kg) of Mersea Island molluscs to Belgium, and then made a return journey with Belgian beer on board.
The 40ft (12m) long Sea-Kit vessel USV Maxlimer is operated by Sea-Kit International Ltd, arrived without a human being on board, at Ostend at 9am on Tuesday, May 7, where it was welcomed by Belgian customs officers.
Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.
It is equipped with cameras, radar, microphones, thermal imaging and a back-up autonomous system to keep it and other sea-goers safe.
Mr. Simpson said, “This voyage has been months in the making and to see it all come together is amazing. The potential lies in its ability to be adapted to a range of tasks, whether it be transit hydrographic surveys, environmental missions, or marine safety and security.”
“We’re tremendously excited to push the technology to its limits and see what we can achieve.”
Who supported the mission?
The mission was supported by
- the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency,
- the Department for Transport,
- the Foreign Office, officials in Belgium and
- the European Space Agency.
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