The Italian RINA handed over the class certificate to the first boat of an unmanned fleet belonging to the Dutch RC Dock, a company specializing in naval automation. A further 19 units are currently under construction that will be able to operate up to 200 miles from the coast.
The units of RC Dock, of the length of about 12 meters, are designed to collect important data related to bathymetry, pollution level, currents, the conditions of the seabed, the weather and the migration of the volatiles, as well as for carry out the patrolling of the coasts in order to detect any illegal activities such as piracy and the illegal trafficking of substances and materials. Completely unmanned, the boats will be operated remotely by a central command room, currently located in Ijmuiden, the Netherlands, or a remote and mobile control centre that will be able to find itself anywhere in the world. During operations at sea, the workboat-called Marine Autonomous Robotic Intervention Platform (MARIP)-will be monitored from ground, 24 hours on 24 and 7 days out of 7, by a commander and a specialized team. The fleet will also conduct operations such as offshore and submarine inspections, maintenance and repairs without the presence of crew on board, so controlled remotely.
" Autonomous vessels controlled remotely-Guido Garufi, business development manager for the Benelux and northern France of RINA-are widely recognized as the future for many areas of maritime transport. This first approval represents an important step in the direction of an ever wider use. "